Over the last few decades the center of gravity of hipness in New York has tracked steadily to the south and east. And given how long these things take to make, it’s natural that only just now are we beginning to see high-end boutique hotels on the Lower East Side — among the first wave, the Thompson LES, on Allen just south of Houston.
It’s uncharted territory for hotels, perhaps, but familiar ground for nightlife. The Thompson doesn’t just take advantage of the local buzz, it aims to contribute its own: Shang, the upscale Chinese restaurant and associated lounge, is the culinary focal point, and Above Allen, the open-air bar with the retractable roof, is bound to become a downtown fixture for members and hotel guests. And when the weather agrees, the outdoor pool is set to open — not many other downtown hotels can say something like that.
This being Manhattan, space is at a premium. Everything’s modestely sized but impeccably designed, and packed with all the necessities — very much in keeping with the Thompson aesthetic. It’s an approach that works particularly well here; this is still the Lower East Side, and anything more upmarket would simply be overkill, in a neighborhood where most of the hotels are residential ones.
New York City,
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