How To Book A Room At The McKittrick Hotel

It was about the time when a nurse grabbed my hand, pulled me from the crowd into a private room, locked the door, and put a necklace on me saying “this will protect you from danger,” that I realized Sleep No More is one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had in New York City.

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Sleep No More is an immersive theatrical production put on by the British company Punchdrunk, and chances are you’ve never seen anything like it.

They’ve taken over an entire abandoned building at 530 West 27th Street and built some absolutely incredible sets spanning 100,000 square feet over five floors – including, of course, the McKittrick Hotel seen in Monday’s post (I never seem to get that April Fools date right…).

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This isn’t a stage show – rather, you are allowed to freely roam the entire 100-room set, which includes a taxidermist’s shop, a witches lair, a detective agency, a graveyard, and so many more that I don’t want to ruin by giving them away here (what you saw in my post literally represents only 6% or so of the entire set up).

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You can touch what you want, sit where you want, open what you want – exploring is encouraged, as every item could contain a clue to the mystery.

As you explore, the play literally happens around you, a story best described as Macbeth meets Hitchcock. You might stumble on a vicious murder, an orgy (with nudity!), a violent card game, a ball in full swing. Whether you stay and watch, or continue to explore, is completely up to you (though you’ll find it hard to resist chasing after an actor when he barrels by covered in blood).

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Oh, and did I mention that every single audience member has to remain silent, and wear a Venetian mask?

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Alick Crossley / Sleep No More

Unfortunately, the show has been sold out through mid-April since it was announced. :(

BUT!

They’ve just extended the run, and tickets are now available through May 14! :)

What you’ve seen and read here represents a small fraction of the wonderful surprises and eerie secrets waiting to be discovered inside The McKittrick Hotel. I wish I could tell you everything, but rather than ruin it, I’ll let you book a room and see for yourself.

-SCOUT

PS – A few tips for making the most of the Sleep No More experience:

  • Get in at the earliest showtime possible
  • Catch up on Macbeth (at the very least, the SparkNotes)
  • Wear comfortable sneakers (it’s not necessary, but you’ll probably want to run after the actors as they zip by)
  • Go with a group, but once inside, explore on your own – no talking is allowed, and it’s really an individual experience
  • There’s no right way to explore, but my advice? Focus more on the action early on than the sets, which you can always explore during quiet periods
  • After a point, the scenes will loop, allowing you to see overlapping events

PPS – It took me by surprise, but a few people made it VERY clear that they hate April 1, and really, any sort of momentary fantasy in their otherwise earthbound lives. Me, I love being snookered in good fun when I’m least expecting it. But if you weren’t a fan of Monday’s post, you probably shouldn’t read this. And you definitely shouldn’t read this. And by all means, stay away from this.

Attending a performance of Sleep No More is, without a doubt, one of the most fun and memorable experiences I’ve ever had in New York City.

If you’ve never heard of it, Sleep No More is an immersive theatrical production put on by the British company Punchdrunk, and chances are you’ve never seen anything like it. They’ve taken over an entire building at 530 West 27th Street and built some absolutely incredible set spanning five floors – including, of course, the McKittrick Hotel seen in Monday’s post.

The story could best be described as Macbeth meets Hitchcock, but the really ingenuity of Sleep No More is in how you experience it. Rather than sitting in theater seats watching a stage show, you are allowed to freely roam the entire five story set. The pictures in my post are literally just a fraction of what there is to see – you’ll find a taxidermist’s shop, a detective agency, a graveyard, a ballroom, and plenty more that I wouldn’t want to ruin by describing here.

As you wander through, you’ll stumble on scenes being acted out by the characters – murders, orgies, card games, a ball in full swing…Whether you stay and watch the actors, or continue to explore, is up to you. Meanwhile, there are thousands of details to examine, like envelopes with letters, bibles with secret compartments cut in the pages, and so on.

The best part? When you’re looking at something, only to have a blood-covered cast member rush past you, and you suddenly find yourself in a crowd of audience members chasing him down.

Oh, and did I mention that every single audience member has to remain silent, and wear a Venetian mask?

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Alick Crossley / Sleep No More

After I saw the play, I immediately wrote to the company to ask if I could do a post highlighting their absolutely brilliant set design. They graciously allowed me to take pictures of the hotel portion, and in keeping with the spirit of the show, I decided to write it up as I would any other post on this site. It was meant to run April Fools, but set work has been keeping me busy.

Sadly, the show has been sold out through April 27 for months now.

BUT!

They’ve extended the run, and tickets are now available through May 7. I can’t recommend the show highly enough. Get them now – its been selling out like crazy, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

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30 comments

  1. The thing I love about your April Fools posts, Scout, is that we have virtually no defenses against them. Every regular post of yours introduces us to something we’ve never seen before, and engages our senses of wonder. So, starting to read a post where you’re presenting something we’ve never seen before is just business as usual.

    So, since just about every ScoutingNY post causes us to gasp in astonishment at something unexpected, that leaves us off-balance. At what point do our Bullshit Detectors kick in? Is it when the Flatiron Building suddenly shrinks to 8 or so stories? When a decades-long abandoned hotel has not a speck of dust anywhere?

    For me, anyway, that adds to the wonder of everything else that’s posted. Everything seems implausible–but so much of it is true!

    So, as far as I’m concerned, keep your Aprils Fools coming, Scout. After all, the date is usually a tipoff….

    • There will always be clues that just grow sillier and sillier, like the 8 story Flatiron or a deer covered in a pile of salt! My goal is never to just jump out and yell boo tho – it’s always to celebrate a place I love, and I just write posts as I’d like read them.

  2. Oh, wow, thanks so much for the update and the hints.
    Just booked our stay.

    • You will not regret it!

      • Can't wait to go again

        The show is really fantastic. It’s a whole lotta bang for your theater buck. Three other big hints for max viewing pleasure: 1) go as early as possible on one of the long-show nights/weekends so you don’t have to go twice (we were there for three hours on a weeknight and it wasn’t enough to see everything/take it all in, so we’re going to have to go again; weekend shows are up to five hours); 2) definitely run after the actors and move around a lot, and 3) go towards any loud music as quickly as possible. Oh, and 4) some scenes play out differently each time they loop…

  3. No way. That post was a fake?! Damn, I reedit-ed and face booked it and everything.

    Now I have to pretend I was in on the joke along with you. Dang.

    Anyway, ya got me.
    Bob

    • They got me too until about halfway through walking through the play, when I started saying to myself – no way this can be real! Then I was angry that I got duped. Then I realized how much fun it was to have believed in Santa again for a short while. Then I decided to spread the word and join in the fun.

  4. Can you say “Shill”?

  5. I don’t mind April Fool’s jokes so long as they’re on April 1 rather than four days later. If you’re not posting on April Fool’s Day, you’re just lying. :)

  6. Oh, Scout, how we hate you so much, but you’re so much fun to hate, we love you! :P

    I would totally go do this, but @ $85-95, well, that’s just a bit ouchie.

  7. I have to be honest and say that I read through most of your post on the McKittrick before I realized that something seemed “off” towards the end and then when you said that you really made an effort to post it on Friday, that was a dead giveaway to me that it was an April fools joke. So you shouldn’t feel the need to defend the post, or the fact that you posted it late. These posts are fun and different and really, most people should have been able to put 2 and 2 together! Keep on keepin’ on Scout!!

    • Oh, I’d post this in the middle of August if I felt like it. But the goal with these things is never just to jump out and yell “gotcha, you’re an idiot!” It’s always to photograph things I wouldn’t normally get to that I love, and make the story a little more fun :)

      • Jeremy In Kansas

        I understand doing something like this on April Fool’s Day, but doing it any other time isn’t a very nice thing to do. I come here to see pictures of and read about cool things that are real, and there are plenty of websites out there for fantasy if I want to read that. To me, your post was like someone telling me a false “fact” knowing that I’d repeat it. Not very nice.

        • Sorry Jeremy, sometimes, I just can’t control that Mr. Hyde…

          • Jeremy In Kansas

            I don’t mean to come off as a sourpuss or a spoil-sport, but a lot of your regular posts are fantastic and unbelievable (for someone living in Kansas) so I completely believed everything until I read the comments. I just started visiting your site a few months ago, so this was my first April Fool’s experience here. I guess next year I’ll know to be ready. :)

  8. I happen to really enjoy your April fools post…. especially that they don’t appear on April 1st… makes it even more believable and fun. Keep it up… can’t wait til next year lol

  9. I enjoyed it too. And probably would have bought it, if not for the last sentence in which you claim to have aimed for posting it on Friday. Why Friday, I wondered. And that’s when it all made sense. Pity that you got busted within the first comment, but don’t ever let that stop you from pulling this again, and again!

    • My goal is to actually get busted mid-way through the piece, as things get sillier – I thought that salt covered deer was a dead giveaway, but everyone just read right past it!

  10. Thanks for the heads up on this. I’ll be in New York durng that time and just booked a ticket! Very excited!

  11. I fell for it hook, line and sinker and I LIKED it … and sort liked how it aggravated some people, teehee!
    Scout,I lol’d at your comment, “an orgy (with nudity!)” It just reeked with the excitement of an adolescent boy … I always say I am a fifty year old educated woman with a twelve year old boy’s sense of humor because I still laugh at fart jokes!

  12. Ahhh Scout, I always love your April Fool’s Day posts; whether they are on the first, second, twelfth…Oct 22…I don’t care. It is fun and exciting. To see those pictures and part way through start thinking “wait a minute…this can’t be real”…it’s awesome. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers…pppffffttt!

  13. I LOVED the post! And am trying to figure out if I can swing a trip to NY (from CA) to see Sleep No More. It looks so intriguing!

  14. I just moved to NYC and I’m extremely thrilled to arrive just in time to catch this. I can’t remember if I’ve ever been so excited to go to a play before. The entire idea behind this is such a dream. Being free to wander room to room is so much more of an immersive experience than sitting in a chair. Thanks for the heads up about the extended run.

    Oh and p.s. keep the April fools posts coming, they’ve always been my favorite – Santa is a good reference for the thought process and increasing dissonance that occurs when reading them. Pretty embarrassed how long the Flat Iron had me going.

  15. Please scout out more gotcha material. Perhaps the best April Fool should be posted on August 8th. That would really keep us on our toes. A sense of humor works a whole lot better than a sense of outrage. Laugh at the joke and move on. Keep it up, I love it.

  16. New reader here. Love this blog a lot, but I have to chime in on the April Fools foul. I fwded that post like it was hot, even triple checking that it’s date wasn’t April 1. I saw April 4 and assumed you left a three day window just to let your readers know this was really something special and not a prank.

    We wanted to believe such an amazing discovery could still be made I guess. Don’t fuck with the fools, is what I would say. Keep it to the 1st.

  17. No worries; I enjoyed your post and I love a good April Fools joke!

  18. I went to see Punchdrunk’s Masque of the Red Death in London set in an old house in Battersea and the experience has stayed with me for years. Highly recommended anyone to go and see any of their productions. Hoping I get a chance to see this one

  19. I just went last night, on your rec, and IT WAS AMAZING! One of the best things I have ever done. Totally worth every cent. Thank you for writing about it!

  20. Hello my family member! I wish to say that this article is awesome,
    great written and come with approximately all vital infos.
    I would like to peer more posts like this .

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