Our beloved hometown, New York, New York, can so often feel like the center of the universe.  Fashion, art, finance, food, entertainment all find their global footing in the big apple, and listing the streets of Manhattan is like announcing a litany of fame and association.  It’s no small wonder that everyone (and their mother) at some point comes to New York as a tourist.  It follows then, with no small wonder, that the city is saturated with hotels.  From giant, corporate towers to small, artsy boutiques, each one is vying not only for guests, but for glowing attention from the savvy local, tempting us with exclusive bar scenes, rooftop pool parties or notoriously visible windows.

Thus, it is like a breath of fresh air to find that true gemstone amidst the glint and gleam of hype.  It is the sincerity of The Marcel Hotel in Gramercy Park that sets it apart from the rest, proving its quality quietly and gracefully, without having to forcefully assert itself, or playing the games of the steady stream of posers.  Rest assured readers!  You finally have a fine place that fits the bill.  A place where you can find a chill, underground drinking den, while simultaneously recommending it to your visiting family and friends.  The Marcel has all the assets your heart (and theirs) desires: prime locations, reasonable rates, underground cool meets comfortably stylish. You can feel like a hero and host all at once.

Well-appointed rooms look down onto the Manhattan streets, giving the guest a luscious “city in your face” feel, while wrapping you into luxurious coziness.  A highly elevated outdoor terrace affords not only shockingly fresh air, but a breathtaking view of the iconic Empire State Building.  Breakfast is served in the lounge just off the terrace, and there is just nothing better than a fresh, NY bagel and a classic view to start your day.  Should it be of use, the friendly and accommodating staff will be more than happy to make suggestions: sights to see, restaurants to taste, walks to walk.

If you don’t want your friends to have to walk too far after a few “welcome to New York” drinks, go no further than The Marcel’s cocktail lounge: Polar.  Still under the radar when it comes to the raging New York hotel bar scene, Polar Lounge is such a special find that you might end up coming back whether or not you have friends in town. The sexy, “subterranean” atmosphere creates an intimate, secluded feeling and the strong, sultry cocktails invoke arctic decadence at its coolest.

If you really want to steal away and nestle with someone special (or a few someones special) choose one of their private, hidden caves, which offer secret entrances, personal bottle service and private sound systems.  After a delivery of one of their delightful signature cocktails and a scrumptious bite, you might consider hibernation.

– Ava Fedorov

Photographs by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative