R5 The Study at Yale: New Haven’s Hip, Unique Hotel

Yes, from its name and folded-eyeglasses logo to being booked up years in advance for graduation weekends, The Study in New Haven is proud of its proximity to Yale University, and is located in the heart of an urban-chic downtown toward the southern end of campus. But the truth is that the 70,000-square-foot Study, which opened in 2008 after development by a former W Hotels design executive, is a hip-yet-homey hotel with smart/fun vibe all its own.

Take the loaner iPads; imported coffee and wine in the lobby; soft, oversized, distressed-leather reading chairs in every room; and windows that start at knee height and go to the ceiling, looking out over the campus. It’s right in the sweet spot between the steel and glass of contemporary urban architecture and the classic elegance you expect of a destination hotel.

Your vacation begins when the valet takes your car to the 24-hour-access lot and you head into the lobby—the hotel’s “Living Room”—where you’ll find fashionable, up-to-date periodicals on a variety of subjects and class-books on the bookshelves. And you can read them while sitting in the aforementioned chairs while sipping an Illy or munching on one of the organic baked goods from The Café. (We adored the gingersnap cookies.)

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Up in your room, you’ll find Grohe bathroom fixtures (with relaxation-inspiring shower settings like Champagne and rain), an iPod-ready Bose speaker set, and a soft seersucker robe. There’s also a flat-screen HDTV, pillow-top mattresses, and free Wi-Fi, plus a fitness room for guests and a few Mac workstations scattered throughout the hotel for that perfect—and necessary—contemporary, urban feel.

From there, New Haven is yours to explore. It has gone from the grime of the 1970s and 1980s to a revitalized gem. For instance, like a lot of cities surrounded by good land and filled with smart, young, cosmopolitan people, New Haven has quite a few foodie destinations. It also has a vibrant art scene (it’s almost ho-hum when a play that premieres at the Long Wharf Theater down by Long Island Sound wins a Pulitzer—again) and the kinds of bars and clubs that draw students and professionals alike.

Details: Standard rooms begin at $159 per night. There are other accommodations, like Premier King Rooms (which begin at $259), King Study Suites ($269), and a Presidential Suite.

Dine: New Haven is home to the pizzerias that claim to have invented American pizza.  Wooster St favorites that vie for the distinction are Sally’s Apizza (sallysappiza.com) and The Original Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (pepespizzeria.com), two restaurants for which most would-be patrons are more than happy to wait on line. Chapel St is known for its Thai restaurants, plus the you-wouldn’t-even-know-it’s-vegetarian Claire’s Corner Copia  (clairescornercopia.com), with its famous Lithuanian coffee cake. Barcelona New Haven (barcelonawinebar.com/newhaven.htm) is doing killer tapas, cheese plates, and wine pairings.

Explore: Do not miss the newly renovated and expanded Yale University Art Gallery (artgallery.yale.edu). Louis Kahn designed the original space, and, aside from its startling African, Asian, and Greek and Roman galleries, the Gallery is the surprising home to a number of masterpieces from the post-Impressionist (and post-post-) pantheon, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Brancusi, Pollock, Rothko, Lichtenstein, and much more. Also, The Yale Center for British Art (britishart.yale.edu) is right across the street.

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Insider Tip: In the fall, the best hiking and viewing (of leaves, the city itself, and even the Sound) is East Rock Park, way up Whitney Ave. Also, since The Study sponsors the Yale Reperatory Theatre (yalerep.org)—which brings in a number of acting heavyweights, like Paul Giamatti for their recent Hamlet—they can often get guests last-minute tickets.

The Study at Yale
1157 Chapel St, New Haven, CT
(203) 503-3900; studyhotels.com
Distance from White Plains: 1 hr.

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