Q: What is it? A: Not the most luxurious. Not the most hyped. No paparazzi flocking in the lobby. Just a very good hotel in a very convenient location with the most amazing staff.
The interior design is rather… raw. Concrete. Hardwood floors. Very little or no decoration. Clean shapes. It could be cold and unpleasant and downright exhausting to look at, but the team from Grzywinski+Pons managed to create a soft industrial look (if there ever was one).
And the bathroom is just an extension of the clean-shape concept. To the right is the shower, with a glass wall facing the room (there’s a privacy curtain if you don’t want your roomy to witness you washing your private parts). The WC is separate.
The lobby with its different levels is the room where it happens. During my visit the Cantina was closed which made the lobby more busy, including the happy hour where the hotel is providing guests with free snacks, fruit and… (yes!) wine.
Look further than Kenmare Street and you will see Midtown from a rather unusual perspective. The lowest part of the Manhattan skyline is no doubt around here. Next street parallel to Kenmare is Spring. And three streets north, you’ll find Houston.
The building is the work of Grzywinski+Pons, the same architects that created the Hotel on Rivington. For the exterior, they used terraced terra cotta shingles, exposed concrete, glass and wood – and by using different materials cleverly in different sections of the building, they made it all look… smaller.
A geyser of good vibes.
Before posting this, there were 166 hotel reviews on this website. So, how many of those that stand out from the rest? I’d say ”Not many!” Spectacular locations or unique designs sure come in handy, but this place has none of the above. Check out the views from the lobby and my room on the 7th floor: A garage, nondescript place to eat, plus some brick walls. Not exactly the hanging gardens of Babylon! And as for the design… well, nice job, but nothing I’ll write home about. Instead, the main reason for staying here is something that I cherish more: Great vibes. You’re met by people who are friendly, helpful and competent. I’ll get back to them soon-ish. But first, let’s talk design.
Just another face in the crowd?
The rooms are fairly functional with very few details standing out (hurting my foot on one of the corners of the bed being an exception). Things are tucked away (there are drawers hidden under the bed). Not sure that the branded yoga mat and the very current selection of magazines are worth mentioning, but OK… now mentioned (always thankful when a hotel supplies me with a copy of TimeOut New York). The polished, raw concrete ceiling is a design idea that I’d normally dismiss, but it works as it, like so many other things in this hotel, is not very in-your-face. Actually, upon leaving the room you kind of forget that you’ve been there. And room amnesia is a reality. Researchers say that ”…when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access.” So, did I really stay there..?
Vibes make this a top accommodation.
You may leave and forget about the design but you will return because of the excellent vibes provided by the hotel staff. Making your stay more pleasant is a very friendly and cool group of people. They will happily serve you a glass of wine in the afternoon without charging for it (their equivalent of happy hour) and they will help you with a smile. Even when things go wrong, they stay on top of their game. A bunch of shirts that are returned late from the laundry/pressing service get delivered to my next hotel – and the charge was taken off my bill – all this executed with an unusual smoothness. Not all hotel staff makes you want to hang out with them. I’d be happy to have a few (or many) drinks with he Nolitan crew. Clicking the ‘Highly Recommended’-button here. Five out of five.
The Nolitan Hotel
30 Kenmare Street,
New York City, NY 10012
Bonus picture of the branded yoga mat previously mentioned in the post. No, I did not use it. No, I’m not into yoga. I’ve heard that successful people often are. Oh, well… may just take the mat home with me next time.