Standard Hotel guests offer unobstructed views

Beautiful skyline views aren’t the only visual attraction at New York’s new Standard Hotel.

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When Travel + Leisure reviewed New York’s brand-new Standard Hotel in its March 2009 issue, the magazine noted that “practically every room has stunning skyline or Hudson River vistas.” No doubt those stunning views played a role in the hotel winning the Municipal Art Society's Best New Building of 2009.

As it turns out, the skyline isn’t the only compelling view being offered. The hotel (located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district), also overlooks a city park, and since it’s opening the hotel’s reputation has grown as an exhibitionist paradise. Countless guests have been observed through the rooms’ huge, non-reflective glass windows engaged in all manner of sexual activity—men and women solo, men and women, women and women, men and men, leather and chains, and so forth. This exhibitionism problem was foreshadowed in the last line of the Travel + Leisure article: “Draw the curtains if you don’t want to be an accidental exhibitionist,” warned the reviewer, perhaps giving people ideas.

But one could also argue that the hotelier went out of its way—nudge, nudge, wink, wink—to encourage this so-called problem. After all, designer André Balazs took pains to highlight the “exhibitionist” nature of his building, and even published a racy ad (above) inviting guests to occupy the hotel while it was still under construction. “We’ll put up with your banging if you put up with ours,” read the ad copy, placed alongside a well-oiled woman wearing nothing but a tool belt, one hand draped over a long hammer.

Seems like a developing story worth keeping an eye on.