RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Little Italy and Nolita
Two young real-estate developers have transformed a 1927 Bowery flophouse into a stylish take on a hostel. History buffs will get a kick out of the original wainscotted corridors leading to cubicles (singles are a cozy 35 square feet, and not all have windows) with latticework ceilings to allow air circulation. It might not be the best bet for light sleepers, but the place is hopping with pretty young things attracted to the hip aesthetic and the location (across the street from the New Museum and close to Soho and the Lower East Side). Quarters are decorated with vintage prints and historical photographs, and illluminated by lightbulbs encased in 1930s and ’40s mason jars; towels and robes are courtesy of Ralph Lauren. The immaculate (gender-segregated) communal bathrooms have rain showerheads and products from local spa Red Flower, while the guest lounge is outfitted with chesterfield sofas, chandeliers, a huge LCD TV and an assortment of international style mags. There’s a 1,800-square-foot roof terrace, and a ground-floor restaurant is in the works. To keep out the riff-raff and the rowdy, guests must be over 21 and reserve with a credit card. Rooms: 75.
To make like a Nolitan, check in to this new 55-room boutique hotel. The airy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, custom-made walnut beds, wooden floors and toiletries from Prince Street spa Red Flower. The emphasis on keeping it local is reflected in numerous guest perks: The luxuriously laid-back property lends out bikes and skateboards and lays on free local calls, access to an upscale Equinox gym and discounts at neighborhood boutiques. The lobby's ceiling-height bookshelf is stocked with tomes from nearby Phaidon Books. Admire views of Nolita and beyond from the 2,400-square-foot roof deck, complete with fire pit, or your private perch—more than half the guest quarters have balconies. Standard checkout is 2pm, so you can enjoy a leisurely last morning.
Thanks to new exterior colored lights, this formerly modest hotel at the nexus of Chinatown, Little Italy and Nolita piques the curiosity of passers-by. A recent overhaul has given the 1700s establishment’s small rooms a quirky punch, including a coat of chartreuse paint, flat-screen TVs, and exposed-brick walls. Charming touches like ceiling fans, hardwood floors, skylights and vaulted ceilings place the SoHotel a rung above similarly priced establishments. Complimentary morning coffee and tea are served in the lobby, and the hotel staff, well aware that the place lacks an elevator, are eager to lend a helping hand on your way in and out. SoHotel’s many Regency suites ($199-$350), which can accommodate four to five guests, are the best bargain. Rooms 96.