Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
The LES is the newest offering from Thompson Hotels, a company with a "manifesto" that includes these words: "Bohemian chic meets art house wise meets quiet yet radical elegance." Strangely, that barely intelligible string of marketing babble somehow manages to capture what this place is like.
Bohemian chic? For sure. This is the Lower East Side, after all, once a tenement-filled haven for freshly arrived immigrants that, in recent years, has been transformed into a fashionable boutique-, restaurant-, and bar-filled haven for young urban professionals who like a little grit in their neighborhood. And the hotel, with its austere and rough-hewn yet distinctly luxurious design, fits in well -- even if the neighborhood seems like a surprising place for a luxury hotel.
Sure, there's a lot of pretension on display here. (Remember: "Art house wise.") But the place also delivers: The staff is casual yet professional; the hotel really is beautiful (at least on the inside); the rooms are well-equipped with electronics and luxury comforts; and the lobby and are already drawing a scene filled with skinny jeans.
For all that you get at the Thompson LES, room rates compare favorably to other downtown luxury boutiques, though it's worth also checking out sister property 60 Thompson, the company's SoHo flagship, as well as the Bowery Hotel, located a few blocks west and north. But Thompson LES is for now the only choice in its immediate neighborhood.
Professional but casual; 24-hour concierge available.
Service at Thompson LES is professional but casual -- like the hotel in general, it's luxurious but a little rough around the edges.
Doormen and luggage porters wait by the door to help guests with their bags. When I checked in just after 3 p.m, a few other guests were in line, but the whole process was quick and efficient. Within just a few minutes I was watching the silent movie playing in the elevator and heading for my room.
Staff responded quickly to special requests. I called the front desk for a razor and toothpaste, for instance; they arrived at my door in moments.
The Thompson LES concierge is now available 24 hours a day.
Manhattan's Lower East Side has for the most part up and came, but it's still a little rough around the edges. Great restaurants and nightlife.
For most of the past century, the Lower East Side was the neighborhood where newly arrived immigrants packed into tenements while trying to grab a toehold here in America. Now those tenements have been transformed into spiffy apartments by junior investment bankers who like to dress up as punk rockers at night. The streets are still a little grungy, but there's no shortage of skinny jeans and party traffic. On the weekends the sidewalks are packed with young people heading to the bars and restaurants.
The night I stayed at Thompson LES, jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux gave a free concert literally next door at Rockwood Music Hall. Proximity to entertainment like that, along with scores of great neighborhood restaurants and bars, are what make this location so appealing to the cool-hunting crowd.
The 2nd Avenue station on the F subway line is across the street from the hotel; doormen easily hail cabs on Houston Street.
Safety isn't a big issue: Active -- often very active -- nightlife in the area means heavy foot traffic around the hotel, most nights into the early-morning hours.
30 to 90 minutes from three airports.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting into town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate of $45 and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan costs about $40 and can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 plus tolls and can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that are available at all three airports for about $14 per person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. Public transit is also available for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
The setting sun was shining through the gold chiffon curtain when I got to my queen superior room. A huge black-and-white Lee Friedlander photograph glowed on the lightbox headboard above the platform bed. And the glossy black wooden floors make everything in the room look as if they're almost floating in space. I have to admit, I felt momentarily transported.
The standard queen superior room is somewhere between 300 and 325 square feet in size, which is larger than the typical New York City hotel -- and floor-to-ceiling windows make the space feel even larger. The bathrooms are a little small, but the rainfall shower and quality Kiehl's product easily make up for that.
The extremely comfortable bed has 400-thread-count sheets and a heavy duvet.
There's a neat trapdoor-like compartment in the desk for plugging in your gadgets, but the lack of a desk lamp, and the large flat-screen tv awkwardly mounted above, make it a less-than-ideal place for working. (On the other hand, the modern white-leather desk chair was really very comfortable.)
An upgrade will get you a small sitting area and, if you go for a suite, a terrace. Because the hotel towers over the surrounding buildings, all rooms will have good views -- but I recommend those on the west side of the building, so you can catch the sunset.
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There's an outdoor pool emblazoned with an image of Andy Warhol along the bottom. But it's only 3.5 feet deep and not really long enough for laps.
Thompson LES has a Above Allen. The , which has a , has a lounge atmosphere. DJs spin regularly.for guests and VIPs called
Another spot, the, is open year-round, and in the winter is warmed by .
There's also a smallwith treadmills, elliptical machines, Stairmasters, strength-training machines, and free weights.
Guests get free access to the, which has a sauna and -- though not yet fully operational -- will offer a full range of treatments.
Nothing particularly kid-friendly except the; plus free cribs and connecting rooms.
Kids will like the shallow pool, and the hotel does have free cribs, but this is far from the most kid-friendly neighborhood in New York City.
The hotel offers on-site dining at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, part of the popular NYC Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group.
The hotel opened Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya in 2012, a member of New York's popular Blue Ribbon Restaurants. The menu highlights sushi and family-style Japanese dishes like sashimi, meat skewers, and tempura. The restaurant even flies in fish from Japan daily.
There are also plenty of dining options in the immediate area. Katz's Delicatessen, a classic spot that serves what's arguably the best pastrami sandwich in the universe, is just two blocks east on Houston Street. Elizabeth Street, which is lined with great restaurants like Cafe Habana and Peasant, is about a 10-minute walk.
This gorgeous new 141-room boutique may seem a bit out of place in the still-gritty Lower East Side neighborhood, which is known for its raucous late-night activity. But for well-heeled hipsters looking for downtown action, the cool design, attentive staff, , and combine to make this a very fine place to crash after a night out in skinny jeans.