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The Whitby: Experiencing New York’s Newest Hotel

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A last minute business meeting for Jonathan prompted me to call in my birthday gift –- a stay at New York’s newest hotel, The Whitby, on 56th just off Fifth — where serious shopping and strolls through Central Park are just two blocks away.

Photo Credit: Firmdale Hotels

We packed a lot into one day and night, and by choice most of it was spent enjoying the chic and colorful settings within this beyond imaginable environment. If only for its light and airiness I’m going to consider it my home away from home when in the city! Those eighty-six guest rooms with their floor–to-ceiling windows invite you to linger, pondering the well-considered details of a quality that isn’t often seen in hotels today (i.e. upholstered fabric walls).

Even Jonathan pointed out the sure handed color coordination that adds a playful spirit to the hotel’s overall impression, to be seen here from the garden-y entrance vestibule to the bar dining area. With eight hotels in London, designer and co-owner Kit Kemp has mastered her own style and it’s refreshing!

Quite simply, The Whitby is carefree in a way that makes you feel at home. I’ll tempt you with pictures that I took while there, but it is The Whitby’s “experiences” that are just as memorable for me…from the smallest (i.e. having three cup cakes, on a plate signed “Happy Birthday,” delivered to our room just after we arrived…or the fresh popcorn that comes along with the DVDs you can borrow from the concierge)… to the larger ones I’ve noted at the end of this post.

An obviously sincere interest in the enjoyment of their guests has prompted the design of the public entertaining rooms, as in the bar/dining area.

The orangery and drawing room on the lobby level.

To the three levels below the lobby – a sophisticated cinema theater.

A comfortably spacious library and gathering room.

Another convenient thirty foot long pewter bar, with its high ceilings, off of the private dining rooms.

This pink bespoke wallpaper fascinated me. It’s another Kit Kemp original design, “Mythical Creatures,” that is also interpreted on her tea service for Wedgewood.

Just for fun, I’ve designed some “experiences” that are possible at this singular new addition to the New York scene, where it’s so easy to move and entertain between floors…

English Tea with a business colleague
In the skylight-bright orangery from 12pm-5pm each day (The Whitby’s owners are British and they bring their love of this tradition to our shores; not an easy ritual to find in other hotels in NY).

Photo Credit: Firmdale Hotels

Brunch on Saturday or Sunday with girlfriends
From  11am- 4pm; The menu is thoughtfully designed to consider those of us who are looking for a fresh approach to both healthy and delicious options for such a popular meal on everyone’s calendar.

Sunday “Film Club” viewing with hubby or significant other
Two showings (4:00 and 8:00pm) in their impressive small cinema theater; also perfect for bringing a group of friends or stopping by to meet new ones. The film can be paired with a three-course meal or “high tea.” Now if I were to design this particular Sunday outing, I’d suggest…

7:00-8:00pm Wine and small bites in the Whitby Bar
Herby Boucheron potato puffs, garlic aioli
Speck wrapped figs, green olives, Sicilian pistachios, house-made ricotta
Grilled lamb sliders, harrisa, tzatziki, arugula

8:00pm film

10:00pm post film signature Whitby cocktails
“Citrus Buzz” champagne cocktail — Aperol, Cointreau, blood orange, orange bitters
“Barrel Fashion” — Mount Gay Black Barrel, Luxardo Maraschino, Amaro, Banyuls

And that’s just for starters. Come prepared to have fun at The Whitby.

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

13 thoughts on “The Whitby: Experiencing New York’s Newest Hotel

  1. A little too busy for my taste! But, none the less, I would still spend time ( a lot ) looking at every single design feature. Fascinating juxtaposition of design elements. Pleasing and surprising color palettes. The attention to detail is incredible. Glad you enjoyed your birthday! Cheers, Stella.

    1. Such fun to hear from you, Stella. You really got the gist of what the Whitby is about. Hope you have a chance to visit soon. Cheers from Newport, Bettie

    1. And you can skip right over! So lovely to have a true British tea experience available in New York. Happy Spring!

  2. When I first opened this e-mail and saw your post …. Before ever reading it I knew this must be a Kit Kemp hotel. We stayed in 2 of her hotels in London several years ago… And enjoyed them so much … Such a delight… I also have both of her design books that I enjoy so much… She adds such a warm experience in all her hotels… So glad she has come to our side of the world….thank you for sharing…Teresa

    1. Thank, Teresa, you for your personal take on this talented lady. Her singular style with its color and “quirkiness” is so refreshing. I’m looking forward to enjoying her London hotel’s as soon as I can!

  3. Just recently, I attended a lecture in Savannah, Georgia by the amazing NYC Architect, Peter Pennoyer.
    After looking at his book, on the design of his own home and knowing of his love of all things British, I would think Peter and his wife, who does interior design, would both love staying here!
    Dian Brownfield

  4. I am a friend of Betty Becher’s and love your site! I look forward to reading more!

    1. Welcome to Private Newport. I hope you’ll have many happy days among the pages of my posts. Best to Betty for me, “the other Bettie”

  5. Bettie… you have amazing posts… I cant believe the Garden Party.. with Candy and John .. both dear friends….. Neil was always such great company… keep it up .. I am headed to Newport and the Whitby because of you..Barry

    1. Love having you part of my Private Newport “family”…especially since you’ve known the Bearden family for awhile!
      And I’m missing the Whitby something awful. Happy Summer, BBP

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