10002 Travel Guide - Page 2
The great Manhattan hotel takeover never sleeps. It's only the fourth day of the new year and already we've heard of at least two new downtown hotels opening in the next year or two. First up (and by far more aesthetically pleasing): a converted 1913 Beaux-Arts building on Canal St and Orchard St (above), set to become a 130-room hotel.
The 12-story landmark building recently sold for $36 million, and apparently attracted quite a few interested buyers—all of them with 'hotel' on the brain.
Because Canal St connects the pivotal Lower East Side neighborhood with TriBeCa and Greenwich Village, and until now had no hotels to speak of, it was technically ripe for the picking. We're just grateful a renovated beauty like this one is getting the spotlight, rather than some new construction with no ties to the neighborhood. If only all of New York could be so lucky...
Hotel Bathrooms / Bathroom Tuesdays / Hotel Bars / Hotel Drinking / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Tequila / → All Tags
Late last week, we got to check out one of the hottest new joints to hit Manhattan's Lower East Side: the Viktor & Spoils taqueria and tequila bar, located adjacent to the lobby at The Hotel On Rivington. Flushed from a few too many sips of the Central Park Swizzle (Rum Zacapa, lime, grapefruit, sugar, crushed ice, $14), our favorite of the night, we headed off to the bathroom.
Once inside, we had to blink and rub our eyes to make sure what we were seeing was correct: the walls had been plastered with actual Mexican peso notes, covering the room from floor to ceiling like strips of wallpaper. Compared to the larger but more sober bathrooms at CO-OP next door, this little bank note temple perfectly captured the excess and merriment of a tequila bar. At least, just enough to make us order yet another $14 flight.
Fashion's Night Out had us in a particularly chummy mood. The liquor was flowing, the male models were plentiful, and almost all of the major hotels were hosting parties. We ended up at an event honoring Tara Subkoff's "Imitation of Christ" collection. Settled into a roped-off section at The Hotel On Rivington's darkly-lit CO-OP restaurant, we bopped along to the music, and sipped cranberry cocktails. Then, we took a trip downstairs to the bathroom.
There, we were greeted by the friendly washroom attendant, John. John couldn't have been more helpful, guiding us tipsy party-goers safely towards our assigned stalls, smiling the whole time. John also indulged us with a little Q&A, and one of the burning questions we had on our mind was: "Who tips better down here? Guys or girls?"
"Definitely the guys, without a doubt," he replied without missing a beat.
Next week, The Feast, a glamorized pop up restaurant series by the Guerilla Culinary Brigade, debuts The Feast: L.E.S. Cirque at the Hotel On Rivington. Lobster? You got it. Heirloom tomatoes? Check. Watermelon? Wouldn't be a pop up without it! But don't dally to reserve a seat. The restaurant will only exist for four days.
OK, so maybe celebrities weren't physically at THOR, but thanks to a photo installation by EJ Camp, you feel like you're dining with them inside the hotel's restaurant Co-Op. The skylit dining room, which contains a 30 foot communal dining table (all the cool kids sit there—which means not us), has 40 iconic New Yorkers plastered across one of its walls in life-size polaroid prints.
Tired of waiting for your food? Have a staring contest with Moby. Getting antsy while the check takes forever to come? Bask in Betsey Johnson's dazzling smile.
One of the celebrities featured on the wall is Sex And The City costume designer Patricia Field. We found her expression a little smug, but we weren't at all surprised to see her there. Co-Op is a branch of the Guerilla Culinary Brigade, which was co-founded by gastronomic event ringmaster Alan Phillips. And if you remember, Phillips was also responsible for the pop-up dinner party we attended at the Sanctuary Hotel back in March. Where we ran into Patricia Field. See how it all comes together?
We've gone down this road many times before with The Nolitan Hotel in Manhattan so we're not surprised to learn, via the hotel's reservations system, that the next new, new opening date is July 1 (Previously, it was June 1.)
Introductory rates of $305 a night are now in place from July 1 to August 15. But we wouldn't book them so fast as last month the hotel was cancelling any reservations for the month of May, having missed that opening date as well.
That said, there are more encouraging signs than we've seen in the past. We see some new photography up on the website and Grub Street is reporting that the hotel's restaurant, a "semi-fine-dining" Italian concept, is to open in June. A hotel restaurant that opens before the hotel? That never happens. Never. But maybe after all these delays, the Noli could surprise us.
The other week we asked if anyone cared anymore about this hotel and as it turns out someone does, because they made a reservation there.
From HotelChatter commenter SPH79:
Not Opening in May! I've just had my reservation for 24th - 29th May canceled. I was concerned about the fact the date kept being put back so I contacted the hotel directly. They confirmed my reservation would be canceled! They did not offer any reason for this either.
If I had not contacted them I may not have found out until it was too late. I think this is unacceptable, and The Hotel Nolitan should not be taking reservations at all!
Same delay, different month.
The Nolitan in NYC's Nolita nabe has pushed back its opening yet another month, making it the EIGHTH TIME this hotel has been delayed and we have to say we're growing tired of this game.
The Nolitan first promised to open in May of 2010, followed by June, August, November, late November, February 15, March, and then April 4. Now the reservation's site is saying May 11 with rooms starting at an introductory rate of $289 a night for a small room with a king bed.
That's actually a very good deal if you plan on being in NYC in early May. The rate includes a 2pm check-out and free internet as well as free bikes and skateboard rentals along with daily passes to a nearby Equinox gym.
Those of you familiar with the chic Thompson LES will know that it has a lot going for it: great location, multiple bars and dining spaces, and that sexy, industrial vibe they seem to have perfected.
Now the hotel will add to its appeal by taking an additional 10 percent off the best available rates—so you can truly justify that last-minute holiday jaunt to Manhattan's coolest neighborhood. However, just remember that all rooms are not created equal here. We stayed in a studio king suite while another friend of ours got a queen superior room and was not pleased. At all. Fortunately, this offer is centered around the king superior rooms.
Here's what you get: A standard king room booked on Dec 24 will set you back only $233 (normally $259) per night, while earlier in the month, that price will hover around $365 (normally $405) per night. Not bad!
The past few years have been rough on real estate and sights like this--empty shells of buildings stalled post-GFC--have been common. But we were psyched to hear via the folks at Curbed that this particular concrete shell may actually become a hotel.
Apparently the building on the Lower East Side is being bought by BD Hotels, the investors who are already involved with a number of hip NYC hotels such as Robert DeNiro's Greenwich Hotel and The Bowery.
Today, we welcome our very own hotel Agent Zero, the first in what we hope to be a larger network of hotel spies. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. And awwaaaaay we go!
I stayed at the Thompson LES recently and experienced a Manhattan nighttime first: silence.
True silence from about 11pm until maybe 7:30am. No street noise, no doors slamming or hallway clatter, no ruckus of any kind. I'm still bewildered by that and wonder if perhaps I was actually in a coma. It's hard to explain how rare this phenomenon is for me.
Where, I wondered, were the trucks? The sirens? The garbage trucks? And since this is a Thompson hotel, where was the thud-thud-thud of the lounge music? The answer: if it was there, we didn't hear it.
Ed. Note: Maybe the hotel really took the neighbors' complaints to heart.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Waking up at The Hotel on Rivington isn't so bad as this killer view shot sent in by reader Deirdre shows us. Inside the room (92), there's a soaking tub for two that also gives you views of the Lower East Side. However, you should take great care in fogging up the windows before stepping into the shower or the tub as rooms at the hotel are incredibly voyeuristic.
Interestingly, this looks like the reverse view of another room at THOR that we received last year. However, both rooms allow you to peek in on your neighbor. Naughty, naughty, naughty THOR.
A high floor corner king with a soaking tub goes for $389 a night. A regular king room (no tub) is cheaper at $289 a night.