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Inside Civilian, a recent Broadway-themed hotel in Latest York that is brimming with theatrical pizzazz

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Should you love musicals, at some point of life you’ll need to plan a pilgrimage to Latest York to catch a Broadway show. Should you really love musicals, it may be an everyday expedition.

Even with the famous half-price tickets booth in Times Square, this may prove a costly business, plus the show itself might be over so soon, leaving you hungry for more.

A recent hotel has stepped into the limelight to deal with such matters and make your trip all of the more memorable.

James Murphy checks into the brand new hotel Civilian, which lies in Latest York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood, near the theatres of Broadway

'The Civilian is a hotel made by theatre-lovers for theatre-lovers,' James reveals. Above is the library-like Blue Room

‘The Civilian is a hotel made by theatre-lovers for theatre-lovers,’ James reveals. Above is the library-like Blue Room

The hotel's name is stencilled in brightly-lit letters alongside each side of the building, just like the city's theatres

The hotel’s name is stencilled in brightly-lit letters alongside both sides of the constructing, identical to town’s theatres

The Civilian – or CIVILIAN because it’s officially called, in capitals – has some impressive showbiz credentials. Firstly it’s situated at the guts of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, a neighbourhood that in our time doesn’t really deserve its nick-name.

Sat right behind the cluster of Manhattan’s theatres, the world has way more of a ‘backstage’ vibe: it’s busy, jittery, rammed with snack bars and various pubs, flanked by the skyscrapers’ plainer sides, each saving their showy, neon faces for Times Square.

Should you’re an everyday Latest York theatre-goer it’s the proper spot to grab a beer or burger pre- or post-show (even, for those who’re swift, within the interval, to avoid the exorbitant theatre prices).

The hotel itself is on the exact same street because the Longacre Theatre (where Tom Stoppard’s glittery recent play has just opened) and just one street away from such mega-hits as Wicked, Chicago and The Book of Mormon.

Fittingly, the hotel has a giant imposing marquee, its name stencilled in brightly-lit letters alongside both sides, identical to the nearby theatres, as if it were hosting a show itself. In some ways, it’s.

The Civilian is a hotel made by theatre-lovers for theatre-lovers. The intimate foyer glows with countless tiny bulbs identical to those you see round dressing-room mirrors. There’s a row of seats ripped straight from the stalls of a theatre (or the ‘orchestra’ as Latest Yorkers call the principal area of their auditoria). The cheerful, casually-dressed reception staff all have the vibe of Broadway hopefuls themselves, though they stop in need of bursting into song because the waiters do on the Stardust diner (two blocks away, and a lot fun).

James says of the hotel's guest rooms: 'They’re compact, like most New York hotels, but jazz hands have been hard at work, striving to give them a touch of theatrical pizzazz'

James says of the hotel’s guest rooms: ‘They’re compact, like most Latest York hotels, but jazz hands have been hard at work, striving to offer them a touch of theatrical pizzazz’

Pictured is James's room, complete with a velvety ornamental curtain that has been tied back, evoking Maria Bjornson’s iconic Phantom of the Opera designs Above is James' ensuite bathroom, which is 'playfully lit by oversized versions of dressing-room bulbs'

Pictured left is James’s room, complete with a velvety ornamental curtain that has been tied back, evoking Maria Bjornson’s iconic Phantom of the Opera designs. On the correct is James’s ensuite bathroom, which is ‘playfully lit by oversized versions of dressing-room bulbs’

Guest rooms feature jet-black illustrations of theatre exteriors and stage designs by Clint Ramos

Guest rooms feature jet-black illustrations of theatre exteriors and stage designs by Clint Ramos

The elevators that propel you as much as the hotel’s 203 rooms are wallpapered with Paul Tazewell’s Tony Award-winning costume designs for the musical Hamilton. 

In every corridor there are framed monochrome photos taken backstage at Broadway shows, from classics equivalent to Cats to the brand-new Beetlejuice, which this reviewer had a blast seeing on this latest trip. 

Someway this makes you’re feeling a part of the moment, and a part of the drama.

This spirit continues within the bedrooms. They’re compact, like most Latest York hotels, but jazz hands have been hard at work, striving to offer them a touch of theatrical pizzazz.

Each has a decorative velvety curtain tied back in a corner, evoking Maria Bjornson’s iconic Phantom of the Opera designs. Each has its own jet-black illustrations of theatre exteriors and stage designs by Clint Ramos. Each bathroom is playfully lit by oversized versions of dressing-room bulbs, supplying you with ample light to use your personal greasepaint.

Pictured is the first-floor bar where a few breakfast basics are served each morning, and drinks in the early evening

Pictured is the first-floor bar where a number of breakfast basics are served each morning, and drinks within the early evening

Framed pictures in the bar. According to James, the Civilian is a handy haven to make your base in New York, as it's full of fun and loving touches

Framed pictures within the bar. In keeping with James, the Civilian is a handy haven to make your base in Latest York, because it’s stuffed with fun and loving touches

'While few New York hotels are cheap, it’s also rather more affordable than many of its counterparts,' James says of Civilian. Above is the foyer The intimate foyer (above) glows with countless tiny bulbs just like those you see around dressing-room mirrors, James reveals

‘While few Latest York hotels are low-cost, it’s also relatively more cost-effective than a lot of its counterparts,’ James says of Civilian. The intimate foyer, pictured, glows with countless tiny bulbs identical to those you see around dressing-room mirrors, he reveals

An exhibit of ‘maquettes’, the compelling scale models that set designers make for shows

An exhibit of ‘maquettes’, the compelling scale models that set designers make for shows

All this set-dressing is charming but, completely satisfied to say, your essential necessities are covered too: air-con, television, remote-controlled black-out blinds, ample storage units and a protected beneath each bed, plump bedding and towels, and fragrant toiletries.

To borrow showbiz parlance, the hotel continues to be somewhat ‘in previews’ on my visit, they usually’re still putting the ending touches to the ground-floor Rosevale café, the library-like Blue Room, plus the rooftop Starchild bar. You get an excellent flavour of what’s in store from the first-floor bar where a number of breakfast basics are served each morning, and drinks within the early evening.

Here, more theatrical flourishes abound. There are more swag curtains cloaking a spiral staircase up from the lobby. 

Pictured is the spiral staircase that leads guests up from the lobby to their rooms - it's cloaked in swag curtains

Pictured is the spiral staircase that leads guests up from the lobby to their rooms – it’s cloaked in swag curtains 

And there’s an exhibit of ‘maquettes’, the compelling scale models that set designers make for shows. Again, a few of the current hits are amongst them, including Moulin Rouge.

Adjoining is one other inspired touch: the ‘Company Wall’, which features an eye-popping array of art specially commissioned from theatre professionals and fans alike, all responding to the identical lyric from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company: ‘It’s a city of strangers, some come to work, some to play.’

Whatever brings you to Latest York… work, play, or plays and musicals… the Civilian is a handy haven to make your base, stuffed with fun and loving touches. 

While few Latest York hotels are low-cost, it’s also relatively more cost-effective than a lot of its counterparts.

All in all, lyrics to a different Sondheim classic come to mind: ‘I’m only a Broadway Baby, learning find out how to sing and dance, waiting for that one big probability… to be in a show.’ 

The Civilian may not quite be on Broadway itself, however it’s waiting within the wings, sure of its lines, and prepared for a starry future.

TRAVEL FACTS

James was hosted by Civilian Hotel, 305 W forty eighth St, Latest York, NY 10036. Doubles are priced from £294. For more information, visit www.civilianhotel.com.

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Virgin Atlantic operates regular flights between London and Latest York. Visit www.virginatlantic.com.  

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