The Greenwich exudes cool. It's boutique, it's stylish and every room is different. Add this to the fact that co-owner De Niro's influence is apparent and you've got yourself an extremely classy stay in one of the greatest cities on earth.
Tribeca has its own charms but the location puts you outside walking distance for some of New York's most iconic attractions such as Times Square, Central Park and Broadway.
Opened in 2008, the Greenwich Hotel is a beautiful boutique property in Manhattan's Tribeca district that is co-owned by, among others, legendary actor Robert De Niro.
The Greenwich is not, as the name may suggest, in Greenwich Village, but on Greenwich Street in Tribeca (a district most people have probably heard of, but might be unaware its name is a shortening of "Triangle Below Canal"). A former industrial area on the edge of the Hudson River, Tribeca is now known for its dining and nightlife, art galleries and performance spaces. It's also home to the eponymous Tribeca Film Festival in April. Co-founded by, you guessed it, Robert De Niro, in an effort to revitalise the area in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the 12-day event now draws more than 450,000 people.
Each of the Greenwich's 88 rooms is unique, though the key features remain the same. I stay in a Superior Room – a good-sized space with a king bed and a view down the block of the Hudson River. The hotel offers a natural feel – with high ceilings and use of reclaimed pine, oak and chestnut throughout. Some rooms feature Moroccan tiles.
There's a drawing room with a bar and a classic feel, open only to hotel guests, and a courtyard that feels more like something from a European village than a place in the heart of a metropolis.
The Japanese-themed Shubui spa and swimming pool is located below ground. The latter, lit by lanterns, has a bathhouse feel and sits beneath a 250-year-old wooden Japanese farmhouse roof, reconstructed within the hotel by Japanese craftsmen.
The hotel is also filled with artworks from Robert De Niro's own father – a respected painter in his time and the subject of a recent HBO documentary.
Luxury hotels, at a certain level, can become much of a muchness, so it comes down to the little things that set a hotel apart. The Greenwich delivers on this front, with the inclusive minibar (snacks and soft drinks included, alcohol comes with a charge) and bookshelves with actual books on them. I loved the sliding door that separated the entryway from the room proper. Even the classiest hotel room can suffer from noise emanating from the corridors and this lovely touch alleviated any chance of this problem. Wi-Fiaccess is complimentary.
The touches continue in the bathroom with the Moroccan tiles and high-pressure bath taps (the bath will fill in a little more than 60 seconds – really – so small signs warn guests not to leave the room). There are custom toiletries from Red Flower and two towels for each guest – one large, one enormous.
De Niro is referred to by some (including New York's tourism body) as the "patron saint" of Tribeca, who has done much to encourage the arts and culture of the neighbourhood. This includes opening the original Japanese fusion restaurant Nobu, with Nobu Matsuhisa, the success of which has seen Nobu open restaurants in 30 locations around the world. Nobu and it's offshoot Nobu Next Door are located on the same block as the hotel, one street back on Hudson Street.
Right next door to the Greenwich is the Tribeca Grill, another De Niro co-owned restaurant that offers market-sourced fresh, local ingredients. It's a favourite with New York's beautiful people and a great spot to try some celebrity spotting (but be cool, it's a restaurant).
Worth stepping out for
It's New York – there's are thousands of entertainments outside your door. Through a deal with nearby Shinola bikes, the Greenwich provides bicycles to guests free of charge, so take advantage and ride a bike down to Battery Park (you can also arrange a picnic lunch through the concierge). You're just one block from the Hudson River Greenway – a bike path that will keep you totally separated from the road if you're a bit nervous about New York's traffic. From the Battery, you can continue up to the Brooklyn Bridge and even ride over it.
At night, take two subway stops to Greenwich Village and head to the Comedy Cellar, a top-notch basement stand-up venue known for helping establish the careers of some of America's greatest (Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK and Chris Rock, among others). The line-up changes from night to night and you never know who may make a guest appearance.
With its star connection, distinct style and unique features, the Greenwich is a great option for those looking for a New York stay outside the big hotel chains.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, Delta Airways, United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines all fly from Australia into US cities with connections to New York either on the same carrier or with codeshare partners. A taxi from JFK Airport to Manhattan costs a flat rate of $52.50 ($64.50), plus tolls.
Rooms start from $US550 ($663) (plus tax), going up to the extraordinary TriBeCa penthouse, which will set you back more than $US15,000 ($18,100) a night. More Information http://www.thegreenwichhotel.com
The writer stayed as a guest of the Greenwich Hotel.