For some folks, where you stay when on vacation is just a place to sleep and shower. It doesn’t matter what the hotel looks like as long as it’s clean. Not for me. Where I stay is absolutely part of the vacation. It’s my chance to be surrounded by something beautiful, to experience a level of design that I may only get to enjoy during the few days I reside there, and to escape completely.
I have been known to pour over the internet for hours in search of the most pleasing accommodations I can reasonably afford. Every now and then, when I remember, I pin a place I found online on a Pinterest board or will save it on Instagram. In fact, when we went to Paris last summer we stayed in a hotel I found on Instagram. It was beautiful and I soaked in every single detail. My camera roll may have more pictures of the hotel and our morning breakfast than it does the sites of Paris.
At least twice a year, but often more, I travel to New York City for market. The city has a plethora of amazing boutique hotels and choosing one is fairly difficult. To make my decision, I consider where I want to eat and what one extracurricular activity I want to squeeze in between market days. Today, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite NYC hotels with you to take the guess work out of your next trip to the Big Apple.
I LOVE the The Ludlow. Found on the Lower East Side, it is a blend of rock and roll and French Bohemian chic. It’s dark and moody and the rooms are interesting and affordable for NYC. For dining, this hotel has the largest and broadest selection of nearby options – Katz’s Deli and Russ & Daughters, both New York City institutions are within spitting distance; Freeman’s Restaurant can be found tucked away in a nearby alley way off Freeman Street; Black Tap burgers and the biggest shakes you’ve ever seen is right across the street; Porsena, a delicious Italian restaurant that is great for large groups is within walking distance; and the hotel’s restaurant, Dirty French, was probably the best meal I had on my February trip. During that same trip, Emily and I made a research stop at Goods For The Study, NYC’s hot paper store. It was totally worth it.
Lesley, our kids’ buyer, and I went up to NYC for Toy Fair for the first time this year and stayed at the Soho Grand Hotel. Other than market, I had one thing on my list to do – visit the Roman & Williams Guild to shop and eat at their café, La Mercerie. Neither the hotel nor the Guild disappointed. Located on a quiet street in Soho, the hotel was warm and welcoming. Unbeknownst to them, they gave us a room in which the last occupant smoked. When we notified them, they immediately moved us and gave us a bottle of sparkling wine. The room was straight up chic. And, the Guild, which was just around the corner in what felt like a sleepy secret side street that only the locals know about, was as beautiful as I imagined. I sat there in amazement and marveled at each careful detail of the design. The shop had beautiful aspirational goods and the food was heavenly. We highly recommend the maple croissant. Buy many, trust us.
Recently my friend Cary, owner of The Cookery in Shirlington, and I stayed at The Redbury for the Fancy Food Show. The Midtown Manhattan hotel is lovely and well appointed, but the three best reasons to stay here are the hotel restaurants. Marta, Vini e Fritte, and Caffe Marchio are restaurants from my personal business and food hero, Danny Meyer. It’s so nice to just walk downstairs after a day at market – or sightseeing – to get dinner. The wine list and pizza at Marta are incredible, the egg sandwiches at Caffe Marchio start your day off in the absolute best direction, and the décor at Vini e Fritte is superb. I soak in every detail of the design when I’m there. A close-up of the marble used for their counters might be the lock screen on my phone.
The Benjamin is a wonderful hotel in the heart of Midtown East close enough to Times Square and Broadway, but far enough way that you have breathing room. I love this location when I’m planning to squeeze in a musical or play. It’s streamlined and comfortable and the prices aren’t outrageous. I’ve even been known to upgrade to a suite for the same price as a single room. There’s no need to go far for good dining. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant, The National is just downstairs.
New York City has so much to offer. I hope this little list helps you narrow down the choices for your next trip. Safe travels and bon voyage, my friends!
Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.
We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.
1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314