Room Reaction: Although we had booked the cheapest room, the standard queen for $215 a night, our corner location afforded us a tad more space than the rooms throughout the center of the hotel. In that precious extra few feet we got a tub large enough for two, a giant scandi-modern cabinet cum minibar, and an L-shaped booth and adjustable table looking like it was ripped straight from a vintage RV.
The queen bed is right along one of the walls of windows, allowing for easy traffic-watching at night or embarrassing mornings with the construction workers across the street. The pillows are so fluffy as to defy conventional notions of fluffiness, and the comforter resembles a cloth baby diaper. Keep the heavy curtains firmly shut against the morning light and let the bed take charge.
On to the controversial bathroom: the only privacy comes in the small toilet nook, with closing door. The transparent shower is extremely disconcerting, as we feared, although not for the reasons you may expect. Alone in the room and with the curtains closed, modesty is disregarded and we could totally watch TV. Nonetheless, the shower irked us because there is no door to close across one side, allowing all the water from a crazy showerhead with an uncontrollably wide spray range to soak the floor. Pair this with the high threshold of the tub and slick white floor tiles, and we fear for future accidents. This is not a hotel for old people, unlike the West Hollywood Standard which is a former elderly home.
The View: Even if people hate the decor and despise being caught up in the scene, guests will flock to The Standard for the ridiculously amazing views. From our room facing north, we could look over the great expanse of Chelsea and up to Midtown with the Empire State Building and more. The corner window facing west overlooked the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, with water taxis zipping between Hoboken and Manhattan. Since The Standard's windows are completely clear, those construction workers a block over are guaranteed to get some interesting entertainment, whether the guests intend to be exhibitionist or not. Oh, and we could totally see into the bathroom of another room.
Amenities: During this soft opening period, only the lobby and living room (a small cocktail lounge off of the lobby) are available for use. The Standard is also offering a complimentary delivered breakfast. It was a welcome gesture, making up for the lack of robe, slippers and luggage rack in the room. The toiletries are Kiss My Face, and the honey lotion is especially scrumptious. Other than these, the room has an iHome and flatscreen, but the main amenity is again the view.
Internet Connect: The in-room wifi connection is free for now and strong, but slower than at a Starbucks; visiting photo-heavy websites takes a bit of patience.
What We Liked: Obviously the sweeping views are the star attraction here, negating the need for a prominent tv. Surprisingly, we were continually drawn to the functional booth, and it became our desk, dining area and couch. Guests can easily invite a few friends up and comfortably seat them for a mini-meeting, pre-dinner drinks, or a discussion of the day's tourist plan.
The hot staff, heavenly bed, free breakfast and free wifi are not to be forgotten, as they are a nice contribution to the sparse amenities of the soft opening period. It's also worth a second to check out the comprehensive mini-bar; everything from cigarettes and adapters to condoms and Kinder eggs are easily at hand.
What We Didn't Like: We experienced no issues with service or the functioning of the building, but we noted a few interior design changes that need to be made. First issue is the showerhead; we loathed it. It's a quirky rubber disk that fills with the water, expands, and then sprays it out in a massive circle while slightly wobbling. The faucets must be turned on in full in order to get the hot water, meaning that this showerhead is constantly going at full tilt and soaking the floor more than our hair.
Another small nitpick, but important nonetheless, is with the size of the trash cans. They are itty-bitty with miniscule openings. If our Chinese to-go container couldn't squeeze into it, then that means your discarded shopping bags and balled-up pamphlets won't either. Faster wifi would have improved our mood as well, and the orange hallways will be a nightmare for those with hangovers.
Bottom Line: The Standard NYC isn't as overtly sexy as the other Standard properties (unless you stare at this risque ad of theirs), instead it shows a hint of maturity and seriousness. With this property, the first Standard built new, Balazs is targeting a slightly more refined downtown clientele; he's after those who wouldn't wear ironic artsy accessories but would still pick up a copy of Vice or Inteview. It will become a hotspot for the international set and not just the bi-coastal players.
But until Andre can get that proposed biergarten and outdoor pool up and running, rates will be low (by NYC standards) and occupancy will be spotty. Two years from now, we probably won't even be able to fathom the calm that exists there now.
See all the detailed images of the stay at this Flickr set.