10012 Travel Guide
Last time we visited the Bowery House—Manhattan's hip hostel-boutique-hotel hybrid where rooms go for just $89/night—we dug the whole look of the place, which had Chesterfield leather couches in the lobby, medieval chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and tiny little 1940s SRO-style "cabins."
The one thing missing? Food. Yes, the hotel had set up a Bowery Bodega in one corner of the lobby, vending treats like Altoids, Oreos, M&Ms and Kit Kat bars. But it wasn't exactly food that would stick to your ribs.
That's all changed now with the opening of The Bowery Kitchen, located downstairs from the lobby on the street level, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and thankfully, plays along with the hotel's general theme of casual chic on a budget. We like!
Back in 2010, before it actually opened, we speculated, along with the rest of the neighborhood blogs, on The Nolitan's odd "tetris-inspired" exterior. Adding insult to injury, not only was the design critiqued, Curbed also revealed that the hotel was having issues with zoning laws, which in that neighborhood only permit eight floors, despite the fact that the finished structure ended up having nine.
Fast forward two years, and the hotel is still not quite done fighting that battle. Bowery Boogie reports that on Thursday, the Nolitan headed into a meeting with Community Board 2 to seek "approval" on the extra ninth story.
Um, everyone knows this hotel's already been open for over a year now, right? OK, just wanted to make sure.
Hotel Uniforms / Hotel Designer Uniforms / Thompson Hotels / Hotel Employees / Jason Pomeranc / Theory / → All Tags
It's no secret that the handsome doormen of New York's coolest boutique hotels could (and do) work part-time as male models (we still wish we had gotten a close-up of this guy) but today, we've got an actual modeling shoot from the male employees at 60 Thompson.
Here they are posing in their new uniforms designed by fashion label, Theory, with some style input from Thompson's own Jason Pomeranc. A hotel rep tells us originally the unis were done by Tophat but then were mixed and matched with various retail items until the new Theory threads arrived. Overall, it's a stylin' yet still casual look. We like.
We've got a couple of more photos after the jump. And yes, you're welcome!
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It's been a gradual process getting to know all the little quirks and idiosyncrasies of Manhattan's many, many, many hotels. But now that we've seen a bit of what we like and don't like, here's a snapshot from one room we recently stayed in at The Nolitan, the glass-wrapped boutique hotel that opened in Soho last July.
Ours was a Cityscape room, a category that's found only on the top two floors of the hotel. And needless to say, the views were awesome.
But another aspect that made us close our eyes and go 'Aah' was the variety of unusual surfaces: a lot of thought has been put into the textures of these rooms. Like the walls, for instance, which on one side of the room are covered in glossy black Venetian plaster (above). To the touch, it's smooth and slippery, and from a distance, it manages to reflect everything in the room with a slight ripple, almost like water.
The Nolitan General Manager, Patrik Horstmann
Have you ever flirted with a hotel concierge? In our series, Concierge Interviews, HotelChatter goes behind the Front Desk and gets chummy with the men—and women—whose job it is to never say no. Filmed inside various lobbies, courtyards, and bar lounges, each video will offer a glimpse into the world of hotels from the people who know them best. Got a burning question you'd like us to ask? Or have someone in mind for us to interview? Email us your requests!
Despite a last ditch attempt last month to re-invigorate the space with some leather banquettes and a large communal table, Ellabess, The Nolitan's restaurant, has closed until further notice. A post on Eater confirms that the owners hope to come up with something new by this spring, though for now the plan seems unclear.
Bizarrely, this news comes just three weeks after the abrupt closing of Pillar & Plough over at Hotel Williamsburg. Granted, those guys are in the process of transitioning to new ownership, so they're (kind of) off the hook. But what's the Nolitan's excuse? As far as we know, nothing about the hotel itself has changed. And after all that build-up, too...
Instead of boring old Christmas trees, the Nolitan is making use of a different kind of greenery for the holiday season: computer-generated images of flowers and hanging vines. As part of a local art gallery partnership, a very beautiful, soothing ambient video is currently being looped and projected onto a wall adjacent to the Front Desk.
Produced by artist Jennifer Steinkamp, the video is entitled Rapunzel, and in many ways, it's the perfect complement to the Nolitan's quiet, intimate lobby, which essentially doubles as a waiting area for Ellabess, the hotel's restaurant. Lush, gently-swaying tendrils move almost as if blown by an invisible breeze, and have a kind of hypnotizing effect. To see what we mean, scroll down and watch a clip from the video!
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This? is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
Take a close look at this bizarre assortment we found at the Bowery House in Manhattan. It seemed pointless to use any snapshots from the rooms themselves—since, frankly, there's not much in those little cubbyholes to photograph! But this fixture in the lobby caught our eye, and if you give yourselves a little bit of reference to put things into context, we're pretty sure you can guess how these play into the story of the hotel.
Hint: the original building was used as a flophouse for soldiers returned from the war.
The Mercer already holds a special place in Kanye's heart because last February, he rented a floor at the hotel and turned it into a recording studio where him and Jay-Z recorded their new album, Watch The Throne.
But lest you think that Kanye West is an a-hole, celebrity guest, partying all night and demanding free rooms for himself and his entourage, a staffer from the hotel emailed HotelChatter detailing Kanye's recent random act of hotel kindness:
I work at the Mercer Hotel in Soho. On Sunday evening, Kanye West chartered a party bus to take our entire staff to the Izod Center in New Jersey for his concert with Jay-Z. We were all provided with complimentary tickets and Kanye personally thanked each team member for attending. The seats were amazing and he was such a gentleman.
If you had planned on trying to "peek" inside the rooms at Bowery House, think again. The narrow corridors and tight living quarters make it a little tricky to simply amble around unnoticed. Plus, as we mentioned before, the place is so labyrinthine you may never get back out. In any case, the areas you can easily spot are the public spaces: the hotel's lobby, adjoining "bodega," and rooftop are all worth a quick glance, especially if you're considering recommending the place to a visiting friend or relative. Which you should do, because they'll be eternally grateful for the one-of-a-kind experience.
The lobby boasts original Chesterfield leather couches, which are wide, resilient, and extreeemely comfortable. When you've just come up from the clangin'-bangin' racket of restaurant supply stores along the Bowery, this space is a much-needed haven. Turquoise walls and round medieval chandeliers give off an art-y vibe, but there's not too much pretension here. In fact, there's not even a coffeeshop!
Historic Hotels / Cabin Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Cheap Hotels / Hotel Confusion / Hotel Beds / → All Tags
It isn't easy, but there are ways to navigate the twisting, poorly-lit labyrinth that is the Bowery House Hotel. Just walk very carefully and slowly, remaining aware that any of these doors could fly open at any moment, knocking you off your weary feet and into another person's cabin. Also, shine your smartphone for additional light. It helps.
To call the cabins at the hotel 'compact' would be an understatement. But for all of its 'personal space' issues, this place also has a ton of charm. Dorm-style "bunk rooms" are available for people traveling in groups (same-sex only), but the real winners are the "original cabins." Once you've imprinted the floor layout into your mind, all that's left to enjoy is the tiny, dollhouse-like room, which barely fits a bed, dresser, and some (minimal) luggage. See below for photos from inside!
We recently got to check out a suite at 60 Thompson, a hotel known for its sex appeal as much as for its spicy Thai food. But what struck us during the visit wasn't the designer condoms, or the use of curry paste (though the restaurant's tangy Pad Thai was awesome). It was the near-psychedelic effect produced by all the dark red marble lining the bathroom walls.
The patterned walls are such a sensory overload that they gave our camera's auto-focus a run for its money. Zooming in and out to get a clear shot, we felt ourselves getting a little woozy. It was all we could do to stop ourselves from grabbing the door, lowering ourselves to the floor, and blurting out a: "Woah, man."