The Maritime Hotel in the Chelsea area of New York (100 Ninth Avenue between 16th and 17th Street) was opened in February 2003 and has become a sought after boutique hotel in the competitive New York hotel market. There are 125 rooms that resemble cabins/state rooms onboard ship; they even have their own 5ft port hole which was part of the original building design (there are 120 rooms and five suites).
The white tile clad 12 storey modernist building was first constructed in 1966 as the headquarters of the National Maritime Union (Joseph Curran Annex); the building was designed by Albert C Ledner of New Orleans.
The building went through several incarnations as a refuge for runaway teenagers and a respite for Chinese students until finally it was sold to two restaurant and club developers Sean K MacPherson and Eric Goode in 2001 for the sum of $19m. The new owners then asked Richard Born and Ira Drukier to develop a new boutique hotel.
The total cost of the project was about $33m. The hotel has become a centre for use by entertainment executives and fashion models as it is situated in a trendy media culture area of the city. The rooms cost around $250 a night and the hotel has been full since it opened in 2003.
The hotel has adopted a nautical theme (as would be expected) and over and above the exterior portholes of the rooms also has a lush marine blue lobby carpet, couches with white piping and teak room furnishings with custom latches. Even the hotel staff wear nautical type uniforms. The rooms have an average size of 300ft², and have beds with custom Japanese fabric headboards and high quality 300-thread-count sheets. All of the guest rooms and suites face west and have new dark teak built-in furnishings and glossy white ceilings.
For entertainment there is a flat-screen TV, a CD/DVD player, a video-game console and complimentary Wi-Fi connection. There is also an extensive collection of DVDs and CDs for guest use and 24 hour room service. The rooms have a fully stocked mini-bar which includes cold sake. The ensuite bathroom facilities include a marble and tile bathroom with a waterfall showerhead and stocked with Bigelow toiletries.
The hotel also has several fine restaurants and bars (again with a Japanese theme), Matsuri sushi restaurant, Hiro lounge and La Bottega cafe and Trattoria (has an outside dining area), The Cabanas Roof Bar and the Lobby Bar. The old hiring hall in the basement of the hotel has been converted into two of the restaurants and a ballroom, restoring original features such as the excellent wooden slatted barrel vaulted ceiling.
Although there is no actual health club or swimming pool at the hotel, complimentary passes to the New York Sports Club are provided for guests and this is only a block away. Visitors using the hotel can also hire bicycles to tour the city.
There is an extensive outdoor plaza (12,000ft²) on the ninth avenue side of the hotel which is elevated by eight feet and has a 5,000ft² garden in the middle complete with pond to be used as a relaxation area for the guests and also with access to the bar and the La Bottega Restaurant and Trattoria.
HIRO BALLROOM AND LOUNGE
The Hiro ballroom with its 20ft barrel vaulted ceiling and giant paper lanterns has a large bar spanning one side of the room and banquet seating on the other side. The Hiro may be hired for seated dinners with dancing, for cocktail receptions, fashion shows, conferences, live music and DJ performances or product launches.
The Ballroom has a state-of-the-art audio and lighting system along with DJ booth, DVD player, projector and a 16ft x 16ft screen. A full service kitchen also allows the hotel to tailor the catering to the event. The hotel also has an excellent business centre, the facilities of which may be combined with the Hiro ballroom and lounge to host conferences and meetings.