Not all younger siblings disappear into the shadow of their elders.
Prince Harry is often considered cooler and more rock-n-roll than William. Andy Murray is way more famous than his brother, Jamie (although both occupied the world number one tennis rankings) and Kylie Jenner is higher-up the Forbes Rich List than big sister, Kendall.
This might explain why New York’s Moxy Chelsea hotel is currently stealing the limelight from its older sibling, Moxy Times Square.
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Although the latter opened to great success three years ago - and is still redefining Marriott’s capability as a modern brand - the Chelsea spin-off, which enjoyed a soft launch in March, is demanding its own attention now.
Smaller and more elegant than its peer, it doesn’t try to ape the full-on bombast that comes with being located in a tourist trap. Instead, it provides style-conscious travellers with a bijou alternative. And it’s all the better for it.
The glass-fronted building towers 35 floors into the skyline, blending modern American style with Italian romance and a touch of playful wit along the way.
It also boasts 349 immaculate and design-rich rooms, which are available in King, Double/Double and Quad Bunk. Although they’re modestly billed as ‘micro’, don’t be fooled - they’re all perfectly proportioned and fully-illuminated by floor-to-ceiling windows which drench every corner in natural sunlight.
They’re also macro-amenity: packed with a writing desk and chair, lava-stone sink and vanity area, power shower, luggage rack, flat-screen TV, air conditioning, clothes steamer, bottle-opener and - in case this wasn’t enough - there’s even the option of listening to bedtime stories via the in-room telephone. No kidding.
Outside the bedrooms, there’s plenty more to explore. Guests will probably start in the second-floor lobby, which owner Mitchell Hochberg describes as the building’s “town square” because it’s the place where most guests gravitate.
There, guests will find sumptuous sofas for lounging, an office-style conservatory and discreet corners for romantic dates. There are also three critically acclaimed dining options in the hotel: Feroce Ristorante, Feroce Caffè and Bar Feroce (spoiler alert: they’re all Italian).
Co-created with Francesco Panella, owner of the legendary Antica Pesa trattoria in Rome, they all source their ingredients locally and provide modern interpretations of classic dishes.
Feroce Ristorante is luxurious and formal - perfect for an evening meal, while Feroce Caffè is more casual, with its aeroplane hangar-style doors that can be raised all the way up, opening the space entirely to the pavement, as in Italy. It also features a vintage doughnut machine that wafts tempting aromas onto the street, luring in locals.
Meanwhile, for those eating on a New York minute, Bar Feroce offers even faster food, such as oven-fired pizzas to stay or go, which is perfect considering that exploring the local neighborhood is part of Moxy Chelsea’s appeal.
Located on 28th Street and 6th Avenue, it’s right in the heart of Chelsea’s flower market, where the borough’s main florists are all based. This means that stepping out into the street is a daily botanical tombola.
One morning the pavement might be a profusion of dahlias and white lilies, while other days it could be peonies, tulips and birds of paradise.
The hotel riffs on this by incorporating its very own florist pop-up into the lobby (operated by the people who did Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding, incidentally).
By night, Moxy Chelsea begins to show its family resemblance in the form of neon lights and a flair for flirtatious fun.
This can be found throughout the communal spaces, but is full-realised in The Fleur Room: the rooftop lounge which has 360-degree views of the city, including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building.
Built around a 10ft glitterball that was once the centrepiece of a 1980s gay club, it now hangs over pearlescent banquettes that are stiletto-proof so women can dance on them.
Rumour has it that Mick Jagger has also stress-tested them - although it was his fashion model and designer daughter, Georgia May, who wore the heels.
Turns out she’s one of those rule-breaking younger sibling, too.
Moxy Chelsea is located at 105 W 28th Street (at 6th Avenue). For more information or to book, visit www.moxychelsea.com. Rates start at $159 per night.
Photos by Michael Kleinberg
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