4.0
Very Good 192 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

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

Overview

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

Reviews

4.0 Very Good 192 Reviews
Hotel location and quality is fine, service is super poor i would not stay there again.
Reviewed 4 days ago

I had booked 5 rooms and looked to change hotel as we book about 200 night a year in NYC. we had several basic issues with the hotel which we complained about and they didnt solve. Therefore they said they will waive the resort fee and all we have to do is email them at info@hotmail.com which obviously is not their mail. Then they charged us for the fee and have been giving us all sort of excuses. Will for sure take my business elsewhere.

Great stay at the Life
Reviewed 4 days ago

My stay was great mainly due to a wonderful front desk lady by the name of Catharine (if I’m not mistaken). She upgraded me to a larger room the first time I called to confirm my reservation, with even knowing me. She then welcomed me with a huge smile and an even bigger heart as I arrived and made sure I was ok.
The location is wonderful if you are looking to explore both the lower side and enjoy midtown shows, shopping and entertainment options. The room was huge in terms on NYC hotels, clean and comfortable. It was also quite quiet at night, which is also a major plus. And the air in the room was pleasant and not dry and suffocating- another amazing advantage this time of year.

Love my room, not the staff
Reviewed 5 days ago

I absolutely love the location, ambiance/decor, and prices of this hotel. Some rooms are very small with no view (Except for the back fo a neighboring building), but they provide everything you need for a comfortable stay. I loved the smart TV in the room (though I couldn't add Netflix to it, and the interface was a little glitchy). My only complaint would be a combination of the staff and their room policy. I have stayed her multiple times for business travel, and my last reservation somehow ended on the wrong date. I tried to get clarification at check in, and the employee rolled her eyes at me, and continued to show her impatience with me trying to clarify the check out date. After that, I was provided with no options to check out on the earlier date, and paid for a full night despite not being there. As a returning customer, I think any response from staff, whether credits towards another hotel service or a voucher, would have been great. Other than that, walking through the loud bar to get to the hotel can be annoying, and the breakfast options are very limited.

Loved it
Reviewed 1 week ago

They were accommodating to take our luggage in advance as we were moving from another hotel that morning. The rooms were exactly as they advertised. Great bathroom products and extremely clean!
The bar and restaurant downstairs were buzzing for a Friday evening. Had a drink at the bar to get away from the abrupt thunderstorm and the manager even gave us a complimentary glass of champagne when he realised we were in-house guests.
Cannot complain about anything until some noise coming from our room abruptly woke us up at 5am. They later explained it was the heating but it was so loud there was no way you could go back to sleep. Regardless of that true Hôtel itself was lovely as would consider it again as a go to hotel when in NY next.

Loved the room
Reviewed 1 week ago

Yes it is a bit awkward to enter the hotel as there is the bar and restaurant you have to walk through to get to the reception. In the evening it is very lively and crowed that might be bothersome but I kinda liked it. The staff is really nice and very friendly. Best thing for me was the room. I just loved it, made me feel at home and I enjoyed my stay. The heater was a bit noisy but that was not really that annoying.