March 14, 2010
The W comes to Hoboken
By Andrea Sachs
If the W Hotel can make it there (New York), can it make it anywhere (Hoboken)?
“It’s the closest thing you can get to New York atmosphere in Hoboken,” said Aron Grodinsky, a New Jersey local who on a recent weekend was spending cocktail hour in the W Hoboken’s lobby-lounge with his wife, another couple and two babies too young to sip even mixers.
“It’s the only place in town where locals would even contemplate getting dressed up,” added his wife, Lauren, pointing at two women attired in skinny jeans, heels and peacoats, the winter uniform of fashionistas.
The W, the hot, popular sister in the Starwood Hotels and Resorts family, landed on the western shore of the Hudson last April. Its arrival made history on two counts: It’s Hoboken’s first hotel and the only W in all of Jersey. And while the city across the river boasts five W’s (six by summer), the Hoboken property has its own bragging rights: unparalleled and unfettered views of Manhattan.
The hotel “offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city,” said Eva Zeigler, global brand leader for W Hotels, “while providing stunning views of the New York skyline.”
The property milks its panoramic asset: You can soak up the skyline in the Tuscan steakhouse Zylo, whose booth-to-ceiling windows frame Midtown; at the Chandelier Room, the nightclub with an outdoor balcony facing you-know-what; and in all but 28 of the 225 guest rooms. In my Spectacular boudoir (an upgrade from Wonderful), I slumped like an invertebrate into a giant cushion with legs that was tucked inside a glass-enclosed alcove. Holding up one finger, I could turn off the lights of Manhattan one by one.
Of course, the hotel is not a one-perk wonder. Its rates are lower than New York’s, its rooms are larger, and the commute into the city is brainless (one stop on the PATH train or a short ferry ride). It also features such hallmark W amenities as a Bliss spa, a teched-out fitness center, complimentary rides in an Acura SUV (up to three miles, Jersey only), a typewriter by the check-in desk to record musings, and a lobby bar that draws a mixed crowd of in- and out-of-towners.
“This one has more of a W flavor than the ones I have stayed at in New York,” said Debbie Velcofsky, a W loyalist visiting from West Palm Beach, Fla. “Some W’s are really flamboyant and have a party atmosphere. This one is warm and cozy.”
Velcofsky was sitting half-supine in the Living Room, the sunken crash pad sandwiched between check-in and Zylo. Filled with patterned pillows and geometrically challenged furniture, the area resembled a modernist’s take on a communal bedroom. But then everyone woke up.
By 11 p.m., the sprawl space was packed with revelers drinking, flirting and talking in their sports-arena voices. The line for the bar was deep, chaotic and seemingly hopeless. Imagining a calmer scene in the Chandelier Room, I attempted to head upstairs but was turned away. The fire marshals were counting heads inside; they’d found one too many and barred any new entrants.
Thwarted, I returned to my Spectacular room and curled up in my cat seat. Looking at the lights twinkling across the way, I marveled at how quiet New York seemed from here.
225 River St., Hoboken, N.J., 201-253-2400 (http://whotels.com/hoboken)
Rooms from $189 a night