Hotel Review: A Virgin in New York
Nearly a decade in the making, we stayed at the new Virgin Hotel in Nomad New York and are here to spill all of the details.
Well, a Virgin Hotel "virgin" that is! And what a hotly anticipated opening. The new Virgin Hotel outpost in the Nomad district of New York has been a decade in the making. I was honoured to be one of the first through the doors to experience the soft opening of the hotel in February, whilst on a three-day business trip to the Big Apple.
If you can imagine that new car smell and feeling as you drive the car off the forecourt... well, it was quite something to be the first-ever guest to stay in room 2206. That feeling of the crisp sheets, fluffy towels, and everything new feeling sent a frisson of excitement.
This follows my other Virgin “first” in November where I had the privilege of being granted early media access by HBO and Virgin to watch the four-part documentary, Branson, before the premiere. Which is a must-see by the way. Even if, like me, you have read Richard Branson’s books and think you know his story, you will be shocked as the doco lifts back the curtain to show more about the life he has led. As a fellow entrepreneur, the word that I kept coming back to was, “resilient”, because my gosh has he dusted himself off and picked himself back up more times than most might know.
The Rooms at Virgin Hotel Nomad NYC
So, where was I? In room 2206 on the 22nd floor, complete with a king bedroom, enveloped by floor-to-ceiling windows that make the Empire State Building appear in arm's reach. As I took in the uninterrupted views from the comfort of the bed that transport you across Midtown and beyond, it's no wonder Sir Richard persevered for so long to make this site a reality — it's breathtaking. The top of the Chrysler Building glistening day and night and who knew, despite my many trips to NYC before, that the Empire State Building had a light show at 6pm. I was in awe of it as I readied myself for dinner.
Talking of which. Let’s talk dressing areas. It's clear a female or make-up lover had a hand in the design of the space. Boasting not one, but two, wardrobes and a huge, back-lit mirror that bathes the dressing table and chair in light. But there's more. The draw also features a portable magnifying make-up mirror, which is a gift to people like me that are only able to apply make-up with a mirror a couple of inches from their face. Hallelujah!!
Elsewhere in the bathroom, you have all of the amenities you could need — a large sink and washstand for toiletries, separate rain shower and toilet cubicles and endless thick, fluffy towels. I was happy. Until I discovered the bathrobe, that is. Silky on the outside, towelling on the inside, my happiness upped a gear and never before have I felt compelled to want to buy a hotel bathrobe.
After losing five hours to travel time from the UK, my mission was to stay awake to stave off jet lag. So, I thought I would be healthy by stopping off at the gym, followed by a light meal at the hotel's restaurant. The gym, as you would expect, was full of the latest machines, but what made it an all the more pleasurable gym experience, was the floor-to-ceiling panoramic views. My time on the treadmill flew by as I was entertained looking into office windows, people watching the foot traffic on the street below and taking in New York.
Virgin Hotel's Restaurant and Bar
At the third floor restaurant and bar, one can visit the all-day dining scene. From The Library to the Drapes Lounge, the mood was cool, interesting, unpretentious and friendly. In my effort to not undo the gym session, I ordered a cabbage and kale salad with rotisserie chicken. I’ll level with you, I had low expectations. Salad and me are not natural bedfellows and the rest of the menu was way more tempting, but I remained resolute and ordered from my head, rather than my heart. Well, how wrong was I?! Wow. What. A. Salad! Just delicious. So much so, I broke a habit of a lifetime and ordered the exact same dish the following eve as it was so tasty.
The Area — Nomad
If you’re not familiar with New York, Nomad is where it’s at. A stone's throw from Madison Square Gardens, Times Square, Hudson Yards, Broadway, Grand Central Station and a gazillion restaurants. It’s also right by Penn Station, which connects you up and down Manhattan and beyond. Over three days of meetings, I didn’t need to ride the Subway, nor catch a cab (other than to/from the airport) as everything was so walkable from this location. Whether you are travelling on business (as I was), or for leisure, I challenge you to find a better location to base yourself from to explore this infamous city.
Virgin's New Hotel Is A Must-Visit
So what else should you know? Well, the bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. When the site is fully open, it will also boast a pool and a roof terrace (which I can’t wait to come back to experience) but most of all, it felt like Virgin. The cheeky “couples kit” in the bedroom, the bright-red grand staircase that leads you from the third floor up to the pool deck, the team uniforms — they were distinctive, cool and you could see that the staff exuded confidence and a bit of swagger wearing them proudly.
So, if you’re a regular to NYC, I highly recommend that you to try this new outpost and test the views for yourself. If you’re a new visitor to New York, there simply is no better location to explore the city from.
A tired, but happy, CEO signing off as I pen this on my Virgin Atlantic flight back to London Heathrow, whilst sipping my Ruby Slipper cocktail to toast myself into the night flight and ease into tomorrow’s mission to stave off the jet lag.
To book the new Virgin Hotel Nomad New York, visit TripAdvisor