The Mercer, Soho, Manhattan, NYC, NY, USA *****

Q: What is it? A: A fabulous, flawless, very fine hotel at the corner of Mercer and Prince.

Christian Liaigre designed the rooms, although they don't really feel 'designed', which is partly a good thing.

Large room designed by Christian Liaigre. Large bed designed by Christian Liaigre. Yep. Living large at the Mercer in one of the hotel’s 75 roomy rooms.

One of the 75 rooms at the Mercer Hotel. The design is simple, which is probably why it has remained more or less unchanged since the late 90s.

My Mercer hotel room shot from another angle. Everything is easy to find. The door is in the corner. The door to the bathroom is in the middle.

Yes, honestly! I've stayed in rooms smaller than this bathroom. And they got Face Stockholm products! Nice to find for a Swede.

Impressive! I’ve stayed in rooms smaller than this bathroom! And just look at them not-so-small bottles from Face Stockholm. So nice to notice for this Swedish reviewer!

Rem Koolhaas designed the interior of the Prada store – which is visible through these blinds.

Street view: Mercer and Prince. Across the window: A store featuring the world’s most expensive skateboard ramp, designed by Rem Koolhaas and coming with a 40 million USD-pricetag.

Stupid me, snapping this pic of the Mercer in the dark so that Romanesque revival features like the semi-circular arches aren't really visible.

The exterior. Romanesque revival features like the semi-circular arches aren’t visible. Also not visible, but only feet away from where I’m standing: One of SoHo’s original joints. It’s been named Fanelli’s since 1922. Come here for the burgers and the grumpy staff.

Here we can all enjoy our 1.5 seconds of fame.
You enter the Mercer lobby and every single person on the premises will discreetly look your way. Quick scan while trying to determine whether this schmuck is someone or a nobody? You’ll soon see a pattern. Women in shades get the longest looks. Didn’t she look just like Scarlett? Wasn’t that the girl, you know… who played the schoolmistress in that movie made by the guy… or maybe the other guy… you know? Nondescript guys in their 40s (like myself) come in second, as we might very well be the aforementioned other guy or that European guy recently featured in Variety. A-listers won’t receive as much of the staring time as I do, as everybody will pretend to not look at a Clooney or a Crowe. So that’s that. With the Ulmer Scale out of the way, let’s now focus on the hotel.

The reason for staying here: Service!
Early check-in – no problem. Late check-out – no problem. No requests were handled as problems. They were handled with a smile. But on the other hand, I didn’t request them to send a pink grand piano to my room or that all the corridors would be repainted in pistage green. In all seriousness, the doormen and the staff at the front desk are better than great. And yes, you do pay a premium at the Mercer but not only will you get more and better service than elsewhere; you will also get more room. The hotel claims to be ”The first hotel to offer an authentic taste of loft living…” and I sort of agree. Take your regular-sized Manhattan hotel room and enlarge it 1.75 times and you’ll get the idea. Rooms are roomy.

”Open soonish” became an industry joke.
French designer Christian Liaigre made his reputation as an interiors minimalist with the wenge-wood-heavy decor for this hotel. Even though Liaigre has now updated some of the designs, pretty much of it remains unchanged. Hotelier André Balazs bought the property in 1989 and expected it to open in 1992, but due to engineering problems, the murder of a construction manager and some Japanese investors changing their minds, it took five extra years before the first guests were checking in.
But it’s the location and service that you will write home about. Not the design. Efforts have been made to create a subtle and functional design but it’s not glitzy, overly modern or funky. It just works. Also, the place is impeccably maintained. Dents and scratches are nowhere to be found, (Hey, 60 Thompson-management! Make a note of that!). If I can afford it, I’ll stay here often. That’s how good (and expensive) it is.

Bonus service: For a fee the hotel will take your dog for a walk.

The Mercer
147 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

+1-212-966-6060

Click here to book the Mercer Hotel through TabletHotels.com!

And while we’re at it: The restaurant in the basement, the Mercer Kitchen is still a busy place. I haven’t eaten there since 2000 but it remains under Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s wings. Even today, thirteen years later, I remember the crazy ravioli I had. If you’re lucky, it’s still on the menu.

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