“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The White Queen- Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There
If Alice fell down the rabbit hole and landed in a luxury hotel, she’d end up at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo (SOuth of HOuston St.). An eclectic mix of modern and traditional, Crosby Street is utterly charming on so many levels. Owned and operated by the Firmdale Hotels based out of London, the Crosby Street Hotel is the first in the States and has only been open since October 2009. Containing 86 rooms and suites, the hotel is small enough to feel cozy, yet large enough to contain all the amenities you would expect from a hotel of this caliber. However, you can tell immediately upon entering that you’re not in a typical hotel.
As you approach the front desk, you notice that there are a number of cubbies on the wall. Reminiscent of the golden age of travel, back in the days when you checked in and out with the front desk each time upon leaving and returning to the hotel – this can be handy for those of us with a tendency to misplace keys. However, the hotel is technologically advanced, with state of the art slim card keys which you press in front of the lock to open. I found it interesting that the hotel typically only distributes one key per “family” – not exactly optimal when traveling with companions who may have different agendas. I felt a little like Oliver Twist upon returning to the hotel by myself (“Please sir, may I have another?). But the front desk just had me escorted up to the room with a bellman who let me in.
The lobby is so interesting, with life-size dog statues papered over with cartoons, a large white metal sculpture of a head made up of interlocking letters and various modern style paintings. To the right of the concierge desk is the drawing room. Step in and feel as though you’ve gone back in time to the Victorian Age – with a twist! Kept dark with many candles to give it an intimate feel, there are plush couches and sculpted tables, along with various original artwork on the walls. When five o’clock comes, retire to the drawing room for a cocktail, or step out into the courtyard patio for a breath of fresh air. Expect the unexpected, where a two thousand year old tree trunk on a pedestal greets you as you step out the door, along with various other pieces of natural sculpture. We were told that much of the artwork decorating the hotel comes directly from the personal collection of the owners, again, adding to the more personal and homey quality. The elevators feature framed art entitled “The Dogs of SoHo”, which is a collage of photos of actual, resident SoHo dogs out on their daily walks.
And the rooms, the rooms! Are there enough adjectives to describe the sumptuous and beautiful furnishings? The large bathroom with the flat screen tv imbedded in the wall above the tub. The decorous bidet (a very European idea which I wish would catch on here), the grand walk in shower, the oversized tub with spray attachments…everything one could want or need. Each room is decorated in its own signature style, with varying color schemes, ranging from soft buttery yellows to gorgeous deep plums. Fabric and differing textures on the walls adds to the overall sensory experience. Painted dress forms, mirrors and sculptures decorate the rooms, with luxurious linens and deep pillows to sink into after a hard day in the city. The floor to ceiling windows have cushions on the window ledges for comfy viewing of the surrounding skyline or people watching on the streets. And can you imagine the lucky bride to be who gets to relax before her big day in the Meadow Suite? Yes, there is an actual planted MEADOW on the roof outside of one of the suites, with flowering trees, plants and bushes. Alice would feel right at home here spending a lazy Sunday afternoon making daisy chains with Dinah.
Of course, a British owned operation is going to have the traditional afternoon tea. Offered at the hotel all day in the Crosby Bar, or guests of the hotel can have theirs in the Drawing Room. Champagne is extra, but splurge…and the lotus tea and clotted cream on scones are to die for! The Crosby Street Bar and Terrace serves breakfast, afternoon tea, bar food and drinks all day. The Mad Hatter and March Hare would fit right in here, with the whimsical, fanciful multi-colored globe lights hanging from the ceiling, and old fashioned telephone sculpture on the wall. Or if you prefer, eat out on the shady Terrace, and people watch.
I also checked out the Sunday Night Film Club, available to all, not just hotel guests. You get dinner and a movie (one short film and one feature length) with your choice of a three course meal (a set menu and you choose from various options) for $50 per person or a bar plate for $25 per person. I chose the full meal and brother, let me tell you it is worth every penny. I had the wedge salad, macaroni and cheese with truffles and the most scrumptious, positively decadent chocolate sundae with salted caramel. The only drawback was that I was so stuffed (I couldn’t bear to let any of that ambrosial food go to waste) that when the lights went down for the movie, I was so comfortable that I promptly fell right asleep (my apologies to my neighbors if I snored). The blu-ray movie is shown in a 100 seat theater, with a full size screen and a top notch sound system. Unbelievable value, when you consider it’s a full on evening out, with dinner and a movie to boot. Perfect for date night, an evening out with the girls (or guys) or just a peaceful, relaxing evening by yourself.
Crosby Street, oh Crosby Street, I sing your praises high. One other point worth mentioning – every employee of the hotel that I met or interacted with seemed genuinely happy to be there. They were always available to answer questions, provide assistance, or give insider tidbits about the property. It is obvious that they take pride in themselves and their hotel, which really makes all the difference and shows in every aspect of your experience there. If contemplating a trip to New York, make sure and spend a night or two (or twelve) at the Crosby Street Hotel and experience a little of the continent right here in our own backyard!79 Crosby Street, New York, New York 10012 www.firmdale.com