Q: What is it? A: This glass and steel high-rise building was the first sign of new money being poured over the Lower East Side. Not as crazily over-hyped these days, as the area has gotten a bit less edgy – but still a decent 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 and no.
It did. The 21-storey glass tower between Essex and Ludlow is still a cool place. Marcel Wanders designed the bar as well as the restaurant; they have now been refurbished. 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?).
Rooms are still cool and spacious enough, with floor to ceiling windows and (drumroll…) a view! My first 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. My last room (visited in January 2014) had a ginormous, north-facing balcony and a splendid view of East Village and Midtown.
So what has changed?
The Thor bar and restaurant came and went. It used to be a fantastic spot for drinks with a huge lobby/bar area that was often opening up towards Rivington Street. Now, it’s a bar and a breakfast/brunch place. It feels like Schiller’s a bit further down the street has moved in. So a few things at the hotel has changed but most of all, the Lower East Side has changed. A few years ago, a 16-storey Blue condo was part of my view. The 22-story Thompson LES hotel on Allen Street was the first hi-rise building on the north side. Now it has company.
Five stars? Not any more.
It is, in my opinion, a good hotel. It’s often reasonably priced, especially considered the fact that this still is New York. Josh, the doorman, is a charming guy but the people manning the front desk were everything between super-friendly to downright indifferent. Time to shape up, guys! Yeah, you heard me!
Hotel on Rivington
107 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002