John Jacob Astor IV first built The Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square in 1906, averaging a rate of $3.25 a day. Don’t pack your bags just yet; prices have risen considerably.
Surprisingly, this is not a gingerbread house; it's the exterior of The Knickerbocker — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
Although a financial crisis didn’t keep the Knickerbocker in the hotel business for long, it did become the location for Newsweek Magazine and was designated a New York City landmark by 1988. There are even rumors that this was the birthplace of the martini, which is reason alone to justify a cocktail at any time of day.
There is nothing old-fashioned about this lobby — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
Reopening a hotel with such a history is an interesting venture. There must be a lofty aim to keep the building’s integrity while appeasing the high standards of Times Square’s luxury market. The renovation has polished its edges just enough to warrant donning a tie before entering the lobby.
330 rooms – including 4 tribute suites – all have an astounding view of the city, lit up in true New York glory. The décor is stylish, with beds piled high with luxury linens, and crisp writing desks begging you to do something as wild as pick up a pen.
The King Premier room can be booked by non-royalty — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
Bathrooms are spacious and modern, with cool marble surrounding the sink and walk-in rain showers enclosed in opaque glass. Once you put on the terry cloth robe, you'll be done for. You may only hope for a lofty accomplishment such as figuring out the prime Internet radio station to play on the room’s iPad while you enjoy the iconic view from your window.
The terrycloth bathrobe that beckons — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
The only other place to outdo that view is the rooftop bar. And as the only rooftop bar in Times Square, it's a fantastic place to people-watch. The soaring skyscraper views are well worth the soaring cocktail prices. Fitzgerald and Rockefeller once hobnobbed here, so it's wise to follow their lead, if only as a creative exercise.
Charlie Palmer's elegant interior — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
American celebrity chef Charlie Palmer has his restaurant encased inside the hotel, overlooking Broadway and 42nd street. His eclectic menu ranges from the tenderest fried chicken to sea scallops that almost melt on the tongue. The hotel has a legendary reputation for extravagant food and drink, so while at the Knick, do as the Knickerbockers do.
This could be your view on New Year's — Photo courtesy of The Knickerbocker
During New Year’s Eve, staying at the Knickerbocker will put you above Times Square and below the ball drop. It's an unbelievable way to see one of the world’s most famous countdowns.
We have a feeling that this time the hotel will stick. In any case, it's an iconic location that just gets better with age.