Located on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 29th Street in Manhattan, The James New York NoMad hotel has a storied and intriguing past.
This residential-style property debuted as the Hotel Seville in 1904 and underwent a massive facelift after being rebranded and renamed The Carlton Hotel in 1987 (part of the Marriott Autograph Collection).
In 2018, the hotel once again changed ownership and management, becoming The James New York NoMad, followed by another set of interior renovations.
A bit of history
During its heyday, the Hotel Seville was one of the largest hotels in New York City, housing both permanent residents and short-term guests. The building’s distinctive red brick and limestone Beaux-Arts style exterior with ornate sculptures and ornamentation create a visual feast for those who love architecture and a sense of history.
Of course, the hotel interior has been fully renovated to meet the needs of today’s travelers. But it, too, offers some welcome reminders of the building’s past: The original structural beams in the lobby are still exposed but freshly painted; gracious light-filled bay windows serve as focal points in many guest rooms; and the eye-catching weathered metal staircase railings sit next to the modern banks of high-speed elevators.
This period hotel has such historical significance that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been landmarked by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
A peek inside
The 337 guest rooms are spacious by New York hotel standards, ranging in size from 195-square-foot queen bed rooms to 10,500-square-foot one-bedroom, two-bath suites. The decor by Danish designer Thomas Juul Hansen showcases an eclectic mix of custom-crafted mid-century modern and retro pieces. The stylish furnishings have a patina of age that hints at the hotel’s rich history.
Platform beds with organic bedding and fluffy duvets are conducive to restful sleep. Restored window casings do a great job of buffering the sounds that are typically endemic to large cities. Although small (except in larger suites), bathrooms have attractive modern fixtures with heavy marble sinks and spacious stall showers.
The 14-story hotel benefits from being mostly surrounded by buildings of nearly the same height (rather than skyscrapers), so many rooms offer abundant natural light and views.
Welcoming amenities and service
The right-sized lobby doesn’t overwhelm; it is divided into comfortable and well-spaced seating areas, and those beside the windows are an excellent perch for people-watching. The space provides an inviting gathering place for couples, friends, or families.
Complimentary coffee, tea, and fresh fruit are available each morning. During evening wine hours, guests can pour a glass of red or white wine, while nibbling on freshly-baked artisan breads and bites from the Bourke Street Bakery around the corner. Wi-Fi access is also free.
Downstairs, the speakeasy-style bar, The Seville (dress code casual chic), is a throwback to the time when high-society New Yorkers came here to drink the hotel’s iconic signature drink, The Manhattan (which the hotel claims as the cocktail’s birthplace).
In this virtual oasis away from the bustling city, guests can unwind from work or sightseeing by taking advantage of in-room yoga mats and meditation cushions, work out at the 24-hour fitness center, or take advantage of four Body Wellness Program offerings (also offered in-room). Stocked minibars offer a choice of curated snacks and beverages and some thoughtful extras for guests who left charging cables, face masks, or universal adapters at home.
This one-of-a-kind property feels intimate and welcoming. Staff from the doormen to the front desk to the housekeepers all make guests feel at home. Rooms and public spaces are fastidiously clean, and although never intrusive, someone always seems to be around to answer a question or offer advice.
An on-premise destination restaurant
For those interested in a relaxing staycation, the hotel’s partnership with LDV Hospitality offers the perfect opportunity for coupling a romantic overnight hotel stay with dinner.
Helmed by talented Chef Jorge Espinoza, Scarpetta is the sophisticated Italian restaurant, sited within The James New York NoMad, that is popular with both locals and visitors. Open for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and cocktails, the extensive menu offers a variety of dishes prepared with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Especially popular are the housemade pasta dishes.
Some items on the menu, like the Creamy Polenta with Truffled Mushrooms and the Short Ribs with Farro and Vegetable Risotto are the legacy of celebrity Chef Scott Conant, who founded the restaurant concept. Dinners can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors with comfortable, white tablecloth service that is efficient and professional.
The restaurant’s name is derived from the Italian expression “fare la Scarpetta,” an apt description of the cuisine that is good to the last bite.
In congested New York City, it’s always location, location, location.
The James NoMad sits between Fifth and Madison Avenues offering easy access to midtown and downtown, either by foot or by subway. The hotel is minutes away from one of New York City’s most popular tourist attractions, the Empire State Building, and an easy walk to the restaurants in Koreatown or the flagship Eataly Italian emporium in the Flatiron District.
The name NoMad refers to the neighborhood that is north and west of Madison Square Park, which is also only a few blocks away. The hotel is one of 96 historic and architecturally significant buildings in this historic district designated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Just walking around the neighborhood and gazing at the buildings and skyline is akin to visiting a living museum.