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Lately, New York City’s financial district has been evolving into a hip home base for visitors as well as locals. One of the best reasons for staying in the Lower Manhattan hub is Q&A Residential Hotel, a compelling new accommodation in one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
The 132-room Q&A — short for Question and Answer — spans the third to sixth floors of a historic 66-story skyscraper just steps from Wall Street. Since it opened in November 2015, Q&A has been delighting business and leisure guests with its chic, fully-furnished quarters.
“We aren’t connected with any hotel brands,” said Anna Gaffney, director of sales for the property. “That gives Q&A the independence to ‘color outside the lines’ as we perfect the guest experience.”
A Fresh ApproachDuring my recent stay at Q&A, I could tell right away that the hotel marches to its own drummer. It’s set in the former AIG building, a magnificent landmark built in 1932. With gilded ceilings and gleaming marble, its glamorous public spaces represent Art Deco aesthetic at its finest.
In contrast, the hotel’s reception area is completely modern, from the neon Q&A sign behind the sleek check-in desk to Picasso-esque pillows on the black leather couch. My room was equally fashionable, with its gray and white decor, voguish furniture and asymmetrical carpets.
Each of Q&A’s units features square footage that’s three times larger than the average New York City hotel room, so guests can really spread out. I loved the home-away-from-home mood of my studio, with a full kitchen equipped with top-of-the-line cookware, a dishwasher, a stove, a refrigerator and even martini glasses. Rooms offer the comforts I would expect in a luxury hotel, such as free Wi-Fi access, USB ports, smart televisions and Bose speakers.
Paying tribute to all things inventive, Q&A’s clever design scheme is inspired by the world’s great thinkers. Units are enlivened by black-and-white wallpaper scribbled with math formulas and blown-up blueprints of famous patents by the likes of Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. An in-room hanging chalkboard comes in handy for brainstorming ideas or leaving reminder notes. Presiding over each room is a statue of the hotel’s trademark owl, injecting an extra touch of wisdom.
For families and friends traveling together, Q&A earns nods for amenities such as multiple bedrooms and rollaway beds. Two-bedroom units have washer/dryers, while guests in other room types can use the sixth-floor laundry room. For business clients, the staff is quick to arrange what’s needed for in-suite meetings. Some accommodations even come with a dedicated office space.
Among other Q&A perks are a 24/7 lounge with complimentary morning pastries and coffee. The lobby-level Black Fox cafe stands out for its artisanal coffees, including a terrific flat white. Guests have access to the La Palestra health and wellness center, which takes up 23,000 square feet on the building’s lower level. In 2017, watch for two big additions to the hotel: a 13,000-square-foot gourmet grocer and a four-story rooftop restaurant promising unparalleled views from on high.
A Thriving NeighborhoodStaying at Q&A allowed me to get acquainted with New York’s financial district, which feels less crazy and crowded than the city’s more tourist-centric destinations. The area is seeing a resurgence of popularity since the opening of One World Trade Center, an easy walk from the hotel.
Q&A is quite close to visitor draws, including Battery Park — with its ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island — and St. Paul’s Chapel, which dates back to 1766. I particularly enjoyed strolling through the plaza by the New York Stock Exchange, with its lively mix of brokers and buskers.
When it’s time to venture out to other parts of Manhattan, Q&A’s location is once again ideal. From the front door, it takes under one minute to walk to the Wall Street subway stop, which provides direct service to uptown tourist highlights such as Central Park and Times Square.
To date, Q&A has savored success thanks to its unique take on hospitality, said Gaffney.
“We’re actively working with travel agents and meeting planners,” Gaffney said. “We’re giving them a great product with all the amenities of a hotel coupled with the square footage of corporate housing.”
There’s no question that Q&A is a vibrant addition to the Lower Manhattan hotel scene. When clients ask for accommodations combining the best of home and away, Q&A is an exceptional answer.