While quite a splurge, I gave the 47-room Casa Cipriani a try during my last visit to New York City. This hotel was impeccable in every way, but at the price point, it should be expected.
Casa Cipriani New York Review
I’m generally a loyal Hyatt guest, but this year I’ve been branching out and testing the waters at more luxurious hotels and resorts. My friend had reserved a nice suite so I decided to join, though I reserved my own room.
Casa Cipriani is not only a hotel but a private membership club that opened in the old Battery Maritime Building, a ferry terminal, in Lower Manhattan. The Beaux-Arts building was completed in 1909 and is owned by the Italian company Cipriani SA, which operates several hotels and restaurants around the world. Giuseppe Cipriani, the family patriarch, started the business in Italy. There, he founded the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice and purportedly invented cocktails including the Bellini and Negroni. As the hotel tells the story, Carpaccio also originated at Harry’s Bar, which was a favorite watering hole of Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart.
Quite candidly, trying to justify the $700 plus tax ($800 all-in) price tag was difficult. Very difficult. In the end, I booked it anyway, because I saw no other review of this property online…and as it turned out, I was very fortunate to get the pictures I did.
I’ll jump ahead now and say that I had to be extremely discreet about taking pictures here. Photography is generally frowned upon, especially in the club area. Nevertheless, I was able to capture some great photos which will give you a good impression of what this property is like.
Location + Noise
Located in the Financial District, the Battery Maritime Building sits between the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to the east.
If there was one thing I both loved and hated about the hotel, it was the noise. Expect to suddenly be startled by the blaring horn of a ferry throughout the daylight hours. Expect helicopters to fly right by the hotel as they land at the nearby heliport.
And yet, where else can you look out and see Lady Liberty perched nearby?
I arrived by subway (Whitehall Street Metro), which was a short walk into the hotel.
I could have had the hotel pick me up, as it offers car service in the immediate vicinity, but the afternoon walk did me well after spending the morning in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
The lobby is small I was promptly greeted by a bellman as I walked in, who grabbed my bag and escorted me to the check-in desk. Upon checking in, I was assigned room 327 and directed to an elevator in the rear of the lobby.
As I walked down the hall, it certainly felt like I was on a ship.
My room was small. There was no view. But it was extremely comfortable. The leather chairs were high quality (you could smell the leather across the room), the bed comfortable, the carpet plush, and it was a perfectly cozy place to sleep.
The bathroom was small but included a large walk-in shower (no bathtub).
The following morning, I discovered I had a balcony as well (my room category was Deluxe City Patio King). It may have been helpful to a smoker, but there wasn’t a view at all and it was a hot summer day.
The Casa Cipriani takes its minibars very seriously. I had a suite-sized minibar with large bottles of booze in my room.
A Lavazza coffee machine with capsules was also present and dispensed very respectable espresso.
So in conclusion, the room was small but very comfortable with nice amenities.
As a point of comparison, my friend booked a premier river view suite and had this amazing terrace:
The Club At Casa Cipriani
Perhaps the biggest draw for this hotel is the members-only Club on the fifth floor. Annual membership is expensive, but hotel guests have access to club facilities, which include a Cipriani restaurant and bar, jazz café, and living room and terrace areas.
Here’s what the club looks like during the day:
As the home of the bellini, I sampled one and found it to be delicious…it’s all about the peach puree.
I thought it would be cool to experience a jazz club (I missed that in New Orleans…) but sadly the jazz café is closed on Mondays.
Note the club rules – a strict dress code is in place, and I loved it.
Breakfast At Casa Cipriani New York
Breakfast is served via in-room dining or on the club floor in the Cipriani restaurant. If you book via American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, your breakfast is included.
The owner of the hotel was sitting in the restaurant having a lively breakfast with a couple of friends as I had mine. Other than that, the dining room was empty. But breakfast was very delicious. Here’s a look at the menu:
The coffee was superb, berries and orange juice fresh, and my Uovo al Pomodoro (eggs poached in tomato sauce) was excellent precisely because I assumed an Italian hotel would have incredible tomato sauce and indeed it did.
I want to give a special shout-out to Hugo, who took such great care of me during breakfast.
Another highlight of this property is the spa and wellness area. I found the massages too expensive to justify, but the sauna is such an important part of my daily routine and this hotel offers a great sauna and steam room. Hours are from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.
I was slightly annoyed that the sauna was not warm enough. 140ºF is too low and I asked that it be turned up to 180º but it cannot seem to go about 160º. At least the steam room was hot.
Here’s the full spa menu:
I did not have to leave my fitness routine at home thanks to the comprehensive gym offered at this hotel. While there are strength training and cardiovascular machines, the emphasis is on Crossfit-style training. Personal trainers are also available, though I did not use one (two other members or hotel guests took advantage of it during my workout…it seems like a nice perk).
Note, that this hotel does not have a pool.
I had some orange juice and sparkling water with my friend upon arrival and went back to my room planning on skipping dinner.
But by 9:00 pm hunger struck and I ordered dinner: tagliardi with veal ragu followed by lamb chops with grilled vegetables.
Pasta is something I will only eat when traveling or on rare occasions and this was a very delicious splurge and the highlight of the meal, though the lamb and vegetables were delicious as well.
Here’s the full room service menu:
Casa Cipriani Courtesy Car
Within a five-mile radius of the hotel, Casa Cipriani offers a courtesy car service, which can be very convenient if you are working or sightseeing in the area or midtown.
I have nothing but great things to say about the staff at this hotel. I mentioned Hugo above and want to give a shoutout to the entire team. From the check-in staff to the concierge (who helped us arrange a car last-minute to the heliport and then transport our bags to JFK since they would not fit on the helicopter) to the bartenders to the restaurant staff…everyone was kind, courteous, and well-trained.
Of course, you’d expect that at a fine hotel in Manhattan, but it was so great to experience flawless service that wasn’t stuffy or pretentious.
So I guess the question is whether I would return. The answer is maybe. I truly loved it. It checked off all the boxes for me (great wellness area, great room service, great coffee, great breakfast) and I’d love to return to the jazz club. But I wouldn’t take my children here because there is no swimming pool and I tend to agree with my friend that if you’re going to splurge and stay here, you might as well splurge for a room with a view:
It’s the price tag that gets to me. So much money for one night in a hotel. But truth be told, $700/night isn’t too bad in Manhattan…this isn’t Akron or Sacramento.
I arrived with great expectations and those expectations were exceeded with the kind and well-intentioned service…that earns the Casa Cipriani New York a very positive review.