Free luxury car service on weekdays; free pedicab service on weekends
Free drinks and snacks in lobby
Easy walking distance to multiple subway lines
No spa (although in-room spa services are available)
Smaller rooms than its luxury competitors
This 114-room Soho boutique, with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, great freebies (including free Wi-Fi and free nightly wine and cheese), restaurant by David Burke, and a hotel art curator, embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. Its bright, minimalist rooms are smaller than those at some of its luxury competitors (including the nearby Trump SoHo), but they're full of enough thoughtful details to make up for it.
The James New York isn't just located in Soho, it is Soho. The hotel has adopted the neighborhood's character as its own, which you can see in its interior design (inspired by Soho's airy, formerly industrial lofts) and its use of local Soho products (including the turndown chocolates; air plants; pillows; and pet amenities). It also honors the neighborhood's cultural heritage as a hub for artists and other creative types: The hotel hired New York artist Matt Jensen to curate hallway displays from up-and-coming artists on each floor, and purchases all of the books in the hotel from Printed Matter, a non-profit that supports artists.
Some of these details might escape guests' attention, but others, like the free Wi-Fi and free lobby snacks (don't miss the lobby wine and cheese daily reception), will not. It's these sort of intimate touches that define a true boutique hotel experience, and make guests feel truly cared for.
In southern Soho, within easy walking distance of some of the city's best art galleries, shopping, and dining
Though it's lost much of its edge since the days when starving artists squatted in the neighborhood's then-abandoned (but now historically preserved) cast-iron industrial buildings, Soho -- short for "South of Houston" -- is still a hub for New York creative types, but also draws the young, beautiful, and moneyed in droves.
Over the years, as real estate prices rose, artists' studios gave way to art galleries, which in turn gave way to retail. Pioneering fashion-forward boutiques like Anna Sui have in recent years been joined by more mainstream retailers like J. Crew. Be-seen restaurants like Balthazar and Mercer Kitchen now fill the area.
Soho is a safe place to wander during the day and, since so many of its dining and drinking establishments are still hopping, at night. Guests will have no problem hailing a taxi anywhere to and from the hotel.
The James New York sits near the southern edge of Soho, just steps from TriBeCa. Together the two neighborhoods embody New York's haute bohemian downtown shopping and nightlife scene. Greenwich Village, meanwhile, is walking distance to the north. The Financial District is just beyond TriBeCa to the south.
Canal Street, the border between Soho and TriBeCa, is an international bazaar of shops packed with everything from T-shirts to designer knockoffs. Late at night Canal clears out, though, and can feel a bit desolate. If visitors head east on Canal Street, a very different world awaits in Chinatown. This growing neighborhood, slowly taking over what used to be Little Italy, is at once an adventurer's dream and a smelly, crowded mess that some visitors might prefer to avoid.
One block from the 1, 2 subway lines; two blocks from the A, C, E lines
7-minute walk to the N, R subway lines; 10-minute walk to the 4,6,J,N, Q, Z lines
20 minutes by subway to Penn Station
25 minutes by subway to Times Square and the Theater District
25 minutes by subway to Columbus Circle and Central Park
30 minutes by subway to Rockefeller Center
20 minutes by subway to Battery Park, where the ferry terminal to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is located
20 minutes to South Street Seaport, a waterfront shop and restaurant hub in the Financial District
25 minutes by subway to the Museum of Modern Art; 30 minutes by subway to the American Museum of Natural History
45 minutes by subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bright, minimalist rooms with lots of thoughtful extras
The rooms at the James successfully mimic the aesthetic of the archetypal Soho loft -- an industrial building turned airy, arty apartment. The reclaimed wood floors, white walls and bedspreads, innovative black-and-white privacy screens, high ceilings, and flat-screen TVs hung on giant concrete pipes make you feel like you've wandered into the live-work studio of a successful neighborhood artist. Assuming that artist is a remarkably thoughtful host, that is: The rooms feature numerous specialized details, including turndown treats from Soho chocolatier Kee's, floor heating in the bathrooms, reading lights on the headboards, an eco-friendly pillow menu, bottled water by the bed, and high-end toiletries.