If you heart NY, you’ll love Soho Grand Hotel, which captures the best of everyone’s favourite movie backdrop into somewhere you can stay. The Downtown institution has been giving the city that never sleeps somewhere to revel for quarter of a century now, with lobster rolls, fairy lights and frozen daiquiris on tap in the courtyard in summer, all-American dinners in the Diner and jazz nights in the velvet-draped Club Room all year (and all night). And it’s all in Manhattan’s celebrity-favored ’hood, home to more cast iron than anywhere else on the planet.
Double rooms from £193.98 ($247), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of $1.50 per room per night on check-out and an additional room tax of $40.11 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast.
If you’re keen to practise your chords, the hotel can whisk up a Martin guitar to your room, along with a MacBook Pro, iPad, Nintendo Switch or a record player with a set of vinyls.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, dog park, bicycle hire, gym with Peloton subscription and a terrace for scenic stretching. In rooms: smart TV, Bluetooth radio, locally sourced minibar, Nespresso coffee machine and CO Bigelow bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For square footage the average New Yorker can only dream of, and a Broadway-facing terrace for some ill-advised show-tune singing, it has to be the Grand Terrace Suite, which has an outdoor shower for exhibitionists and a lounge with a bar so you can let others join the party.
There’s no spa on-site, but for ablution-based adventures, head to Aire Ancient Baths in TriBeCa and make use of the hotel’s partnership.
You could bring basically nothing and soon be kitted out in New York City’s finest, since the shopping-ready streets of SoHo are on your doorstep.
The website is audible, all of the restaurants are accessible and two categories of rooms have ADA-approved options: Soho King and Deluxe Corner.
All ages are welcome. Suites have enough space for cots and extra beds, and connecting rooms are available. The concierge can help to organise babysitting.
Guests can sign up to the green programme to minimise things like laundry, every menu has vegan options and energy-efficient lighting is used. Produce is sourced from local suppliers where possible and the hotel loves to showcase New York-based artists.
At the Grand Bar, request table 98 for its cosy-corner and people-watching potential. In the Club Room, table 33 has the best view of the jazz band. Go for table 44 at Gilligan’s to be the palm-lined, lantern-lit centre of attention (and the restaurant).
The hotel’s restaurant offering means you can get the full NYC experience before you’ve even set foot outside. The family-friendly Soho Diner has all of the pink and mahogany banquettes, retro jukebox and pastel green stools at the counter that your Fifties dreams are made of. It’s open all day, but don’t miss breakfasts of huevos rancheros with chorizo and avocado to start your morning properly. At the seasonal Gilligan’s, it’s lobster rolls, fairy lights and frozen cocktails that look like pink ice-cream cones on tap – and it has an oyster bar, stone pizza oven and seafood-pasta selection, too. There’s also the Grand Bar and Salon, which serves comforting classics like truffle pasta, mac ’n’ cheese and burgers – and more masterful takes on a meat-patty sandwich await at the Club Room, where they’re served with cheddar and truffle fondue.
The Club Room is the hotel’s cocktail lounge, with a suitable air of decadence, film-star photographs, velvet sofas and heavy curtains concealing any mischief. Whisky fans need to pull up a seat at the Grand Bar and attempt to tick off all 50 of its American malts. There’s a DJ spinning some vinyl every evening from Wednesday to Saturday.
Breakfast hours are 8am to 11am. An all-day menu is served from 2pm until close, and brunch at weekends is between 11am and 4pm. The bar opens from 8am until late, and the Club Room’s hours are 6.30pm until the last guest leaves (4am is no biggie).
Dishes from Soho Diner and Grand Bar and Salon – from a classic club sandwich to milkshakes and vegan pies – can be ordered in during restaurant hours.
The hotel’s Lower Manhattan address is one of the most movie-ready backdrops on the entire island, with super shopping, celebrity neighbours and lots of cast iron.
Newark airport is closest, a 45-minute drive from the hotel – but JFK and LaGuardia are only an hour or so away as well. The concierge can arrange transfers on request.
There’s a subway stop on the block for the A, C and E lines, and on the next block for the 1, 2 and 3 trains.
You won’t need a car to get around the city – stow your wheels away for $65 a night with the hotel’s valet service.
Worth getting out of bed for
The tree-lined, cobblestone streets of SoHo make it (no bias) New York City’s best neighbourhood, with the A-list residents to prove it – and luckily for Soho Grand guests, bicycles are lined up for you to borrow. It has every type of shopping covered, including designer boutiques, flagships of high-street favourites and street-style pilgrimage sites like Vfiles. Visit post-war artist Donald Judd’s five-storey studio and home – or task the concierge with getting you a referral-only reservation at Bohemian, a Japanese restaurant behind a butcher in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s old studio.
NYC’s most authentic Alsatian cuisine awaits at Raoul’s, run by two brothers from Alsace and bringing more than a little French flair to Manhattan; expect crab beignets, stuffed clams with brioche and chorizo, and, of course, steak frites. Francophiles can also get a fix at Frenchette, where the menu of rillettes de canard, beef tartare and soupe de poisson dials up the Gallic gastronomy (though it has allowed some non-French wines onto the drinks list). More Mediterranean cuisine is cooked up at King, whose hearty dishes include rabbit and girolle pie, and onglet grilled over branches of thyme and served with celeriac and anchovy gratin.
A somewhat cheesy but really quite nice sentiment to dispatch along with your morning coffee and lunchtime salad, Smile To Go dishes out caffeine and camaraderie.
Head down to The Django, a subterranean jazz bar with vaulted ceilings, brick walls and two cocktail bars catering to the thirsty crowd. In its previous incarnation as the Gaslight Café, The Up and Up’s patrons included Bob Dylan – these days, the punters may be less poetic but they love a craft cocktail. Anyone up for a challenge will enjoy trying to secure one of the 14 seats at Banzarbar, a speakeasy behind a wooden door down an alley above Freemans restaurant...
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this stylish hotel in the US and unpacked their souvenir tees and slightly more stylish threads, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Soho Grand Hotel in New York City…
In the city that never sleeps, it’s helpful for hotels to have DJ and jazz nights that go on until 4am, which is exactly what you get at fun-loving Soho Grand, in Manhattan’s most industrious Downtown district. Some of the staff have been here since the opening in 1996, ready to greet returning guests they’re happy to call friends. The neighborhood (and its famous cast-iron architecture) is celebrated throughout the hotel, from the bottle-glass staircase to the masonry columns and loft-style suites, blending the artist-inhabited lofts of the 1970s with the Gilded Age from a century before.
For those that don’t speak NYC, the hotel’s SoHo ’hood is named (in inimitable portmanteau-loving style) after a contraction of ‘South of Houston’ (and no, it’s not Hew-ston, but House-ton). Outside, some of Manhattan’s finest bars, restaurants and boutiques await – after you’ve gone full Americana at the Fifties diner, cooled off from the summer heat with pink daiquiris at Gilligan’s and got up to no good behind the Club Room curtains. The staff never want to leave, and neither will you.