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.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit