Destination: New York
Crosby Street Hotel
Vibe: Homey, chic design, colorful
At a Glance: Thanks to designer Kit Kemp’s inspired vision, the Crosby Street Hotel is a handcrafted, ultra-luxe retreat whose whimsical interiors bring out the inner child in all who stay.
The Crosby Street Hotel is the New York addition to London-based Firmdale hotel company, which includes the Haymarket and Dorset Square. The very-British company’s first foray into a U.S. city, the Crosby sits on a relatively quiet side street in SoHo, occupying a modern eleven-story building, which Firmdale built from the ground up. Interiors are classic Kemp: a contemporary mélange of fabrics, textures and eye-catching hues that are combined with an expert eye. The best part about Kemp’s vision is that it’s decidedly about the fantasy of staying in a beautifully conceptualized hotel that has absolutely nothing to do with your own living room. Walking through one particularly exquisite suite that boasted lime green fauteuils, wildly patterned, bespoke wallpaper and multi-hued silk drapes, I could not help but think, don’t try this at home.
Each of the 86 rooms is different in decor and color scheme, giving the accommodations a personal, handcrafted feel. Hand-chosen antiques and custom-designed light fixtures abound, as well as original art and a life-size dress mannequin in the corner—a Firmdale signature. Even the smaller-category rooms feel spacious thanks to the building’s high ceilings and amazingly huge warehouse-style windows. If you’re on one of the upper floors, you have marvelous city views spanning the East Side and down to the Brooklyn Bridge on one side and across SoHo and towards uptown on the other.
Outdoor spaces include a garden on a lower rooftop so that guests can look onto something green, and the lofty bar area that spills into a courtyard facing Lafayette Street is one of the city’s hot spots for an al fresco cocktail and meals throughout the day. Don’t let the name fool you, this is a fully-fledged–and delicious–restaurant. For guests who want to be based downtown in midst of SoHo bustle— Balthazar is around the corner—the Crosby Street Hotel is a stylish option.
- A convenient Soho location but set on a quiet street
- Huge factory-style windows in every room add to cheeriness factor
- Breakfast spread and afternoon tea are to-die-for
The Lowell New York
If you want to live like a local on the Upper East Side, check into this discreet hotel on East 63rd Street. You’ll feel as though you resided in one of the city’s rarefied co-ops, some of which, in fact, are just around the corner. However, the Lowell lobby offers much better service than even the best Park Avenue buildings, because the concierge can arrange for theater tickets and babysitters and fill any other special requests you may have. The pied-à-terre conceit continues with the interior design of the seventy guest rooms, most of which have muted color schemes and tasteful mahogany furniture. The best suites have terraces and/or wood-burning fireplaces. The Garden Suite, with two terraces (one large enough for a small dinner party) and a fireplace in the living room, is popular with couples who want to entertain when in town. My favorite is the Penthouse Suite on the 17th floor, which was redone last year by L.A. decorator Michael S. Smith. Envision a three-bedroom apartment with four terraces, views in all directions and interiors that manage to bring just the right sunny Southern California ease and glamour to apartment living.
This seventy-five-room inn, situated in a renovated Romanesque Revival building from 1890, is a favorite of many of my out-of-town friends, whether they’re here for business or pleasure. It’s easy to see why. Its location in the heart of SoHo is ideal. And once you pass through its discreet entry off bustling Mercer Street, you’re in an oasis of cool. Daylight filters into the spacious entry lounge through veiled windows, making the lobby feel at once open and private. With a library wall of photography and art books, it’s an inviting place to relax by oneself or to have a casual drink with a friend. When the hotel opened in 1998, its Christian Liagre–conceived decor of dark wengé wooden floors and furnishings, pale-hued walls and well-proportioned rooms created a sensation. The hallmark look was copied all over town. Almost ten years later, the interior still looks great, if dated. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is serene and protective, which is probably why the hotel remains the favored crash pad for so many celebrities. (Proprietor André Balazs also owns the Hollywood home-away-from-home Chateau Marmont.) The restaurant is run by the acclaimed New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Some of the rooms have enormous marble tubs, hidden behind folding panels that open directly onto the bedrooms. Because the guest rooms feature extremely high ceilings, even the smallest feel capacious and bright. Each is equipped with WiFi, iPod docking stations and flat-screen televisions. While the hotel doesn’t have a gym, it provides day passes to an Equinox and a New York Sports Club, both nearby. When one friend asked if she could get a massage, she found herself in a nearby spa within twenty minutes. The concierge was, in her words, “amazing.” Rooms from $495.
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