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The Bowery House 2.0

Nolita, New York City, New York

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Review Summary

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  • Budget-style (compact) accommodations with a hip and historic vibe
  • Trendy location in Nolita, close to restaurants and bars
  • Spacious rooftop deck with views of the World Trade Center
  • Great for solo travelers who want to meet likeminded individuals
  • Low lighting and atmospheric music
  • Some Twin Cabins are corner units with great natural light
  • Towels and earplugs provided to all
  • Shared bathrooms have heated marble floors and quality bath products
  • Excellent NYC restaurant on the lower level
  • Non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and toiletries sold in the lobby
  • Bike rentals available
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Earplugs are necessary; latticed ceilings above rooms means no aural privacy
  • Shared bathrooms for everyone, and they can get busy during peak times
  • No elevators and everyone will climb at least two flights of stairs (pack light!)
  • The air is temperature controlled per floor, not per cabin
  • Tall people will find the beds in the Original Cabins too small

Bottom Line

The loft-style Bowery House (not to confused with the more expensive Bowery Hotel) is best suited for 20- or 30-something hipster types looking for proximity to downtown nightlife. It falls somewhere between a hostel and a hotel, and though snug "cabin" rooms are private, the latticed ceilings make for a lack of aural privacy (hence the earplugs). They're best suited to single travelers on a budget, but adventurous couples can book the Full Cabins (with a full bed), or the one private room that has a queen bed and actual ceiling. Shared bathrooms (gender specific) have upscale touches like Italian marble, Parisian fixtures, rain showerheads, and eco-friendly toiletries. The living room is a great place to mix and mingle, and the great rooftop deck is open in summer months. The eclectic small plates at the downstairs restaurant are excellent, though the bill might cost more than room itself.

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Young hipsters (and some backpackers) who dig history, style and affordability

After getting past the video camera and buzzer, guests will climb (there is no doorman) two sets of marble stairs lit by filament lightbulbs in order to get to the front desk for check-in. The adjacent Living Room is a comfy area decorated with green walls and button leather sofas. A vending area for sodas, water and coffee, and a magazine rack for reading, are also located here. The GM, Matthew, is often present to chat, otherwise the front desk staff can answer questions. Lounge music plays to keep the vibe upbeat. Guests may be found using the phone, or watching a sporting event on the the large flat-screen TV, since this is the only TV available to guests.

This brick building became the Prince Hotel in 1927 before it turned into lodging for soldiers coming back from World War II in the 1940s. In keeping with history, the layout of the two floors of accommodations remains the same, with a lattice-style roof above the super compact rooms, which is why guests tend to use the Living Room for pretty much everything but sleeping.

At night, the setting in the Living Room turns atmospheric with low lighting, and in summer months, guests can head upstairs to take a beer on the roof before hitting the town. This spacious area has faux green grass with funky patio furniture, and the space can be reserved for private events.

Besides these two main areas, guests -- mostly young and in the pursuit of fun -- are here to sleep and shower before exploring NYC.


A busy street on the edge of Nolita, close to the Lower East Side

The Bowery House entrance is hard to spot upon arrival since the name is displayed in small lettering, but the address above the door -- 220 Bowery -- is easier to see. Bowery Street itself was once a gritty part of Manhattan but is quite gentrified; case in point, the Patagonia retail store a few blocks away. The actual address of the property is Nolita, but Lower East Side and SoHo are just a hop, skip, and jump away. Many higher end hotels are popping up along this route, including some expensive options like The Standard, East Village and Bowery Hotel. Restaurants and bars are not surprisingly plentiful in the area, and for a splurge meal, Pearl & Ash –- a trendy NYC restaurant serving small plates cocktails and an huge wine list -- sits on the lower level of The Bowery House (just downstairs). For cheaper fare, the East Village is within walking distance and has a number of options ethnic options, and Little Italy and Chinatown are also easy to walk to.

To explore other neighborhoods, guests can use one of the CitiBikes to cruise across Manhattan or over the Williamsburg Bridge to get to Brooklyn. There are several train stations within a few blocks away including the Spring Street 6 train, Bowery (J, Z), Grand Street (B, D), 2nd Avenue (F), to name a few.


Cool and understated cabin rooms with shared bathrooms

The Bowery House has two main floors of accommodations that are styled to mimic the 1940s layout that housed soldiers coming home from WWII. Narrow dark brown hallways maintain this historic feel and lead to individual doors each locked with a key. The understated decor looks as if it may not have changed much; guests can expect white walls, white sheets, and brown blankets. Towels and earplugs are waiting on the bed (the lattice-style ceiling practically demands ear plugs) upon arrival. Guests can store their luggage under the bed or unpack their clothes in the small cupboard, but there isn't much elbow room so guests should pack light. Unique lamp fixtures (in the style of mason jars) create a cozy atmosphere, and there is at least one outlet in each room for charging tech items.

Solo travelers are common here and Twin Cabins, with a single twin bed, often have a window for natural light. Corner units with two windows get even more natural light as well as neighborhood views. The Original Cabins are the "inner" units (no windows) and have a smaller bed than the twin, which is harder for tall people to fit in, as well as even less room to move around. That being said, these are priced lower.

There are number of bunk rooms that can sleep up to three people. Though not exactly ideal for romantics, couples can stay in the Full Cabin rooms that have one full bed and two small dressers. For more privacy, there is a one Prince Room that has a queen bed and an actual ceiling. Both of these options are the only accommodations that receive bathrobes, but they share bathrooms like everyone else.

Shared bathrooms -- three per floor -- are separated by gender. There are three Italian marble sinks, black and white marble floors, and antique-looking Parisian fixtures. Walk-in showers stalls have rain showerheads and Red Flower toiletries in eco-friendly containers. There’s a separate private half-bathroom with a toilet and a sink. Guests may want to bring sandals for the bathrooms and use them early, as they become busy during peak morning hours.


Free Wi-Fi and a cool common area for meeting fellow travelers

The Bowery House is a hostel-like property appealing to travelers who need a cool place to hang before and after exploring the city. It lacks common hotel amenities like a gym and business center. That being said, the lobby, also called the Living Room, sits on the third floor next to the front desk with comfy leather sofas for reading or drinking a beer (bought from a nearby store) before going out. There is a magazine rack with designer glossies available to read and the "Bodega" for cold sodas, water, and coffee, as well as snacks and toiletries. Since each cabin is without a TV, guests can watch the large flat-screen here, though the cool lounge music in this area keeps the TV on the back-burner most of the time.

In warmer months, the large fifth-floor rooftop deck comes alive. It has funky Italian plastic furniture from an Italian designer, faux green grass turf, and views that stretch far across downtown all the way to One World Trade Center. There is a bar setup for busier nights as well as for private events, and a grill, though it is not available for guests.

A highly regarded NYC restaurant for small plates, cocktails and an extensive wine list, Pearl & Ash, is located on the bottom level of the Bowery House, though not many who stay here to save money will likely splurge on drinks and dinner there. There are plenty of affordable food and drink options in surrounding neighborhoods and the front desk is able to provide options.

Bicycles are available for rent, and there are CitiBike stations nearby as well. Wi-Fi is free for guests everywhere.

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220 Bowery, New York City, New York, United States

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