Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York ****

Q: What is it? A: A finer hotel. It really is. Well managed. Fo’sho! Great staff. Yes, with one exception. But on this level it’s all in the details. I’ll be back nevertheless.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – window
The most memorable feature of this hotel: All of the 86 rooms come with huge floor-to-ceiling windows. Kit Kemp even made the window a seating area. However, that concept didn’t really fly. Not visible is the flat pillow that proved to be quite impossible to use for sitting.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – bedroom
Strong colors. Warm and soft materials. Kit Kemp says that she doesn’t follow a formula. I don’t agree with her. I’d say there are a lot of details you’d recognize from other Firmdale Hotels – such as the dressmaker’s form in the corner – but it’s all done with elegance. In fact, Kemp is one of very few people who doesn’t have to go minimalist to stay modern and classy.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – closet
One of the nicer closets I’ve had the pleasure to hang my shirts in this year. Note the slippers. Note the shoe-mitt. Note the 16 hangers. Sixteen! Other hotels, take note and follow the Crosby example. And check the photo below and add another 12 hangers to the sixteen above.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – minibar
I’m not a huge fan of minibars. Charging $7 for a small packet of gummy bears is a ridiculous way of doing business. It’s all about convenience (lazy guests on corporate accounts), I guess. But if there’s ever a minibar in my room, I’d like it to be well stocked and offering you a myriad ways to spend too much on too little. This is such a minibar.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – bathroom
Not a big bathroom but functional. You’ll recognize the grey marble theme after staying in the Firmdale London properties Number Sixteen and Charlotte Street Hotel. No complaints about that, though. Amenities were fine Miller Harris-thingies, hotel-branded of course.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York - art in lobby
It’s a Firmdale Hotel, so expect art in the lobby: This steel sculpture is by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The letters building a human form is one of his signature themes, see for instance ”Singapore Soul” (2011). Being eleven meters high, that sculpture wouldn’t fit inside this hotel.

Crosby Street Hotel, SoHo, New York – the street
The Crosby Street Hotel is a new building, situated in a former parking lot, just one block away from Broadway. Stonehill & Taylor Architects, who also were behind the Refinery, the NoMad and the Ace Hotel New York created the outside. I guess we have to thank them for the huge windows.

Another town. Another Firmdale hotel.
They sure know how to do it. The Firmdale Hotel-count are now up to nine (eight in London, one in NYC) and they seem to have gotten their shit very, very right. The Crosby Street Hotel is located on a cobblestone street running parallel to and between Brodway and Lafayette just two blocks south of Houston. I honestly don’t remember the parking lot they built the hotel on, but architects Stonehill & Taylor managed to create a modern SoHo loft that immediately blended in with the neighborhood. The architects and Firmdale also decided to turn the property into a LEED Gold Certified hotel. The first one in New York, actually.

A clockwork operation. Nearly.
Arrival. Alert doormen. Check. Warm smile from reception. Check. Drink in the courtyard while trying to work. Check. Although with a slight delay. Ahem… what delay? Two minutes of my at the moment not so busy life? Two minutes in a beautiful sculpture garden? Am I turning into an asshole just for booking myself in here? Why is it that I’m adjusting my scale as soon as I’m inside this hotel? The previous experiences I had? Probably. Both Number Sixteen and Charlotte Street Hotel are superb hotels. The reviews I’ve read? Likely so. The price tag? Absolutely. Considered the bracket this hotel is in, expectancy levels follow.

Entering a room with no flaws. But one.
I’m having the same thought a little later, when I’m trying the flat pillow in the huge window. The intended use is to allow for some sitting in said window. It’s impossible. The pillow slides around a little and… Whatupski? Have I started to look for minor flaws? Possible. When everything is almost perfect, I feel that I’m focusing on details. Ouch! The heated towel rail is very hot! But what was I expecting? I am in a rather gorgeous hotel room where a lot of thought has gone into putting things where you want them (AC outlets by the bed for charging phones and keep laptops alive; many hangers in the closet; even double AC outlets in that closet). So much is done right and I’m complaining to myself about a pillow. Weird.

Needless to say, the staff is great. Almost.
”Luxury” will rarely impress me. That’s PR caca. Or sloppy copywriting. Way more important is that the staff you meet are sending out genuinely friendly vibes. And the majority at the Crosby Street Hotel do. But when wanting to have a drink in the yard outside the Crosby Bar – one of the few areas where locals and hotel guests meet – something happens: It’s one waitress. It’s rush hour at AW time. It’s just a few stressful moments for her, but that is all it takes for a guest to feel, well… less welcome. Therefore – do you hear the sound? Whoosh! That’s one star ripped away from what would otherwise be a solid five. I’ll keep repeating myself until every single hotelier gets sore ears: You only have the opportunity to interact with your guests about half a dozen times per day. Make the best of them! With that being said, I still recommend the Crosby Street Hotel. Almost. Well, kinda sorta.

Crosby Street Hotel
79 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012, USA
+1-212-226-6400


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