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Standard High Line
Photograph: Courtesy Standard High Line

The best design hotels in NYC

From abstract artist installations to French antiques, stimulate your creative side at the best design hotels in NYC

By Gabrielle Pedriani

The best design hotels in NYC prove in spades (brush strokes?) that access to world-class art doesn’t end after a visit to the Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art or Museum of Modern Art. And we don’t mean the creative genius behind the best restaurants in NYC, no matter how much that chocolate souffle “moved” you. From graffiti murals to mind-blowing architecture, a stay at one of these inspiring accommodations is like sleeping at a gallery… only much cozier.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC

Best design hotels in NYC

1. Refinery Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Midtown West

Created by Stonehill and Taylor as an ode to the 1912 hat shop from which it stems, Refinery Hotel evokes an undeniable vintage aura. Small details such as the millinery supplies and vintage sewing machines scattered throughout offer a glimpse into the hotel’s industrial roots. For an added historical flair, drop into Winnie’s Jazz Bar for a Prohibition-era cocktail or the famous twinkle light-lined rooftop.

2. Hotel Indigo Lower East Side

Hotels Boutique hotels Lower East Side

Situated on murall-filled Lower East Side, Hotel Indigo derives its design inspiration from the edgy artwork for which the neighborhood is known. Upon entering the lobby, you’ll immediately dive into the local art scene with an impressive array of contemporary works by New York-based artists—the Sky Lobby offers a literal window of graffiti. The standout? A 40x16 ceiling mural created by famous subway artist, Lee Quinones.

Photograph: Nikolas Koenig

3. The Standard

Hotels Chain hotels Meatpacking District

Although The Standard is made primarily of simple materials like concrete, brick and glass, the architecture is anything but. The outward design was constructed specifically to seamlessly blend into the Meatpacking District’s aesthetic as well as to visually appear as if it sits above the High Line Park. Two words: Mission. Accomplished. Plus, the outdoor plaza features a rotating array of art installations—and the rooftop club, complete with unbeatable city views, is about as close to living art as you can get.

4. The Bowery Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels East Village

Incorporating red brick and retro windows, the Bowery Hotel was created in the stylistic vein of the city’s oldest factories. Sip a cocktail in the tree-lined garden terrace, or while sinking into one of the fireplace-adjacent antique leather sofas that line the ornate lobby. Rooms keep the classic New York ambiance alive with hardwood floors, detailed Oashak rugs and pops of deep jewel tones. Stop in downstairs Italian eatery Gemma for authentic fare underneath candelabra chandeliers.


5. Hôtel Americano

Hotels Boutique hotels Chelsea

Designed by Mexican architect Enrique Norten, this Chelsea hotel resembles a traditional Japanese Inn, or ryokan. The mattresses are perched atop a wooden platform, while still sitting close to the ground to maintain an authentic look. Acting as an inviting respite, the chic and soothing setting is enhanced natural materials and luxurious flourishes like custom alpaca throw blankets and Japanese soaking tubs.

6. Hotel on Rivington

Hotels Boutique hotels Lower East Side

Paving the way for the architecturally adventurous hotels of the Lower East Side, Hotel on Rivington is the brainchild of Grzywinski + Pons, and prides itself on creatively working around NYC’s structural constraints. Ten years after it was built, it’s still flooded with cutting-edge art. The hotel’s rooftop is decked out with 20-foot murals by famous graffiti artists Christina Angelina and Nick Walker; in contrast, downstairs nightclub Jia is outfitted in a sexy, 1930’s Shanghai motif.


7. Ace Hotel New York

Hotels Boutique hotels Flatiron

Hipsters flock to the retro-meets-quirky Ace Hotel, whose lobby doubles as a trendy workspace for a slew of entrepreneurial-minded creatives. Dramatic columns, skylights and a detailed mosaic are offset by massive antique wood tables and a stocked library giving it an old school British vibe—almost as if The Clash could be sipping a Stumptown latte on the leather armchair right next to you.

8. The NoMad Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Flatiron

Situated in a turn of the century Beaux-Arts building, the NoMad Hotel is reminiscent to the game Clue: full of character and unexpected twists. The Paris-meets-New York space was created by French designer Jacques Garcia, whose notion was to establish each room as a slightly upscale take on a true Parisian loft. Antique accents like handmade Heriz rugs, French writing desks and clawfoot tubs and velvet paraven at a royal air to each room. The hotel also partnered with the graphic studio be-pôles to curate its a one-of-a-kind art program, featuring globally-sourced vintage and modern pieces.

The St. Regis
Photograph: Courtesy St. Regis

9. St. Regis New York

Hotels Boutique hotels Midtown East

One of New York’s most iconic hotels, the St. Regis is the epitome of luxury. Upon entering the lobby, you’re surrounded by custom-designed furniture, elegant crown molding and bold striped blue silk covering the walls. The regal experience is enhanced with residences featuring marble entryways Waterford crystal chandeliers plus—ahem—Louis XVI desks. Guess can even opt to temporarily live inside a designer’s signature style with a stay in the Dior Suite (inspired by its namesake’s Parisian ateliers), the Bentley Suite (modeled after the deluxe automobile) or the Tiffany Suite the signature blue accent color is used throughout).

10. High Line Hotel

Hotels Boutique hotels Chelsea

From the original 1895 Gothic design, to the fact it was once a seminary campus and home to budding Episcopalian priests, The High Line Hotel is literally riddled with remnants of its past. Authentic elements like the ventilation grates and worn floor tiles were purposely kept to maintain the hotel’s self-defined “Vintage Eclectic Americana” aesthetic. Each room maintains one wall of the original wallpaper and features custom made antique furniture, original Western Electric 202 rotary phones, and books from the personal collection of famous psychic, Ingo Swann. It’s a wonder this hotel isn’t haunted. Or is it?

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