January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide. Here are the top boutique hotels in SoHo, NYC:
In general it’s true that we’re skeptical about the idea of hotel chains. But we tend to forget our principles when we’re talking about the Firmdale group. Their six London hotels are six of the best hotels anywhere, and they can’t help but be similar; aside from the obvious fact that they all share the same city, they all just as obviously share the same general philosophy of what a hotel ought to be — which they owe to their owners, Tim and Kit Kemp. And a part of that is visual, a natural family resemblance based on their all having been decorated by the very recognizable Kit.
Now if we didn’t greatly admire the (smallish, intimate, service-oriented) Firmdale philosophy, and consider ourselves huge fans of Ms. Kemp’s design style, we might be less excited about a London-based mini-chain expanding into New York. But a hotel like Crosby Street is exactly what this city needs. The contrast between the downtown grit of the cobblestone street outside and the plush sophistication of the hotel’s lobby is immediate, and striking. Say what you will about the bright colors and the decidedly un-minimal décor — it’s a rare New York boutique these days that presents so opinionated a face to the world.
The first SoHo loft hotel is still the definitive entry in the genre. This 19th-century Romanesque Revival building was filled with artists’ lofts during the neighborhood’s postwar heyday, and its late-’90s renovation at the hands of superstar interior designer Christian Liaigre transformed it into one of the best of the first generation of boutique hotels. And while the competition has multiplied, the Mercer’s never lost its sheen — sister to Chateau Marmont and the Chiltern Firehouse, it’s an André Balazs hotel, which means it’s perennially on the radar of some of the world’s most style-conscious travelers.
Guest rooms put their loft-style oversized windows and hardwood floors to good use, and the fixtures and furnishings are custom pieces, designed by Liaigre to convey a unique sense of place. Its elegance comes from its restraint and its confident minimalism, while its materials and textures keep it from coming off cold. And while the rooms aren’t enormous — this is New York, after all — the suites quickly expand into haute-luxury territory.
Time was, a hotel’s life span was measured out in fractions of a century; now just staying around for a decade is a genuine achievement. Having opened towards the end of the early wave of downtown Manhattan boutique hotels, SIXTY SoHo, some years in, can now rightly be called an established classic.
The location doesn’t hurt, down one of SoHo’s swankier streets, and a recent multi-million-dollar renovation by the London-based designer Tara Bernerd has left the interiors looking more vibrant than ever. The soaring loft-style guest rooms are still as quintessentially downtown as they come, equal parts luxury-hotel sheen and boutique-hotel funk, with high-end Italian linens, Dean & Deluca pantries (we used to call them minibars) and bathrooms that manage to be decadent and heavily marbled and yet youthfully stylish at the same time.
ModernHaus is blessed with a classic Downtown location that’s as close to the upscale shops of Tribeca as it is to the cobblestone streets and artists’ lofts that made SoHo famous. And in terms of aesthetic inspiration, it’s a bit of both: the building, a modern concrete-and-glass tower, is very 21st-century SoHo, while the rooms and the décor embrace the classic mid-20th-century loft style for which downtown Manhattan is so well known..
Dark hardwood floors and clean-lined modernist furniture set an elegant tone in the guest rooms, and the eye-catching slate-tile bathrooms add a note of decadent indulgence. Oversized windows bring in plenty of light, and as you move up into Corner Studios and Suites the spaces become more expansive and the comforts more residential.
New York is always evolving. Not all that many years ago, Hudson Square was a bit of a non-place, a nameless district bordering SoHo, Tribeca, and the West Village. But give people a reason to visit, and a neighborhood is born. Arlo Soho got in early, before the rush of development, and the frugality of its developers enables it to offer modern boutique style at a price that would normally get you — well, we don’t even want to think about what, but certainly not that.
To be perfectly fair, the size of the rooms is also a factor. At 150 square feet, Arlo’s are small, even by local standards — but if you want a suite spacious enough to swing a cat in (this is a figure of speech, please do not swing cats) and you want it in Lower Manhattan, the economics are not in your favor. And here, while the rooms are compact, they’re plenty comfortable, finding space for mini-fridges and work desks, and, if you’re lucky, opening onto an outdoor terrace. Just pack decisively.
Many people visiting New York for the first time are shocked with the size of the rooms (smallish). If you need some space and are not looking to book a suite, here are some boutique hotels with larger standard rooms:
Four Seasons Hotel New York (Midtown)
The Dominick (Soho)
The St. Regis New York (Midtown)
Crosby Street Hotel (Soho)
Park Hyatt New York (Midtown)
For anyone with a pet by their side, you have plenty of choices among the best NYC boutique hotels. Here’s a sample of those that welcome pets (charges and certain restrictions may apply):
The Whitby Hotel
There are plenty of great dining experiences in the best New York boutique hotels. Here are a few recognized by The MICHELIN Guide:
The New York Edition
The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue
There are plenty of options if you’d like to stay near one of NYC’s most iconic landmarks. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to the Empire State Building:
Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue
Andaz 5th Avenue
Refinery Hotel New York
A trip to NYC is hardly complete without a stroll through the famous park. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to Central Park:
The Whitby Hotel
Park Hyatt New York
1 Hotel Central Park
Times Square might have a mixed reputation, but no one can say it’s not worth experiencing at least once. Here are the best New York City boutique hotels closest to Times Square:
Sofitel New York
Hyatt Centric Times Square
Tablet Hotels merged with MICHELIN in 2018 and is the hotels component of the MICHELIN Guide. For more information visit our About Tablet section.