Boutique hotels tend to appeal to discerning travelers due to their high quality, personalized service. The welcome from the staff is warmer and the smiles brighter. Guests get that uplifting feeling of being human when they check in instead of just being a reservation number, as can happen at massive, sprawling hotel chains.
But when a boutique hotel is continually inundated with reviews that the beds are just too plush and too comfy, that property immediately drops from the “very good” category, entering the ranks of extraordinary to join a list of… elite of the best hotels in the world. . This is the case at the Kimberly Hotel. The boutique inn is a mix of deluxe rooms and chic and exquisite one- and two-bedroom suites at Lexington Avenue and East 50 Street in Midtown Manhattan. All accommodations are spacious compared to other New York City properties, and each unit is thoughtfully and uniquely curated with elegant furnishings and soothing artwork. Most suites have balconies with views of the legendary New York skyline. Some come with kitchenettes, wet bars, and other amenities one would expect of a luxury property, including L’Occitane toiletries from Provence in southern France. And it doesn’t hurt that the hotel’s downtown location is within walking distance of upscale Fifth Avenue shopping and close to many New York City sights and attractions. It’s no surprise, then, that the Kimberly has won numerous accolades in the travel industry, including the Conde Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Award for being among New York’s Best Hotels.
Sales and Marketing Manager, Marcia Skyers James, is Jamaican, and for twenty-six years she has made The Kimberly the number one residence for Jamaicans visiting New York. The hotel has hosted five Jamaican Prime Ministers – Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, PJ Patterson, Portia Simpson Miller and Andrew Holness. Other Jamaican celebrities have enjoyed stays there. Sheryl Lee Ralph lived at the Kimberly during her Broadway performances for Resolutely modern Millie. And Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, Lennox Lewis, Christopher Martin, Spice, Veronica Campbell-Brown have all been guests. The launch and performance of Stitchie’s debut album on Atlantic Records also took place there, on the same stage where former US President Bill Clinton later entertained a captive audience on saxophone. Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden checked in, Biden while he was vice president. The Kimberly has also hosted many members of parliament, government officials and Jamaican business leaders. And during the month of September, when the United Nations General Assembly is in session, the hotel’s guest list is usually a who’s who of world leaders and state officials closely watched by a buzz of security guards. body.
So what makes the Kimberly such an obsession for savvy travelers? The Sunday Gleaner threw this question at Marcia Skyers James, a foreign languages graduate of St Hugh’s High School and the University of the West Indies in Kingston, who left another fabulous luxury brand, the Waldorf Astoria, to take over sales and marketing. marketing at the Kimberly.
“When we travel, we want to feel safe, comfortable and at home, awash in luxury, and our customers also want to know they will be well taken care of,” she said. “Our guests found it here. Plus, many of our employees have been tenured here for decades. Customers love meeting familiar faces. Our loyal customers are recognized, welcomed by name, and made to feel like they’ve come home,” added Skyers James, with great joy.
In keeping with the highly personalized service offered at the Kimberly, the hotel prefers to speak with its guests prior to their arrival to ensure that guests’ whims, fancies and requests can be met in advance. Additional on-site facilities include a steak house and Italian restaurant on the ground floor and a year-round enclosed rooftop oasis offering breakfast in the morning and drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the evening on background of iconic skyscrapers and sparkling city lights. . The hotel also has meeting rooms for small and large groups, and it has known perfection in organizing events such as corporate meetings, weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and other gatherings. . A big point of interest at the Kimberly is also the breathtaking 2,300 gallon saltwater aquarium in the lobby which houses a collection of colorful fish. Children and adults alike love to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center to gaze at the watery glare.
And if you’re still wondering about those plush, comfortable beds that customers rave about for the best sleep ever, Skyers James has let us in on the secret. “We start by using really good mattresses, which we encase in a delirious mattress topper. Then the magic is perfected with luxury, premium Italian-made linens that will guarantee an overnight trip to wonderland with a soft and smooth sleep. heavenly,” she revealed.
Kimberly, 37, continues to be a magnet for travelers to Jamaica and the Caribbean. Part of the appeal is that travelers feel reassured knowing they have one of their own there who will take care of them. And stories abound of Skyers James’ thoughtfulness and detailed attention to all her guests. She recalled a funny story of customer relations with a chuckle. “I once got a call from a Jamaican woman who said she wanted to speak to the Jamaican woman who owns The Kimberly. I assured her that I was the Jamaican she was looking for but that I didn’t own the hotel,” the ever charming Skyers James said with a smile.