Arlo SoHo is an ingeniously designed micro boutique hotel with a macro personality, set in Manhattan’s old printing district between Soho, Tribeca and Greenwich Village. The rooms pack a whole lot of punches into their urban cabin-like space, with solid-walnut alcove beds, integrated tech and ooh-that’s-clever storage solutions. The rooftop bar has cocktails, craft beers and views to downtown; or choose your poison at the lobby-level Liquor Bar and settle into an ergonomic armchair or a sheepskin-clad sofa in the library. Meat + Three supplies deliciously simple mix-and-match meals, and the 24-hour artisan pantry Bodega is an appetising option for the peckish.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £141.26 ($194), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of $3.50 per person per night on check-out and an additional resort fee of $22.95 per room per night on check-out.
Rates do not include breakfast; for $19 extra you get access to the buffet of cereals, fresh fruit, smoked fish and more.
Ask to borrow one of the Priority bicycles and explore the city on two wheels. The hotel has partnerships with the personal trainers at DogPound gym (www.thedogpound.com) and Alo Yoga (www.aloyoga.com), with classes available for guests – they're very popular, so book ahead if you can.
At the hotel
Restaurant, two cocktail bars (one rooftop), coffee shop, library, free WiFi throughout, Priority bicycles on request. In rooms: TV, mini fridge, hairdryer, Blind Barber bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The City Queen-Terrace rooms have a few extra square feet of space inside (bumping them up to 160sq ft), but the main draw is the generous patio with two sunloungers, an outdoor shower and views of downtown Manhattan. The standard City and Courtyard Queens and Kings are the same size, so take your pick depending on if you value floor-space or rollover-space.
Follow the Arlo philosophy: everything you need, no excess. Alright, fine, bring the selfie stick.
All the common areas are wheelchair-accessible, and there are rooms in all categories designed for guests with mobility issues. All guest rooms, as is typical for New York, average at a petite but perfectly formed 150sq ft.
All ages welcome. Twin bunk rooms can be connected to a King room on request. Highchairs and kid-friendly menus are available in Harold's.
Grab a table in the sun-trap courtyard in summer, or watch New York go by through the floor-to-ceiling windows inside.
Leisurely work- and play-wear – casual shirts, printed sweaters and roll-up jeans will do just fine.
Chef Harold Moore brings the hearty simplicity of southern American hospitality at his airy in-house restaurant at the Arlo SoHo, Harold's. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and leisurely weekend brunches – the last complete with a Bloody Mary Bar. The lengthy list of options includes avocado toast, double-cut prime rib and fried chicken that momma would be proud of. There’s also an extensive menu of organic and bio-dynamic wines. Out of hours, Bodega comes to the rescue, with Joe coffee and artisan snacks from Mouth.com among the assortment in the bulging pantry.
Head up to Good Story, the inside-outside bar on the rooftop for cocktails, craft beers, and views across the Hudson river; all the better if it’s in the throes of a pop-up experience at the time. Far, far below, the sleek contemporary design of the Arlo Liquor Bar draws in locals and guests alike for cocktails from the ever-changing list and light bites from Harold Moore’s kitchen. There are several spots to settle into, from the stools and work tables by the bar itself, to the low-slung living-room sofas and courtyard outside.
Harold's serves breakfast (7am to 10.30am), lunch (10.30am to 4pm) and dinner (4pm to late) during the week and weekend brunch from 10.30am to 4pm. Arlo Liquor Bar opens at 11am and closes at 11.30pm; Good Story opens at 5pm and stays that way until 1am.
There’s no room service, but each room comes with a mini fridge to stash leftovers and buys from Bodega.
Hudson Square, once Manhattan’s printing district, is wedged between Tribeca, Soho, Greenwich Village and the Hudson River, to the south west of the island.
Most international flights arrive at JFK (www.airport-jfk.com), which is 45 minutes’ drive away and costs a flat rate of $52 in a yellow cab, plus toll and tip – around $70 in total. LaGuardia airport is closer; it takes about 40 minutes to the hotel and a private transfer costs around $35.
The nearest subway is Canal Street; it’s a couple of minutes’ walk where Canal Street meets Varick Street. From there, the 1 line runs directly to and from Penn station, the humongous regional train station. The magical Grand Central Terminal, on the other side of Manhattan, is a destination in itself, regardless of whether you’re taking a train upstate or not.
Driving in New York is best left to the professionals, but if you do arrive in your own wagon, the hotel provides valet parking for $59 a night for regular cars and $69 a night for SUV's.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you secretly get excited by fire engines (don’t we all?), walk one block to the Fire Museum and swat up on the FDNY, from the original ‘bucket brigades’ to the tragic events of 9/11. Walk west and stop just before your feet get wet and you’ll find that you’re in Hudson River Park, a sliver of green space running up the west side. Nearby neighbourhoods include Soho for shopping, Greenwich Village for bohemian heritage and Tribeca for a quick hit of property porn; and all of them for eating and drinking until your belly begs for mercy. To go further afield, take subway line 1 from Canal Street station; it runs up to Midtown and Central Park in the north, and south to the World Trade Centerand Bowling Green, where boats depart for Staten Islandand the Statue of Liberty.
Tribeca Grill is owned by Robert de Niro and has an all-star menu of New American cuisine alongside one of the city’s best wine lists. All-day brasserie Balthazar does everything from steak frites to bouillabaisse in a bubbling, vintage French atmosphere. Blue Ribbonis a local favourite for simple things done very well, and it’s the brasserie that almost never sleeps – it closes at 4am. Hit up Parm for no-nonsense Italian American dishes in a typically cheery diner.
For cronuts and cookie shots, head to Dominique Ansel Bakery, where everything tastes just as good as it looks (and yes, it’s all rather comely). Join the queue for a slice of Joe's Pizza – the legendary pie shop has been going strong since 1979; it takes approximately one bite to find out why.
Employees Only will actually probably let you in if you ask nicely; inside there’s a hush-hush prohibition-style atmosphere and an inventive mix of cocktails. No New York boozer has been continuously serving alcohol for longer than the Ear Inn; it’s in an historic building dating back to somewhen around 1817. The Stonewall Inn is where it all started for the gay rights movement, with anti-oppression riots in 1969; it’s now a National Historic Landmark, and still a good tavern.
Arlo SoHo takes micro-living to a whole new level. We’d heard that the rooms were small, so we were somewhat prepared, but one thing’s for sure: you don’t book a room here if you’re looking for somewhere to roam. No, sir: it’s all about making the most of the enormous shared spaces instead. And for us, this worked just fine.
We were pretty exhausted by the time we rolled into the Arlo’s SoHo outpost (there’s another not far from Madison Square). The location is great, on the border of all the good bits: Tribeca, SoHo, the Hudson River, the West Village, and not far from Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.
We were greeted with the big smiles of the friendly front-desk staff. They could see we were knackered, so they quickly ran through the check-in process before handing over two on-the-house drinks vouchers (amen). There’s a liquor bar in the lobby, often with live music, and that’s where we plonked ourselves for an unwinding hour or two to soak up our new home’s atmosphere – big glasses of wine in hand.
The bar is lively. The communal spaces, too. People are everywhere. Edged by big glass and steel windows – and a pretty plant-filled courtyard – these areas are particularly inviting. Cosy sofas, big lounge chairs, a long wooden table with heaps of power points – it’s the perfect space to work from. There is art everywhere. There are books. The lighting is good. Welcoming would be an understatement.
Harold’s Meat + Three is the southern-inspired ground-floor restaurant, but it was the rooftop bar that really blew our socks off. Why? The views, baby!
Recently named the Surf Shack for summer, this up-high space features an outdoor grill, rosé and oyster stations, tiki drinks and, yes, killer views over the Hudson River and down to Tribeca. The view is seriously impressive. A sunset drink up there, under the hanging lights, is pretty special. And what the hotel lacks in a room-service offering, it makes up for with a cute little 24-hour bodega on the ground floor where you can pick up everything from granola in the morning, to sandwiches for lunch, drinks and snacks (I developed a serious addiction to their peanut butter and dark chocolate cookies). With free bikes on offer, courtesy of Arlo Bicycles, getting around downtown is super easy, too.
Back to the room, though… I would be lying if I said i wasn't a little surprised when I first set foot inside it: 150 sq ft really does take micro to a whole new level. The bed is comfy, the windows are big (and some have awesome views either over the river or back towards Soho), but the bathroom is tiny. Mini. Minute. And the basin is located in the entrance to the room. But once you get over that part, it all kind of works. And let’s face it, it’s New York City: you’re never really going to be in your room anyway (or at least, you shouldn't be).
There are also some really fun and considered touches. No cumbersome iron and ironing board, for example, but a steamer that hangs in a little bag off the wall, which you can use anywhere in your room. Clever. There are brollies as well (which we needed a lot during our stay–- New York turned on some serious rain…)
As for the staff, they’re energetic, fun and helpful. We had deliveries made to the hotel which they happily stored for us and dropped off at our room. We received mail to the hotel. Nothing was a problem.
Arlo SoHo offers a comfortable and affordable sleeping option in an often unaffordable town. It is a perfectly placed base, and a friendly one at that. We’d stay here again for sure. After all, learning to pack light is an important life skill…