We flung open the door and almost fell into the bed: yes, it was that small. This being Manhattan and having paid a lower than average rate for the city, we were unfazed and turned our attention to the crown moldings, mahogany closets, pale pastel blue painted walls and wall-mounted brass light fixtures shaped like hands. The bed was soft (at first we feared it would be too soft, but eight hours of solid snoozing proved us wrong) and draped with a fur throw -- it was fake; we checked. All in all we were won over by the decor and slightly Surrealist furnishings, and picked up a (not unexpected) arty, bohemian vibe.
Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion) were by French company Cote Bastide. We found enough outlets around the room to keep us happy, and the mini bar included such notables as Marie Belle chocolates and a pack of Kiki de Montparnasse condoms.
WiFi is free and fast throughout the hotel and requires no password.
Not yet. Cafe Marlton, which we earlier learned will serve healthy, international/French-influenced dishes that blend the "decidedly local and organic menu sensibilities of Chez Panisse in Berkley with some of the everyday Parisian cafe design sensibilities of Cafe De Flore in Paris," is not open yet and doesn't look like being so until late next month. There is a small espresso bar offering complimentary coffee (the hotel is the first retail location for 100+ year-old Californian coffee company Ferndelle) in the morning and a full bar just off the lobby -- no cocktail menu as yet, though.
Location, Location, Location
As the New York Times reported a few weeks ago, West 8th Street is experiencing a revival of sorts. Along the same street you'll find a Burger Joint outpost, the fancy pants Greenwich Project and a branch of our favorite Oregonian coffee roasters Stumptown. The street was also the setting for Positively 8th Street a festival celebrating Greenwich Village that was held in June and will hopefully be an annual event.
What We Liked
We just love old buildings that tell a story, so we were in our element here. Jack Kerouac stayed at the Marlton (then Marlton House) while working on Desolation Angels, as did Lenny Bruce while standing trial for obscenity. While the exact location of their rooms are lost in the mists of time, we do know that Valerie Solanas was staying in room 214 when she shot Andy Warhol.
What We Didn't Like
The rooms are really quite small.
We paid $250 for a Full Room and expect that price will go up when the hotel has its official opening. That said, Sean MacPherson told the New York Times in the aforementioned article: "I like the idea of creating a neighborhood place in New York where you can hang out without feeling strong-armed into spending money". So maybe there's hope for prices staying reasonable.
Besides the lack of a restaurant and signage (and occasional pieces of furniture being delivered), there's not a whole lot that tells you the hotel is only in a soft opening; so we don't really get what's up with all the secrecy around The Marlton. Still, we'll reserve judgement on the whole thing until official opening -- and we get to try out Cafe Marlton and, hopefully, visit the penthouse terrace.