- Slow elevators
Gorgeous new 86-room boutique in the heart of SoHo with prices as high as its ceilings.
Tucked away on a quiet cobblestoned street one block from Broadway in the heart of SoHo, the 86-room, 11-story Crosby Street Hotel is the latest addition to lower Manhattan's increasingly crowded market of downtown boutiques. Opened in October 2009, the hotel was built on a prime piece of real estate that was previosuly a parking garage.
The Crosby Street is the first property outside of London for Firmdale Hotels, a small boutique chain that's privately owned by husband-and-wife team Tim and Kit Kemp. The hotel is beautiful, and manages to feel both sophisticated and accessible -- you can actually sit on the velvet tuxedo-style sofa in the "drawing room" without feeling like you're violating some kind of design etiquette. Kit Kemp serves as the design director, and she and her team clearly paid obsessive attention to color, texture, and detail: from the 10-foot-high Jaume Plensa sculpture in the lobby to the deep sofas in the drawing room to the textured wallpaper in the rooms. The overall effect is as whimsical as it is comfortable, a combination that's often absent from the monochrome glass-walled design hotels that have sprouted in the vicinity -- like the Cooper Square and the Thompson LES.
With standard rooms starting at 340 square feet, the Crosby's rooms are significantly more spacious than the 240-square-foot rooms at the nearby Mercer. They're also significantly more expensive. Both hotels have a 24-hour concierge, but what's nice about the service at the Mercer is that every person on staff doubles as a concierge, from the bellman to the front desk staff. The Crosby sure is pretty, though.
The hotel opened in 2008, and service still needs some fine-tuning.
In the heart of SoHo, steps from some of the city's best restaurants and shopping
The Crosby Street Hotel is, naturally, located on Crosby Street, a quiet cobblestoned street one block east of Broadway in the heart of SoHo, one of New York's most vibrant fashion and dining districts. For those who want to be downtown, the location doesn't get much better than this. The MoMA design store and Balthazar, a renowned French restaurant and bakery, are both half a block away, and stores like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marc Jacobs, and Anna Sui are within an easy stroll.
With a mix of new and vintage design pieces, textured fabrics, and bold splashes of color, these rooms are some of the most understated and beautiful (and expensive) in New York. Design director Kit Kemp clearly paid great attention to small details that make a difference: good lighting, heated towel racks, fine Frette linens, even a lavender sachet in the closet. The standard Superior Rooms are all on the 2nd floor and start at 340 square feet, making them almost one-third larger than rooms at the nearby Mercer. Every room category up from superior gets a bit more space and a better view. One gripe: Bathtubs aren't standard in the bottom three room categories (only deluxe courtyard and above), and there are no alarm clocks.
Rooftop garden; free Wi-Fi; screening room; and a well-equipped, but cramped, gym
With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating areas, a well-equipped but small gym (or free passes to Equinox), a 99-seat screening room, and even a rooftop vegetable garden, the Crosby Street has the basics more than covered. By comparison, neither the Greenwich nor the Mercer has a screening room, but the Greenwich does have an underground pool. Both the Greenwich and the Mercer have more acclaimed restaurants: chef Andrew Carmellini's Locanda Verde (at the Greenwich) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's The Mercer Kitchen (at the Mercer).
Opened in October 2009 , Crosby Street is the first New York City hotel to earn a LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council
The Crosby Street Hotel was the first Empire State hotel to hear a LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building itself completed constructed in 2009, so the designers and were able to incorporate some ambitious eco-friendly features such as a "green" roof (for growing some of the restaurant's fruits and vegetables). There are low-flow faucets and toilets throughout the building, and the hotel offsets at least 35 percent of its electricity.
Although its upscale downtown vibe isn't exactly geared towards kids, some of the rooms, especially the deluxe courtyard suite with a king bed and a queen-size pullout couch, are good for families. I met one family from Nashville, with four kids between ages eight and 15, who said they specifically chose the Crosby Street because it had spacious rooms that connected. However, the hotel is located in SoHo, an area known for its shopping and restaurants, and not for kid-friendly attractions.
American and English comfort food -- and great cocktails -- in a setting that's buzzing but still cozy
SoHo needed a spot like The Crosby Bar -- it's a large space, but still manages to feel cozy and warm with floor-to-ceiling warehouse-style windows, banquettes, and a long pewter bar. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea, and the executive chef is Robin Read, who oversees food operations across all of Firmdale's hotels. His menu isn't especially adventurous -- continental American with some English favorites mixed in -- but the food's good, and prices are fair for the neighborhood. Annoyingly, the restaurant was so packed the night of my stay that the only place for me to sit was at the bar. Even when I said I was a guest of the hotel, they couldn't squeeze me in, so I ended up ordering the fish and chips with pea puree ($21) through room service.
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