By Terry Trucco
First, a word about the name. Even with “south” tacked on, associating a hotel on West 35th Street with Times Square is a stretch, especially a hotel situated between 8th and 9th avenues. But once you accept that TRYP is a lot closer to Madison Square Garden and Macy’s than to where the New Year’s Eve ball drops, things get interesting.
Billeted in a 14-story yellow brick office building from 1925 the hotel, which opened in early February, has character. (Peek behind the metal TRYP sign, and you’ll spot the words Rose Building carved above the entrance.)
It’s moderately priced. Rooms start at $229 for now, and they’re bigger than closets, which makes up for TRYP’s west-of-the-thick-of-things location on a ho-hum block (warehouses, offices buildings and a police precinct next door).
You’ll also rack up Wyndham points if you stay, thanks to the hotel group’s acquisition of TRYP, a mid-price hotel chain that originated in Barcelona and specializes in urban properties (Madrid, Paris, Lisbon, Frankfurt and Buenos Aires, to name a few). TRYP Times Square is the group’s first US venture. Expect more.
TRYP isn’t one of those fey boutique hotels that makes you hunt down its name. This is a hotel with nothing to hide. TRYP’s royal blue sign stands out like a beacon. And the entire ground floor – lobby, check-in, restaurant and bar – is on display through a wall of windows.
It’s a smart lobby with a 21st-century blend of style, function, comfort and
high-tech savvy (the hotel has its own social network). Architect Glen Coben, an alum of the Rockwell Design Group and designer of visually witty hotels like New York’s Fashion 26 and Flatotel, sites TRYP’s Barcelona roots as inspiration for the upbeat colors, swooping sofa backs and mosaic tile floor. But with exposed brick walls, a vaulted pine ceiling and multitudinous flatpanel TV screens doubling as artworks TRYP feels West Coast to us. It could have been a loft transplanted from San Francisco’s hip SoMA district.
The lobby multi-tasks and buzzes. Sipping a $3 coffee from a generous Lavazza mug at the bar, we watched a group of women fresh from a shopping spree show off their purchases. (Great red stilettos.) A ten-year-old dashed by with his mom. Wheelies rolled past. Farther down the bar, a couple of dudes in hoodies chatted up the bartender, who kickboxes when she isn’t pouring beers.
In addition to conventional king- and queen-bed rooms, you can order up a family suite with king beds, sleeper sofas and bunks or an uber-room, like the Samsung media room outfitted with two HDTVs, Nintendo and a popcorn maker in addition to an assortment of beds.
The good-looking standard king we saw was smaller than those pictured on the website but plenty big with a wood floor, large glass-topped desk and two colorful upholstered seats, part chair, part stool, under the flatpanel TV. The headboard looked like a chalkboard. Clever.
But the closet beside it was one of the smallest we’ve ever seen. Also tiny: the spotless bathroom, tiled in red, cream and gray and outfitted with a glass-fronted stall shower.
But whoever decided to paint the ceiling sky blue deserves a cheer.
Kudos, too, for the chic sheers – black instead of white – dressing the windows and muting the view of a boring building. Why don’t more hotels go in for this look?
We headed back downstairs to an empty booth at Gastro Bar, the hotel’s informal restaurant that meanders through the lobby.
In keeping with TRYP’s Barcelona roots, the menu calls its all-American small-plate specialties tapas. Still, we were surprised to find the menu was in Spanish, too. (A temporary hiccup, according to our server.) Selections like Fish Tacos, Beef Sliders and vegetariano flatbread, of course, need no translation. The bigger question was why our $13 New York Tabla – mini pastramis, mini reubens and mini hot dogs – took forever to arrive. (Our server apologized twice.)
Still, it was hard to quibble with our six little sliders, which were smartly presented, tasty, surprisingly filling and . . . cute.
TRYP New York Times Square South, 345 West 45th Street between 8th and 9th avenues; 212 600-2440.