Stroll the quiet cobblestone Crosby Street in SoHo and enter the aptly named Crosby Street Hotel – just two blocks from the Broadway Lafayette subway station – and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve walked into a friend’s home. A friend who also happens to be a modern art collector and has a knack for design, that is. An expansive space with dark wood floors and an explosion of creativity will have you immediately inspired by your New York trip.Part of the London boutique hotel group Firmdale Hotels, the Crosby Street Hotel is their first New York property, built from scratch atop a former parking garage and run by husband and wife team Tim and Kit Kemp. While Tim is in charge of property buying, Kit handles the design and art. Eclectic pieces curated from markets around the world, as well as some made by her – she has her own line of stylish folklore furniture (called Folkthread) – she makes most of the wall fabrics and crafted the property’s signature gardenia-infused bath products and scent.
Just two blocks from the Broadway Lafayette subway station lies the contemporary Crosby Street Hotel.
The aesthetics play with a wide array of colors, textures and materials, and is contemporary, folksy and often funny – a Mona Lisa wearing sunglasses or the Queen of England in four shadow boxes à la Andy Warhol. You’ll also notice a large amount of floral and dog-themed pieces. This helps bring to life the idea that the Crosby Street Hotel NYC is more like a laid-back home-away-from-home, one that also brings the outdoors inside.
The lobby is where the awakening experience begins, as streams of natural light and crazy colors take over your senses. Plop down on a brown couch stocked with rainbow-striped pillows and admire a shadow box full of bird and butterfly cut outs, a hand-carved wooden bench surrounded by forest flora and garden statues, dog sculptures encased in newspaper comics and a giant Jaume Plensa steel human head crafted by fusing together letters of the alphabet.
And that’s just the beginning. Attached to the lobby is the Drawing Room, a surprisingly relaxed space despite the name. Featuring a deep pink and grey color scheme with patchwork sofas, esteemed dog portraits, oil paintings by artist Francois Bard, wooden totem poles and art pieces sourced from Africa and Asia – not to mention a touch of the countryside with flower vases and apple baskets – it’s the perfect spot to take advantage of the hotel’s free WiFi and “Honesty Bar.” Yes, you read that right. To one side of the room sits a fully stocked bar, where you can pour a drink and write down your name, room number and libation of choice to be charged later.
The Drawing Room also connects to the private Sculpture Garden, an outdoor space dominated by a giant tree sculpture and full of handmade wooden furniture, twinkling lights, dangling lanterns, shrubs and tall plants that make you feel like you’re in a magical forest, especially at night when the space is aglow. Outlined by cedar, beautiful Sweetbay Magnolia, oak leaf Hydrangea, Huechera and Aamsonia add to the lushness. The outdoor space is full service, meaning food, drink and afternoon tea from the adjacent restaurant and bar can be enjoyed there al fresco.
Speaking of the restaurant, The Crosby Bar — decked out with bright furniture and chairs adorned with mythical orange felt creatures, not to mention funky accents like old school telephones and dangling crystal ball-inspired light fixtures in crazy hues over a pewter bar – is where Chef Anthony Paris (a Chopped winner in July 2010) works his culinary magic. The American menu features country- and globally-inspired twists, serving dishes like chorizo-stuffed breakfast quesadillas, grass-fed burgers topped with house-made pickles and a spicy burrata with tomato jam, basil breadcrumbs and chili oil. At the bar, delicious bar bites (bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, anyone?) and craft cocktails are a highlight, with the “Tiger’s Eye” being the signature drink. A blend of Stolichnaya vodka, cinnamon, lemon juice and pear nectar finished off with Champagne and star anise; the concoction is spicy, sweet and refreshing all at the same time.
The afternoon tea is a must, offering both regular and gluten-free options. While menus change seasonally, some creations that have been showcased include Coconut Jasmine Lamingtons, Polenta Olive Oil Cake and Dark Chocolate Marigold Cake – in addition to an impressive assortment of specialty teas, Champagnes and cocktails.
Along with views of the Sculpture Garden the eatery also has its own attached terrace, open to both guests and non-guests alike.
To really get a feel of where your food comes from, ask a staff member to take you up to the 12th floor Rooftop Kitchen Garden, where Chef Anthony Paris sources fresh produce, herbs and eggs to use for baking from their four Araucana chickens, named Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Queens. The elevators themselves are worth the trip, decked out with photography of local SoHo hounds.
With all of these canine accents, it’s no surprise the Crosby Street Hotel is dog friendly. Simply sign a dog waiver, and you’ll enter a room with dog bowls and treats for your furry friend. Speaking of rooms, there are 86, a mix of standards and suites all featuring floor-to-ceiling warehouse-style windows, king beds, flat screen televisions, giant closets, marble bathrooms with robes and heated towel racks, individual art pieces and dress form sewing mannequins, a signature of Firmdale Hotels. The larger suites offer more amenities, including unobstructed views of the Brooklyn Bridge. For a bit of local flavor, all rooms feature mini-bars stocked mostly with local New York products like Deep River chips, Dean and DeLuca mints and nuts, Dylan’s Candy Bar gummy bears, and treats from Vosges Haut-Chocolat.
Going along with the idea of the Crosby Street Hotel being more like a home than an accommodation, guests receive welcome letters letting them know about the events going on in the city during their stay, a welcome card and a complimentary welcome gift, which can be anything from bath oils to chocolate truffles to candles, often tailored to the guest’s preferences. Responsible tourists will be happy to hear the Crosby Street Hotel is also certified GOLD LEED by the US Green Building Council.
Jessica’s tip: It’s worth it to book the start of your stay on a Sunday evening, when the property hosts their weekly film club – open to guests and non-guests – in their 99-seat theater. Packages include a $35 movie, drink and snacks, or a $55 3-course meal and movie.
While there’s much to do onsite at the Crosby Street Hotel, its location in the heart of SoHo means you’re also walking distance from some of NYC’s best shopping and dining, as well as attractions like the Comics and Cartoon Museum, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, the T.F. Chen Cultural Center and AFA Gallery.
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