King Suite, Smyth Hotel, New York
Feature: The Smyth Hotel, New York

By Michael Franco - March 20, 2016

There was a time when a stay at a luxury hotel involved tuxedos, stiff doormen, polite but distant front desk staff, and lots of over-the-top fabrics, carpets and crystal. These days, the definition of luxury is steadily changing with the times, and fine doesn't necessarily mean fussy.

The Smyth hotel in New York's Tribeca neighborhood is the epitome of this new style of luxury.

You're greeted by warm and friendly doormen who offer to clue you in to some of the hottest restaurants in a neighborhood known for them, and even offer to work a little magic to get you a seat. The front desk staff continues the open and accessible vibe -- a true treat in a city that often prizes cool over convivial.

Big Spaces While the front desk area might be small, the same can't be said for the rooms. TravelMag got treated to a stay in a King Deluxe room. At 350 square feet, there are studio apartments in town that aren't as big. The room fit a dreamy king-sized bed kitted out with giant pillows that served as a cushy headboard; a full-sized couch; desk, and large bathroom with a shower that provides plenty of room to splash around.

Adding to the spaciousness of the room is the minimalist style in which it is designed. The Smyth has embraced a mid-century-modern design ethic with a color palette featuring cool whites and greys that highlight plentiful rich wood accents. While at first this design choice could come off as a little bland, after spending a day having your senses shaken by Manhattan, the room becomes a welcome retreat.

The bathroom features premium products and carries the grey and white design theme through a generous use of marble tile -- small on the floor and larger tiles in the shower and on the wall.

In the corner of the room, a significantly sized flat screen TV hangs from a bracket which lets you get your dose of the locally filmed "Tonight Show" (or anything else you want to watch) from multiple positions in the room.

Where the Smyth really shines though is in its common areas. Just off the main entryway, guests find three rooms. The first is a large lounge, the second is a more intimate space featuring a flickering fireplace front and center, and beyond that is the cozy Evening Bar. Set back as it is, you have the sense you're entering a small speakeasy as you step in and see the glowing bottles beckoning.

Bold Eats In these splendid and relaxed spaces, which feature the same mid-century decor as the rooms -- albeit with a bit more pattern and pizzaz -- guests can enjoy nearly the full menu from the hotel's other star attraction -- the Little Park restaurant.

Helmed by lauded New York restaurateur Andrew Carmellini, the restaurant places a heavy emphasis on locally sourced ingredients -- especially vegetables. Avocados get grilled and served with dry aged aioli and potato chips; broccoli is charred and elevated with blood orange, radish and ham; and cipollini onions leave behind their humble roots in the dirt thanks to bone marrow stuffing, green peppercorns and quinoa. There is also plenty for the meat-lover to enjoy as well, as all the birds and beasts are fire roasted and given sauces and sides to bring a smile to any carnivore's face. One of Carmellini's other restaurants -- Bar Primi -- is a pasta-centric affair, so there's a kindly dose of those offerings here as well. Green spaghetti with walnut, fennel and ricotta anyone?

As for the Smyth's location, you'll find yourself at the bottom end of Tribeca which positions you perfectly to drop a little further down Manhattan Island to check out the newly rebuilt World Trade center area, including a visit to the 9/11 memorial and museum. Don't miss the just-opened World Trade Center Oculus, a $4 billion transportation hub designed by Spanish/Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava. The all-white structure resembles a bird in flight and while it's been controversial, it is nonetheless completely impressive.

For ventures uptown, the 1, 2 and 3 subway lines are right out the front door of the hotel, with the 4, 5 and 6 lines just a few blocks away. But with a hotel as welcoming as the Smyth, you may choose to never leave.