It was with a bit of skepticism that my husband and I watched the new hotel going up across the street from us, on the corner of Kenmare and Elizabeth. The
modern Grzywinski + Pons building looked a bit off-kilter with the rest of the
neighborhood, with its geometric glass cutouts and sleek lines. Though the
idea of having a place for our parents to stay (other than our foldout couch)
was nice, deep down we wondered what a new boutique hotel would do to our
wonderfully quirky, Starbucks-free corner of Nolita?
Not long after the
55-room Nolitan finally opened (in August), we decided to do a little
renconaissance work of our own: to check in and stay a night. We smiled at the
idea of staying in a room with a view of our own apartment, and getting the
chance to experience the neighborhood as visitors.
checking in, we were unarmed by the friendliness of the staff as they presented
us with a cute little pack of postcards from local businesses like Belle by
Sigerson Morrison, GirlCat, and Jon Varvatos, offering addresses and
discounts. (We were also offered the use of a skateboard during our visit,
which I politely declined on the grounds of my extreme klutziness.)
on the ninth floor, done in minimalist blacks, whites, and reds, was compact
yet airy, with a deluxe king bed and views of the Williamsburg Bridge, Kenmare
Street, and (gulp) our roof terrace. (Bye, bye privacy!)
Nolitan truly goes out of its way to make its guests comfortable, with
thoughtful touches like free Wi-Fi, affordable, healthy snacks (like
mixed nuts and Kashi Go Lean bars), and even yoga mats. An in-depth Nolita
guide offers advice on restaurants, shops, galleries, and entertainment in the
neighborhood–we actually took their advice and tried out a new restaurant for
dinner. I loved the deep soaking tub and the local bath products from Red
Flower, a Nolita-based botanicals company, as well as the ultra-soft bathrobes.
turns out, our fears of finding a generic boutique hotel were totally
unfounded. The Nolitan is determined not only to integrate into Nolita, but to
really help guests experience the uniqueness of the neighborhood. The hotel has
no spa, no gym, and a very small lobby lounge by design—the goal is for guests
to leave the hotel and go explore the area. To be a Nolitan for a few days. I
can live with that.
Kenmare St., (212) 925-2555
Guest-blogger Anna Watson Carl is the author of The Yellow Table.