These days, a common refrain from many new hotels is that they want to feel like they’re a bigger part of the surrounding community. For the Moxy East Village, that desire has been taken to the extreme, becoming a guiding principle for almost the entire space as little details inspired by the East Village pop up throughout. The result is a hotel that welcomes you inside while also begging you to go out and explore the neighborhood it inhabits. The vibe is encouraging, upbeat and a whole lot of fun.
On the first floor of the hotel, you’ll find the Alphabet Bar & Café. The all-day venue has a main bar, an outdoor terrace with the feel of an apartment building’s backyard, and a comfortable, den-like lounge sporting mismatched furniture and a wall of old VHS tapes. Unsurprising for a 24-hour space, the ambience changes over time, with a relaxed, conversational mood reigning during the day and more of a party scene at night. On hand are a collection of vinyls curated by the local store Academy Records (you can check out a record player to take up to your room) and, in one corner, a cartful of free books sourced from the beloved nearby bookstore the Strand.
Local artists’ work, like graffiti and cracked mirrors, can be found throughout the venue, and that loose, creative atmosphere continues downstairs at the hotel’s stunning principal restaurant, Cathédrale. The French-Mediterranean eatery boasts a soaring main dining room, featuring a 26-foot ceiling that’s hung with Edoardo Tresoldi’s massive mesh sculpture Fillmore. It’s one of the most spectacular new restaurants to open in New York this year, and the menu has the pizzazz to match. Two of the must-try dishes are the Potato Chip Omelette ($19), a creamy, salty concoction that’s light and addicting, and the Warm Epi Baguette ($17), a delicious bread paired with a dipping sauce that’s made of butter and rotisserie drippings. Top it all off with the April in Paris cocktail ($17), comprised of gin, sherry, rose nectar, raspberry and lemon—it’s perfectly balanced and just sweet enough.
The 286 bedrooms on-site have all been downsized to keep overall costs low (rooms start at $179 a night), but they don’t feel too tiny thanks to a number of smart design tricks. Wall pegs replace the usual closets, sinks have been moved outside the bathrooms, and the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of light. If you’re traveling with young kids or a group of friends, you can snag a room with a bunk bed, or else opt for the Standard Queen. Continuing the theme of bringing the outside in, the rooms’ flat-screen televisions broadcast profiles of local hot spots, including Madame Vo and Blind Barber. The plush Egyptian cotton bedding may entice you to sleep in, but if you’ve been paying attention since you arrived, you’ll probably want to get an early start and venture out into the neighborhood.