If you told me that I’d spend a night in a hotel in Times Square, I’d tell you that you were nuts. Or, most likely, I wouldn’t bother to respond. Well, I did spend the night in Times Square. And I liked it.
The said hotel is LUMA, a slender sliver of a building tucked away on 41stStreet between Broadway and Sixth Ave. One could easily walk by without noticing the place—which would be a loss—it’s a hidden gem.
Opened in 2017, LUMA is a modern boutique hotel, featuring just six rooms per floor (130 rooms total) with lots of nice touches (eco-minded travelers will appreciate the fact that room flooring is crafted from recycled tires—and it works!) and a super staff. And a great restaurant. The Basque-inspired Ortzi is helmed by Jose Garces, the James Beard Award-winning Iron Chef. (Try the fava bean salad and roasted branzino.)
I stayed in a surprisingly spacious and quiet Skyline Suite with fab views of the famed “ball” that drops every New Year’s Eve. The suite surprised me. Sparse in design, but comfortable, it had everything a solo business traveler could want: excellent Wi-Fi, numerous USB ports, a Nespresso machine, nicely stocked minibar, ample desk space, smart lighting, and digital versions of the Journal and the Times. A complimentary glass of the restaurant’s signature Sangria between five and six was a welcome touch. As was Alina, the resident robot that cheerfully delivered my Mother Earth Raw Juice Blend from Juice Press to me in the morning.
Before long, I fell asleep to the sound of ocean waves in Times Square. I had an early morning flight the next day, and this was a wonderful way to prepare for it.
But there’s more to it than just business. My inner spa maven appreciated the Frette robe, the small, but thoughtfully designed bathroom with its spacious glass walk-in shower, lovely bath and body products, soft vanity lighting, and a killer blow-dryer and make-up mirror. While LUMA doesn’t offer a spa or fitness center on premises, it does offer the Glow Concierge program—a nice, well-rounded selection of wellness amenities, including in-room beauty and spa treatments in partnership with PRIV; free passes to the close-by Blink gym, and if you’re pressed for time and/or don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your hotel room, you may simply order a complimentary gym kit delivered to your room. I had fun experimenting with the Full Body Hotel Room Exercise Program curated by certified instructor Riva Gdanski. It came with a resistance band, yoga block, bionic bar, yoga mat, and simple instruction cards.
By nighttime, I was ready to experience a bit of “Inner Glow,” and ordered the Sleep Therapy bundle. I drew the soothing black-out drapes, poured myself a cup of herbal tea and plugged in the essential oil diffuser (lavender, naturally). I placed the ear plugs and the eye mask on my pillow before setting up the Sleep Sound Machine on my nightstand. Before long, I fell asleep to the sound of ocean waves in Times Square. I had an early morning flight the next day, and this was a wonderful way to prepare for it.
LUMA is active in the community and prides itself on its partnerships. Bryant Park is a short walk away, and the hotel works with the Park on a number of things, including family-fun packages and activities like ice-skating and Christmas tree lighting. This hotel has a lot to offer. As General Manager Kate Martin says, “We’re fun, modern, and very aware of our guests—at the same time, we’re approachable, genuine, and honest.” Guests, she believes, are looking for a different experience. “As long as you stay true and genuine to your experience, your neighborhood—if you’re true to who you are and listen to your guest—there’s a lot of opportunity to be creative and original.”
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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