24-Hour Room Service:L Smyth Tribeca, New York

Downtown's hippest hide-out

Smyth is half-hotel, half-luxury apartment block and it sits on the southern periphery of the exotic-sounding TriBeCa – which is, of course, the "Triangle Below Canal Street" and one of downtown New York's hippest neighbourhoods (just ask Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio or Jay-Z, who all have homes there).

But a word of warning: if you're planning on staying at Smyth, be sure to do your homework, because it may be ultra-chic, but it's also pretty tricky to find. It took me and my taxi driver several trips along West Broadway before we spotted the lone chiselled brick bearing Smyth's name outside the building, which looks almost identical to the neighbouring glass-fronted apartment blocks.

This blink-and-you'd-miss-it frontage is a deliberate marketing ploy by owners Thompson Hotels (of 60 Thompson and Thompson Lower East Side fame), who are keen on the theme of secrecy. Staff refuse to divulge names of celebrities who have stayed there ("If anyone ever leaks that sort of information they get terminated," one member grimly informed me.) But no one denies the reports (published a month before my stay) that The Hangover actor Bradley Cooper had used the hotel for romantic trysts with Renée Zellweger. The name of the hotel was chosen as a play on the anonymity of Mr and Mrs Smith.

Smyth opened in February last year in what was an old bank, the latest Manhattan hotel in the Thompson stable.

The TriBeCa location exemplifies the regeneration the area has enjoyed since De Niro launched the internationally renowned TriBeCa Film Festival in 2002 that helped the area recover post-9/11 (TriBeCa borders Ground Zero).

Today, the first residential neighbourhood to be established in New York back in the late 18th-century is also one of its most exclusive; in 2006, Forbes magazine listed its zip code as the city's most expensive.

But discretion is left behind the moment the suited porter ushers you through the glass doors. Inside, Smyth is lavish, and anything but inconspicuous. From the faux-ostrich skin wallpaper (yes, really) in the hallways, to the leather-panelled elevators, the self-assured, masculine decor exudes opulence.

It would be a cliché to say it's like something from a film set, but in this case it is justified. The hotel has also been used by both VH1 and HBO to film television shows including teen comedy-drama How To Make It In America, while the penthouse suite is used regularly for magazine photo shoots. One morning, as I stepped out of the elevator, the "living room" foyer – a large, cosy, dimly-lit space with an abundance of contemporary Chesterfield sofas and pillows – was being used as a set to shoot a handbag advert.

However, when I visited almost a year after opening, Smyth had yet to open its restaurant (although bar snacks and room service were both available). French restaurant Plein Sud is expected to materialise at the end of April. Once everything is fully operational, it is the luxury, combined with the location that Thompson is hoping will persuade people to want to live there full-time.

Smyth has 15 apartments on the upper floors which are on the market for upwards of $1m (£670,000). The most luxurious, naturally, is the penthouse, the lofty position of which reveals the curious spelling of the hotel's name. Looking down from the vast outdoor terrace (which offers a stunning view of Manhattan) you can see West Broadway intersect with Hudson Street to form a 'Y' – thus Smyth.

Location

Bordered by SoHo, Chinatown, the Financial District and the Hudson River, TriBeCa's landscape is similar to neighbouring SoHo. A former hub of the cotton industry, most of the residential blocks are former industrial buildings. While the area is mostly residential, there are plenty of boutiques: one-of-a-kind rather than the chain stores you find elsewhere in the city. Trendy local bars include the Knitting Factory, a hangout of choice for those in the know on the alternative music scene. There is an extensive array of restaurants, including a branch of fashionable Japanese restaurant Nobu on Hudson Street – the neighbourhood's epicentre.

Comfort

The 84 rooms and 16 suites are restrained in style and form (as with most Manhattan hotels, they're pretty small for what you pay for) with a black/white and red colour scheme. Each room has a bed dressed in white linen with a pinstripe throw and fittings in subtle shades of grey. Each room has a large television, a DVD player and an iPod dock. My king suite had a separate living room with a huge television. It was impressive, but disappointingly the view (or lack of), was not. Opening the curtains I was left staring at a brick wall two feet away from me. With the apartment blocks on the upper floors commandeering the best views of the city skyline, the best you can hope for from your hotel window is a view of the busy streets outside or, if you're lucky, of the Hudson River.

However, there are little touches which make the experience all the better. Each morning a complimentary copy of the New York Post awaits, while the bathroom is stocked with complimentary Kiehl's products, the mini bar comes with (pricey) Dean & Deluca goodies and, for those who are so inclined, an equally expensive Kiki De Montparnasse "pleasure pack" (posh sex toys, essentially).

Smyth Tribeca, 85 West Broadway, New York, US (001 212 587 7000; thompsonhotels.com )

Rooms 4 stars
Value 3 stars
Service 4 stars

Doubles start at $243 (£162), room only

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam