Looking like the result of leaving a toddler alone for five minutes with an oversized brick version of Lego, The Bowery hotel eclipses all else on the street of the same name. However it is not solely in a physical sense that it reigns over all before it. With princely rooms, décor throughout fit for a king and stunning views over the realm, there is simply nothing like it elsewhere in New York. It has a trendy rather than strategic location, intimate atmosphere and excellent dining making it a perfect repair for couples. Highly recommended!
The Bowery is on Bowery and 3rd Street between NoLIta (North of Little Italy), SoHo (South of Houston) and NoHo (North of Houston). A few years back 'skid row' would not have been the place to conceive a hotel of the Bowery's standing; however the gentrification process undertaken in the neighbourhood (New Museum of Contemporary Art for example) has allowed it. (Not everything of the district has been swept away though, as the Salvation Army shelter testifies). It is true to say that the island's main attractions don't lie on the hotel's doorstep, however the districts surrounding the hotel mentioned above as well as the West Village and the Lower East Side are now very trendy areas and provide an alternative view of New York from the usual Times Square, Empire State, Rockefeller Center circuit. There are three metro stations within walking distance of the hotel: Bleeker Street, Broadway-Lafayette and 2nd Avenue Lower East Side. JFK airport is 19 miles away, La Guardia 10 miles and Newark 14.
The hotel's logo, a dandy sporting a red jacket, black trousers and boots, a top hat and cane, was inspired by mid-19th century America; the period in which the film 'Gangs of New York' is set. One can well picture a character such as this sitting in the hotel's lounge/lobby today, sipping a drink, smoking a cigarette and not looking at all out of place. The building in which the hotel is housed was once a petrol station and had been heightened to 11 floors. Owners Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode (also responsible for The Maritime hotel) actually stripped the original façade from the building and replaced it with a red brick veneer.
By a long shot the most iconic structure for some distance around, The Bowery is surely unmatched on the inside too amongst New York hotels. If it weren't for the other guests chatting, drinking, typing on laptops in the lobby come lounge, you may think yourself responsible for unearthing the greatest untouched 19th century domestic scene in recent times. Truth is, it's a total (and utterly believable) fabrication. The furniture is a mix of real and false antique pieces, hand-picked by MacPherson and Goode, including velvet couches and beautifully worked armchairs, under which are voguishly exhausted oriental carpets. Wooden paneling, which used to be attached to a building in Philadelphia, now lines the walls and ceilings of The Bowery's lobby (where there is no wooden paneling there are small Art Deco tiles). A hand-painted mural of the Bowery encircles the top of the lounge while a fireplace down below roars away, keeping guests toasty during the winter months. There is something almost sinister about the atmosphere of the space, perhaps something to do with the low lighting from the loosely Gothic lamps overhead. Despite this, we bet that you'll find no more comfortable, homely lobby in New York. The Art Deco reception desk, to the right of which is a cabinet of intriguing antiques, is also worthy of a mention if only for the delightful grid behind it which is home to the tasseled room keys (no such thing is a key card in this establishment). The false plants and real peacock feathers which cache the lounge are souvenirs of Old World extravagance. The hotel though is not all about the lobby. There is a small fitness centre downstairs which must be one of the strangest places in the city to have a work out with many of the features from upstairs such as the Art Deco tiles, rugs and wooden paneling. There are cardio and weights machines as well as free weights, but unfortunately no view (just a brick wall). The hotel has a DVD collection which you may borrow from at any time (DVD payers can be found in the room as standard).The 24 hour room service, complimentary wifi and delightful staff are only to be expected in such a hotel.
The Bowery offers four categories of room: Queen, King, Suite and the One Bedroom. Entering any of the rooms is akin to arriving at your own home as they all have some sort of entrance hall separate to the bedroom and the rest of the room. All rooms are appointed with the following: beautiful hardwood flooring, Turkish Oushak rugs, floor to ceiling factory windows (often with great views), quality heavy curtains, a table and chairs, ceiling fan (in addition to air conditioning) and a tan suede headboard. Amenities also remain consistent and include a well stocked minibar and snacks, flatscreen television, iron and ironing board, safe, umbrella and iPod docking station. For us the two best features of the room though are the personalised duvet cover and plaid (which help to make the Bowery beds possibly the smartest we have seen) and the delightful accordion lamps at the bedside. The bathrooms are fitted with white tiles and beautiful marble vanities and boast C.O. Bigelow (the oldest apothecary in New York) toiletries. The King rooms, aside from the larger bed, are slightly more spacious with a bigger entrance lobby and bedroom. The Suite is an open plan affair with extra living space in the extra 130 or so square feet. The largest and most special room is the Bowery One Bedroom. While the living space might be smaller than the Suite, it boasts a 600ft² private terrace covered with a fairy-lighted canopy under which are garden furniture including sun loungers as well as much greenery round the perimeter. The city views are simply spectacular. There is even an outdoor shower for those voyeurs amongst you! The salon's two centerpieces are the leather-topped carved wooden coffee table around which are armchairs and sofas just inviting to be sunk into and the rather jolly leather rhino, whose turtle cousin can be found at The Maritime. Seven of the 135 rooms have a terrace.
Not as exclusive or as difficult to get into as Waverly Hall, MacPherson and Goode's uber-trendy West Village celeb magnet, Gemma is a Taavo Somer creation serving Italian cuisine in a remarkable setting. While medieval lamps similar to those in the lobby provide most of the light, candelabras, the wax of whose candles has not been cleared away since the restaurant opened, supply the rest. Take away the bar and install long tables and you could well be in the banqueting room of a European monarch 600 odd years ago. To the sides of the dining room are the bar, lined with 'grissini', and a salumi counter through which you can see the kitchen and above which hang legs of cured ham and copper pots and pans. Gemma, which is named after the mother of a friend of Goode's (her portrait hangs by the door) and which means 'gem' or 'bud' in Italian, has one of the best ambiances of any hotel restaurant we experienced. The food is authentic, tastes great and the service is impeccable. The wine list is not to be sniffed at either going on and on for quite a while. You can see the selection on show in the room at the rear of the restaurant, from whose ceiling hang traditional 'damigiane' or wickerwork demijohn cases. A real asset to the hotel. The hotel has its own bar which is positioned between its lobby and Gemma. With seating for a dozen or so people, the theme here is more hunting lodge, with miniature hunting trophies upon the wall.
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Hotel reviews based on its services and facilities.
Mark out of 10 for geographical location
flights May : average price