March 11, 2021 – Here’s a travel advisory for regular guests at André Balazs properties like L.A.’s Chateau Marmont or the Raleigh in Miami: The hip hotelier’s latest creation, tucked off New York’s Times Square, is more motel than Mercer. In keeping with its hush-hush name, the Hotel QT is located in a renovated office building on West 45th Street, where the only discernable signage is a circular logo in a shade best described as Easy Jet orange. «I’ve always liked the Walter Winchell books about Times Square,» said Balazs, to explain the secretive name. «They were about celebrities who would slip in and out of the city. And then there was QT magazine, a precursor to the National Enquirer, which I didn’t know about. We found some on eBay.»
Though it’s not yet fully functional (only 72 of the 140 rooms are available for reservations), patrons willing to dodge movers hauling last-minute bookshelves won’t be disappointed. For anywhere from $125 a night for a single-occupancy to $450 for the penthouse, guests can book rooms complete with stock-your-own mini bars, flat-screen TVs, and free Internet service. If some of the spaces—like, say, the ones containing perpendicularly placed bunk beds—make you feel like you’re back at camp, that’s because youth hostels served as an inspiration.

Taking the hostel concept a step further, Balazs has focused more on the hotel’s communal conveniences than its individual ones. Among them: a grotto-esque 15-by-25-foot indoor pool with underwater music (in which Candace Bushnell took a dip last month), a lobby bar with nightly DJs, two saunas (wet and dry), a free gym, and a 24-hour coffee bar. The truly young-at-heart should make a beeline for the front desk, where Wonka Bars and gummy bears are available for late-night consumption.

–Sarah Cristobal