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Thompson LES, New York City, New York 

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190 Allen Street
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 460 5300
Tel: 877 460 8888 (toll-free)
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Sitting on the intersection of Houston and Allen streets, this new 18-story hotel limns its edgy Lower East Side habitat and the contemporary artists associated with it. Case in point: Each of the 141 rooms comes with a custom light box built into the headboard and showcasing Lee Friedlander photographs; Gerard Malanga's lithographed image of Andy Warhol watches swimmers from the bottom of the third-floor outdoor pool; and the winning Asian-fusion restaurant, Shang (from Canadian super-chef Susur Lee), is decorated with a giant field painting by Peter Halley. As attractive and accommodating as the front desk staff are, even more striking is the lobby wall of delicate black-and-white blown glass. As if mirroring the ongoing gentrification of the Lower East Side, spacious guest rooms manifest the tension between modern luxury and bygone grit: cement ceilings, beaded metal curtains, and exposed wires contrast as well as Sferra linens, Kiehl's products, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The seventh-floor Above Allen, a clubby open-air bar with skyline views, is restricted to hotel guests; its only downside (besides the harsh velvet rope) is the overwhelmingly patterned furniture with orange Stephen Sprouse graphics.—2009 Hot List

When to go: New York City is a year-round destination.

Which room to book: Corner King Superior rooms have vast city views, especially No. 1700.

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