by Tom Mulvihill, The Telegraph, March 16, 2017
The celebrated hotel designer Kit Kemp is stamping her colourful mark on New York for the second time with the opening of The Whitby, a bold and distinctly British boutique hotel in Manhattan's Midtown.
The creative force behind a number of boutique London hotels, including the lauded Ham Yard Hotel, Kemp has made one previous foray into New York with the Crosby Street Hotel, an elegant establishment in SoHo which opened in 2009 under the Firmdale Hotels banner (a company she owns with her husband, Tim).
Also in the Firmdale stable, The Whitby has been designed along the same lines as its sister property: interiors are contemporary but lavish, with an emphasis on bright colours and plush boldly-patterned textiles, and with more than a hint of traditional Britain that somewhat flies in the face of the sleek and modern look of other Manhattan hotels .
But a Manhattan hotel it most certainly is. The Whitby is set over 16 storeys in upper Midtown, two blocks from Central Park and within walking distance of Broadway. Some of the city's finest restaurants, bars, art galleries and museums, including MOMA, are also close by.
The 86 rooms and suites also bear Kemp's signature aesthetic: bold colour schemes on the walls, complemented with vibrantly-patterned furnishings and quirky design features. Much is made of the Midtown location, with floor-to-ceiling windows – and in some cases private terraces – affording stunning views of the New York skyline. Crowning all is the two-bedroom Whitby Suite on the top floor, with twin terraces facing uptown and downtown respectively.
All rooms come with king-sized beds, wide-screen televisions, Bose soundsystems and free Wi-Fi. Round-the-clock room service is available, and guests have access to the hotel's fitness centre and DVD library.
The vibrant Whitby Bar features a 30-foot long pewter bar and English wickerwork hanging from the ceiling.
Kemp's eclectic design continues in The Whitby's public areas, most notably in the colourful Whitby Bar, with its 30-foot long pewter bar and wickerwork from the British Isles hanging from the ceilings. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be ordered here, as can afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The bar opens onto the light and airy Orangery, which also serves as a dining room.
A hallmark of Kemp-designed hotels is the addition of fun, individual facilities (for instance, The Croc Bowling alley at Ham Yard). In this case, it is the 130-seat Whitby Theater [sic], a private, 3D-enabled cinema available where the hotel can host film screenings, as well as live performances and events.
The hotel features Kemp's signature design of bright colours and bold fabrics.
The Whitby, 18 W 56th Street, New York, NY 10019, United States. For more New York hotel recommendations, see our full guide.