We realized that the theme of this property was to pay tribute to American authors, artists and all creative minds who once lived and worked here, during our country’s comparatively short history.
Sometimes buildings on the city streets of Manhattan look small, unadorned, and just one more brown building among thousands. However, The Renwick Hotel, located on 40th St between Park and Lexington, and south of Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, is absolutely charming. As the Uber driver approached the front entrance of the busy street, we were instantly intrigued and excited to explore.
The bellman didn’t wait for us to approach the hotel’s front door; he reached the trunk of the Uber before we could make it out of the car! He was so pleasant, so welcoming, so attentive, working as though there was nothing he would rather be doing than to help us with ALL our luggage. The check-in experience was equally pleasurable, professional and efficient.
Just inside the hotel door, beautiful plants lined the few stairs down, and oh, so precious, delicate purple orchids greeted us at the front desk.
When we entered our room, it felt like coming home to my very own Manhattan loft apartment. It had an entry room, large living room, large bedroom and bath. It had all the beautiful clean lines one has come to expect in the Curio Collection of boutique hotels. All the amenities, but something was . . . Different. Special. Unique.
Not until we had immersed in the hotel’s culture for a bit, did we learn that The Renwick is a member of Historic Hotels of America®, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest historic hotels across America.
In that moment we realized that the theme of this property was to pay tribute to American authors, artists and all creative minds who once lived and worked here, during our country’s comparatively short history.
We were booked in the Gertrude Stein room. Fascinating. Writers ourselves, we were enthralled as we poured over her novels, poems, plays, photographs and art tributes in the suite.
Stein is considered one of the leading figures of modernism in literature and art. Some of her closest friends and creative comrades were Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound and Matisse!
It was enjoyable to be reminded of so many of Gertrude Stein’s familiar quotes.
“We are always the same age inside.”
“There is no there there.”
“It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business.”
“You have to know what you want to get it.”
“You look ridiculous if you dance. You look ridiculous if you don't dance. So you might as well dance."
“Whoever said money can't buy happiness didn't know where to shop.”
“One must dare to be happy.”
“Every day is a renewal, every morning the daily miracle. This joy you feel is life.”
“Everyone gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”
As college English majors, with many literature classes in our degree program histories, we were reminded of all that we had studied about this author, the details having been tucked away into the recesses of our minds.
We also had forgotten how hungry we were when we arrived and that the very first thing we were going to do was have dinner! Two hours later, we emerged from our “studies” and headed downstairs to Bedford & Co, the restaurant on the lobby level of the hotel.
Bedford & Co is where Chef John Delucie shares his creative genius with all who enter in. The restaurant exudes his love of art, culture and a passion for wholesome, simple food, simply prepared. His culinary creations stem from his global travels with many of his dishes prepared using a wood-burning open grill cooking method.
We tried two dishes, both splendidly prepared --
“Chicken Under a Brick” served with asparagus, marinated beech mushrooms and herbs; and
“Boston Lettuce Salad” with seasonal shaved vegetables, avocado, and lemon vinaigrette.
Bedford & Co’s website articulates it well:
“Our mission is simple: In season and always local.”
The restaurant has a capacity of 150 and can be booked for receptions. There is also a private dining room that seats 30 for rehearsal dinners.
Want to learn even more about what The Renwick has to offer? Go visit them.