A favorite of presidents and heads of state and inconspicuously hidden in Times Square (how, one may ask?), the Michelangelo is as distinct and revered as its namesake. Owned by one of Italy’s famed families, proprietors of the Star Hotel group, every angle of the Michelangelo is swathed in Italian elegance or flair to some people’s tastes. Whether the marble columns or the 364 pieces of Murano glass, the hotel is a refined residence. The location makes this a bit of an “important people and their spouses” spot, and thus, it’s scene set for a sophisticated traveler. Likewise, the Michelangelo offers European style with top-notch American service. Though billed as a 4-star, the Michelangelo’s service and attention to detail makes it punch above its pay grade.
The 1926 building was always designed as a hotel, with different room configurations all up and down its 5 floors. And why stick to one décor scheme with such a layout when you can have five different styles inspirations, from Art Deco, modern, Italian elegance, French Country and classic contemporary. All rooms, regardless of its period, are comfortable and large—the smallest being 350 square feet. Little is spared in the details: Frette linens and towels (including robes and slippers), Bose stereo and flat screen TVs, and well-stocked mini bar (with Milano cookies, apparently a top request from guests). Rooms have double windows making 7th avenue and Times Square squawks and screeches nearly imperceptible. It’s the little things around here that really make for a comfortable stay.
If a junior suite is your fancy, request one that has a wet bar in the living space.
55-gallon soaking tubs. Yep. In a city where most “bathtubs” are just elevated thresholds, these spa-like tubs are wonderful for after a long day. The hotel is also a believer in the bidet. How very European. Large marble countertops to stash the face oils and such, and proprietary toiletries are a nice touch to an otherwise comfortable grooming experience. And ladies, makeup mirrors.
Marble colonnades, velvet borne settees and Italianate portraiture set the stage for this grand but subdued lobby that also contains the hotel’s lounge, which serves as its dining establishment. With bursting florals and dripping crystal chandeliers, the lobby cuts quite a figure but never goes overboard into ungainly. There’s lots of comfortable seating.
The Michelangelo used to operate the Michelin-star restaurant Insieme that was truly a gem in the culinary landscape. However, it’s been almost a decade since that closed, and the hotel has yet to open a replacement. In its place is the lounge, which serves as power-breakfast spot as well as a bustling post-work happy hour shake-off. Though the space isn’t demarcated between lobby and dining joint, the menu at the lounge is top-notch Italian, including their own 950-degree pizza oven. The Lounge also provides the kitchen for all-day room service.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Michelangelo offers pizza program package, where guests can learn the art of pizza making from the master Napolitano pizzialo behind Keste.
The Lounge, too, serves an all Italian list of wines, including rare-to-import vintages from all regions across Italy, including the Veneto and Alto Adige.
The hotel is easily accessible by all Subway lines at Times Square, and a short walk to Grand Central Station.
Eric Ripert’s three-star Michelin Le Bernardin (5-minutes walk) holds court in New York’s pantheon of finest restaurants. his wine temple and Alsatian haute cuisine, Gabriel Kreuther (10-minutes walk) from the namesake chef has long been regarded as one of New York’s finer tasting-menus.
In continuing with fantastic Italian wines, toss elbows if you must, for getting a seat at the wonderful Aldo Sohm wine bar (3-minute walk) can be a mighty task. Still, it’s the classiest joint for an interesting glass of Viognier or Primitivo in mid-Midtown. Discreetly nested into a 46th street townhouse, Bar Centrale (7-minute walk) mixes a stiff drink and fries finger food for the pre-Broadway crowd (including the actors themselves)
WHY WE LIKE IT
This self-described “oasis in Times Square” has placed a huge emphasis on service, with concierges and receptionists going out of their way to remember personalized touches of the hotel’s many repeat guests. In fact, the hotel has quite the roster of regulars (including many a famous name) and makes a point cater to their personal preferences. The rooms are large, the space is comfortable, all those fancy things you want from a luxury hotel are available at your fingertips.