Sixty LES, Lower East Side, New York City ***

Q: What is it? A: Another ‘new’ hotel in the Loisaida area. Formerly known as the Thompson LES. Designed to look modern but feeling surprisingly cold. And while I’m at it, the staff need to bump up their ambitions to help as well…

If you want to stay in a "modern" room, then you may start with forgetting everything you have ever heard about cosy. That was probably Jim Walrod's thought when he accepted this hotel project.

If you want to stay in a “modern” room, then you may start with forgetting everything you have ever heard about cosy. That was probably Jim Walrod’s thought when he accepted this hotel project.

Dear reader, if you want to see this when looking north, please request room #1400.

Dear reader, if you want to see this when looking north, please request room #1400.

If you are lucky, here's where the concierge will be lurking around. Or maybe not.

If you are lucky, here’s where the concierge will be lurking around. Or maybe not.

Is it a new approach to service?
Strangely enough, I was not greeted by an enthusiastic bellboy on arrival. Check-in was rather swift but it wasn’t like I felt they really wanted me there. The front desk area is the opposite of cosy. Industrial would be the proper word for it. Nobody took charge of my luggage – it was more or less expected that I would carry my own stuff up to my room. Really, I don’t mind, (I never felt completely at home in a 100% gratuity based economy). It would have been nice if the hotel had asked the question, though. I was happy to find that the note “the best available room, pls” in my online reservation was met with #1400, a corner room with a large balcony. I guess that sometimes the trick just works in your favor.

Not a bad room at all.
This is a new and pretty modern hotel, (soft opening was on July 29, 2008). You can always get into a debate what is modern and what is not, (I find walnut furniture being very 2001). Jim Walrod who created the interior design used to run a furniture store with Jack Feldman and Fred Schneider of the B-52’s. He’s been referred to as “Furniture Pimp” by Mike D of the Beastie Brothers. The pimp collaborated with artist and documentary photographer Lee Friedlander which resulted in the light box you see embedded in the bed headboard, (top image above). Throw yourself on the bed and stare at the ceiling. It’s raw concrete. He describes the hotel as ”a serious piece of architecture that has incorporated art into the design”. I still have my doubts about the walnut table but the Sixty LES is not a poorly designed hotel.

Understaffed? Or just bad timing?
With 141 rooms this is by no means a large hotel by any New York standard. Still I find it somewhat empty. Maybe checking in on a Monday had something to do with it. The concierge is located on the first floor, next to the bar and the Asian restaurant, Shang. Having breakfast feels like arriving to a restaurant early on New Year’s Day when everybody else is asleep. It’s not an unpleasant place but it doesn’t have the busy feeling of a hotel in the City That Never Sleeps. Stay here if you a) don’t mind minding your own business and b) is comfortable with the fact that Allen Street busy most time of the day and night and c) that the Lower East Side is not exactly what it used to be.

Sixty LES
(formerly known as the Thompson LES)
190 Allen Street, (between Stanton and Houston St.)
New York City, NY 10002
United States

+1-212-460-54300

Click here to book the Thompson LES through TabletHotels.com!

ADDITIONAL THOUGHT:
Q: Did the Lower East Side need another hotel in a high-rise building? A: Possibly not. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the Sixty LES hotel. I’m more worried about what’s happening with the Lower East Side. Too many properties are being knocked down and replaced with buildings that look like other modern buildings. There were a few cleared sites where you could expect to see some more development very soon. I’m not saying that the LES should be turned into a museum, but my feeling is that the neighbourhood is losing a bit of its character. At least there is still only one Starbucks in the area.

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