The best hotels offer a blissful escape from the outside world. The Dream Downtown ticks that box but adds its own surreal and – yes – suitably dream-like appeal.
The 315-room Chelsea property was opened in 2011 by Dream Hotel Group, with TAO Group (best known for its Las Vegas nightclubs and hotels) overseeing specific amenities such as the pool area and restaurants. The metallic exterior of the hotel offers the sheen of Vegas glitz and glamour.
The darkened lobby area features an enticing bar area: dominating one wall is an artwork made up of hundreds of beer cans, creating a US flag. The pop art feel contrasts with the old-world luxury of the leather seating.
Above the bar, round portholes in the ceiling show through to the swimming pool above. This offers the disorientating experience of glancing upwards to watch people swimming over your head. It sure beats a change to TV screens showing music videos or sports!
In the round
Round holes are something of a signature of the hotel. My beautiful room had a signature wall behind the bed with circular holes drilled through it. Two large, porthole windows made up the other wall (almost 2meters each in diameter).
Expensive, textured silver wallpaper lined the walls, with a Warhol-esque image of a 60s looking woman gazing down upon my bed (Warhol’s original Factory studio was not far from the hotel).
A coffee table offered up an orchid in full bloom, while a white leather, overstuffed (and very comfy) armchair nestled in another corner.
The bathroom area was a silver, frosted-glass boxed-off corner of the sizeable room. It was lined with small, circular pale grey mosaic tiles. A square, stainless steel sink sat atop a wooden cabinet. Metal, thick chain mail curtain hang in front of the shower curtain.
The color palette throughout was grey and metallic, with a poured concrete floor, covered by a deep-pile silver and pale blue patterned carpet around the bed. It was one of the chicest hotel rooms I’ve stayed in in recent years. My only minor quibble? It took me an age to work out the light switches (you have to hold them to dim them).
The hotel boasts its own top-end restaurant: Bodega Negra. In contrast to the pop-art modernity of the rooms, this Mexican-inspired venue is dark, shadowy and barn-like, with a vaulted wooden ceiling and sherry barrels lining the walls.
Candlelight twinkles off the copper tables, while a large, rotating globe encrusted with pennies makes for a rust-dipped mirror ball. It’s a bit Pirates of the Caribbean meets Spanish Taverna.
Menu-wise, choose from fresh ceviche, tacos and mains such as grilled tuna with pineapple salsa. They offer a signature dessert that’s a piece of theatre: Don Huevo is a dark chocolate molten cake served within a globe of white chocolate – the outer casing melting away when your waiter pours further hot chocolate over it to reveal its contents.
A smaller Bodega Negra menu is available in the first floor café. Further amenities include a rooftop lounge and in-house hair salon.
A little bit pop and a little bit rock, with a dash of Chelsea cool: I only had the pleasure of experiencing Dream Downtown for one night and wished I could have stayed a lot longer. Like the best dreams, it was all over too quickly.
• Dream Downtown, 355 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011. Holiday rates at Dream Downtown start at $259/night. Dream Downtown are currently promoting a special Fall/Holiday package: ‘Fall Into Bed’. Book a room Thursday through Sunday and get a $50 credit to use towards your room service order. The package is bookable Thursday – Sunday nights only (blackout dates apply). Booking here.