Where 377 Greenwich Street (the address of The Greenwich, a member of Leading Hotels of the World) should have been appeared to be a corner restaurant, so I went in there. It was, in fact, the hotel’s restaurant, and I was directed to walk through an interior door and keep on going. I went through a private sitting room to a desk staffed by young and friendly fashionistas: “Did I have a good journey and where had I come from?” I needed an electronically-activated black plastic key to access the elevator and my room.
There are 88 rooms, including some suites with wood-burning stoves and a two-room, 250-square-metre penthouse. To get to room 416, I turn right and right again, 30 big steps total, to a 19th-century, stripped wood door. Inside the 60-square-metre studio suite I gasp, this is how I remember my grandmother’s home; wide-board wood floors and rugs, palest avocado walls rising to same-colouring mouldings. There are full-height, pull-across sage green velvet curtains (and cream sheers) and a matching comfy armchair. My ‘grandmother’s’ bed has a heavy wood headboard. A Bali statue complements a black-and-white photo of an ageing treetrunk. Through French windows, I look down into the squash court-sized courtyard with casually-set tables. Behind, an eight-floor factory wall has been painted with a six-times life-size James Dean.
The spa is down in the basement, connected to the gym, which is like a scene from a late 19th-century boy’s school movie. Floors are distressed wood, as are some walls (others are glass, set in black frames): Cybex equipment, including arc trainers, is all black. Go through either the men’s or women’s lockers to the pool, another scene out of, say, Brideshead Revisited. All looks so authentically historical it is impossible to imagine that this was a parking lot until Robert De Niro brought in BD Hotels’ Richard Born and Ira Druckier as partners. The trio worked with Rockwell Group architects and designers Grayling Design to build the eight-floor building, red brick with curved windows at the junction of Greenwich and North Moore Street. The interiors, too, are deliberately distressed, with maximum use of old wood and glass.
After a morning of meetings, I am back at the hotel for lunch. Everyone around me seems at home – guests are 65% repeats, average stay 3.5 nights – and I believe people working around here in fashion and the arts seem to come in every day. This makes this lovely hotel feel, well, like home.