January 20, 2020
We've curated a selection of extraordinary boutique hotels in Soho, New York — chosen by our experts and rated by our guests after verified stays — and included the latest MICHELIN Guide rated restaurants nearby. Tablet Hotels is your source for discovering the world's most interesting boutique hotels (we've been doing this for 20 years and now we're part of the Michelin family) — places where you'll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. Here's our top boutique hotels in Soho, NYC:
On the outside, with its cheery pink brick facade, the SoHo Grand resembles a brand-new shopping complex. But inside is a different story. Cast iron dogs stand guard at industrial design central — square lights, molded concrete walls, a coffee table the size of a grand piano. There's mesh wire glass everywhere, including on the writing desks in the rooms. The floors are the same stuff you see on New York sidewalks — corrugated steel for the elevators, and cast iron and glass for the stairs.
When it opened in 1996, the Grand was the first big SoHo hotel, and its downtown location has continued to be a major factor in its identity. Take the concierges, who can get you a reservation at the hottest underground restaurant and fill you in on the hippest goings-on. Here's where you'll find Tokyo urbanites in platforms, tough-talking London businessmen on their cells, lanky Nigerian models, many rock and roll musicians, and a lot of crazy hair. It's easy for that much hipness to be intimidating, but the Grand, despite its name, is warm and happy. Maybe it's the pet friendly atmosphere — Fifi can munch on a biscuit at the bar while you drink your Tartini, and you can even borrow a goldfish to keep you company through those long Manhattan nights.
SoHo, formerly home to the artists' lofts that were New York's 20th-century Downtown signature, has, since around the turn of the millennium, gone steadily upscale — and steadily more international. Both trends find expression in 11 Howard, where contemporary Scandinavian design meets a more inclusive, less ostentatious version of luxury hospitality. It's the first independent hotel project for architect Anda Andrei, after decades as the designer behind Ian Schrager's path-breaking boutique-hotel projects.
Produced in collaboration with Danish designers Space Copenhagen, 11 Howard avoids the sort of wall-to-wall bling that's sometimes synonymous with New York hotels. The Scandinavian vibe imparts a crisp cleanliness to 11 Howard's interiors, and the local color comes in the form of a pretty formidable art collection, whose highlights include works by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Katie Yang, and Dan Attoe. The rooms are smart and functional, drawing heavily on the cozier currents in Danish design, and the resulting visual identity is a memorable one.
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.
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.
Of course the rooms aren't the whole story. A place like this lives and dies by its public spaces, which, in this case, are impeccable. This is the luxury boutique as it ought to be — plush but not precious, hip but not off-putting, and an authentic fixture in the nightlife of lower Manhattan.
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 hotel to Chateau Marmont and the Chiltern Firehouse, it's an André Balazs production, 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.
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.
More boutique hotel lists for New York City:
Top 10 NYC Boutique Hotels
Brooklyn Boutique Hotels
Greenwich Village Boutique Hotels
Midtown New York Boutique Hotels
Tribeca & Wall St Boutique Hotels
Meatpacking NYC Boutique Hotels
Flatiron NYC Boutique Hotels
View our entire selection of
Boutique Hotels in Soho New York
The MICHELIN Guide's star restaurant selections for Soho, New York City:
Interested in value dining?
Check out the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand selections for NYC.
All of the Soho boutique hotels on Tablet have restaurants, some even Michelin rated:
11 Howard - Le Coucou (1 Michelin Star)
The Mercer - Mercer Kitchen
Crosby Street Hotel - The Crosby Bar
Arlo Soho - Harold's
Tablet Hotels merged with MICHELIN in 2018 and is the hotels component of the MICHELIN Guide. For more information visit our About Tablet section.