Sometimes even though you are an uptown girl, you still go looking for those downtown digs … and vice versa. And so goes my dilemma when booking hotels in New York City. So what to do when you can’t choose? Book both! Here’s two of my picks for great places to stay in the city, depending on what kind of trouble you are looking to get into … so divide up the excursion and spend a few nights in each neighborhood.
On my most recent trip I reserved a room at Sean MacPherson’s Ludlow Hotel. On the Lower East Side, right around the corner from Katz’s Deli, the location couldn’t be more ideal for a night of banquette surfing through the coolest cocktail bars in the country. The interior design is a study in raw luxury: worn leathers and exposed whitewashed brick, a limestone fireplace and bold abstract art. The Ludlow lobby and garden raises the tempo of the Lower East Side to a whole new level of luxurious cool. Beyond the obvious aesthetics there are many delights to explore within the Ludlow. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. All you have to do to get into Dirty French is jump out of bed. Located inside the hotel, this chic French bistro concept from Major Food Group’s Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, is one of the hottest reservations in New York City. The follow-up to their popular Carbone restaurant, every bite is completely memorable. Unlike Major’s other restaurants this one serves three meals a day and recently added brunch. The best thing I ate there and was the tartare that was delicately placed in an Indochine crepe, then rolled. The most inventive way to consume tartare that I have encountered.
2. The accommodations range from studios to terraces to lofts and the penthouse. I stayed in the Ludlow double loft. And the room was like nothing I have ever seen in terms of orientation: the Ludlow double loft. Well, it was actually two rooms … I entered through a queen bedroom, which led to a hallway and another king bedroom with a sitting room. Perfect for a friend to stay over after a late night.
3. All the fixtures and the accents in the bathroom are gold. This rich twist gives the lavatory a classic, timeless feel as it plays against the white tile with black grout … an effect that gives what could be considered a starkly contrasting palette, surprising
4. The garden is a fantastic place to get rowdy into the wee hours. After popping around the neighborhood, we closed the Lobby bar down. Plus, the space features a cocktail and bites menu from Dirty French.
5. Ludlow offers close proximity to the cultural crossroads at Bowery and Houston streets. An ever-changing outdoor art space, the Bowery mural at that intersection features a rotation of the world’s best graffiti artists including, most recently, Ron English’s Baby Hulk.
6. The clientele is littered with musicians, models, social entrepreneurs and in general, fascinating people to watch and to try and meet. The common areas are meant to be a magnet to attract a hodgepodge like you would find at a legendary New York City loft party.
After a few nights downtown though it’s time to leave the serendipitous scene at the Ludlow and head a few blocks up to the Gansevoort Park Avenue, located in NoMad, to get down to business. This is a great place to book when you need to be centrally located in midtown for work or with people who might not be as adventurous when it comes to staying east. Known for its social spaces, Gansevoort Park Avenue has become a classic New York City haunt since it opened in 2010. Five years you say? Yes, could be an eternity in NYC hotel time but they are still keeping it hot with one of the best vibes in town … here’s a few reasons why.
1. The rooftop. Three levels of fun, the Gansevoort roof deck is the stuff of legend. New this year, the former Sun Deck has been rebranded as Drift and there’s far more events being offered than time in the day so choose wisely. 80’s flicks outdoors every Sunday at sunset, life-sized Jenga during Game Night Mondays, and snack on summer staples like mini lobster rolls, oysters, tuna tacos, refreshing cocktails, midday rosé, and Coconut Cartel coconuts.
2. No one can resist a selfie in the lobby’s houndstooth high back chairs.
3. Ristorante Asellina from The One Group offers half off on select wine bottles on Sundays and also a great happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. I always pop in there for a cappuccino at the bar before hitting the town, morning or night.