Concierge.com's insider take:
The flophouses and drug dens of Bowery past have long been supplanted by boutiques and bars, but the new occupants still pay homage to the neighborhood's rakish past. Take the Bowery Hotel, which opened in 2007. Bathrooms with marble slabs and brass fixtures feel old-money New York, but in some, tubs-for-two sit next to exhibitionist floor-to-ceiling windows. The lobby bar's worn leather club chairs and salvaged church pews hold a rotating cast of models and media types under the influence of two-too-many vodka gimlets. But if the Bowery Hotel is a scene, it's a relatively unassuming one. Italian restaurant Gemma has all of the culinary chops of its downtown peers with none of the pretension (prices are reasonable and reservations a breeze for hotel guests). The decadent neo-boudoir style of the common spaces carved sandstone fireplaces, velvet-covered stools, fringed lampshades is offset by the more modern edge of the 135 rooms, with floor-to-ceiling factory windows and pillowy white-on-white beds. You won't get coddled at the Bowery eye-candy doormen are often too busy flirting to actually open the doors, and there is nary a spa, gym, or pool to be found but you will find a good-looking crowd and a comfortably lush place to lay your head when you're ready to escape it.
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Undeterred by the nearby flophouse and Salvation Army shelter, rock band managers, film directors, and other entertainment industry folk have been flocking to the Bowery Hotel since its opening last spring. And it's no wonder: With the influx of Whole Foods, luxe condo developments, and the flashy New Museum of Contemporary Art, this stretch of the Lower East Side is quickly shedding its infamous grit. Inside the 17-story faux-factory building, the look is stylish Jekyll-and-Hyde, with the dark lobby's faded old-world tapestries and mounted deer antlers standing in stark contrast to the 135 guest rooms' floor-to-ceiling window and knockout views, and to the obliging staff (not a mad scientist in sight). Strategically positioned mirrors mask the smallness of some rooms, and large marble baths with brass fixtures make up for the lack of space. The Lobby Bar can get crowded with trendy young things, but the outdoor lounge is a welcome refuge—as long as you aren't squeamish about the adjacent cemetery. Italian restaurant Gemma has a rustic atmosphere and serves well-made dishes like roasted branzino and traditional pizzas that complement the hotel's cozy disposition.2008 Hot List
When to go: Year-round.
Which room to book: The upper-floor one-bedroom suites have the best views and sizable patios.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›