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New York City's newest fashion trend is a hotel: Fashion 26

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Back in the day, a hotel stay was a luxurious experience where every detail was tended to and presented to the guest in a sophisticated manner, allowing one to feel catered to, pampered, and cared for. The Fashion 26 hotel is making great strides to produce a similar, yet more modern experience, in an eloquent setting tucked away in North Chelsea, and at reasonable rates for Manhattan. Far away from Times Square insanity and mid-town mayhem, yet ultra convenient to the gallery scene, the village and three main subway lines, this brand new boutique hotel (opened in April 2010) is designed to be a home base retreat for on-the-go Manhattan explorer. 

A stay here proved indulgent with the wealth of amenities within easy access. Upon check in, you’re greeted with a cupcake. Yes, a miniature gourmet treat to let you know you’re in for a sweet stay. You’re then escorted to your room and personally guided through the in-room amenities: a signature terry cloth Frette robe, a single cup espresso machine, ipod docking station, complementary internet access, plush Frette Italian linens, a high pressure glass enclosed shower, and Gilchrist and Soames lotion and shampoo. Each evening is a complimentary turn down service, with a chocolate on your pillow and a weather card, and each morning the New York Times is propped upon your door. Why even the flat screen TV welcomes you by name. The rooms are large by Manhattan standards, about 300 square feet for a standard room, and with fashion as the theme, showcases varied fabrics and box stitches that give balance and harmony with the local artist’ renderings donning the walls.  And to help you navigate the city, Fashion 26 has its own iphone app giving favorite neighborhood galleries, shops, restaurants and pubs available for free download.   The personal touches and side street location with its own driveway, makes it easy to call Fashion 26 your home away from home, albeit the home where your whims are on demand. 
A burger joint would not seem to be a good fit for Fashion 26 given the surrounding artistic vibe, but the in-house Rare restaurant and bar provides its own flair with an extraordinary take on the classics.   Rare restaurant is located off the lobby, down a dramatic staircase. With fiery red, deep brown and amber accents among a host of pillars, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in Caesar’s lair for a feast. Bring your appetite for burgers flambéed in tequila or bourbon, topped with applewood smoked bacon, artisan cheeses, nestled into a brioche bun. Savor a New York Strip burger with bleu cheese or a filet mignon fantasy with brie and crushed caramelized walnuts. Yes, really. Although a little on the pricey side due to the intrepid ingredients, Rare is worth a taste. You may want to start small, with a slider sampler and lollipop wings, perhaps at the cozy bar with tucked away tables and couches. The wine list is small but decent and their signature drinks are exotic concoctions as intriguing as their names – try the white chocolate bliss, the blood orange Cosmo or the sexy sexy. The star of the Rare selections though will most surely be the rooftop bar, with legendary views of the Empire State building and other landmarks. Since it’s already been chatted up as one of the top ten new rooftop bars in the city (opening Memorial day weekend), you’ll want to see for yourself by taking the ten story elevator ride up for a nightcap and a canoodle under the stars.   Now that’s the way to watch night fall on Manhattan.
 Fashion 26  is located on West 26th street between 6th and 7th avenue. Summer specials currently showing at Fashion 26 include 10% off summer bookings, July 1 - September 6.  Rates start at $225.  Stay longer and pre-pay to save 15% for a 3 night minimum, July 1 - September 6.  Book via website:  http://www.f26nyc.com/
  

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