35 9th Avenue, New York 10014New York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
Soho House couldn't be anywhere else in New York but the Meatpacking District?it just wouldn't work. One of two American members of the Soho House family, this is above all, just like its relatives, a private members club with rooms. It therefore remains exclusive in a way that very few cities can achieve which arguably detracts from hotel element of the Soho House experience. That said, it offers a glimpse into this selective world without the commitment of paying a membership fee. The rooms are some of the most outlandish in the city and may not be to everybody's taste, but we loved them for their sheer audacity and first class amenities. Having access to the private members club is a real bonus as is the roof top pool and the hotel's sought after location. Couples, families and friends alike will enjoy Soho House and its facilities (at a price) as long as they remember that this is principally a private members club which happens to have a few rooms.
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Soho House is situated on 9th Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets in the once to be avoided but now trendy Meatpacking District. While the city's main attractions are some way off, the area is perfect for more independent restaurants, cafés and bars as well as alternative shopping and mixing with thirty-somethings working in the arts. The recently opened Highline is perhaps the major highlight of the area, with Chelsea Market and Chelsea Piers also very much worth a poke around. To get up north towards the star turns of the city you can take the metro at either 8th Avenue-14th Street or 14th Street. JFK is 19 miles away, La Guardia 10 miles and Newark 14.
The 24 rooms at Soho House are subdivided into the following four categories (in ascending size order): Playpen, Playroom, Playhouse and Playground. The brickwork and beams of the original building have been left exposed in the rooms as a homage to its history and to add an extra dimension to the design. The queen bed is dressed in Egyptian cotton linen while red lamp shades together with the walnut floor and red brick give a warm feeling to the room. Against one wall is a bright red desk and next to this is a corner sofa upholstered in a banana leaf print fabric. There is of course a flatscreen television in the room as well as a DVD player. But the highlight of the room is the sideboard (found in all rooms) which contains the well-stocked minibar and snacks as well as a whole host of extras that include sunglasses, disposable camera, bracelet, perfume, adapter, travel candles, information and guides, the dustbin, press, safe and one 'play' draw with cords, lubricant and a copy of the Karma Sutra. The Boffi-fitted bathroom is smartly tiled brick-like in brown-grey and features a walk in shower and a range of funky Cowshed toiletries in full size bottles. In all, a very fun room indeed. The Playroom is another 100ft² larger at 425ft² and more playful yet with a velvet turquoise bed frame, Paul Smith-esque rug, a low wooden coffee table with a couple of arm chairs and best of all a squared moulded soaking tub in the bedroom itself. Behind a frosted glass panel next to the wash basin in the room is the walk in shower with same full range of Cowshed products. The Playhouse, which is double the square footage of the Playpen, is a large open plan studio-like room with a living space, but with an electrically operated curtain which can be used to separate them. The seating here includes a rusty orange corner couch and a superb design leather armchair with matching foot rest, beneath all of which is a brown rug with white motif. The king bed is made by La Maison, the Shoreditch-based interiors company, as is the wardrobe standing in the corner of the room, while the desk beneath the window has a designer's lamp which also features on the bedside tables. Extra touches in this room include the alarm clock, chandelier, fan, hand-painted wallpaper and excellent lamp which swoops over from behind the sofa and ends up hovering over the coffee table. The Playhouse too has a bathtub in the room itself, this time though it is egg-shaped and has a huge round mirror just above it. The bathroom boasts a steam shower with bench and pipe-like shower, slippers, two monachrobe.com bathrobes and a makeup mirror which folds out in an accordion-like fashion. The hotel's biggest room, at 950ft², is the Playground and has all the above features plus a dressing table, a round marble table and chairs and a sofa bed for guests. The four poster bed is draped in peach fabric and a flatscreen television hangs from the ceiling in front of it. The bathroom has a double moulded vanity and steam shower.
It is perhaps precisely because this is a private members club that there is very little evidence from the outside of the modern luxury that awaits inside. Sitting on the corner of 9th Avenue and 13th Street, the building is a sand coloured cube with various outlets unrelated to the hotel at its base. The lobby is a long, narrow affair with the reception immediately to your right as climb a few steps. When we arrived there were three chirpy, down to earth, attractive young girls at the desk with whom we chatted for a long while before being shown around by one of them (who was English). Again, the lack of space and few seats is due to the fact that this is essentially the entrance to the club whose reception desk is shared by hotel guests. All this though is very much secondary to the hotel's facilities. On the third floor is Cowshed, the hotel's spa, who equally supply all the room's toiletries. Complete with eucalyptus steam rooms and chill out room, the centre offers a full range of treatments for body, face, hands and feet, as well as waxing and personal training sessions. The products used are rich in pure essential oils, suitable for vegetarians and are not tested on animals. You can purchase products either in the spa or by taking them from your room. The fourth floor is home to the screening room which shows new releases in an intimate setting and which has a top of the range projection room compatible with every kind of format. Weekend afternoons are given over to children's films and the kids club. Both on this floor and the floor above are room available to hire for private functions while the real core of Soho House is to be found on the sixth floor the other side of the Club Reception. The Drawing Room is the place to retire for calm and contemplation to read or to work on one of the Apple PCs or with your own laptop (there is wifi throughout the hotel). There's plenty of comfortable designer seating in which to slump and read the paper or chat over a drink or light meal. Next door is the games room where you'll find a pool table, babyfoot and card and board games. The rest of the space is given over to the bar and restaurant (see 'Food and Drink'). The Rooftop Pool offers magnificent views of the West Village and the Hudson River and during the summer all three meals can be taken up here on one of two large tables on a first come first served basis (again, see 'Food and Drink'). Given the fact that most people pay a large amount of money to be able to spend time at Soho House, it is no surprise that great care is taken to keep the place in order and that the public areas are stylishly appointed (carpet in the middle of the parquet floored corridors, Chesterfield cushioning inside the lifts). We found the staff to be very pleasant and unpretentious while our brief encounter with the general manager (a cool, young Frenchman) was as informal as anywhere we visited.
The restaurant and bar are located on the sixth floor in the Club. The space is a rustic one, with an untreated wooden floor, large windows bringing in floods of light and tables and chairs of different colours, shapes and sizes. The bar itself is decked out in turquoise with velvet Chesterfield armchairs across from their leather couch cousins and green designer stools around a bar with a glass cabinet at its centre display a great number of bottles. As far as possible, chef Neil Ferguson uses locally grown East Coast produce and changes the menu regularly. There are several menus to choose from depending on where you are in the hotel. The house menu, available in the drawing room and bar area has a selection of shared plates (dips, fritters and wings) as well as soups, salads, sandwiches and more sturdy fare like mac and cheese, grilled salmon and NY strip steak. The restaurant menu, available in the main restaurant only, features appetizers including Cornish cross chicken terrine and gravlax, which can be followed by Long Island fluke, mokum carrots, parsley and Yukon gold mash or sage gnocchi, parmesan and kabocha squash. The lunch and dinner menus are identical and offer dishes such as sea scallops, parsnip cream and maple sherry vinaigrette and honey soused mackerel with marinated vegetables as starters. Mains include chicken paillard with market vegetable salad and Berkshire pork chop, cavalo nero and pear puree. There is a large choice of cheese for dessert as well as options for a sweeter tooth including sticky toffee pudding and pear and quince crisp with a walnut financier. The wine list is well-informed and favours US and French drops. Breakfast is also available in the club and is the regular continental and hot dishes. Up on the roof around the pool you can also enjoy food all day with sharing platters available in addition to salads, sandwiches and grilled meat and fish. The rooftop and restaurant each propose their own brunch menu.
Soho House New York is part of the Soho House group which started in London and now has seven branches in the UK and US with a German member opening in May 2010 in Berlin. Some of the properties are pure private members clubs, while others also have hotel rooms. Each one has its own restaurant while several have a Cowshed Spa and others a private cinema. This particular branch, which opened its doors in 2003, is housed in a former meatpacking plant. Hotel guests automatically become temporary members of the club for the duration of their stay and have full access to all facilities just as a fully fledged due-paying member would.
spa, beauty salon, massage, wellness, hammam, Turkish bath, keep fit
The older of the two Gansevoort properties in New York, the Meatpacking is still working its stuff despite the arrival of other high profile hotels in the vicinity in recent years, notably The Standard. Arguably the catalyst for the rise and rise of this once unfrequented area of New York, it offers everything the youthful, hip traveller could want: well appointed, spacious rooms, a restaurant and bar to be seen in, a nice little spa and, the crowning glory (quite literally) the much talked about rooftop pool. If you're looking for an authentic downtown Manhattan experience then why not go with the hotel that started it all off.
The irony in this extraordinary hotel being named The Standard is expressed through the upturned logo, as if, and it is absolutely true, the expected has been turned on its head. Everything from the architecture to the way the hotel chooses its staff is remarkable and anything but standard. Straddling the recently opened High Line in arguably the trendiest district of the city, The Standard has set the standard in an area where hotels have been trying to outdo each other for several years now. It has got some of the most innovative rooms, some simply stunning views and restaurants and bars which draw a very select crowd. There is proof here too that a young, good looking and talented staff doesn't have to be pretentious. Very much a property for those in the arts and not at all geared towards families, The Standard is going to take some beating over the next few years to be dethroned as the king of the Meatpacking District hotels.
Another result of the unstoppable partnership that is Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, The Maritime is one of our favourite hotels in New York and without a doubt, one of the most original and carefully considered. As the hotel's name suggests, the theme is a nautical one, but done in a way so as not to be tacky like in so many European seaside resorts. Here, with the help and inspiration of top designers, the duo has created a smart, stylish and seductive place to sojourn in the city that never sleeps. Situated in a hip area of New York, this property is more suited to young couples than any other type of traveller, although its top class restaurants, bars and night club might tempt a different sort of clientele too.
Since 2008, The Jane has been arguably the most original hotel in Manhattan. But let's cut to the chase ? it may be original, but there's no escaping the fact that most of its rooms are miniscule. That said, they are surprisingly well-equipped and have everything you could need for a short stay. As you'd expect from the gentlemen who brought you The Maritime and The Bowery, the décor is rather eclectic and convincingly authentic and has been accumulated over several decades. In addition to the hotel's rich history and trendy location, it has a decent restaurant and a bar like no other in the form of Rhino Bar. Not one for those who need their space, this value hotel is for those who don't mind roughing it a bit but who still want some of the comforts of a regular hotel.
How cool is the Hôtel Americano? We'll tell you how cool: the rooms have a harmonica in the snack tray. That's how cool. Details like this are why this property is not only one of our favourite design hotels in the city, but also why the Americano is already amongst the hottest places to be in Chelsea. Its architecture and design is beautiful in its simplicity, the rooms are spacious and well-appointed and both the restaurant and bar scenes are buzzing everyday of the week. Add to that a location in trendy Chelsea and you've got yourself the perfect place to stay on your next short trip to the city if you're a couple that doesn't fancy being based in the touristy Midtown area.
While this is a decent property with some spacious rooms, attentive staff and some unique quirks, we found it to be lacking soul and bordering on kitsch. Located in the fashion district of Manhattan, the designers have attempted to make this the theme of the hotel and while some may find their efforts quaint, we feel they make the property seem a little cheap. Having said that, it appears to be a well-run place, with clean accommodation with some good views and its location could be a lot worse. It would be suitable for both business and leisure travellers, although you could probably do better for the same money.
The Indigo is a mid-range full service hotel (minus the spa) in the Fashion District of Manhattan. Although its rooms are starting to show their age in terms of décor, they are in perfect condition and very spacious for Midtown and are fairly well-appointed. The restaurant, which has changed hands a number of times since the hotel's opening, now seems to have found stability and is a decent option for a bite to eat at any time of the day. The fitness centre, complimentary business centre and panoramic rooftop bar make of the Indigo a good all round option if you prefer to be away from the busier parts of town but still within walking distance of the major attractions.
We were quite simply blown away by this hotel. Rare are the occasions where there is nothing to fault, but staying here was one of those - it just couldn't put a foot wrong. Generously proportioned, impressively appointed rooms are complemented by a relaxed yet top class Italian restaurant, while the spa is a sight to behold. You'll have a tough job finding a property where the service is paralleled and don't even get us started on the views! A magnificent, modern and memorable hotel, we recommend the Trump Soho to all kinds of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families. A huge thumbs up.
Q. What do you get when you take $150 million and put them into the hands of one of the world's greatest architect/designers? A. The Mark. Be under no illusions, what Jacques Grange and co have conceived in the leafy surroundings of the Upper Eastside is now the yardstick against which all other hotels will now have to measure themselves. After over two years under renovation with some of the most sought after names in the creative fields working on the project, The Mark has transformed itself from a decent hotel to a hotel of superlatives. Everything is top draw from the design to the staff, from the food to the wellness centre. This all, of course, comes with the price tag that its quality demands, however rest assured that no other hotel can come close to what The Mark has to offer.
We're going to stick our necks out here and say that of all the hotels we have stayed at in this city, the Setai probably takes top spot. Of course there are many different types of hotel in the city and not everyone is looking for what the Setai has to offer, but as on overall experience, it can't, in our opinion, be bettered. The rooms are not only some of the biggest in the city, but they are likely to be the best appointed in terms of amenities too. The stunning, contemporary spa is as luxurious as it is spacious and in its restaurant the hotel has one of most memorable dining experiences to be had. But what impressed us most, and where the hotel rises above it competitors, is the consistent attention to detail and impeccable service the likes of which we've never seen. Although new (November 2010 opening), this is right up there with the old masters and the best thing is that it can only get better!
Let's not mince our words; The Peninsula is quite simply one of the finest hotels in New York, even more so now it is the other side of a renovation. From the very first moment you enter the hotel you'll have no doubt about the quality of experience that awaits you. There is very little to pick holes at here where excellence comes as standard: the large rooms are finely furnished, the restaurants of the highest caliber, the spa one of the most beautiful and complete in the city and the service faultless. Like all top class hotels this all comes at a certain price, however if there was ever one hotel which could justify the cost it would be this one.
This mythical New York hotel has seen its fair share of changes, both within in its walls and outside, however one thing remains constant: The Carlyle is one of the swankiest, smartest, seductive hotels in the city. The very few flaws of the hotel (for example the size of some bathrooms) can be excused by its age; otherwise there are very few hotels of this genre which can claim to offer a similar experience. Not only does it offer top notch service and facilities, but its location and commanding views are also something spectacular. Throw in a rich history, fine dining and exquisite décor and you get a hotel (literally) fit for kings. If you've got the cash, don't even ask yourself the question?
The Pierre has always been a landmark hotel in New York City?and we are glad to report that after its latest $100 million renovation following its takeover by Taj Hotels, it is still very much one of the hotels by which others must judge themselves. It is true to say that it may not have some of the facilities of some of the other top hotels (no spa, smaller rooms), but when it comes to service, style and sophistication, not to mention history, it is untouchable. With a location that would make most hotels weep with envy, fabulously appointed rooms with an Asian touch and a new, top quality restaurant, The Pierre is back on top of its game and ready to welcome once again all types of traveller, no matter their motive for visiting the city. All this comes, of course, at a price, but if you had to choose a place to spend your hard earned cash, this has got to be near the summit of your shortlist.
Although no longer associated with its Parisian namesake, the Plaza Athénée New York continues to offer one of the most refined hotel experiences in the city. Its style may not be as subtle as some of its competitors and thus some many find it a little overwhelming, but there is no getting away from the fact the hotel is a class act from top to bottom. It boasts capacious, well-appointed and recently renovated rooms (January 2010), a fine wellness centre, a celebrated restaurant and bar and an impeccable service from a smart, professional staff. If you're after that classic European opulence the other side of the Atlantic then the well-located Plaza Athénée is one to consider.
Take a step back in time (through a passage lined with suede and leather, of course) to the golden age of travel and the magnificent new Art Deco hotel The Chatwal. Opened recently in August of 2011, it has quickly become one of the places to stay in New York and to be honest, it isn't difficult to see why: a dream location in the heart of Manhattan, superbly appointed, world ?class accommodations, a luxury spa and a fine restaurant. Marrying both old world glamour and modern day luxury, this 'baby grand' hotel will appeal to those looking for good old fashioned service in a romantic setting with everything that makes this a great city within reach.