Breaking Travel News investigates: Roger Smith Hotel, New York

Breaking Travel News investigates: Roger Smith Hotel, New York

With a constant stream of events and exhibitions, the Roger Smith Hotel is more than just a well-situated, tastefully turned out, boutique hotel in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

The family-run, 136-room property nestles comfortably amid some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, the bright lights of Time Square are a short walk away.

The world-class theatres of Broadway and the leading commercial centre of Wall Street are both also on the hotel’s doorstep, making 501 Lexington Avenue an ideal address for both work and leisure.


Lily’s Bar at the Roger Smith Hotel, New York

Aiming to be more than just a space to leave your bags, Roger Smith encompasses the soul of the neighbourhood.

Art lovers are well catered for as the rooms, and the communal spaces, are adorned with select pieces of contemporary art.

Hotel chief executive and artist in residence James Knowles’ dramatic stainless-steel sculptures are found decorating the entrance of the 1930’s building, but his is not the only artwork on view.

A long-time patron of the arts, Knowles uses his hotel’s lobby to showcase emerging and established artists’ work.

Hotel Roger Smith works in collaboration with the Vermont Studio Centre to fund artists residencies and the resulting artwork is then exhibited.

My time at the property in early September saw the unveiling of Brooklyn-based artist and architect Meg Kalinowski’s site-specific work on the ceiling of the hotel lobby.

As well as exhibitions, Roger Smith also plays host to an assortment of talks, film screenings and workshops establishing a creative culture within the hotel.


Henry’s Bar offers a great view over the surrounding skyline

Housing two bars, Roger Smith acts as an unofficial meeting place for some of the city’s artists and art lovers.

The mighty MOMA, as well as countless boutique galleries, are easily accessible from the hotel.

Henry’s Bar is a seasonal local hotspot found on the outside terrace on the 16th floor.

Delicious signature cocktails can be enjoyed amid the towering Manhattan skyline surrounded by hundreds of twinkling fairy lights.

Knowles and his team have succeeded in creating a vibrant atmosphere enjoyed by local artists, tourists and business people alike.

Meanwhile, Lily’s bar - again used to exhibit new artworks - is a cosy snug where you can enjoy a quiet night cap, chat to the bar tender, or while away the time people-watching the passing crowd on Lexington Avenue.

Established in 1929, the hotel retains stylistic elements of the period.

Notably, a kitsch, brass postal-shoot runs through the core of the building, with the post still collected from it daily.

Roger Smith is littered with intriguing quirks of décor from its long history, but is brought comfortably up to date when the necessities require it – air conditioning, pod coffee machines, and powerful showers are just a few of modern touches that ensure the clientele will return again and again.

Hyper local bath products, such as Beekman 1803 toiletries, are found in each of the rooms, continuing the hotel’s ethos of supporting local culture and commerce.

Despite space being at a premium in New York hotels, I stayed in a surprisingly roomy suit with a huge (incredibly comfortable) super-king sized bed, large separate living area complete with limited self-catering facilities, and massive wet-room adorned with a granite mural.

Quirky touches such as a swap-shop library in each of the rooms and eclectic handpicked furniture make for a welcoming and unique stay.

A constant supply of granola and Green Mountain Yogurt available in the foyer makes up for the lack of dinning facilities in the hotel.

Roger Smith is an exciting yet comfortable place to stay, and adds an extra dimension of intrigue to any trip to New York City.

Follow Roger Smith’s blog for off-beat, always tasteful, travel inspiration for the area.

More Information

Located near historic Grand Central Station, The Roger Smith is a boutique hotel with the culture of an art gallery and the comfort of an aristocrat’s home.

Find out more on the official website.

Eleanor Hawkins