If you’re checking into the Refinery Hotel after 5 p.m., you might feel a bit underdressed, given that everyone else is glitzed up in skinny suits, tiny sheath dresses, and sparkly sky-high heels. Don’t be alarmed: They’re heading to the hotel’s rooftop bar, one of the prime party zones in Manhattan. The 3,500-square-foot Refinery Rooftop has three hangout sections, but the best spot is outdoors, thanks to a dazzling view of the Empire State Building. Time your visit during sunset and you’ll feel like you’re on a movie set — but no, it’s real, and aren’t you fabulous? A retractable glass roof and a fireplace will keep the bar toasty in wintertime; local jazz bands and DJs perform on a small stage.
One hundred years ago, it was a very different scene. Set in the city’s Garment District, the 197-room hotel was formerly a hat factory. The 1912 Neo-Gothic building still looks the part on the outside, while interiors are detailed with tools of the millinery trade, and the custom-made desks in guest rooms pay homage to the Singer sewing machines once used by employees. The neighborhood — renamed the Fashion District — isn’t terribly exciting unless you love buttons and trims, but it’s a short walk to Times Square and Chelsea. And the Refinery certainly adds some flair to the ’hood. Besides the rooftop bar, there’s Winnies (a lobby bar) and Parker & Quinn, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rooms from $399. 63 West 38th St., New York, 646-664-0310, www.refineryhotelnewyork.com
DIANE BAIR AND