In the bitingly sardonic Talking Heads song “(Nothing But) Flowers,” David Byrne snarks, “There was a shopping mall / Now it’s all covered with flowers” – in a reverse, of course, of the troublingly concrete direction of the modern world. The song immediately popped to mind as we entered the lobby of the just opened Moxy Chelsea hotel…through a flower shop.
It was a particularly enchanting change of pace from the by-now hackneyed checklist, wherein every new hotel is seen trying to galvanize the trendster energy by ticking off all the hipper-than-hip partnerships they’ve conjured: coffee houses, tattoo parlors, bike shops. Whatever.
But what if a hotel could, indeed, lure you with floral indulgences? The Moxy, it should be noted, is not only located in Chelsea, but specifically in the Flower District. And they pay it immediate homage, as you actually can’t even get up to your room without having at least glancingly perused the gorgeous arrangements at Putnam & Putnam.
We checked in recently to check it out – here’s what we loved.
Once a centrifugal force of anything-goes clubbing, Chelsea now seems shoehorned between the Meatpacking District and the more recently trendy NoMad. This is good for guests, though, as a short walk will net you everything from a fashionable MePa shopping spree, an afternoon of modern American art at the spectacular new Whitney Museum, amusing people watching in Union Square, or a seditionary visit to the Museum of Sex, where the current exhibition Punk Lust will be on show through November. We highly recommend the latter.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
This is a Moxy, so you can still get reasonably priced shared bunk rooms. But even the standard chambers here are of definite 4-star quality. Showers are spacious, layouts are thoughtfully conceived, clever furnishings can be folded and hung on the wall to free up space…and huge, factory style windows frame awesome views of the midtown or downtown skylines. Oh, and the old fashioned telephones are a nice touch.
We’ll say it again. If you’re arriving back from a long, hard day of biz meetings, the Moxy’s opulent floral greeting will instantly lift your spirits. Always fresh and in-season, Michael and Darroch Putnam’s small flower shop (their fans include the likes of Jason Wu and Gwyneth) offers a quick way to add something lovely and happy to your room and your day. (On Monday, May 13, catch a panel at the Moxy on eco developments in the flower industry, in conjunction with the New York Botanical Garden.)
The verdant theme continues at the second floor Bar Feroce, where one can while away the day beneath hanging gardens, prodigious windows and classical statuary. (We made friends with a bartender named Chelsea, which makes her Chelsea from the Moxy Chelsea – yes, we can be easily amused). There’s also a Conservatory, always in bloom, and a backyard with pizza oven and bocce ball. The Roman-Italian eats come by way of Franceso Panella of Antica Pesa (locations in Brooklyn and Rome), and are also served in the handsome Feroce restaurant and caffe downstairs.
With furnishings dressed up in elegantly floral fabrics, the theme carries all the way up to the 35th floor – where we enjoyed posh sips with a view of the Empire State Building set against a dazzling sky. Pricey but substantial cocktails have mellifluous names like Fleur of the Valley and Lilac Jane – though our fave was the Autumn in Chelsea, which we’re planning to drink all the way through summer (paired with English cucumber tea sandwiches and coconut macaroons, naturally). The likes of Russell Crowe, Idris Elba and Aldis Hodge have already visited – but trust us, the best views are the skyward ones.