Bowery Mural

New York - first taste, Refinery Hotel

Monday, 31 March 2014

at Edinburgh airport
As January turned to February and February to March my excitement levels rose to about 10 on the Angela scale of hysteria!

I bought a new case, I rewrote my lists, I searched Google maps for places close to my hotel and yes, i checked Trip Advisor every other day for new reviews or traveller photos of the hotel.

The day finally arrived and I woke before the sun and set off for the airport for the first part of my journey. Edinburgh to London Heathrow. I was on the busy plane quickly enough and eating a cooked breakfast before most people are on their commute. After just over an hour we landed in Heathrow. I followed the purple signs for my connection. Terminal 5B. Gah! I had to get the little transfer train and my flight was boarding in less than an hour so this meant no browsing at duty free. Boo. But by all accounts, unless you're buying something that is expensive in the first place, you aren't really going to be saving that much money anyway. I went to the toilet then stocked up on juice and two bottles of water for the flight. Always keep hydrated!

Boarding the flight and my heart skipped a beat as I thought "wow my seat is spacious". Nope. I was walking through the business class section. However, I had upgraded to World Traveller Plus so my section was next. I was in an aisle seat on the middle rows of four seats. I like an aisle seat. The plane was packed and once they'd done the counting of heads and safety checks we set off soon enough. About an hour into the flight they brought the meal. A lovely piece of beef, some mash and roast vegetables and a chocolate mousse for dessert. This travelling malarkey wasn't too bad after all! There was plenty of drinks and tea too. Yum. I watched Sunshine on Leith and then a little bit of Filth and before I knew it we were getting a chicken salad sandwich and kit kat for afternoon tea. An hour after that we landed. It was 1.35pm. Phew. It looked lovely outside.

Because we were near the front we got off the flight pretty quickly and made our way to security. I wasn't too long in the security line and lovely guy Sanchez stamped my passport and wished me a belated happy birthday and a great trip. I think I waited longer for my cases than I did for security and started to have a mini panic that they'd been lost. Not to worry as I'd packed an extra t-shirt and jumper and some underwear in my hand luggage. Savvy, me. Soon enough though my yellow case was on the belt and i pulled it off and headed outside into the warm New York sunshine. Breathe it in, breathe it all in...

I debated about getting a ticket for the bus or a taxi, or would I use the Uber service I'd signed up to a few weeks ago. What the heck, Uber it was. This was my fantastical treat to myself after all. What a great service. I arranged my pick up via the app and a minute later I got a text to say my driver was on the way. He texted me himself to ask which terminal, I replied and within 5 minutes a big black SUV was waiting for me across the road. The driver was Walter and he was very lovely. He offered me water and a cable to charge my phone. I was sitting in the back like some sort of minor celebrity, so I thought ;)

He chatted away and told me about where we were travelling through, Queens. He told me where he'd travelled too (he hadn't been to Scotland). We passed two huge cemeteries and pretty soon i caught my first glimpse of the midtown Manhattan skyline. WOW. There's nothing quite like it I've seen yet. I was excited. Five minutes later we were under the east river going through the tunnel. And five minutes after that we emerged into the bustling New York streets, all grid like in their nature. We went up a slight hill. Yes, a hill in New York. I'd never have thought it. Out of the tunnel is pretty much two blocks from the street my hotel was on and i recognised some buildings from Google street view. Yes, I did *that* before setting off, haha.

On arriving at the hotel it was pretty much what i expected. Grand lobby. Gorgeous smelling with their burning of Le Labo candles and really helpful and courteous staff (who were quite young and hip looking). Tip dilemma. When are you supposed to tip the doorman? I had not a clue. How much? Is it a slight of hand thing or openly accepted? argh these were all racing through my mind.
the lobby of Refinery hotel

this theme ran throughout the hotel, keep smiling 
My check in was quick and easy and the young lady was very helpful and friendly. Pretty beautiful too. There's lots of beautiful people in New York! I entered the lift and hit floor 9.
my room
in the lobby outside my room, gorgeous decor
My room looked like it was on the corner of the building. When I opened the door it was exactly like the pictures I'd seen on Remarkable. (For more professional pictures hit that link back there to, my camera and iPhone really can't do it justice).

What I noticed first was the size. Pretty huge for a NY room by all accounts and with tall 12 foot ceilings. The flooring was dark hardwood flooring. Phew, no dank carpet!

To my left through a dark wood and opaque glass sliding door was the amazing fully tiled bathroom with large walk in shower. All brass fittings and black granite wash sink top. Le Labo toiletries were an added bonus, they smelled amazing. There was a window too. If I could design a toilet for my own house, this would be it.
the huge bathroom and walk-in shower

lovely tiling on the bathroom floor

selfie! gorgeous dark hardwood flooring

the legs of the desk, like on old Singer sewing machine
To my right was a desk. The legs were akin to an old singer sewing machine legs (the clothing theme continued throughout the hotel). On the desk was the drinks from the mini bar. Gin, wine, water, whisky, a couple of crystal glasses, an ice bucket and an old fashioned bottle opener in a box.

Then there was the bed! A queen size bed. Now, is that bigger than a UK double bed (?) because when I sank into it, it looked and felt like you could get 3 of me on there comfortably. The linens were white with a grey hessian style blanket as well as a duvet. The pillows were firm enough to hold your head but not brick hard. Next to the bed on the wall was a huge piece of blue artwork with a brass light fitting above. Very stylish. On the wall was a 42" LCD TV with every station you could want.

I had two large windows that had a view of the next streets skyscrapers. I could just about see the needle fro the top of the Metlife building. There was a closet with a safe and ironing board as well as hangers. I could fit my case and hand luggage bag in but i reckon you could easily fit two large cases and a couple of bags in there. In the mini fridge next to the bed was soft drinks and more water, as well as chocolate and wait for this... shortbread, haha. On first impressions I loved this room. I was delighted with my hotel choice.
my view, typical new york

and the bathroom view too
After taking some things out of my case and getting my money sorted it was time for me to head out into the streets of New York... I just knew I was going to enjoy my stay here.

Angela x


  1. This hotel looks gorgeous! Far nicer than the crappy airport hotel we stayed in on my trip. Can't wait to read about what else you got up to! x

    1. Thanks. It was gorgeous. I could've stayed there for longer. Next instalment coming up tonight hopefully! :)


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