Jul 29th, 2008 by Håkan
Q: What is it? A: This building was the first sign of new money being poured over the Lower East Side.
Not as overly-hyped these days, as the area has gotten a bit less edgy – but still a very good hotel!
I’m back. One thousand days later.
What has happened? The first time I stayed at this hotel, construction workers flocked the ground floor. There were no restaurant, no bar… you get the idea. The hotel sort of lived up to the word that was going around. ”It will never be completed”, people said. Had they run out of money? After all they had been building it for almost four years… And finally it opened. Despite not having a proper place to dine in, it was a hotel that delivered from day one.
Does it still deliver?
Yes, it does. The 21-storey glass tower between Essex and Ludlow is still a very cool place. Marcel Wanders designed the bar as well as the restaurant. The penthouse comes with a Zaha Hadid-signature. The rooms are by India Mahdavi. The hotel design shop is gone. Its space is now occupied by the salon of celebrity-wrangling hairstylist Ricardo Rojas who is supposed to be a bit of a celebrity himself (since when did guys who cut hair become celebrities?).
And the rooms are still cool and spacious enough, with floor to ceiling windows and (drumroll…) a view! My room had a balcony, something that is still a novelty in NYC. The bathrooms, featuring Japanese bath tubs for two, are still of gargantuan size considered that it is still New York we’re talking about. Still.
So what has changed?
The most important addition since three years ago is the Thor bar and restaurant. It’s good, although not blowing you away. But when they are opening up towards Rivington Street, there are few places more suitable for doing the drinking and people watching thing. Breakfast isn’t as good as it used to be when it was served in the room with the pool table, but the concierge is way better (thanks for the booking at the Orchard!).
So a few things at the hotel has changed but most of all, the Lower East Side has changed. A new, oddly shaped, 16-storey Blue condo was part of my view. When the 22-story Thompson LES hotel opens on Allen Street it will add 143 rooms to an area where hotels used to be as common as Gap stores (Gap is still abscent, which is a blessing).
It is, in my opinion, still one of the best hotels in town. Still holding its own and at the same time being reasonably priced, especially considered the fact that this still is New York. Q: Does it still get those five stars? A: It does.
Hotel on Rivington
107 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002