Well, all things must change, and the wonderful lobby described below is no more. It has been replaced with a fairly attractive but run of the mill, crowded lobby. The grand staircase is gone, and whatever furniture there is, is jammed into the room willy nilly. I have left the description below as a tribute to the Paramount Hotel Lobby past. We are sad. We loved the place.
You're transported, Matrix-like (but without the Surround Sound) to another dimension as the slim, clad-in-black doorboy ushers you off 46th St. into the cavernous lobby of the Paramount Hotel in New York City. Your eyes adjust to the darkness. Uber-modern chaise longues, puffy, bejoweled club chairs, 12-foot urns sprouting Alice-in-Wonderland flowers, old-time dial phones, long white linen-clad benches and squat, mushroom-like ottomans flourish under the 30-foot ceiling. The massive structure is studded with recessed spotlights and is anchored to the floor by a dramatic, silver-leaf stairway that slithers up a towering concave wall. Candles trace the curve of each step, flickering against the matte silvers and golds of the walls. Snippets of music drift from somewhere. You notice that, in spite of the bustle of the front desk, all sounds, like the light, diffuse into a soft. low-level whoosh. A 30 foot ceiling will do that.
In a word, this place is a TRIP. The hotel is (in)famous for its impossibly small guest rooms though all the amenities (including stainless-steel sinks, commodes and tubs) are there. The ornate elevators are lit with darkly colored bulbs, and if you're lucky they will open simultaneously, glowing like a Christmas display of deep reds, greens, ambers and blues. The lobby bathrooms are a voyeur's dream, constructed ENTIRELY of stainless steel and mirrors on every surface. Suffice it to say that if you are particularly modest, you might want to wait until you get up to your room to pee. On the other hand, you could end up making a brand new friend.
When I am in NYC, I always try to get people to meet me in the Paramount Hotel–especially for breakfast. The aptly named Mezzanine Restaurant [pictured, below right] overlooks the lobby on one side and 46th Street on the other. I love planting myself at a table by the railing, taking-in the shadowy goings-on below while still keeping an eye on the Broadway theater directly across the street. Breakfast features a buffet, with many items also available directly off the menu. Happy Hour is also an event there, with various noshes and concoctions whipped up by (at least on our visits) friendly bartenders. The plush Library Bar and an aroma-laden Dean & Deluca are both accessible from the lobby.
Various online reviews vary from “Dark and European” to “Funky and Fabulous.” Even if you don't stay there at the Paramount, find out for yourself how much fun both the lobby and the restaurant that floats above can be. The Paramount Hotel is at 235 W. 46th. Give them a call at (212) 764-5500. (B., L., D., Bar) Click here for a look at their website.