But as long as it’s at the Trump SoHo, the Travel Snob is Mildly Amused
By Jeremy Murphy
You wouldn’t expect to find a pudgy, pugnacious, balding “billionaire” as the brand behind a trendy hotel in one of New York’s most ultra-chic neighborhoods, but there it is: The Trump SoHo, a glittering, 46-story glass tower soaring high above the Manhattan skyline.
I know, I was as surprised as you are.
Because, really. Let’s be honest now. The Donald is more hip replacement than hip, and if he keeps gorging all the Trump Ice Cream he sells shamelessly in that monstrosity that is Fifth Avenue’s Trump Tower, he’s going to need all the lower body support he can get. How anyone below 42nd Street can think he’s the right brand to christen a super-chic hotel is beyond me, but it works.
And I experienced it myself, over a long, blustery February weekend in New York, when I checked in to investigate if this luxury hotel was as cool as its effervescent PR rep claimed so in her emails, which had more emoticons, text lingo (omfg!) and colored letterings than a hyper-caffeinated teenager’s tweet. I’m usually suspect of any message that comes into my in-box with an exclamation point, because anyone who has the time to figure out how to do so is clearly not important. I can barely figure out how to delete my deleted items, which either renders me very important or mildly retarded. I’m going to go with the former.
I’m also a bit wary of traveling downtown because it’s too trendy even for me, and I’m many years and many more Blooming Onions away from needing prosthetic hips. I also carry Goyard luggage, so take that, bitches.
But still. I’m neither rich, gay nor skinny enough to walk with confidence around SoHo or any of its trendy brethren, unless there’s a Barney’s warehouse sale somewhere in the vicinity. In that case I will cut a bitch.
Priorities, people, priorities.
And yet I summoned the courage to travel south from my Upper East Side perch, where I rule 1st Avenue with the ferocity of Blair Waldorf at a headband sale, except anyone one who actually wears hand-bands wouldn’t be caught dead walking through my hood. Seriously, we just got a Medical Supply Store with walkers, bed pans and IV tubes. And its neighbor is a Johnny Rockets, which is so sad the sassy black wait-staff won’t even do the afternoon Motown interludes.
I arrived on a bitter cold Friday evening, and mistakenly believed I’d walked into Gucci, minus Tom Ford posing provocatively near men’s furnishings. Yes, that’s what the lobby of The Trump SoHo feels like, a coked-up Gucci storefront, with lots of trendy orbs, chandeliers, Mork & Mindy esque-sitting chairs and waiters offering me champagne. The interior was designed by The Rockwell Group, who I suppose are popular with people who actually read Architecture Digest and don’t just leave it on the coffee table to impress visiting frenemies. Were it not for the awkward Asian woman rolling her cheap luggage ahead of me I would have thought I’d died and gone to gay heaven, except the chiseled waiters wouldn’t have been dressed. And most surely not serving bubbly but instead a 1946 Macallan, straight.
My room was even more chic, and quite large for New York. Tastefully decorated in a minimalist meets Manhattan vibe, it featured near panoramic views of the city skyline and enough gadgetry to stump someone with my patience, which is admittedly little. Indulging in my luxury suite, I couldn’t fathom how any of this could possibly be connected to The Donald, a marketing force more suited for tacky midtown tourists or Staten Island, which I’m told is a large swath of land with row houses and land fills, somewhere near the city.
Regardless, here in the swanky Trump SoHo there was not a trace of the garish brass and glass that has become his signature, nor were there any T-shirts, mugs or mouse-pads for sale bearing his likeness. The décor was tasteful. The staff all courteous, and impossibly gorgeous, except for hat bellman with one eyebrow. He will have to go. And there wasn’t a comb-over in sight. Clearly something was amiss.
Even dinner at the in-house restaurant Quattro Gastronomia Italiana was trendy, and that’s hard to do for the best hotels, whose restaurants always promise the lure of a star-studded chef but are secretly run by a line-cook named Manny. The food was daring and delicious, and the service surprisingly hospitable for SoHo, which seems to have embraced the “if we’re not rude to you, you haven’t eaten here” ethos. Better yet, they kept the liquor coming, which would have earned them a Michelin star alone, because papa likes his Scotch, thank you very much.
The next day, during a tour of the property by a twinkly-eyed manager, I was informed the hotel isn’t actually owned by the Donald (quelle surprise), and I’m not sure it’s managed by him, either. If it is, you just know Ivanka has finally evicted Barbie from the Dream House and taken charge of the family buisiness, bringing a level of class and sophistication that has eluded her brood for years. Seriously, have you seen these people? They’ve become outright caricatures, and that includes Ivana, who only contribution these days seems to be getting kicked off Delta Shuttle flights. Ivanka is the best we’re going to get, folks. And yes, it helps that her husband, Jared Kushner, is ridiculously hot and loaded.
During my tour I also bore witness to the Trump SoHo’s pièce de résistance — a 2,300 sq. ft. duplex terrace that rises from the 43rd to 44th floor and features floor to ceiling windows, 400 ft. outdoor terrace and panoramic views of Manhattan. I immediately started to imagine all the fun, outrageous soirees I could throw in such a setting, momentarily forgetting my surroundings. That’s right, I was in SoHo, where parties are passé. Here, social gatherings are merely pedestals for the bright and beautiful to look bored and uninterested. Like a lunch with Karl Lagerfeld, whose coterie of beefy, blond uber models are told to speak only when spoken to. And to sulk when appropriate.
Fortunately, there is no sulking at The Trump SoHo. That is so last year.246 Spring Street | New York, NY 10013 877.828.7080 | www.trumpsohohotel.com