Once upon a time (well, a century ago to be precise), the Colony Arcade building opens as a home to some the world’s most notable millinery firms. Located two blocks from Bryant Park on the West 38th Street in the Garment District in New York,  the once-residential area were razed to make way for more than 100 high-rise factories and showrooms, the Refinery Hotel (renamed in 2013 and opened its door as a hotel), member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World,  was once one of these buildings named The Colony Arcade.

In 1914, businesswoman Winifred T. McDonald rented the Colony Arcade’s 20,000-square foot ground floor space and turned it into a tea room for ladies and a separate restaurant for men, which became the current Parker & Quin restaurant and Winnies Jazz Bar. This increased foot traffic on West 38th Street. On the upper floors of the Colony Arcade, milliners like Richard Sentner prepared lines of trimmed and tailored hats, while furriers such as Harry Rothleder sold fur garments.

Drawing inspiration from the fashionable past, each of the 197 rooms at the feature industrial accents such as 12-foot ceilings and distressed hardood floors, calling attention to the Colony Arcade’s early life as a hat factory, combining an artistic ambiance and factory-style into a cozy nest in the heart of the buzzling Manhattan.  In the evening the hotel gets quite busy, as the lobby bar usually is filled with all sorts of guests who enjoy a nightcap or the live jazz music; and there will be crowds of guests hoping to go to the Rooftop Bar.

It is not difficult to see artpieces that are available for sale throughout the hotel, a nice little touch of the artistic side of the hotel.


Little details like working Edison telephones in the hallways, dark green leather seats at the hotel’s Parker & Quinn Restaurant, and live jazz at Winnie’s lobby bar are little touches to celebrate the hotel’s long history, while the trendsetting Refinery Rooftop bar, with the view of the Empire Building and contemporary Hatbox gallery space translates modern day New York fashionable reputation. There are constantly long queues to go up to the Rooftop Bar, during our stay there was private events and fully packed with both hotel and other guests.

The restaurant, with a hint of nostalgia features classic design touches that span a century of New York City history, from the building’s early life as a working factory to a chic, present-day meeting place for fashionables.