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. Themodern Grzywinski + Pons building looked a bit off-kilter with the rest of theneighborhood, with its geometric glass cutouts and sleek lines. Though theidea 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 ourwonderfully quirky, Starbucks-free corner of Nolita?
Not long after the55-room Nolitan finally opened (in August), we decided to do a littlerenconaissance work of our own: to check in and stay a night. We smiled at theidea of staying in a room with a view of our own apartment, and getting thechance to experience the neighborhood as visitors.
Uponchecking in, we were unarmed by the friendliness of the staff as they presentedus with a cute little pack of postcards from local businesses like Belle bySigerson Morrison, GirlCat, and Jon Varvatos, offering addresses anddiscounts. (We were also offered the use of a skateboard during our visit,which I politely declined on the grounds of my extreme klutziness.)
Our roomon the ninth floor, done in minimalist blacks, whites, and reds, was compactyet airy, with a deluxe king bed and views of the Williamsburg Bridge, KenmareStreet, and (gulp) our roof terrace. (Bye, bye privacy!)
TheNolitan truly goes out of its way to make its guests comfortable, withthoughtful touches like free Wi-Fi, affordable, healthy snacks (likemixed nuts and Kashi Go Lean bars), and even yoga mats. An in-depth Nolitaguide offers advice on restaurants, shops, galleries, and entertainment in theneighborhood–we actually took their advice and tried out a new restaurant fordinner. I loved the deep soaking tub and the local bath products from RedFlower, a Nolita-based botanicals company, as well as the ultra-soft bathrobes.
As itturns out, our fears of finding a generic boutique hotel were totallyunfounded. The Nolitan is determined not only to integrate into Nolita, but toreally help guests experience the uniqueness of the neighborhood. The hotel hasno spa, no gym, and a very small lobby lounge by design—the goal is for gueststo leave the hotel and go explore the area. To be a Nolitan for a few days. Ican live with that.
TheNolitan, 30Kenmare St., (212) 925-2555
Guest-blogger Anna Watson Carl is the author of The Yellow Table.