On a relatively quiet street just one block west of Broadway, the Crosby Street Hotel is a complete counterpoint to the Trump SoHo.
Part of London’s impressive Firmdale Hotels group — which includes the Harper-recommended Covent Garden Hotel and the new Dorset Square Hotel near Regent’s Park — the Crosby Street has just 86 rooms. Tucked into a handsome brick building with an array of enormous multi-paned windows, the property combines country house style with a more contemporary aesthetic in such a way that guests with more traditional tastes will feel at ease, while those who prefer modern design will be equally happy. This synthesis is the hallmark of owner Kit Kemp, whose first book, “A Living Space,” has just been published in the United States (Hardie Grant, $50).
For the Crosby Street, Kemp devised no fewer than 40 looks, but all of the rooms have full-length cinematic windows, which make them wonderfully bright and create a feeling of space. Most accommodations come with comfortable seating areas; large, solid desks; inlaid chests of drawers; and beds with fabric headboards, some embellished with embroidery. Baths are clad in polished gray granite and are equipped with walk-in showers — rooms classified Junior Suite and above have tubs — and heated towel racks.
On the ground floor, The Crosby Bar incorporates the hotel’s small restaurant in a space that has stained oak floors, banquettes covered with bold striped fabric, a long pewter topped counter and views onto the hotel’s two small gardens. (Guests who want a convenient alternative to the hotel restaurant need walk little more than 100 yards to a New York institution, Keith McNally’s Parisian brasserie Balthazar.) Off the lobby, the voluptuously comfortable Drawing Room has a fireplace, deep sofas and a strikingly stylish design scheme that confidently mixes antiques and contemporary pieces.
When it opened in October 2009, the Crosby Street Hotel struck me as precisely the kind of boutique hotel for which Manhattan had long been waiting. I am not in the least surprised that in the subsequent three years, the property has become an established favorite of Hideaway Report subscribers. Rumor has it that Firmdale is actively planning a second New York property. As far as I am concerned, a sibling for the Crosby Street cannot come soon enough.
Crosby Street Hotel 94 Deluxe Room, $745; Deluxe Junior Suite, $955. 79 Crosby Street, New York, New York. Tel. (212) 226-6400.
The neighborhood of Tribeca declined in the aftermath of 9/11 because of its proximity to the Twin Towers, but as the new World Trade Center climbs steadily skyward, the district is bustling once more. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tribeca was the center of New York’s textile trade, and its Washington Market was the city’s most important wholesale produce market. By 1970, the industrial base had gone, but fewer than 400 people had taken up residence. Today, however, Tribeca lofts are some of Manhattan’s most sought-after real estate. Actor Robert De Niro is the district’s unofficial mayor, co-founder in 2002 of the Tribeca Film Festival, owner of the iconic restaurants Nobu and Tribeca Grill and, since it opened in April 2008, of The Greenwich Hotel.
Despite its star-spangled ownership and clientele, The Greenwich is calm, dignified and reassuringly unglitzy. The hotel’s public areas are deliberately eclectic, with oak floorboards, leather sofas, beamed ceilings, heavily laden bookshelves, Oriental rugs and a collection of abstract expressionist paintings (many by De Niro’s artist father). Beyond the peaceful lobby/lounge, a quiet drawing room with a fireplace (reserved for hotel guests) looks out onto a secluded courtyard garden.
The 88 rooms are individually decorated and share a masculine and worldly appearance. We opted for a Deluxe Greenwich Room, which came with a small sitting area and a marble bath equipped with both a soaking tub and a walk-in shower. Amenities at the property include a wonderful spa, Shibui, which offers a basement pool long enough for swimming laps — covered by the roof of a 250-year-old farmhouse shipped from Kyoto and reassembled — four treatment rooms and a Japanese-style hot tub.
Separated from the lobby/lounge by glass doors, the hotel’s trattoria, Locanda Verde, is a lively and informal restaurant divided by wood-rimmed banquettes and crammed with café tables, which spill out onto the sidewalk in fine weather. Although the atmosphere can be boisterous — this is emphatically not a place for the hard of hearing — the food is delicious. Chef Andrew Carmellini, a pupil of Daniel Boulud, is nowadays one of the stars of New York’s culinary firmament. Although he won a Michelin star while executive chef at A Voce on Madison Avenue at 26th Street, Carmellini now uses his knowledge of French and Italian classic cuisine to produce sophisticated comfort food. For lunch, we recently enjoyed a Piemontese steak tartare with hazelnuts and truffles, a crostino of blue crab with jalpeño and tomato, scampi ravioli with rock shrimp and zucchini, and the signature shaved porchetta sandwich with grilled onions and Provolone. The wine list is interesting and sensibly priced, and at the suggestion of our exceptionally amiable server, we opted for a light but distinctive Valpolicella.
Guests at The Greenwich in search of more formal dining have Nobu and two-star Bouley within walking distance, plus Corton, owned by Tribeca restaurant entrepreneur (and co-founder of Nobu) Drew Nieporent. Personally, I find the cuisine at Corton to be overly exquisite and the modernist dining room to be rather sterile. But New York friends whose opinion I value tell me that I am misguided on both counts, and possibly they are correct. And if you are in search of something more exotic, the stylish Tamarind Tribeca on Hudson Street — awarded a Michelin star in the 2013 New York guide — serves outstanding Indian regional cuisine in a glamorous dining room overlooked by a glass-walled tandoor kitchen.
The Greenwich Hotel 94 Deluxe Greenwich Room, $750; Suite, $1,150. 377 Greenwich Street, New York, New York. Tel. (212) 941-8900.