Just 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) long, the Bowery is Manhattan’s oldest thoroughfare. The road (and its surrounding neighborhood) is conveniently located between SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side, making it the perfect place to stay when visiting New York City.
Once gritty, now trendy, the Bowery has seen bars, cafés and hotels appearing en masse in recent years. Though it has retained some of that previous grit, the neighborhood has a newfound arty sheen to it, so this is the area to stay in if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the city’s creative crowd. You’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to cool hotels – we have rounded up the best below.
Walking into the lobby of The Bowery Hotel feels like a step back in time. Dark wood walls and ceilings, lush carpeted floors and an immense stone fireplace greet guests. But the cozy lobby is just the prelude to even more luxurious guest rooms, which boast marble bathrooms with brass fixtures, down comforters and pillows, plus in-room spa services on request. The hotel feels as much antiques emporium as it does inner-city digs – with an abundance of vintage leather furnishings, enormous Turkish rugs and old-school oil paintings. The overall effect is of a grand estate plucked from the English countryside and settled in the heart of a bustling city – a unique and welcome escape from reality.
Visitors enter The Standard, East Village, via an original tenement-style building before ascending the 21-story tower. Each room in The Standard is outfitted with Italian sheets, most rooms have floor-to-ceiling or wall-to-wall windows, and all come decorated in the effortlessly cool, less-is-more style that’s characteristic of the brand (like statement lip-shaped throw pillows and vaguely mid-century furniture). Nightlife comes in the form of an artsy new wave gay bar, and brunch at American restaurant Narcissa is fittingly edgy for its East Village locale: tequila cocktails sit side by side with wellness shots, and you can choose between down-to-earth biscuits and gravy or a posh crab soft scramble with fennel and crème fraîche. As a bonus, this hotel is also pet-friendly.
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron are behind the design of PUBLIC, which will be no surprise when you see the minimalist interiors – all blond wood, pod-like sleeping spaces, crisp white linens and exposed concrete. You’re in similarly expert hands when it comes to entertainment: PUBLIC is owned by the man behind the infamous Studio 54. There’s a verdant roof terrace (where you can toast to the city at sunset or catch sets from international DJs in the early hours), an alluring cocktail bar and a restaurant inspired by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s global travels.
Each of The Ludlow’s guest rooms has a contemporary-slash-1980s NYC loft vibe. The bathrooms feature either a rain shower or a bathtub-shower that’s perfect for a relaxing night in. If you’ve got the budget for it, we’d wager that the Skybox Loft is the most impressive hotel room in New York. It has a lounge area completely surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can feel like you’re floating above the city. Hungry? On-site restaurant Dirty French has an impeccable American-French bistro brunch menu, with highlights including Maine lobster, confit duck hash and brioche French toast with bananas and rum.
Sipping a Manhattan in the rooftop bar, you’ll find it hard to believe that this hotel barely leaves a dent in your holiday budget. CitizenM specializes in affordable luxury and pulls it off with panache. While rooms are minimalist, they have all you need for a comfortable stay – there’s even a tablet that controls everything from the lights to the air conditioning. The hotel has partnered with the nearby New Museum, which is reflected in the art-filled common spaces. Be sure to take a trip up the stairwell to admire the Museum of Street Art, which acts as a makeshift gallery and pays homage to the 5 Pointz street art project that once operated in Long Island City.
This is a hotel inspired by functional design like Finnish saunas and Japanese bento boxes, but somehow, it works. Brought to you by the folks behind Ace Hotel, and following a philosophy of “Less, But Better,” Sister City is full of clean lines, maximized spaces and wooden touches. Decor feels nostalgic and natural, but unobtrusive, tech-forward self-check-in kiosks keep things convenient and contemporary. Rooms run along a similar vibe, with the addition of Italian terrazzo vanities and soothing pinstripe linens. Unsurprisingly, a hotel as cool as this has an equally as cool restaurant and bar. Whimsically named Last Light, it’s located on the roof and serves up cocktails, small plates and a specially curated list of wines – all with views of the Manhattan skyline.
The SIXTY LES Hotel is the definition of luxury. In the rooms, beds are piled with custom linens, while the bathrooms have slate showers stocked with C.O. Bigelow Apothecary products. Some rooms even have private terraces that look towards the Empire State Building. During the warmer months, take advantage of the guest-only pool, which is surrounded by plush seating and cocktail tables. And when you need to squeeze in some extra relaxation, make an appointment at the spa for a full-body massage or a facial by The Collagen Bar.
Originally opened as The Prince Hotel in 1927, this building was redesigned in the 1940s to act as temporary lodgings for soldiers returning home from WWII. The floors were rebuilt with compact cabins, just large enough to hold a single bed and dresser. You can still stay in the cabins today, and much of the original craftsmanship has been preserved. Although larger Queen Cabins are now available, the Original Cabins are the best option if you’re on a budget, and come with the added opportunity to dive back into the city’s history. The simple rooftop garden, furnished by Pedrali of Italy, is the perfect spot to get your bearings, with views of the iconic Chrysler Building.