Boutique hotel 11 Howard is hard to miss – an entire side of the building is a swirling blue mural. Inside, it’s all modern Danish design, with sleek lounge spaces, a French restaurant and an in-demand bar.
Get this when you book through us:
US$ 25 daily food and beverage credit; GoldSmiths also receive two free drinks in The Library and a room upgrade, subject to availability
11am, but flexible, subject to availability; earliest check-in, 4pm, but flexible subject to availability. Luggage storage is available too.
Double rooms from £204.90 ($251), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of $3.50 per room per night on check-out and an additional resort fee of $45.90 per room per night on check-out.
Rates generally exclude breakfast. ($20-30 per person for the á la carte option)
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, a fitness centre and parking ($55 per day). In rooms: TV, iPod dock, minibar, in-room tablet to order anything from room service to fresh towels, and Grown Alchemist bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have light oak floors, handcrafted furniture and custom artwork, but the higher floors have the best views. The Terrace Suite, with its wrap-around balcony, has an edge on the competition, as do the arched-ceilinged rooms of the eighth floor.
Not your traditional spa but Higher Dose, on the third floor, is an infrared wellness centre dedicated to chasing nature's feel-good chemicals; dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and – you guessed it – endorphins. Their infrared saunas help to detox heavy metals from your body, promote healthy sleep cycles, glowing skin, and reduced muscle tension. We've heard it's quite the calorie burn, too. But if you're looking to work out the old fashioned way, head to the hotel's partner gym Five Points Academy, just one block from the hotel, open weekdays from 6.30am to 8pm, Saturdays from 7am to 2pm and Sundays from 9.30am to 2pm.
Bring shoes that look good (and stable) on a board and explore the streets of SoHo in true NYC style on one of the hotel’s Boosted electric skateboards.
Hygge-filled co-working space the Library is a study-like setting for artistic collaboration and cheeky nightcaps. The hotel also has a number of ADA rooms totally accessible public spaces.
In the bar, grab seats by the arched windows facing Howard Street for people watching, or make a beeline for the velvet sofas at the back for mysterious cave-like ambience. At breakfast, cosy up on Rick Owens and Vincenzo De Cotiis armchairs as you eat.
Don all the black you can to fit in with the native New Yorkers at the in-demand bar and restaurant.
Roman and Williams designed mod-French restaurant Le Coucou is helmed by chef Daniel Rose, formerly of Parisien restaurants Spring and La Bourse et La Vie. Breakfast, a Continental spread of fruits, pastries, meats and cheeses, is served both in the restaurant and in the Library.
In the evenings, follow the spiral staircase up past Dan Attoe’s neon art piece to the Blond bar and lounge for cocktails. Like a party-mad reverse Cinderalla, it transforms, at the stroke of 9pm, into a nightclub. There’s a strict guestlist from Thursday to Saturday, but as a hotel guest you can order drinks from 5pm to 9pm, provided no events are taking place. There’s moody lighting, Donnie-Darko-esque bronze animal-masked busts by British artist Charming Baker, velvet sofas, smoky gold mirrors and, yes, a disco ball.
Le Coucou is open from 11am to 11pm daily. The Library is open for drinks and light bites until 10pm and The Blond starts shaking cocktails at 5pm every day.
Use your in-room tablet to order room service from 7am to 11pm. Or choose from the minibar snacks and support Thrive, a charity that provides healthy meals to low-income families.
11 Howard is on the edge of Nolita, where the Bowery, Chinatown and Little Italy meet.
La Guardia is a little over half an hour’s drive away, when traffic cooperates, and JFK International is usually about 10 minutes more.
For trains from around New England and the east coast, look to Grand Central Station, which is a 15-minute taxi ride away. The closest subway station is Canal Street.
We recommend leaving the driving to professionals for a more enjoyable holiday. If you must drive, there's 24-hour parking available for $55 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
SoHo is a serious shoppping destination, and 11 Howard is well placed for such pursuits. Eco-label favourite Reformation’s flagship store is just down the street, should Mrs Smith suddenly feel the need for a fashionably New Yorkish frock. For it-labels such as Alexander Wang and Band of Outsiders, or the latest collaborations with the likes of Chlöe Sevigny, Opening Ceremony is on Howard Street, too. Laugh it up at the Comedy Cellar on Macdougal Street, or go for an evening of gallery hopping in SoHo’s finest, including Postmasters on nearby Franklin Street, the Feldman Gallery on Mercer Street and Artists Space on Greene Street. Or browse the curios displayed in a disused freight elevator at Mmuseumm. Browse the fashion and homewares at Canal Street Market, get your fortune told at the Mahayana Temple Buddhist Association and catch an indie flick at Metrograph cinema.
Book a table exactly three weeks in advance for Mexican dinner at in-demand La Esquina Brasserie at 114 Kenmare; be prepared to transition to nightclub mode at 9.30pm, when the nightly DJs start spinning. In the industrially decorated basement of a historic building on Prince Street, the Mercer Kitchen is the place for on-trend candle-lit dinners. Start with the shrimp cocktail, then move on to the black-truffle pizza. For mouth-watering mac and cheese, try the five cheese blend at Freemans Restaurant (End Of Freeman Alley, off of, Rivington Street). Eat your fill of quality dim-sum at Nom Wah where the menu runs long and siu mai, shrimp balls and more have been served since the Forties. Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese flavours go into the poké bowls at Chikarashi, the fried chicken and buttermilk biscuit sandwich at Cheeky Sandwichesis a winner, and, while Bar Belly has masterful cocktail mixologists, the peckish should visit for its oysters and lamb sliders.
Embrace veggie-based health-consciousness at the Butcher's Daughter at 19 Kenmare Street; this artfully unpolished juice bar and café will leave you feeling both satisfied and a little bit superior. For brunch every day of the week, Mother’s Ruin on Spring Street has you covered. On the weekends, swing by Lung Moon Bakery at 83 Mulberry Street in the mornings for the pretty brown-sugar-steamed rice cakes in the window. In a sea of high-rises, three-story-tall Tiny’s on West Broadway sticks out, and not just for its diminutive stature and pink facade. It dishes out mod-American fare with Southern and French influences; if you go for brunch, try the sweet and savoury waffles or the Southern classic shrimp and grits. Lobster rolls and spiked lemonades at Ed’s Lobster Bar at 222 Lafayette Street are unmissible summer orders. Get caffeinated at Scandi-chic coffee shop Litte Canal or get a healthy Cali-style breakfast (matcha pancakes, eggs with chickpeas and date relish) or lunch (salmon with summer-squash noodles, chicken with succotash) at Dimes.
The interior of the Ship, fittingly, looks a bit like a Bond-villain’s yacht, and we like it; we’re also fans of the Lafayette Street cocktail lounge’s gin-based Jump Street and sea bass ceviche. Walk a few streets east into Little Italy for quirky cocktails at diner-themed Genuine Liquorette on Grand Street. In warmer weather, the Mulberry Project’s street-artist-painted outdoor garden exercises its siren call; the frozen cocktails echo in refrain. Mr Fong's pairs a killer soundtrack with inventive drinks, such as the salty-plum old-fashioned and 169 Bar is a neon-lit spot that's been mixing up drinks for more than 100 years.
Gazing through the window of creative consultant Oliver Gustav's New York studio on Howard Street and coveting each objet d’art, I begin to daydream about owning a home with enough space to display, well, everything. Then, as if on cue, I find the next best thing: boutique hotel 11 Howard, just a few steps away.
The hotel doors swish open seamlessly, and Mr Smith and I find ourselves in what we can only assume is the hotel lobby; however, it’s unlike any lobby we’ve seen before. Only the neat box of guest key-cards, laid on a round wooden table, denotes this expertly styled minimalist space as the spot where a small entourage of well-dressed staff check guests in. Gazing around at the beautifully designed interiors, I’m mesmerised by a Calder-esque steel sculpture hanging from the ceiling. My head quickly fills with style notes, and I’m excited to see how else this urban retreat will inspire me. I’ll certainly remember the service with great affection; we feel like cherished repeat guests from the get-go. Check-in is thankfully swift and fuss-free, as I’m eager to hop up the sleek spiral staircase to the second floor and snoop out potential photo-ops.
But first, to our room… In the blink of an eye, we whoosh up to the 12th floor. We open the door to our beautiful and bright Terrace King room, into which sunshine pours from a private terrace. I glide over to the sheer white curtains blowing in the gentle breeze, delighting in the considered interior touches: linen bedding from French design house Society, ceramic artworks by Katie Yang and accessories from Melbourne design studio Lightly.
I’m pleasantly surprised to see Gustav's desirable pieces displayed throughout the hotel, alongside other eye-catching wares. It may be frowned upon in more traditional hotels, but here I feel comfortable enough – encouraged even – to handle objects and turn them over to check the creator’s name – carefully, of course. This quickly becomes something of a habit; I can’t help it – every piece reflects the hotel’s spot-on style: custom-designed brass fixtures, shaded floor lamps and fittings in oak, marble and stone. I find myself searching for any excuse to turn our New York staycation into a permanent residency.
I carried out a little research before our stay and discovered that this iconic New York building was once a humble post office. It seems hard to believe now, as does the fact that the hotel houses 221 guest rooms; 11 Howard feels so open, accessible and warm, and its softly lit hallways are so peaceful – it could almost be one’s home.
In the morning, I wake to iconic views of lower Manhattan. I felt rested and ready to explore, so I wander through what feels like my own private hallway to the hotel’s Library, where a light breakfast of fresh fruit and yoghurt is served, washed down with English Breakfast tea. In the lounge, creatives gather around a large table, discussing world-changing plans and entrepreneurial visions in a hushed whisper, while scribbling in artisanal notebooks and tapping away at Macbooks. Impeccably dressed and echoing the hotels unique aesthetic, this sun-drenched, second-floor space feels vibrant and full of life.
I want to stay and eavesdrop, but have a romantic rendezvous to attend. We find the ideal spot for a private encounter, the Blonde, 11 Howard’s elegant, moodily lit bar, with indigo-velvet-upholstered banquettes. Stepping through its steel-framed glass doors, I mentally tot up another star for this remarkable hotel (even if I’ve long since lost count). The arched windows and glints of brass make my heart melt just a little, as I join Mr Smith at a corner booth and peruse the cocktail menu. As evening approaches, we get excited about our approaching dinner reservation. We descend the spiral staircase and enter recently opened Le Coucou restaurant, a space equally as grand and urbanite-luring as the rest of this Danish-influenced stay.
The lighting is oh-so romantic: slender candles decorate each table, and modern chandeliers hang overhead. My inner tourist emerges as I snap pictures of exposed-brick walls and warehouse-style windows. After a glass of wine we turn our attention to the menu, created by accomplished restaurateur Stephen Starr. Dishes are creative and Gallic in style; with lobster tail in a tomato and basil sauce, veal tongue with caviar, and duck with figs and foie gras, dining is as exceptional as the hotel’s service.
We’re still devising a master plan to make our stay here a more permanent affair, but we decide to head downtown for a fling with NYC. Situated in the middle of Soho, the hotel’s smack-bang in the centre of the best city in the world, within easy reach of pretty much anything you could want.
After exploring, the streets start to blacken and the sun sets, so we head back up our room to make the most of one more night in those soft, soft beds. As I drift off, remarkably content, I reflect on our stay at 11 Howard. The service, those interiors, the food – again, those interiors – this hotel showcases true understated perfection. So, maybe I can’t stay forever, but I’ll be stopping in Mr Gustav’s studio before we make our way home.