There’s no right way to see New York City, but Hotel Hugo, tucked between SoHo and the Hudson River in Hudson Square, offers an undeniably enticing option. From this retro retreat with a subtle maritime feel (thanks to all the Italian lacquered wood) you’ll be within striking distance of NoHo’s boutiques and Greenwich Village’s cafes. As for famous landmarks, simply head to the hotel’s glass-enclosed rooftop bar to spot the Chrysler Building, the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center – all with a Manhattan in your hand.
Authentic Italian eatery
Dramatic river views
A bar of Dean & Deluca chocolate; GoldSmith members also get a free late check-out until 1pm
In the know
Bring comfy sandals or sneakers. Yes, NYC is known as a high-style haven, but any true New Yorker knows the value of some solid soles for urban wandering.
Anything downtown-chic goes in this fashion-forward part of town.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
A toddler is the last thing one would consider adding to the mix of a romantic getaway anywhere, especially to New York City. However, when our sitter fell through at the last minute, Mr Smith and I were faced with three options: A) postpone a trip we’d planned months ago B) hand baby over to a nice-enough looking woman at the grocery store and run C) mark our anniversary with baby’s first flight.
We thought better of B, and so our escape a deux morphed into a good old-fashioned family vacation. Off we went as a threesome, with two of us holding our breath that our seatmates would find it in their hearts to forgive our wee one of any antics.
Despite our fears, our babe was a pro on the plane, and in a blink we were in a cab bound for the Hotel Hugo. This elegantly designed newcomer is located on a quiet street between Tribeca and Soho in the emerging Hudson Square neighborhood.
The hotel's entrance was framed by an inviting restaurant patio, and an adorable bike cab at-the-ready. We walked through the oversized wooden doors and into the industrial-chic lobby where a reception desk sat in front of a towering wall of ivy; a ‘chandelier’ made up of a dozen types of light fixtures momentarily distracted me from the task at hand. As a self-professed design nerd, these first impressions made me very happy.
Quickly checked in, we found that there was more giddiness over good design to be had in our Superior King room on the 14th floor, and the head-on Hudson River views (the first of many perfect panoramas the Hugo had to offer) stopped us in our tracks.
The room was generous by New York standards (easily fitting a crib) and the smart use of built-ins only amplified that. The bathroom was big by any standards; all the better for lathering up with the Cote Bastide Argan products. We noticed that the bathrobes were missing, but a quick call to the front desk produced them in a flash.
I spotted a copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables on the desk, an odd choice for a causal travel read, but upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a book safe. Tucked Inside, as a ‘reward for my curiosity’, was a voucher for a free glass of sparkling wine at the downstairs restaurant Il Principe Cucina Italiana. I’ll take it!
Unpacked (read: baby gear everywhere) a beautiful New York afternoon beckoned, so we headed off to the Children’s Museum of the Arts just a three-minute walk from the hotel (it’s as if we planned to bring our daughter all along). The bright museum with its projects, activity rooms and hands-on installations was a hit with all of us.
After crafting her heart out, our little artist passed out right in her stroller. We took advantage of this stolen moment and rolled up to the hotel’s rooftop for an afternoon cocktail. This could still be a semi-romantic escape after all…
The Hotel Hugo has not just one, but two city-gazing watering holes with completely distinct menus and design schemes. Bar Hugo on the 20th floor is a Zen-like den with leather banquettes, slatted wood floors and enormous potted plants.
We thought that the sleek bar and wrap-around balcony with breathtaking views was pretty heavenly, but we were strongly urged by the staff to head upstairs to Bar Azul.
Ascending a brightly colored stairway with walls plastered in vintage Cuban posters, we understood all the fuss once we stepped into the sunlight and eyed our surroundings. Oh, so THIS is what heaven is like…
We snagged seats with lower Manhattan clearly in our sights. The bar resembles a Cuban cantina, and it felt positively tropical with the white cabana-style seating punctuated by bright pops of color and ornamental grasses waving in the breeze. In the spirit of the place, I had the passion fruit mojito and Mr Smith kicked back with a cerveza or two.
That night we were content to stay in and watch our daughter amuse herself with a game of hide-and-seek under the high thread-count sheets. We ordered room service, which was set up so elegantly it was as if we were dining out.
Sunrise nudged us out of bed the next morning, and we got a jump on the day with breakfast on the patio at Il Principe Cucina Italiana. I’m not usually one for green things in my juice, but the kale, ginger and pineapple juice combo was a healthy balance to the smoked salmon platter and ricotta pancakes.
The hotel is steps away from some of the world’s best shopping, and what’s a trip to NYC without a few souvenirs (in the way of several pairs of shoes and a purse)? We also took ourselves on a food tour with a delightful lunch at Jack’s Wife Freda, afternoon treats at the Parisian bakery Ladurée, and we capped the day with red wine and house-made pasta at Sacco & Vanzetti.
Sure, it wasn’t the loved-up trip as we had planned, but with the decadent Hotel Hugo as our home base for the weekend it was way beyond what we could have imagined for our first Big Apple with baby adventure... we'll be back.
525 Greenwich Street, New York City, New York 10013, United States
2.5 mi / 4.0 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Tennis court
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
True, Little Italy is just a short stroll east, but you can also stay put and head downstairs to Il Principe. Chef Alfredo Trapani brings authentic northern Italian cuisine to this 80-seat outpost. Feast on pancakes di ricotta for breakfast, salmon with a Dijon mustard crust for lunch and ossobuco for dinner.
The best place to sit is by the living wall – a lush vertical garden that stretches from floor to ceiling. The table closest to the greenery is reserved for private dining, as it's behind a glass enclosure. Book it for an intimate soiree with friends.
Indulge at Il Principe until 11:30pm; grab a cocktail at Bar Hugo until 2am.
You won’t go hungry – room service is available from 7am to 11pm.
This isn’t your typical hotel watering hole. Twenty stories up, Bar Hugo boasts city and Hudson River views that alone are worth the elevator ride. The handcrafted cocktails and light bites (truffle fries, sliders and more) are just icing on the cake.
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