There’s a reason I don’t normally write about hotels on this blog.  Despite their relevance to cruisers – most of whom will stay in at least one either before or after their voyage – I just don’t find them to be all that fascinating. 

There are hotels I prefer, of course – everyone has their list of favorites that they try to stay in whenever they’re out of town.  But for the most part, a Marriott in Brooklyn looks a lot like the Marriott in Toronto.  A Hyatt in Anaheim has a similar feel to a Hyatt in San Francisco.  And there’s nothing wrong with that – after all, travelers like to feel ‘at home’ in a hotel, even if it is a very impersonal, bland home.

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to stay at a hotel that actually impressed me as much as – or perhaps more than – many cruise ships, and for passengers embarking from New York area ports, it promises to start your trip off on the right note.

I’m talking of course about Kimpton‘s newest hotel, the Eventi.  Located on Avenue of the Americas at 30th in Manhattan, this 292-room property just opened in May, but travelers are already singing its praises on sites like TripAdvisor.  In a city where choosing a good hotel can be akin to Russian Roulette, that’s saying something.

We booked our stay in April – before the hotel even opened – and managed to snag a special preview rate of $199 per night.  Anyone who’s ever had the (mis)fortune of staying in a NYC hotel knows how pricey an overnight stay can be, and the rate was simply too good to pass up. 

So, at the start of a two-day pre-cruise stay in New York, we walked through the doors of the Eventi and into one of the best hotel experiences I’ve had.

The Eventi’s inviting lobby.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders 

From the start, staff were courteous, helpful and pleasant.  Our rooms weren’t ready yet, but our luggage was whisked into storage (free, no less!) and the desk clerk took down our cell number with a promise to call as soon as our rooms became available.  The bellman also recommended a fantastic cafe two blocks up on Fifth Avenue where we could get, he promised, the best lunch in town.

He wasn’t wrong.

Cafe Au Bon Gout, at Fifth Avenue and 30th Street, was remarkable in the variety of fresh foods it offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all at a very digestible price.  It was an excellent choice considering we had no desire to compete with the crowds for overpriced food in the Times Square area.

The large marble bathroom was reminiscent of many
European hotels.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders 

Back at the Eventi, our rooms, located on the sixth floor, were ready.  Little touches were everywhere: a small switch in the entry way changes the light on the room numbers outside the door from orange to red; a sign to staff not to disturb the occupants inside.  Our enormous bathroom, done in marble and featuring two sets of lighting, lacked a tub but had an over-sized shower and felt very European in its styling and amenities. 

One of the most comfortable beds you’ll sleep on.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders 

Enough cannot be said about the comfort of the bed – after a long cross country flight, the result is somewhat like sleeping on a king-sized cloud, and remains the finest I’ve ever slept in, far surpassing that of the Fairmont hotel chain, which up to this point had my vote for most comfortable beds.

Decor is sleek and elegant, with charcoal-colored drapes and carpeting.  Polished metal reading lights adorn the bed and chair, and proved to be exceptionally useful.  A combination alarm clock and iPod docking station are also standard in every room. 

 The view from the unique fifth-floor terrace.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

The hotel also offers some very unique events.  A free wine service is provided from 5 to 6pm every evening on the 5th Floor patio.  Red and white wines, along with sangria, are served every evening, and provides guests with an excellent way to mingle with others or simply relax and enjoy the fabulous views of Manhattan, including the looming presence of the Empire State Building. 

The Empire State Building as seen from the Eventi’s terrace.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders 

This was so enjoyable that each evening we made plans to come back to the hotel in time for wine at 5pm.  In offering this unique and enjoyable function, the Eventi has succeeded in doing something many hotels are never successfully able to: make guests feel as though the hotel is as much a destination as the city itself. 

In the morning, fresh coffee is also offered in the lobby. 

 Beautiful plants adorn the Eventi’s lobby.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

If you’re a Kimpton InTouch member, you get a personalized welcome card, free wireless internet access, and a $15 “Raid the Minibar” key.  Very nice touches, indeed, and increasingly rare in this age of ‘unbundling’.  If you’re not an InTouch member, be sure  to sign up before your stay.

I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels in many different countries, but for the first time ever, I was actually disappointed to be checking out.  I could have used a week at the Eventi – that’s how relaxing it was.  The hotel has a sleek, modern feel and seems to continually seek to stimulate the senses in guest corridors, elevators, and rooms.

Come fall, the hotel will have a permanent dining venue on-site.  For now, the have a small makeshift restaurant set up on the level above the lobby, which we made use of one evening.  While it’s certainly not the most inexpensive option, service was good and the food was excellent – just what we needed after a long day of flying. 

In the end, other hotel chains should be looking to Kimpton and their Hotel Eventi as a shining example of what a rewarding hotel stay should be.  The introductory preview price may have attracted me, but the exemplary service, outstanding five-star comfort and amenities will keep me coming back.

For more information on the Eventi, including room descriptions, amenities, and pricing, visit the Eventi Hotel website.

 

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