Having previously stayed at The Refinery Hotel and The Dominick (previously Trump Soho), when looking for somewhere to stay for the New York Marathon I was keen to be in Soho, New York. A few searches later and I came across the newly opened 11 Howard, bagged a bargain rate and booked my flights!
11 Howard is near Chinatown and Little Italy, and within walking distance of art galleries, shopping and popular restaurants. Taxis are readily available, and several subways are within a five-minute walk including the N, R, A, C, E and 6 trains. Summary – you can get anywhere pretty easily!
There are 10 room categories ranging from a 200-square-foot Howard Queen to the 3,000-square-foot Terrace Suite; all have 11-foot ceilings, light oak floors, large windows, custom-made Scandinavian-inspired minimalist furniture, 48-inch flat screen televisions and tablets from the technology company Keypr, which guests can use to order room service and make requests such as extra towels.
The décor in the rooms is the work of design studio Space Copenhagen, the vibe is Scandi-minimalist, with beige walls, wooden furniture with a mid-century accent, and block-colour fabrics in dusky tones.
While New York isn’t known for its spacious hotel accommodation, my King Room felt particularly compact, with not much floor space to be seen — and it wasn’t even the smallest room category on offer. Those in search of something a little more spacious should opt for a Howard Deluxe or one of the suites, such as the Terrace Suite, which comes complete with a wrap-around deck.
There’s a limited room service menu, but who wants to order in when the French restaurant Le Coucou, run by the American chef Daniel Rose —renowned for his cuisine at the restaurant Spring, in Paris—is right downstairs? Snagging a table for dinner is nearly impossible, but guests get priority reservations. The restaurant is also open — and not nearly as coveted — for breakfast. My morning meal of French press coffee, an omelet with fresh mixed herbs and grilled bread was simple and delicious. The Library also serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. and has a menu of small plates and drinks during the rest of the day.
In the evenings, follow the spiral staircase up past Dan Attoe’s neon art piece to the Blond bar and lounge for cocktails. Like a party-mad reverse Cinderella, it transforms, at the stroke of 9pm, into a nightclub. There’s a strict guestlist from Thursday to Saturday, but as a hotel guest you can order drinks from 5pm to 9pm, provided no events are taking place. There’s moody lighting, Donnie-Darko-esque bronze animal-masked busts by British artist Charming Baker, velvet sofas, smoky gold mirrors and, yes, a disco ball.
The Library, a stylish but inviting all-day lounge with several comfortable seating areas and an eight-person communal table; a small gym; and a bar and nightclub, the Blond, that opens at 5 p.m. daily (it is closed on Sunday). And, instead of going the way of many hotels today by giving guests complimentary bike loans, those who stay here get to borrow longboards (similar to skateboards) instead.
This is perhaps what let down the hotel for me. Granted they’d not been open long when I arrived, however, the staff just seemed a little unsure with protocol, and didn’t think on their feet for solutions. I also had a terrible first night with someone above having a raucous party and the smell of their cigarettes wafting down into my room, response from the management team..? “um… we’re sorry” – not exactly 5*.
However, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, I’ll return when they’ve (hopefully) ironed out some of these teething problems.
The Habit Hunter x