By Contributing Writer David Duran (@TheeMuki)
Originally & exclusively published in Connextions Magazine Issue 14.
Most have heard of Jazz at Kitano in NYC, being that it's one of the premier night spots to hear some of the best jazz performers in the city, but did you know that just outside of the intimate lounge, is a gorgeous, luxury boutique hotel property? The Japanese owned and inspired hotel turned 40 this year, and although it has been a landmark property to residents on Park Avenue for decades, this once mostly business traveler hotel, is excited to show off all it has to offer to every type of Manhattan visitor.
The hotel is a perfect blend of traditional Asian hospitality with contemporary convenience. Upon entering the grand lobby, guests are treated to world-class works of art. Sculptures dominate the main floor while acclaimed art graces each wall. The service at the Kitano is unlike any other. Everyone is warmly greeted and made to feel at home the moment they enter from the fast-paced and often stressful streets of the Manhattan.
Guests can enjoy Kaiseki cuisine at their signature restaurant, Hakubai, located just below the lobby in a very traditional Japanese setting. Kaiseki is a distinctive and delicate cuisine with roots in Zen Buddhism and the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Prices for a full Kaiseki dinner are $98 or $170 per person.
One unique feature of this property is located on the 17th floor. The Tatami Suite, a one-bedroom suite that provides an authentic experience of Japanese hospitality and culture. The suite features all-natural wood floors, tatami mats and shoji paper screen. Guests can either book the room with two twin beds or request the traditional futons. Within the bathroom there is a soaking tub and separate washing area, customary to Japanese culture. The 805 sq. foot suite is a one of a kind experience, most likely not the best fit for the average traveler, but is an example of the hotel’s ties to Japanese customs.
There are many other suite types to choose from, but ones that stood out were the Townhouse Suites, located on floors 4 through 6. These split-level layouts, with king-sized bedroom and separate living room are situated in the historic Rockefeller townhouse. The suites are unique and overlook East 38th Street.
The remaining accommodations are large for NYC hotel standards and have all the modern conveniences that any traveler would ever need, and some extra that you might not necessarily need, but will appreciate nonetheless. Each of the 149 guest rooms is equipped with a Toto toilet, a combination bidet and toilet. With each toilet costing $1500, after using them, guests will value their worth.