I spent one fabulous night at the Soho Grand Hotel in NYC.
There’s no doubt that Soho has changed dramatically over the past several decades. What was once a haven for creative types and a hub for galleries and artist studios is now blocks of chain stores and a home for luxury brands. Although the neighborhood has evolved since its gritty days in the 1970s and ’80s, that doesn’t mean that no pieces of history remain. My one-night stay at the Soho Grand Hotel in NYC opened my eyes to the new Soho, but I noticed how specks of the old Soho continue to live on in spite of gentrification. For instance, even though the district is surrounded by shiny new condo construction, majestic cast-iron architecture still dominates the streetscape.
Established in 1996, the Soho Grand was a sort of pioneer in the downtown hotel scene. Since then, an abundance of upscale places to stay has opened south of 14th Street, pulling travelers away from Midtown Manhattan to experience less touristic areas of the city. I believe that this pattern of hotel development beyond Midtown has influenced openings all over NYC, including those in Brooklyn and Queens.
First, I have to mention how much I love the design of this hotel. Bill Sofield is one of the finest (and most innovative) interior designers that this city has seen and one step inside the Soho Grand is all it takes to understand why. This hotel feels so good that you can’t help but fantasize about living in it.
The guest rooms are simple and smart, and most importantly for any traveler – incredibly comfortable. Furnishings stay classic as do the textile and color choices. In the baths, glazed subway tiles share the walls with whimsical wallpaper from illustrator Saul Steinberg of The New Yorker.
The Salon– a space for mingling, sipping coffee, grabbing a bite, or working – happens to be my one of my all-time favorite public spaces in any hotel I’ve stayed in. (This year alone I’ve stayed in more than 40 hotels!) The soaring ceilings, warm color palette, and tons of natural light make the room feel wonderful and elegant. You’ll find tons of seating in The Salon too. Enter the hotel on the ground level, then take the dramatic metal staircase, which leads the way to reception and “Soho’s living room.”
This hip yet timeless hotel offers more than great looks, though. You’ll find substance too. Take the restaurant, which is outstanding. My dinner at Grand Bar & Lounge consisted of velvety tuna tartare, medium-rare steak frites, and the most delicious apple cobbler I’ve eaten – maybe it was the dulce de leche ice cream that took this dessert to the next level. Every bite was divine and worth the calories.
The wine list, although high-end, features excellent choices by the glass and bottle. And bourbon enthusiasts will think they’ve died and gone to whiskey heaven: Grand Bar pours more than 50 American whiskeys.
The Soho Grand has its own dog park (it’s a super dog-friendly hotel, so bring your pup), a cozy yet sophisticated club room featuring food, drink, and live music, and a casual outdoor restaurant ideal for dining al fresco on warm summer evenings. Bikes are available for a spin around the neighborhood.
The Soho Grand is in a stellar location. It’s a hop, skip, and jump from Balthazar, Locanda Verde, and Le Coucou, among other restaurants, not to mention the myriad shops that live in Soho. The subway is within a short walk too.
Design aficionados will adore the Soho Grand, but so will travelers who prefer to stay in a chic downtown property that’s close to Lower Manhattan’s sights and attractions. Find out more about this fashionable hotel in my full review in The Telegraph.
310 W Broadway
New York, NY 10013
Top Soho photo by Fuzzy Images via Flickr.