Four of New York’s downtown neighborhoods are home to some of the city’s best new places to stay, with stunning views, hot restaurants and plenty of cool to spare. Here’s why when you’re next in town, you’ll probably be checking into one of them.
Rising above the Lower East Side, this concrete-and-glass, 18-story monolith can be seen from blocks around, but its height does mean that the 141 rooms have fantastic views of the city, from lower Manhattan to midtown and beyond. The concrete grey, black and metal décor of the rooms ensure industrial chic throughout, while the floor-to-ceiling windows let guests be voyeurs, one of New York’s best pleasures. There are a few surprises like the third-floor pool and lounge sunken behind a high wall for a bit of South Beach on the East River, and the private bar and balcony which can only be accessed by guests and members. The main restaurant, Shang, attract locals and out-of-towners alike for glamorous cocktails and chef Susur Lee’s pan-Chinese dishes. Those in the know enter from the Orchard Street entrance, which has a staircase leading directly to the second-floor eatery and bar, to avoid going through the lobby.
Also belonging to the Thompson hotel group, the Smyth goes for a masculine clubby feel—the lobby has walls covered in brown pin-striped wool and a collection of vintage and modern furniture and curiosities on the wall. The hotel opened in time for the recent Tribeca Film Festival, and was a hit with many of the celebs staying there. Perhaps they fell for the Mad Men style of the 100 rooms decorated with mid-century modern furniture, walnut-paneled accent walls and chrome lamps? The plush rugs in the bedrooms put most hotel “high-traffic” carpets to shame, and the glass-walled bathrooms are stellar. With the cellar cocktail lounge and Jour et Nuit restaurant are set to open this autumn, the buzz factor is sure to go up.
The Standard, New York
What else is there to say but a park runs through it? The 337 rooms share seriously amazing views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty on one side and the Empire State Building and Manhattan’s skyline on the other. But it’s the fact that the new High Line Park runs underneath the recently-constructed hotel in the Meatpacking District that gives the Standard its uniqueness and architectural merit. Standing astride the new green space, the Standard is working with the city to allow guest access directly to the park from the hotel. Until they do, distract yourself with a vertiginous cocktail up on the as-yet-unnamed 18th-floor bar and pool/lounge, where the circular bar and gilt-and-crystal chandeliers bring to mind glitzy 1960s cocktail rings, Auntie Mame style. The daring can pose along the glass safety wall on the 19th-floor rooftop lounge, or those who want their feet on the ground can chat the night away at sidewalk fire pits outside the lobby.
Rooms from $195.
The Cooper Square Hotel
This 21-story, glass-clad hotel shouldn’t work, towering at the edge of the East Village, where nothing much is over five stories and gritty tenements press up to the hotel’s second-floor bar like so many urchins against a bakery window. But somehow it does. The sloping, divided entrance—one side is the black-tiled bar and the other is the library—opens to the sidewalk, and the corner garden gives softness to a hard urbanscape. The 145 rooms are decorated in soothing neutral tones with books from the worthy Housing Works in SoHo, while the minibar is stocked with special items like Tina Thor jewellery and an intimacy kit. Chef Govind Armstrong’s Table 8 restaurant opened last month with a seasonal menu. You might find it hard to pry yourself off the buttery leather seats, but don’t miss out on being handed a glass of champagne– when you leave the downstairs toilet. If only the rest of life was so easily rewarded.
Rooms from $275.