Room Service: The Nolitan, New York City

Take the rough with the smooth

Dumbo or SoBro? The title for New York's Silliest Neighbourhood Name is a hard one to call. The acronym refers to the area Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in Brooklyn; the latter is a portmanteau of the South Bronx. Then there's BoCoCa and GoCaGa ... Spike Milligan, eat your heart out.

As whimsical as they sound, these neighbourhood labels are the dirty work of real estate agents, whose calculated reportioning and rechristening have seen previously insalubrious areas transformed into some of the most expensive property in the US. And so it was with Nolita, the tiny grid of streets that was once part of Little Italy, but was left out in the cold after Italian-Americans moved on. Although tacked on to the side of SoHo, it didn't quite fit the bill. And you can see why. While upscale boutiques started to pop up, there was still an inherently Italian feel here. The Feast of San Gennaro scene in The Godfather Part III was filmed on Elizabeth Street, the same street Martin Scorsese grew up on; further afield pizzerias still dot the corners. So, when The Nolitan, the area's first boutique hotel, opened last summer, it was a signal that Nolita was firmly on Manhattan's map.

There's still a hint of its southerly neighbour at The Nolitan: a nod to the red and white that you'll find in Little Italy eateries in the red slippers, crisp white bed linens dressed with red cashmere blankets, red and white striped stationery and the hotel signage, written out in the window in retro red neon lighting. But, just to throw you off the scent, a French bistro, Cantine Parisienne, has just opened on the ground floor.

Otherwise, the design has kept the locality in mind with an emphasis on personality, comfort and connectivity. The showpiece is the inviting lobby lounge, with an industrial double-height ceiling, elongated concrete pillars and floor-to-ceiling windows that fuse inside with out. It contrasts comfortably with the intimate feel of a sunken leather seating area, complete with a Phaidon-curated library. (The publisher has a store on nearby Wooster Street.)

But what really makes this a neighbourhood fixture are the thoughtful and homely extras, which all come bundled in the room rate: Wi-Fi, "Sips N Savouries" (wine and cheese in the evenings), Dutch bikes and skateboards to borrow, yoga at a nearby studio, local phone calls, discounts at local businesses and a 2pm check-out. In a city where you're almost charged (and required to tip) for the oxygen you breathe, it's a notable and welcome break from the norm.

Location

On the corner of Kenmare and Elizabeth Streets, the hotel is ideal for exploring SoHo, the Lower East Side, Little Italy and Chinatown. The tiny Nolita area has some illustrious residents (David Bowie, Gabriel Byrne, Billy Joel), alongside sophisticated boutiques and eateries such as Mexican joint La Esquina (esquinanyc.com). On Elizabeth Street you'll find rails of vintage finds at Frock (frocknyc.com), upscale stationery at The Paper Boutique (paperboutiqueny.com) and preppy threads at Tory Burch (toryburch.com).

For a slightly edgier experience, strike south east for the bars of the Lower East Side or north east for the East Village. If they don't satisfy, the Williamsburg Bridge will siphon you over the East River to the heart of happening Brooklyn.

Comfort

There are 55 rooms, with plans for about a dozen more. I was in room 702, a Cityscape Corner room on the seventh floor with views down Delancey Street to the Williamsburg Bridge and across to the Empire State Building. It had floor-to-ceiling windows on the street side and a dinky open-plan bathroom on the other. If you're not up for watching your room-mate take a bath, opt for anything but the corner rooms, which have a shower only – these rooms are smaller but have balconies. This being Manhattan, the rooms aren't generous, but the white walls and glass panels make them seem roomier. The frosted glass sections distort car and street lights, giving the effect of giant, blurred fairy lights.

The design plays on texture – polished concrete takes turns with rough pillars, oak floors, soft grey wool rugs, white walls, black glossy vinyl headboards: the juxtaposition of rough with smooth suggests the very nature of the area. An injection of high style comes courtesy of petrol-blue velvet tub chairs, Eames dining seats, and chrome anglepoise lamps. Organic toiletries come from Red Flower on Prince Street, and the room service menu calls on all the local hangouts, which can deliver to your room.

Travel Essentials

The Nolitan, 30 Kenmare Street, Nolita, New York City, US (001 212 925 2555; nolitanhotel.com).

Rooms ***

Value ****

Service ****

Double rooms start at $266 (£166), including breakfast.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album