Hotel Review: The Bowery Hotel, New York in the USA
Travel writer Katrina Kufer discovers this iconic New York hotel pays homage to its history and location all while seamlessly adhering to the demands of the modern guest.
When asked, “Which hotel?”, it would be easy to list one of the many that populate New York City, but few garner as much attention as the iconic—yet still low key—Bowery Hotel. Opened in 2007 by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, the minds behind NY properties such as The Jane Hotel, The Maritime Hotel and The Waverly Inn, it’s localisation in the midst of a gentrified Lower East Side sees it rubbing shoulders with ubiquitous culinary must-visits such as Katz’s Delicatessen, Russ & Daughters, Balthazar, Bar Primi and Momofuko Ko.
Taking credit for helping revitalise the eponymous neighbourhood, The Bowery Hotel’s specific character both plays into as well as belies its past and current edge.
A mix of hip and history, The Bowery Hotel is compact with 135 rooms over 14 storeys, and feels even more intimate thanks to warm wooden interiors, handpicked antique furnishings and plastered Venetian ceilings. The lobby is akin to a heritage living room complete with richly upholstered décor, paneled and muraled walls, Moroccan tile accents and iron chandeliers, and a fireplace.
In hues and materials reminiscent of the Tudor era, it’s not what one anticipates coming off the expansive gray city boulevards but is hinted at thanks to the dandy figure that graces the hotel’s branding.
Enveloping and intense without being claustrophobic, the close hallways, dimmed lighting and connecting Moorish entryways which lead from one space to the next in an architectural layout that harks yet again to history—including off onto a terrace for its popular Italian Trattoria Gemma—will leave you feeling as though you’ve stepped back in time, emphasized firmly by the weighty metal room keys bedecked with red tassels, which reference classic Italian hotels.
But there is quirk to be found in ways both more and less subtle than what the Bowery calls its Royal Tenenbaums-inspired collection of board games, particularly in the rooms. Floor-to-ceiling factory-style windows allow the light and cityscape in—book a corner room so that playing birds-eye-view takes on a whole new meaning as your panoramic view expands almost incomprehensibly wide, or one of the 11 suites with private terraces.
Eclectic and urban yet inviting with the sensation of being in a loft or pied-a-terre rather than boutique hotel, the rooms are a thoughtful amalgamation of homey touches, eccentricities born of a diverse city, and modern demands.
More antiquated touches include a teddy bear on the bed, beige upholstered curtains and a retro curtained closet in the entryway, which are offset by mohair seating in autumnal hues of khaki, burnt orange or sienna in fresh shapes—albeit adorned with small lace doilies—large beds with enormous velvet headboards dressed in crisp custom 400-thread-count white linens with orange edges that provide a Northeastern prep, and leather-and-stud covered coffee tables that match the sizeable brown leather stuffed animal near the window which is almost too tempting to leave behind were it a more travel-friendly size.
iPod sound systems and hi-def televisions set alongside metal and leather bar stools atop beige Turkish oushak carpets and dark wood floors dialogue with the white wood paneling or brick work across the ceiling and walls are accented by black iron details such as the window frames, curtain rods and fans.
The liberal mix brings the unique character full circle: the vibe may be grandma-meets-young, quirky professional—in an homage to comforting, rather than moth-laden aesthetics—but it assimilates seamlessly into modern living. If the sleek, spacious marble bathrooms with rainfall showers or soaking tubs and Le Labo amenities aren’t enough to convince you, just ask the numerous celebrities who choose this as their local haunt when in town.
Fusing the warmth of homemade cookies at turndown with mod-cons that take note of today’s needs (Goode and MacPherson personally ensured the placement of every socket, switch and fixture would be amenable to travelers’ needs and critically, conveniently placed when seated or laying down) and city grit (The Bowery Hotel also touts its absinthe selection at the bar) that imbues its neighbourhood once renowned for punks, artists and musicians—it’s a property where it lets its carefully curated and organically cultivated character guide the way.
An antidote to the sterility and minimalism or stuffy classicism of the brunt of global luxury hotels, The Bowery Hotel is one which exists as an ode to its roots and the mixed-bag needs of visitors today, which requires that it wears many hats so that every guest can find their niche, literally and figuratively. Smart in conceptualization and execution, The Bowery Hotel embraces multiplicity, successfully saying “more is more”, and showing visitors that a hotel stay can be so much more than a place to sleep—it’s a place to feel at home, whichever era you prefer.
Address: 335 Bowery, New York, USA
Phone: +1 2125059100
Photography ( excluding main image ) courtesy of Annie Schlechter