Under the relentless sun of a typical October day in Hawaii, I impulsively bought two tickets to New York City, desperate for crisp air, history soaked bricks, and sharing pasta and wine with my lover. Two months later, he and I found ourselves dragging our suitcases through Greenwich Village, delightfully cold and giddy with anticipation to take a romantic jazz-age getaway at a fairly new boutique hotel with a vintage design.
As we neared a black wrought iron awning, lit by lanterns, I thought it was one of the many dimly lit wine bars tucked away in the West Village, where lovers go to whisper and purr amongst exposed bricks. I was about to make a mental note to return for a drink, when I saw the sign above the double glass doors. The Jade Hotel – our destination! We walked in, and a chic doorman, in a long black coat with grey lapels, grabbed our bags, treating us like the elite, put together travelers that we were pretending to be. We walked down an elegant staircase, feeling as if someone should announce our names. It was Christmas time and the lobby was decorated subtly with evergreen cuttings, white Lilies and red berries. The couches and fireplace waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs completed the picture. From the white and tan geometric patterned flooring, to the golden pressed tin ceiling, the lobby’s design was consistently art deco.
The hotel was warm and cozy, yet gilded with touches of gold and marble to create a comfortable and slightly regal effect. It was like walking into a familiar living room that was dressed to the nines for an important guest.
Peter, the bellboy, informed me that the hotel’s aim was to emulate Greenwich Village in the 1920s, embracing intrigue and elegance with art deco designs. Although so many buildings in New York are truly historic, this hotel was built two years ago from the ground up; from new to old, the brilliant design of Andres Escobar & Associates turned back the clock to an extravagantly festive time in New York City. Standing in this room, I could almost feel the intoxication of innovation, the rush of shorter hemlines, and the excitement of lavish speakeasies. This was exactly what we were looking for.
We checked in at the mahogany and marble desk hidden to the side of the staircase. The concierge handed us our keys and said, “you’ll find your room has an excellent city view, like you requested.”
We followed the bellboy towards the elevators, passing the lobby wall that was stocked with hardcover books about art, style and history, all written by Greenwich Village authors. We then walked through a warmly lit brick tunnel that lead to the elevator and to the hotel’s restaurant.
“Where are you guys visiting from?” He said, with a slight Jersey accent.
“We live in Hawaii, but we both used to live in New York at one time!” Kai, my boyfriend, said. Peter’s face lit up with the usual excitement and curiosity at the word “Hawaii.” “You must be freezing!” he said, and we all laughed.
“You have no idea how excited we are to be cold though,” I said, rubbing my warm fake fur jacket that I couldn’t wait to wear.
We opened our hotel door and both let out an audible sound of approval. The room was small, but the warm and classic décor transformed “compact” to “cozy.” Gold and royal blue was the color scheme, and the furniture was all dark mahogany and leather. Through velvety curtains we see our view of the City. It was night out, and the blue and silver lights of the empire state building pierced through the old downtown buildings like a comet. We dropped our bags, tipped Peter, and pounced on the bed. Kai rolled over to the rotary-dial Bakelite telephone and dialed 0.
“Yes hi, can we order up two glasses of wine…Malbec? Perfect, thanks, room 1602.” He smiles cheekily at me and I bounce up to turn on the Tivolo radio to a station playing jazz. Our wine arrives in no time, and we cheers to checking off our dreams, one by one. Now it’s time to dress the part.
I checked the lines of my red lipstick on the way out the door. We were starving, and wanted to check out the hotel’s restaurant, Grape and Vine. At the bottom of the elevators, a brick archway led into the warm, romantic restaurant. We walked in to an invisible cloud of truffles, pressed garlic, and artisan cheese shavings. Attractive, jubilant New Yorkers and travelers alike sat cozy in red lovers’ booths, or candlelit tables. Black and white photographs adorned the terra cotta walls. Fred McDarrah’s collection of iconic people making art in New York City through the 60’s and the 70’s is the perfect feast for our eyes while we wait for the main course. We converse with the faces of Dustin Hoffman, Scorsese and Warhol over our warm bread and olive oil.
The menu is advertised as market-driven and artisanal, and it truly shows. Oysters, tartar, flatbreads, goat cheeses, duck breast, short rib, and buckwheat noodles are only a sample of the diverse, and elegant American cuisine. I ordered the sweet potato ravioli with sage and walnuts, and Kai got the pan-seared monkfish. Our waiter was lovely, the food superb, and the atmosphere was romantic and inspiring.
I wanted a vintage experience in New York, and the Jade Hotel proved to be perfect. Of the hotels that emulate a vintage décor, the Jade Hotel was definitely the most affordable. I knew if I wanted to splurge I could stay at The Chatwal, or Gramercy Park Hotel, or even the Waldorf and I would probably have felt like Rita Hayworth checking into my room. At the Jade Hotel, I felt like myself – only with the bright eyes of a new, exciting era and a flapper dress to match.