1 Hotel Central Park review, New York: Sustainable style

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

THE LOCATION

Located one block south of Central Park on the corner of 58th Street and Sixth Avenue, the hotel is ideally positioned not only for visits to the park but also for excursions to Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Modern Art. Fifth Avenue's high-end stores are one block east; the frenetic bedlam of Times Square is a 15-minute stroll downtown. 

THE SPACE

1 Hotels describes itself as a "luxury lifestyle hotel brand inspired by nature" and promises "eco-conscious design and sustainable architecture". It's the sort of lofty claim hotel chains make all the time nowadays but this new property (it opened in August 2015) has genuinely impressive eco-credentials. The hotel's three-storey facade is covered in ivy and the lobby is a veritable jungle of trees, plants and hanging baskets. Surfaces are swathed in locally-sourced stone, wood and bricks, much of it raw and unfinished, creating a delightfully tactile environment and a refreshing change from the polished perfection of most urban luxury hotels.

THE ROOM

The eco-friendly theme continues in the rooms with desks fashioned out of reclaimed timber, natural hemp-blend mattresses and recycled glass terrariums. You won't find any bedside notepads (they've been replaced by chalk boards), plastic hangers (recycled cardboard if you don't mind) or pinch-able toiletries (refillable bottles, of course). You will, however, find a yoga mat, a Do-not-disturb pebble and an egg timer in the shower. What's impressive is that none of these eco-touches feels preachy or detracts from the room's sumptuous feel. It's still a lovely place to hang out, whether you're admiring Central Park from the cosy window seat or enjoying a (short) shower in the spacious marble bathroom. Other facilities include complimentary Wi-Fi, a Nespresso coffee machine and a bedside tablet loaded with newspapers and magazines.

THE FOOD 

The hotel's restaurant, Jams, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's a lively, light-filled space with an open kitchen, exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Executive chef Jonathan Waxman was a big deal in New York in the 1980s and he's resurrected some of his signature dishes including mini-pancakes topped with smoked salmon and creme fraiche and succulent roast chicken with tarragon sauce. Prices are reasonable and the space manages the transformation from buzzy breakfast venue to seductive dinner spot admirably. The kitchen is also responsible for the goodie bags of healthy, seasonal snacks given to guests at check-in and the self-service stand of locally-sourced fruit in the lobby. 

STEPPING OUT

The property is perfectly positioned for exploring Manhattan on foot but if you'd prefer to be chauffeured around the hotel offers free trips within a 15-block radius in its electric Tesla town car.

THE VERDICT

Who says luxury can't have a conscience? An impressive fusion of innovative design, superlative service and class-leading sustainability.

ESSENTIALS

1414 Ave of the Americas, New York. Rooms start from $US499 ($660). Phone +1 212 703 2001, see 1hotels.com.  

Rob McFarland was a guest of 1 Hotel Central Park.

HIGHLIGHT

Welcome note written on bio-degradable seed-infused paper. Plant it, water it and watch it grow. Now that's recycling.

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LOWLIGHT

Despite reporting three times that the phone in my room isn't working properly, it's never rectified.