1. The Standard
848 Washington St at 13th St (212-645-4646, standardhotels.com)
Boldly straddling the High Line, André Balazs’s slick New York property has been associated with raunchy antics pretty much since Day One. Because of the 18-story double tower’s position and configuration, all of the compact, glass-fronted rooms command a spectacular view of skyscrapers or water. The views go both ways, however, which can be a strong lure to those with an exhibitionist streak.
Sex factor: Not only can you stage a DIY peep show for strollers below, you can tease your lover by posing in the “peekaboo” shower—standard rooms have a glassed-off window looking onto the bedroom (deluxe king rooms have tubs). Before or after, head up to the decadent top-floor Le Bain nightclub, where you can loll in the jumbo Jacuzzi with a Devil’s Advocate (tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and Tabasco; $13) and admire 180-degree views of the Hudson. Room rates start at $265 ($495 during the Valentine’s period).
2. Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC
420 Park Ave South at 29th St, enter on 29th St (212-317-2900, gansevoortpark.com)
Can’t afford to whisk your main squeeze off to the Caribbean for some sultry heat? The Gansevoort, which also has a luxurious resort in Turks and Caicos, brings the tri-level rooftop pool-lounge-playground concept that’s been making waves at its Meatpacking District property since 2004 to its new Gramercy address. The sleek rooms feature modern metal four-posters or silver satin headboards, plush sofas and saucy retro images by British photographer Deborah Anderson.
Sex factor: Get cozy on a double lounger by the rooftop pool, in a glassed-in area kept at a balmy 85 degrees, then swim through the bath-temperature water to an open view of the Empire State Building, before retreating to one of three lounges—the Red Room has padded plum satin walls and floating banquettes topped with mini dance floors where you can live out your go-go-dancer fantasies (DJs preside over the space Thursday through Sunday). If that sounds too strenuous, book a couple’s fusion massage ($260) at the hotel’s Exhale Spa, or retreat with a Mile High Intimacy Kit ($20 for basics such as a “massager” and condoms, or $40 for more toys) and the hotel’s own “Sunset to Midnight” mix by DJ Donna D’Cruz on the in-room iPod touch. Room rates start at $245 per night ($295 during the Valentine’s period). Mention Time Out New York when booking by phone to receive a one-category room upgrade (excluding suites) through the end of February 2011.
3. The London NYC
151 W 54th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (866-690-2029, thelondonnyc.com)
The British may be famously reserved, but they’re also notoriously kinky beneath their buttoned-up exteriors. Designed by David Collins, the interior wizard behind some of the British capital’s most glamorous restaurants and bars, the London NYC reflects this paradox. At first glance, the suites (either open-plan or divided by French doors into sleeping and lounging areas) are the epitome of cool sophistication, with limed-oak parquet flooring and custom-made contemporary furnishings, but a sexy surprise awaits in the bathroom…
Sex factor: Not only are the quarters roomy (350 square feet or more), the showers are built for two, with double-rain showerheads. There’s no need to leave your room for dinner—order a New York strip steak ($28) or roasted baby chicken with thyme velouté ($16) from the room-service menu devised by fiery British chef Gordon Ramsay, who helms the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant and less-expensive eatery Maze. Conveniently, the ingenious coffee tables adjust to full height for a private dinner à deux. Room rates start at $279 ($379 during the Valentine’s period).
4. Akwaaba Mansion
347 MacDonough St between Lewis and Stuyvesant Aves, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-455-5958, akwaaba.com/brooklyn)
L.A. may have the Playboy Mansion, but Bed-Stuy has the Akwaaba Mansion. The 1860 Italianate pile is an infinitely classier venue in which to act out your lord-and-lady-of-the-manor fantasies. The deluxe B&B, run by husband and wife Glenn Pogue and Monique Greenwood, combines elegant original features such as a (heated and enclosed) wraparound porch, high ceilings and carved marble fireplaces with African artworks. A complimentary cooked breakfast, featuring the signature French toast with cinnamon pears, is served in the stately paneled dining room.
Sex factor: Three out of the four spacious rooms have double Jacuzzi tubs, and turndown service includes running your bubble bath for a sensual soak. While the Jumping the Broom room, with its lace-canopied four-poster, is popular with honeymooning couples, the simple sophistication of the Ashanti room—with its king-sized carved wooden bed and his-and-hers bathroom sinks—is a more suitable setting for a raunchy night. Rates start at $175 during the week, and $190 from Friday through Saturday—add $50 for the Whipped Cream and Pleasant Dreams package, which includes a bottle of champagne, strawberries and the eponymous house-whipped delight. Mention Time Out New York or enter the promo code “TONY” when booking for a 14 percent discount through the end of February 2011.
5. Library Hotel
299 Madison Ave at 41st St (212-983-4500, libraryhotel.com)
It’s often been said that the brain is the most important sex organ, and the Library has plenty of intellectual stimulation on whatever subject floats your boat. The hotel is organized on the principles of the Dewey decimal system—each of its ten floors is allocated a category, such as Literature, the Arts and General Knowledge, and each elegantly understated room contains a collection of books and artwork pertaining to a subject within that category. Add a cozy bookish bar, the 14th-floor Bookmarks, which combines a paneled den outfitted with a fireplace and sofas and a romantic glassed-in roof terrace, and you have the perfect thinking person’s seduction spot.
Sex factor: Unless poetry ignites your passion or you want to whisper sweet nothings to your lover in one of the Slavic languages, request the Erotic Literature room, where, surrounded by tastefully risqué prints, you can brush up on your technique using the in-room Kama Sutra. The Love room (interestingly, filed under Philosophy) has a king-sized bed, an ivy-clad balcony overlooking the New York Public Library and reading matter ranging from Ovid’s The Art of Love to Dr Ruth Westheimer’s The Art of Arousal (the veteran sexpert is honorary curator of the room’s book collection). Room rates start at $239 ($349 during the Valentine’s period). Enter the promo code “TONY” when booking online to receive a 12 percent discount through the end of February 2011.
time out, lisa ritchie