The Knickerbocker’s Back

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Guestroom at the Knickerbocker in New York City.
Guestroom at The Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City.

Location. Location. Location. In New York City, few hotels have a more exciting address than The Knickerbocker Hotel, which recently opened its doors at 6 Times Square. This was the house that John Jacob Astor IV built, designed in the Beaux-Arts style, which first opened on October 23, 1906.

At that opening, the marketing message was “prices within the reach of all,” and according to The New York Times, rates a century ago for a single with bath cost $3.25 a night (adjusting for inflation, that’s about $78 in today’s dollars). There were 556 sleeping rooms and 400 baths in the original hotel, accommodating about 1,000 guests.

Today’s Knickerbocker, which is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, has been totally reconfigured and redone to offer sleek, contemporary, spacious, quiet and luxurious accommodations—averaging 440 sq. ft.—in 299 guestrooms and 31 suites. Rates start at around $500 to $700 per night.

Public areas include a rooftop cocktail bar, a cigar lounge, a fitness center, and three eateries, under the supervision of celebrated chef Charlie Palmer, acclaimed for his Progressive American cooking—Jakes@The Knick, Charlie Palmer at The Knick and the St. Cloud rooftop bar.

While the hotel’s interiors received a total makeover, the exterior required extra tender loving care to restore and protect the Beaux-Arts facade of this official (1988) New York City landmark building.

When staying in a hotel with a century of I-Love-New-York history, it’s fun to know that among the dignitaries and glitterati who flocked to “The Knick” were Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, who with his family lived here until his death in 1921, with the Metropolitan Opera only three blocks away; F. Scott Fitzgerald, who set a chapter of This Side of Paradise in the hotel bar; and John D. Rockefeller, who with his Wall Street friends, celebrated the new drink invented by the hotel bartender—the martini.

Nowadays, those martinis are served up at the stunning, hand-carved Frapuccino marble bar—the centerpiece of the hotel restaurant.

And now is the time to circle your calendar for future bookings: On New Year’s Eve, there will be no better seat in town from which to watch the ball drop over Times Square than at the St. Cloud rooftop bar. A hotel spokesperson would not venture a guess what the pricing of  a festive package like this might be.

For more information, call (212) 204-4980 or visit theknickerbocker.com.