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Hotel The Mercer Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
147 Mercer St, at Prince St, New York New York, United States of America -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

With several big names behind The Mercer, it should not come as a huge surprise that The Mercer is the success it is: it is an André Balazs property (like The Standard), was designed in part by Christian Liaigre and has a Jean Georges restaurant (like The Mark). With such a backing, together with the general love affair with the area, it is equally unsurprising that the hotel has become a hangout for beautiful people and celebrities and the place to be seen in SoHo. The loft-style rooms, although in some cases a lot smaller than the real deal, are neutrally yet stylishly appointed and are especially bright. The attractive staff is surprisingly unpretentious and the place itself is a little more discreet than other properties in the same genre due to the relatively low number of rooms. The hotel does lack amenities, however it has enough to be able to meet the needs of most travellers be it friends, couples or families.

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    Location 4.86 /10

    The Mercer is located on the street which shares its name. The hotel's immediate vicinity in the SoHo district of Manhattan is ultimately a very agreable one, although as a tourist, much of what you'll want to see, especially on a first visit, is further up toward midtown. Together with TriBeCa, it is the home of the well-heeled bohemian and their shops, restaurants and bars. The surrounding districts of the West Village and Lower Eastside are also recommended if you have time. But for that true Big Apple buzz you'll need to hop on the metro at one of the five metro stations that surround the hotel. JFK airport is just over 19 miles away, La Guardia just over 10 miles and Newark 13.

    Accommodation 8.95 /10

    The idea of the rooms at The Mercer is that the guest gets the experience of living in a New York loft apartment. Although the rooms are nowhere near as big as a real loft, they do have high ceilings and lots of natural light. The standard rooms at the Mercer are fairly small with the Mercer Room being poorly laid out so that it would be difficult to drag a suitcase between the bed and the unit on which the television sits. The first few categories are very similar and have the same amenities, varying only in size, view (courtyard versus Mercer Street) and the presence of a bathtub. The predominant colour is white, or off-white, broken only by the brown carpet and wooden oval table which has a plate of fruit upon it on your arrival. There are various pieces of furniture around the room such as the two designer bedside tables and the sofa and leather armchairs surrounding the oval table. The bed is dressed in Egyptian cotton while opposite in one of the free standing closets you'll find the minibar and a host of snacks and miniatures as well as the flatscreen television. Also in the closet are bathrobes (custom made, for sale), slippers and the safe while an iron and ironing board can be delivered on request. Other amenities include iPod docking station, Bose sound system and DVD player and access to the hotel's complimentary CD and DVD library. The white marble bathroom is a little on the small side but features a walk in shower, a trolley for all towels and personalised toiletries by FACE of Stockholm. The suites are divided into several categories, however the three largest of these are simply combinations of two smaller rooms. The Loft Suites are all situated on the top floor (number 6) of the hotel and have a living/dining area, a walk-in closet, two person bathtub and in some cases a fireplace. The Courtyard Suite boasts a kitchenette while the Penthouse Suite's only difference is the view onto Mercer Street.

    Overview 8.70 /10

    Having a rather unsexy history as a warehouse, the last thing you'd expect to find inside a non-descript red brick building on the corner of the street in SoHo is one of the hottest hotels in New York. But this is one of the hotel's charms and one that means that it can remain reasonably discreet. The Christian Liaigre designed lobby is a homely space with a seating area to the right featuring lilac leather armchairs and 70s looking low brown sofas round an oriental rug. On the wall just next to this is the lobby library from which guests are free to pick up something to read. Behind, through a gap in the fake brick wall with pillars illuminated from above, is the reception which, when we visited, was attended to by three young and attractive ladies who were very helpful and natural with us and other guests. To the other side of the lobby is another seating area, this time acting as a sort of overflow from the café just beyond the glass. A totem pole stands tall above this half of the room while a wonderful light, the shape of a ship's hull adorns the ceiling behind the false brick wall to the left. While the lobby is most certainly a success, the rest of the hotel is hit and miss. The corridors have smart wooden flooring protected by a white bordered mauve carpet running down the middle. At the end of each corridor is a section of wall and ceiling painted in a different colour to the rest, separating in a way the last room on the floor. There are also interesting ideas such as the mirrors reclining against the corridor walls and the use of keys rather than cards to access the bedrooms. However the lifts inexplicably are carpeted in a cheap brush material and the hotel lacks many of the amenities that its competitors provide. For example the hotel does not have an onsite fitness centre or spa (although it can arrange in-room treatments and supply free passes to Equinox around the corner) or a real business centre. You can rent laptops and there is one available free to use at reception but there is no quiet place to escape to in order to work. The hotel though very well maintained and very clean and generally a pleasant place to spend time whether in the lobby or the café or restaurant (see 'Food and Drink').

    Food and drink 9.70 /10

    One of the hotel's biggest assets, The Mercer Kitchen is a split-level Jean Georges outfit with a café upstairs adjacent to the lobby and a restaurant beneath. The former is a bright, 40-seater affair which is always buzzing with guests and locals and where it is possible to choose from the main menu. The latter is an interesting space whose ceiling features both brick vaults and the glass sidewalk covers on the pavement above, while the exposed brick walls have protruding from them the building's original pipes. Seating is in the form of either regular seats which have been personalised with an 'M' punched into the back, banquettes or semi circular booths in alcoves set back from the main room. There is a seafood bar featuring various beasts on ice and an open kitchen just next to the communal eating area at the back of the restaurant. The Kitchen serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is the classic continental and hot food combination while the brunch menu is pretty exciting. Appetizers include carpaccio of black sea bass with lime, coriander and mint and a steamed shrimp salad with avocado, mushroom and tomato in a champagne vinaigrette. Mains include omelettes as well as sturdier dishes like the tuna and wasabi pizza and sautéed red snapper with sweet potato ravioli and aromatic spice broth. The dinner menu has the same appetizers but mains include pizzas, roasted lobster and grilled lamb chops.

    To know

    The building which now houses The Mercer used to be a warehouse in what was at the time not such a trendy area. As a tribute to this former usage, some of the rooms have exposed brick walls. People in this neighbourhood are quite fond of their animals and so the hotel has little choice but to be pet-friendly. Guests can spoil their pooches with toys and beds, available at reception. If you have a competitive edge then why not rent a Nintendo Wii or Xbox from the front desk. The hotel is a sister property to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Sports equipment

      fitness

    • Animals allowed
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms

    advantage

    • Design and décor
    • Jean Georges restaurant
    • Relaxed air despite exclusivity
    • Free wifi
    • Free Equinox gym passes

    disadvantages

    • No on-site wellness facilities

    Traveller Reviews

    -
    • Overall Score -/10
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