So much has already been written about the extraordinary new Equinox luxury hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards and the gal wanted to check it out (sadly most media reports have concentrated on the more extreme of its wellness options but it is, really, a simply jolly good hotel for anyone, any age). Hudson Yards is a massive $25bn redevelopment of Manhattan’s west side, from 30th north to 41st Streets. Arrive at
34th Street and 11th Avenue and you see two amazing sculptures. One is Vessel (above), architect-designer Thomas Heatherwick’s unique 45 metre-tall open honeycomb, formed of 54 interconnecting flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings, offering views of the city and the Hudson River. Next to it, among other PKF architectural sculptures, is 35 Hudson Yards, left, a 92-floor building that houses Equinox Hotel on floors 24-38.
I was greeted by one of the exuberant team members, Nathan Loga, from Singapore, who has already been promoted to corporate, as head of guest experience for what is quickly evolving from one hotel to a select group. At ground floor level we went past an undulating metal wall like fairground distorting mirrors to reach elevators to go up to 25th floor Reception. From there, I took another elevator up to corner suite #3211, designer David Rockwell, and memorable for views that were even better than those atop the ‘honeycomb’. Among other highlights, I had, arguably, the world’s most comprehensive ‘minibar’. I could buy everything I might need, including diet supplements, probiotics, a box of pencils, men’s shorts, women’s leggings, facial puffs, and all-natural ‘pitted’ deodorants.
As I expected, the hotel’s fitness, in the form of the building’s multilevel Equinox Club, designed by Joyce Wang, is sensational. I wandered into one area of about 30 Woodway super-jogging machines. One, and only one, was free, so I got on it, quick, only to discover I had arrived in the lull spot of a running bootcamp. Within a few seconds all the other machines had automatically cranked back up to pre-set level, at least eight m.p.h. I felt like a sedate snail surrounded by gazelles. Later I felt like a champ, dining with Manhattan’s A-list at the hotel’s Electric Lemon.
Why the name, I asked Chris Norton, CEO of Equinox Hotels. No reason, it seems, but you do not forget it. There were three of us, perched on stools at a low table for two (Electric Lemon is leased out to Starr Group and it does seem that servers in ‘freestanding restaurants’, for that is essentially what this is, are more likely quickly to cope when an extra chair, or stool, has to be squeezed in – hotel servers may well wait for a supervisor). I ate my cruditées with a dip of carrot juice and fermented soy sauce, and my 44 Farms’ prime ribeye and we drank Tyler 2017 Pinot Noir as we toasted mutual friends – and this really most agreeable luxury hotel. WANT TO CLIMB HEATHERWICK’S HONEYCOMB-LIKE ‘VESSEL’ AND SEE SUITE 3211?