LUMA Hotel Times Square offers boutique accommodation in a competitive market deep within Manhattan.
Since opening in May last year, the well-received property has welcomed a mix of business and leisure guests, primarily European and American, with intentions of tapping into the Australian market soon.
All the ground floor public areas were planned by CCS Architecture, a San Francisco- and New York-based firm headed up by Cass Calder Smith, who personally oversaw the design.
Drawing inspiration from the ethos of illumination, the lobby spaces feature Italian limestone floors with black granite accents, a first impressive feature noted on my arrival earlier this month.
“We wanted a name that resonated with the light and the energy of the surrounding area,” explains Jason Sturtevant, director of sales and marketing for the new build property.
Conceived by architect Peter Poon, the sleek all-glass exterior wall illuminates the space between two classic pre-war buildings and is designed to allow views of New York from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the guest rooms.
And, while certain rooms do indeed offer stunning vistas of the Manhattan skyline, others reveal nothing but the brick walls of the neighbouring buildings, so be aware on arrival.
With that being said, LUMA has the flexibility to offer a quiet and peaceful sanctuary from the midtown streets below.
Rooms go up to the 28th floor, meaning the hotel can be incredibly quiet, with little to no sound from outside making its way in – a real bonus for this part of town.
Fearing the worst, I had brought my extra sound-proof earplugs, but they weren’t even necessary during my stay.
I may not have had the fantastic views of other guests, but I certainly welcomed the peace from the lively and sweltering streets outside.
On the face of it, the 130 rooms are relatively familiar and standard, yet very few hotels offer twin-king rooms in the surrounding area.
On closer inspection, however, there are some subtle but effective touches, such as Frette bedsheet linen and floors made of recycled tires, reminiscent of Japanese tatami flooring.
The hotel was designed to offer guests next-generation hospitality with intuitive service and smart amenities.
As such, the rooms are bright, very clean and have plenty of functionality.
USB ports occupy multiple parts of the room, and the WI-FI is high-spec – essential in this market.
Optional goodies are located under the bed and are revealed by a ‘pull me’ string; a hidden box here contains luxury items such as a sleep therapy machine and a make-up mirror popularised on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
This is a playful and fun approach to interior design, while keeping the rooms’ clutter to a minimum.
Perhaps the most charming of features however is Alina, which LUMA boasts is the “first digital NYC hotel butler”.
Standing three feet tall, Alina will deliver such items as towels and soap on request with cute chirping android sounds and is able to navigate the elevators using WI-FI.
“Kids in particular love Alina,” adds Sturtevant.
“They’ve even wrote little notes for Alina to pass back down to the hotel staff.”
Even my cynical heart was warmed after a visit from this unexpected visitor.
My stay at LUMA also included complimentary access to a gym located just around the corner.
Blink Fitness, situated near Bryant Park, offers a large range of cardio and strength equipment.
While I didn’t partake in the exercise, I did enjoy lattes and ice-cream while attending an outdoor screening of The Philadelphia Story.
LUMA is a prime location for theatre goers, with Manhattan’s Theatre District only a few blocks away, along with family attractions such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and Madame Tussauds.
Having a Metro pass, I was able to cover a wide area with relative ease.
Within a day I could take in a tranquil walk around the Central Park reservoir to the north, visit the Whitney Museum in the afternoon, and still have time for dinner and cocktails in evening on the Lower East side.
As for dining, Ortzi is LUMA’s ground-floor restaurant; a warm and inviting space with a lavish Basque-inspired menu created by Iron Chef winner Jose Garces.
The 50-seat restaurant includes an open kitchen and an intimate eight-seat communal chef’s table, while side banquettes can also seat groups up to 12.
Ortzi features a modernised aesthetic inspired by the symbols of ancient Basque culture and reverence for the sources of light.
The food served is hearty while having an air of fine-dining.
From the dinner menu the red snapper tartare and wagyu sirloin steak stood out as exceptional, among a variety of beautifully presented dishes with big, satisfying flavours.
With New York City being an ideal location for food fans, to have a restaurant like Ortzi to hand without having to walk outside is something of an advantage.
LUMA Hotel Times Square is located at 120 W 41st Street, between Broadway and Avenue of the Americas in the heart of New York City.
With Times Square directly to the West, and Bryant Park just steps to the East, LUMA is ideally situated for business and pleasure pursuits in New York.
Find out more on the official website.