Shane Fonner

  • Where:New York, New York
  • Why:Heading above 14th Street -or- Getting (the fuck) out of downtown.
  • When:February 2018.
  • Who:My other half and I.
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Textured wall panels surround the oversized, double sided fireplace.

The see-through fireplace adds to the intimacy of the space.

Sunken work and social spaces offer a cozy spot to make moves or just chill.

Vertical stacking structures create natural separations in the lobby.

Who doesn't want a disco tub.

In room reading material.

A welcoming set up upon arrival (and a very decent bottle of red, I might add).

Fresh flowers compliment the cozy suite.

Evening sets in the mahogany accented suite.

A well lived room with fresh flowers - perfect for the morning after.


Intricate netting structures create private spaces in the restaurant, Forty Four.

I could have hung out in the lobby all day.

An opulent entrance to an opulent experience.

Hanging by the front bar near the 44th Street entrance.

Highs & Lows

  • Hotel Bar – It’s got this intangible feeling of that “ideal” hotel bar - despite being ignorant to the history of the place at the time, I immediately picked up on the feeling of being a stranger, surrounded by other strangers in a new place. Amy makes a mean negroni, too, which may or may not have contributed to my feeling a little light on my feet.

  • The Staff – Siobhan, the GM, couldn’t be more attuned to the needs of the guests. She’s done an amazing job with the staff, including Eddie from Forty Four and the bar. In addition to being accommodating, the staff was really attentive and took great care of us. BK, evening manager, even offered to light the fire in our suite.

  • History – It’s not a typical history per se, but for someone who loves boutique hotels, this place has everything. Having been owned by the team from Studio54 and originally designed by Philippe Starck, it still retains a piece of that original vibe.

  • The Bathroom – The large circular tub was a revelation. I lit a candle, dimmed the lights, and had a ball.

  • Design – The Roman and Williams interpretation of the theme is extremely well executed throughout the lobby space. It creates a stellar atmosphere for catching up over the spectacular cocktails.

  • The Bed – I slept like a rock. And I wasn’t particularly tired.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 49/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Sexy boutique hotel legend.

  • Vibe

    Dark woods, fire, war, drinks, and sex (per Roman + Williams’ ultimately well-executed inspiration brief) – an update on the Philippe Starck archetype that launched a thousand boutique hotel imitators.

  • Location

    For a downtowner like myself, the location felt easily accessible from other neighborhoods in the city. Parked on 44th between 5th and 6th Avenues, it is located in prime midtown, just a block and a half from Grand Central and Bryant Park.

  • Rooms


  • Music

    A wide variety of “good times” tunes of various genres throb throughout the seductive lobby.

  • Year Opened

    Originally opened in 1988 by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, later re-opened and renovated in 2007.

  • Designed By

    Roman + Williams

  • Pool/Gym

    Small fitness center on the 4th Floor. Used it twice.

  • Restaurant

    Yes, Forty Four near the 43rd St side of the building (formerly colloquially referred to as “Café Conde” due to the preponderance of Conde Nast editors who wined and dined here).

  • Bar

    The lobby bar gives off serious “hotel bar” vibes – in a good way. It feels completely right for that moment, and it felt very New York in a sense. The layout facilitates interaction and the bar staff is very good at what they do (Pro-tip: Try Amy’s negroni).

  • Minibar

    Well-stocked with the necessary accoutrements for a cozy stay.

  • Children

    I’m sure you could, but seems like most guests there were certainly without. I’d leave them behind. The Royalton is best enjoyed with friends, some of whom you might make right there.

  • Price

    Accessible luxury – good value for the price.

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