A 21-storey tower of gleaming glass looming over the Bowery, The Standard, East Village hotel stands out dramatically from the neighbouring brick tenements. Its contemporary interiors bear the hallmarks of Italian style, the lobby floor is a jigsaw of shattered slate and an almost-all-night café-bar means you can make the most of the legendary artsy neighbourhood. PS In a former life, this hotel went by the name of the Cooper Square Hotel...
Sleek, sophisticated interiors from Milanese design king Antonio Citterio
Prime NYC location
Hard-to-beat city views
A bottle of wine
In the know
Also need to know:
Have a peek in your minibar – in addition to the usual spirits and mixers you’ll find quirky treats such as custom-made jewellery by Tina Thor, make-up kits, and health packs from fitness guru David Kirsch.
Leave the library at home, the hotel has more than 4,000 second-hand volumes dotted around the lobby, library and rooms, covering everything from fashion to erotica. These are all available to buy – with all proceeds going to the homeless charity
Schmess code – just be yourself, and look good doing it.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
It’s the law that you have to whistle ‘New York, New York’ in the shower the morning before your flight. It’s also the law that you have to spend the taxi drive from the airport to The Standard East Village remarking that ‘it feels just like we’re in a movie’. By the time we arrived there, it was just a question of what sort of movie it would be. I was angling for a romantic comedy, Mrs Smith was irritable, probably because of my continuous movie comments, and it was starting to look more like a psychological thriller. I was just praying for an 18 certificate and scenes of a sexual nature.
It was absolutely chucking it down with rain. By the end of our 40-minute drive the air was white with water and the pavements had formed their own tidal system. A grinning man in a green cardigan greeted us with an umbrella and parted the rain like Moses to reveal the Standard East Village. Yep, it’s definitely new and it’s definitely been designed to look ice cool. Frosted glass backed by white curtains swept high into the night sky. Various clones of the grinning green man scurried in and out of the huge front door. They began taking our luggage back to their nest like leaf-cutter ants while the king-grinner led us inside.
The reception room was small and filled with just the right amount of modern furniture. Walls were lined with bookshelves and books. Now don’t get me wrong, there are few things in life more satisfying than a bookshelf populated by a colourful collection of spines. But this isn’t a collection. It’s rent-a-cultural-history. The books have been arranged by height and colour, reducing centuries of art to an expensive game of Jenga.
Our room was home to a few more books, which we were informed we could buy. This is a nicer touch and beats reading those garish magazines that claim to be about the local area but are simply a series of vouchers for restaurants that look so bad you’d rather eat the vouchers. The room was small yet the bathroom was large. I bet it was high-fives round the office when they came up with that brainwave. The furniture was well considered and stylish with particularly pleasing light fittings. The view offered breathtaking and uninterrupted views of the living room of a family opposite. Anywhere else and this would be grounds for complaint but, in New York, yep you guessed it, it’s cool. I was halfway through saying it was like something out of Rear Window when I was told to shut up. Our film was starting to look like a 12 certificate, with ‘some moderate language’ being the best I could hope for.
At this moment something happened which would change the course of the holiday. I sat on the bed. Calling it a bed is an injustice. It’s a way of life. It’s a religion. It’s hard to describe quite how incredible this bed was. To start with it was huge. You could spend a night dancing and wrestling with your duvet and never stumble across the person you were sharing with. Mrs Smith flopped down next to me and I saw a look of pleasure on her face that I had certainly never caused her to have before.
They call New York the city that never sleeps. The person that called it that clearly didn’t have one of these beds. This bed was to become a huge part of the trip. I would regularly find myself looking at some of the world’s greatest sights and wishing I were face down in my pillow. Why walk hand in hand across the Brooklyn Bridge with a lover when you can entwine yourself in the feathered embrace of your Egyptian cotton soul mate? The burgers and shoestring fries at The Spotted Pig on West 11th Street are jaw-dribblingly delicious, but why go there when you can eat a perfectly good packet of Doritos from the minibar? Luckily the room is so small you can reach it from the bed. Christ I miss it.
If only the whole hotel had been designed with the same principles in mind. Unfortunately it was far more focused on looking cool. It was relentless. You sit with breakfast on your lap in a lounge area listening to dubbed-out reggae and trip hop. Nobody wants to be cool at breakfast.
The ultimate lesson in cool came in the form of the minibar. It’s contains plenty of items made by a man called David Kirsh. His slogan ‘Get Kirshed’ is emblazoned across his promotional material. We decided to ‘Get Kirshed’ by using one of his baffling products. We went for the canister of oxygen. I’d always wondered what it was like to inhale pure oxygen. It’s actually quite a unique experience; it feels a lot like being ripped off.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m not recommending this hotel. I should point out that it is very good. It’s in a great location in the heart of the Bowery. The rooms are clean. The staff are attentive. The bed… don’t start me off again. It’s pretty much ideal for a city-break location, and for the price you won’t get much better. If the tiny silk bathrobes and the bed are anything to go by, it’s also a hotel that prides itself on romance.
If the Standard East Village was a kid from school, it would definitely be one of the cool ones. You know the kid that always had the right trainers on and listened to the right bands. It wouldn’t be Ged Hunter (the guy with stubble who didn’t care what the others thought). But, hey, there just aren’t that many Geds out there and he’s probably in rehab now anyway.
So, how did our film end up? Well picture me, six foot five and hairy, padding round the room in a tiny silk robe, breathing from a canister of oxygen and praying next to a bed. We somehow ended up in a David Lynch movie, but one with a happy ending.
25 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003, United States
0.6 mi / 1.0 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Looking out on – and, in warmer months, spilling onto – the Bowery, Café Standard feels unexpectedly old-world New York for a hotel so stylish and modern. A neighbourhood spot from early morning power-breakfasts to late-night craft cocktails, it's the kind of cafe you want to take home with you. For a more classic restaurant feel, make your way to the adjacent, California-inspired Narcissa, helmed by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and provided with fresh produce by André Balazs' Hudson Valley farm. Watch the chefs prepare your meal from a seat at the open-plan kitchen bar or enjoy your Dungeness crab salad out on the garden patio.
Stake a place at one of the banquettes in Café Standard or grab a cosy table in the breezy and quiet back garden at Narcissa if it's clement.
The cafe serves cocktails until 2am on weekdays, 4am weekends. Narcissa is open for lunch from 11:30am to 3pm on weekdays, for brunch on weekends from 10:30am to 4pm, from 6 to 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 12:30am Friday and Saturday.
Order treats to your room around the clock. The hotel also has a stash of takeaway menus from respected local restaurants.
The Café Standard's bar is open to guests and public punters alike for food, draft beers, craft cocktails and a curated wine list well into the wee hours.