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Sister City

Hotels Lower East Side
4 out of 5 stars
1/4
Photograph: Courtesy Adrian Gaut
2/4
Photograph: Courtesy Adrian Gaut
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Photograph: Courtesy Adrian Gaut
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Photograph: Courtesy Adrian Gaut

This sleek new hotel from Atelier Ace manages to achieve something pretty spectacular: It provides a respite of head-clearing calm just off Bowery on the raucous Lower East Side. You can tell a lot of effort went into that accomplishment, too. It sometimes feels like every inch of the hotel has been designed to create a sense of mental and physical remove from all the stressful happenings outside. It’s kind of like your friend who does a lot of yoga and is always talking about how relaxed they are but actually seems a little obsessed about it.

The experience of leaving behind the loud and chaotic downtown streets and entering this tranquil oasis starts the second you walk onto the property. The two entryways—one off of Bowery and another that leads to secluded Freeman’s Alley—are lined with small trees and plants. The lobby features a clarifying, minimal design—checkerboard marble floor, white walls, light wood accents—and a continuous “soundscape” designed by electronic musician Julianna Barwick. The soft tinkling and natural sounds beamed into the space are actually constantly being altered and influenced by the sky above. (A roof sky camera picks up on weather and passing clouds and then converts them into the beautiful, artistic, completely useless sonic weather report.)

Instead of the standard lobby welcoming committee, you’ll find a row of self-service check-in kiosks. That’s right, in an attempt to remove the highest amount of possible anxiety-inducing encounters during your stay—and allow you the best chance to gain a sense of inner calm—the hotel lets you check in without ever having to interact with a human. The kiosks will even generate an extra room key for you in a completely non-judgmental manner. (And when your stay is over, you can check out via email!)

The rooms at Sister City mirror the stripped-down aesthetic of the lobby with custom Italian cherry-wood furnishings and valets in every room. The bedding is striped, something you rarely see in hotels. Here, it manages to come off as chic thanks to the efficient surroundings. It feels as if there's not a single thing out of place and nothing more than you absolutely need. In a special touch, many rooms have original Noguchi lanterns hanging from the ceiling, each individually numbered. The tall ceilings and windows let in lots of natural light. You really feel worlds away from the noisy thoroughfare below.

The main restaurant on the hotel’s ground floor, Floret, is set to open later this summer. However, the spectacular 11th floor rooftop venue, Last Light, is currently open for business. The bar offers panoramic views of the city along with a list of organic wines, local beers and spirits and pared-down elegant cocktails—none with more than three listed ingredients. In many ways, that menu reflects the hotel as a whole—precise in a way that elevates rather than diminishes its basic components.

Venue name: Sister City
Contact:
Address: 225 Bowery
New York
10002
Transport: Subway: B, D, F, M, 4, 6 to Broadway-Lafayette
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