A visit to New York City often leaves even the most wander-lusting among us fantasizing about settling down in an apartment in the sky. Perhaps it’s the realization that you will never be able to do, see, and eat everything the city has to offer during a single vacation, or maybe it’s the assertion that making it here is evidence of being able to make it anywhere. Whatever the draw, the dream of at least feeling like a New Yorker for a short period of time is definitely an attractive one. At The Nolitan, New York City’s newest luxury boutique hotel, that dream comes as close to a reality as possible without signing a lease.
Location, Location, Location? Welcome to Nolita
The Nolitan is located in “Nolita”, a neighborhood name you’ll only find on Google maps and in the property’s hip marketing materials. It is “north of Little Italy” or, more accurately, smooshed up to the eastern border of Chinatown. It’s a short walk to one of the seedier neighborhoods of Manhattan, the Bowery, but an equally short walk in the other direction to super hip and generally safe SoHo. Whether anyone outside of the tourism industry has heard the name or not, Nolita is clearly an “up and coming” neighborhood and a surprisingly convenient location for a New York City visitor looking to experience the city from a more local perspective. Just don’t let the graffiti scare you off as you walk Kenmare street looking for your hotel; you’ll soon find a sleek, contemporary oasis in The Nolitan.
Hip Edge with a Soft Touch
The lobby of The Nolitan says “welcome, Hipsters!” loud and clear with it’s concrete surfaces and IKEA-inspired decor. The lounge sofas appear better suited for a SoHo loft than a hotel lobby, which may be why you’ll actually find people working on them during the day and drinking wine on them at night. The large, wooden bookcase separating the lobby space from the restaurant echoes the loft vibe, a theme that continues upstairs in the guest rooms.
Manhattan hotel rooms are notoriously short on space, and The Nolitan rooms are no exception. However, these rooms make clever use of design elements to make the small space both useable and beautiful. Clean lines add to the hip atmosphere, while a cashmere throw and plush robe invites you to actually relax. What would normally be considered a tiny bathroom – another staple of NYC hotels – is instead a luxurious retreat featuring body products from a local boutique and a stunning view of the city available from inside the shower. Can’t get enough of the view from the shower or bed? Step onto the balcony.
Yes, a hotel room with a balcony you can actually get onto in a modern hotel. No locked doors and windows here, perhaps hipsters aren’t consider a jump risk. And oh, boy, the view. The morning and evening glimpses of the city alone make the price of a night at The Nolitan worthwhile.
In addition to the cashmere and slippers, the urban edge is softened further by an accommodating staff with only 55 rooms of guests for which to account. The staff to guest ratio must be atypically high, and I’m certain every Nolitan employee has gone through extensive hospitality training. It’s the only explanation for such eager, pleasant, back-bending service from every staff member I encountered. The doorman doubles as concierge and the elevator operator and lobby security could just as easily be considered “Official Welcome Wagon.” While I’d normally be put off by an uber-contemporary hotel, I felt welcomed and at home at The Nolitan, thanks in part to a happy staff and a complete lack of thumping club music.
And that’s the real charm of The Nolitan. The free skateboard and laptop rentals are interesting, the in-room yoga mats and free wifi are nice, but it’s the feeling that you’re living in a cool New York City neighborhood during your stay that makes The Nolitan worth recommending – and at the top of my list for hotels worth revisiting.
All photos by Britt Reints