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What We Love

  • Staying in a beautifully renovated building that once housed influential artists and writers like Norman Rockwell and Charles Dana Gibson
  • Exploring the surrounding NoMad neighborhood, a hub of hip lifestyle hotels, trendy concept stores, and buzzing restaurants
  • The in-room breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, doughnuts, and French press coffee

What To Know

  • An on-site fitness facility outfitted with Peloton stationary bikes is opening soon
  • There’s no spa, but nearby Heyday offers affordable facial treatments in a handsome space
  • For better views, ask for a room on one of the top floors of the 10-story building
Hotels living room lighting home Bedroom


Stylish hotel inside the iconic former home of Life magazine, with a star restaurant and a hidden bar that dates back to the Prohibition era

The Lowdown

Built in the late 1800s by architects Carrère and Hastings (better known for designing the New York Public Library in Bryant Park), the first home of Life Magazine was a Beaux-Arts stunner from the get-go. Through the decades, as the building became an apartment residence and then an unremarkable lodging, the word “Life” remained etched above the richly ornamented cornice at the entrance. Today, it is reborn as a boutique hotel that pays tribute to its history, retaining original restored architectural details like wood moldings and marble floors. In each of the 98 rooms, designer Tara Oxley paired vintage-style brass beds with sculptural modern chandeliers and antique leather suitcases. The look is both old-timey and fresh. Downstairs, an 18-seat lobby bar serves wine, beer, and snacks in the afternoons and evenings and continental breakfast for guests in the mornings. A full-service restaurant helmed by restaurateur Stephen Hanson (Dos Caminos; Blue Water Grill) and chef Michael Vignola (Aquavit; The Modern) is getting ready open in the fall. Also in the works: an intimate basement bar believed to have been used by Life staffers during the Prohibition.

In the Area

After a requisite visit to the Empire State Building, steps away from the hotel, explore the thriving (and less touristy) NoMad neighborhood to the south. Then area is home to top-notch restaurants like The Breslin, a fashionable gastropub helmed by celebrity chef April Bloomfield, and Marta, a Roman pizzeria run by one of New York’s top restaurateurs, Danny Meyer. Madison Square Park, a lovely tree-shaded square that hosts public art exhibits, is moments away. All around are heaps of attractions, including the original Shake Shack, the iconic Flatiron Building, the Italian food emporium Eataly, and coveted shops like ABC Carpet & Home.

How to Get There

Life Hotel
19 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001 United States