INSIDE THE HYPE: FIRST LOOK AT PUBLIC NEW YORK

4 -min. read

We gave you all the details in our preview post last month but we can now report that PUBLIC New York is officially open (since last week) and, after a spin through the new property, confirm that the hype is warranted.

Here are some things that make it a standout in the busy NYC hotel scene:

It’s Approachable

It was important for Ian Schrager that the “luxury for all” ethos was taken seriously here, and the hotel certainly has a laidback and welcoming vibe. Locals and members of the public are welcome to join guests hanging out in the lobby and public spaces—which include a leafy green garden that feels lived in rather than overly manicured, and was cool and shady on a hot day.

The lobby area is spacious, with plenty of bench seating and outlets for charging up. The Lobby Bar has a hip-looking curated collection of books and objets d’art behind the bar, plus there’s an abundance of seating (including what looks like the largest sectional couch in the city) and soaring windows overlooking the hotel’s garden and Roosevelt Park beyond.

The Roof by night [Photo: Nikolas Koenig]

The Roof (the rooftop bar, natch) was not open during our tour so we can’t speak to the vibe or service, but the views are incredible and it’s one of the larger hotel rooftop bars in the city. There’s also plenty of space inside, with more of a late-night, den-like feel.

It’s Modern

There’s no front desk, but rather a row of tablet kiosks for guests to use as they enter the lobby. PUBLIC Advisors are on hand to help as well. Just off the lobby is an area where guests will be able to pick up their room service orders, saving time and money on outdated, overpriced room service deliveries. There are also amenity rooms, where guests can find additional items they may need.

Lobby [Photo: Nikolas Koenig]
And, while the entry-level rooms may be on the small side, they are impeccably designed to maximise the space, with little “zones” like the seating area and the sink and amenities cabinet that makes good use of the entryway into the room (too often a dead zone in hotel rooms).

Room [Photo: Nikolas Koenig]
The affordable price point of entry-level rooms is a key pillar of how PUBLIC is being marketed—rates start at $150 but on more popular dates they’re in the $200–300 range—but if you’re travelling for a special occasion or want to enjoy a great view, opt for a Loft Room – these are the corner rooms, and they have a bit more space and wow factor. All rooms, however, have a simple, minimal aesthetic that feels relaxing when you come in off the streets of downtown New York.

There’s Lots To Explore

PUBLIC doesn’t look like a massive hotel from the outside, but once inside, it feels like there is more to explore than you’d expect. The Gift Shop sells flowers, Shinola products, bespoke candles and toiletries, art and design magazines, and even clothing. Louis is a casual grab-and-go spot on the same level.

Diego was described as akin to a gentlemen’s club, but it’s not overly masculine—it’s elegant and clubby, with lovely blue and olive green couches and a fireplace. PUBLIC Kitchen will open this week, but the space is large and airy, and, well, how can you go wrong with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the helm? One more space of note is PUBLIC Arts, a multimedia performance space that is set up for screenings, live performances, art exhibitions, comedy shows, open mics and other special events. It’s an impressive-looking venue, and the dramatic red curtains signal some epic nights to come at PUBLIC New York. Curtains up…

Diego [Photo: Nikolas Koenig]

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Rebecca Wallwork
Rebecca Wallwork is a writer based in Miami Beach, although you’ll also find her checking out the newest hotels in New York City. She is a former contributing editor to HotelChatter, and loves dogs and books as much as she does hotels.

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