While the glass tower of the hotel is visible from quite a distance due to it dominating its immediate surroundings, finding the actual entrance is a little complicated (especially as taxi drivers in Manhattan don't know their city like London cabbies do theirs). But you do stumble across it you'll be greeted by some serious-looking porters who will take your luggage (if you so wish) and deliver it to your room later (in our case, quite a bit later). You will then be met by a host who will accompany you to the lobby lounge and offer you a glass of wine while they radio someone or other, go and check you in and retrieve your key. At this point you are welcome to stay and relax with your drink or head straight up to your room. If you choose the latter option the chances of you being accompanied to the hard to find lifts are fifty-fifty: we weren't but other guests were. The fact that my luggage took at least 15 minutes to reach my room was softened by the delight at my room, although the whole check-in process did seem rather complicated and clumsy (although the staff was impeccable and extremely polite). Traditionalists may not appreciate their unconventional methods.
The entrance itself consists of a lofty lobby centered around a three giant backless leather seats with a low coffee table come bookshelf at one end. This is placed on an oriental rug while flowers complete the setup. From the ceiling hangs a fabulous lamp while at the back of the space are some backlit panels with a leaf motif. We particularly appreciated the juxtaposition of the wood panelling above the entrance to the lounge and the stone flooring as well as the natural light coming through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Through the other side of the entrance is the lounge where guests are deposed upon their arrival, but which is also a place where they can take a drink, have an informal business meeting or simply read one of the many books stored in the shelves surrounding the space. The immaculate salon is both airy and comfortable with plenty of varied stylish seating and complimentary tea and coffee (and relaxing music in the mornings). Outside is the hotel's restaurant's terrace as well as a small garden which, although has no particular view, is a little haven of peace. Adjacent to the lounge is what the hotel calls its situation room, essentially a concierge desk with a sliding door in case privacy is needed.
The hotel as a whole is easy to negotiate and is clean and in great shape. There are three lifts, each with a bench, to help you up to your room while guests can take advantage of complimentary wifi throughout the property as well as free day passes to the New York Health and Racquet Club (there are no fitness/wellness facilities on site). The staff here, while not especially forthcoming in their aide (part of the philosophy of discretion perhaps), is professional and courteous and is themselves the type of clientele that may stay in a place like the Standard East Village.