Thompson Hotels Launches Inn-Sight Blog

Your friends and ours at Thompson Hotels (6 Columbus, 60 Thompson, Thompson LES, Gild Hall, Smyth, Hollywood Roosevelt, Thompson Beverly Hills, Hotel Sax, and Donovan House) have launched a new blog called Inn-Sight. Spinning off the Room100 concept of yore, Inn-Sight posts about fashion, art, culture, and of course travel, plus interviews and cool stuff happening in and around the various Thompsons. Plus, it’s overseen by our pal Steve Garbarino — check out his Editor’s Letter for the goods on what’s going down over there.

Sweet Hotel Deals for April

imageHotels are slashing prices, lowering rates, and making deals. You can profit from their losses and take advantage of all the sweet deals out there right now. First up: The Kimpton Hotels “Sweet Tax Relief” deal. They’re offering tax-free rooms and meals at their onsite restaurants. To make the deal a little sweeter, they’re throwing in cute candy in the mix, like Sugar Daddies, 100 Grands, and Paydays. The no-tax deal can add up to a sizable savings, especially since some room taxes can be $30 a night. This offer is good at many of the properties, including Hotel Palomar, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Hotel Triton, The Muse, Topaz Hotel, Helix Hotel, and Hotel George.

Moving over to New York, there’s dozens of hotels on sale, prices hovering between $99 and $200. A partial list:

Hudson Hotel – $119 Time Hotel – $135 6 Columbus – $139 Hotel Mela – $147 Carlton Hotel – $150 City Club Hotel – $172 The Dream Hotel – $150 Gild Hall – $159 The Mansfield – $179 The Cooper Square Hotel – $195

The Gramercy Park Hotel is offering 50 percent off every other night through April 30. If you live in the Tri-State area, The Algonquin Hotel will take 20 percent off your room rate and comp you an upgrade.

New York Opening: Smyth Hotel

imageSmyth, the latest offering from the Thompson Hotels group (60 Thompson, Gild Hall, 6 Columbus, Thompson LES, Hollywood Roosevelt, Thompson Beverly Hills, Donovan House) is opening early this January. Look for free wifi, absolutely modern decor, Kiehl’s bath products, and some naughty surprises in-room. Luckily enough, it’s a particularly inauspicious time to be opening anything, much less a boutique hotel, and so deals definitely abound. You can check out this normally high-priced hotel for the incredible bargain-basement prices of $119 a night.

Capote vs. Brando: Kids Are Alright

The most famous rule in all of filmmaking: Never work with kids or animals. But hell, I’m a maverick. And I can see Russia from my house.

The best thing about working with kids is that they don’t know the meaning of the word “pressure” — it hasn’t come up in their vocabulary lessons yet. And let’s face it — re-creating Truman Capote’s iconic interview of Marlon Brando is a lot of pressure. Adult actors, limited by what they’ve seen and what they know, would have broken out their best Brando impressions or tried their damnedest to rip off a Philip Seymour Hoffman performance. And nine out of ten of them would have collapsed under the weight of it all.

So for this installment of Icon Redux, we went younger. Much younger. Makes sense, if you think about it; there’s something indisputably childlike about Brando’s ramblings. We made some phone calls, sifted through some résumés, and dug up two kids well on their way to stardom who, thankfully, had no clue who Marlon Brando and Truman Capote were. They had seen nothing, knew nothing, had nothing in their own minds to live up to. Their innocence was refreshing. And their credentials were amazing.


At six years old, Tyler Christopher Backer showed up at the NYCastings office fresh off a glowing review in the New York Times for his role in New York City Opera’s Madama Butterfly. And Spencer Harrison Hall had been Don Draper’s son on the Emmy-winning Mad Men before the series moved to Los Angeles. Spencer stayed east: “I don’t move for productions,” he said. “Productions move for me.” Okay, he didn’t say that.

Plus, they’re adorable. You just want to pinch their cute little cheeks, shake them violently, and yell, “Run! Run, as fast and as far as you can before the Hollywood machine sinks its talons into you and you end up staring at the ceiling during your third stint in rehab wondering what the hell it was you started doing when you were six!”

Sorry. Let me just brush that chip off my shoulder there …


Okay, let’s bring the class back into this joint: Ahhh, Columbus Circle. There may not have been a more Brando-like place in all of New York to recreate this interview, which originally took place in a hotel in Kyoto, Japan during the filming of Sayonara in 1957. 6 Columbus is the Circle’s newest, hippest hotel, and like Brando at the height of his physical prowess, the hotel is an incredible site to behold, with a 1960s mod aesthetic tinged by a certain Zen minimalism (Brando had pretty firmly thrown himself onto the “Path to Enlightenment” by the time of the interview). The altitude, insulated windows, dark wood, and soft sunlight of the penthouse where we were shooting cast a hypnotic peace over those damn cars driving the endless loop of Columbus Circle 12 stories below, ignoring lane lines and traffic lights, blaring their horns and bullying the park-bound carriages as the horses drawing them pause to whinny and shit. Taken as a whole, Columbus Circle is a warring dichotomy, a gorgeous fuzzy blanket covering an omnipresent, pulsating chaos.

It’s Brando’s Zen incubating his ever-growing madness.

Of course, madness is a relative term. Some say two kids in a hotel penthouse surrounded by art and furniture more expensive than the entire production budget is madness.

But I call it maverick-ism. And where’s Russia? There it is!

Photos: Philip Buiser. Eyewear provided by Morgenthal-Frederic, NYC. Casting space provided by

New York: Top 5 Hotel Newcomers

imageWelcome to the party, see ya’ around campus…

1. Gild Hall (Lower Manhattan) – The first stylish thing to fall into the South Street Seaport and Financial District orbit since … uh, ever? 2. The Bowery Hotel (East Village) – Maritime peeps head east with 17-story tower. Upstairs, it’s a loft of your own, crisply appointed with knockout views. 3. Gramercy Park Hotel (Union Square) – Ian Schrager’s remodel trips out on tapestries and velvet, with leather-topped desks for better sex.

4. Greenwich Hotel (Tribeca) – The mayor of Tribeca finally gets “hotelier” on his résumé. Travis Bickle types book elsewhere, please. 5. 6 Columbus (Midtown West) – Another address-monikered ultra-swank boutique property from the boys behind 60 Thompson.

Icon Redux: Truman Capote vs. Marlon Brando

Welcome to the second installment of Icon Redux — the video series from BlackBook and Two Penguins Productions that recasts famous (or infamous) moments in pop culture using contemporary performers and settings. Here, we re-create a seminal 1957 interview between twin eccentrics Marlon Brando and Truman Capote, where the rambling Brando refuses to let the normally loquacious Capote get a word in edgewise. The trick — in our version, set in a penthouse suite at Manhattan’s 6 Columbus hotel, Brando and Capote are portrayed by child actors Tyler Christopher Backer and Spencer Harrison Hall, respectively. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the screen tests for Capote and Brando (and the “Japanese girl”) and the behind-the-scenes commentary, plus the first installment of Icon Redux: James Dean.