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HOTEL REVIEW: THE NOLITAN, NEW YORK

The boutique Nolitan Hotel (so-called because it sits in the Nolita – “North of Little Italy” – area of NYC) is a laid back retreat from the hustle of the city. It’s one of five New York hotels I always check the availability for when I’m travelling over that way.

Nestled in the heart of Manhattan, on the doorstep of Little Italy, SoHo, the Bowery and China Town, this place gets 10/10 for location. And the 57 rooms on offer aren’t too shabby either.

Here’s what I thought of my Nolitan stay…

First Impressions

The hotel is relatively new (it opened back in 2011). And its prime corner plot makes for an interesting interior.

Design is mid-century modern with exposed wood and the odd concrete column. Huge floor to ceiling windows shed a lot of light onto the reception. And the whole place feels understated and unpretentious.

Much like the service, which is friendly and relaxed but uber-efficient. A bottle of champers upon arrival seals the deal. 😉

The Rooms

Rooms range from the basic Neighborhood up to the more spacious Suite. Be warned. This is NYC. And rooms are poky unless you’re prepared to pay upwards of a grand. But bag yourself a Corner Room and you won’t care one iota that there isn’t a ton of space.

What’s so special about the Corner Room?

Walls? Forget about it. Corner Rooms are all window. Which means jaw-to-the-floor views of the Williamsburg Bridge. If you find yourself jetlagged, as I did, you can be up in time to see car headlights twinkling their way over the bridge and the sun edging up behind it. Beautiful!

view from the bed 😉

Otherwise, rooms have a clean, contemporary design. An open-plan bathroom so you can soak in the tub as you soak up that view. And they’re tricked-out with a flat screen TV, iPod docking station, bathrobe and slippers, Wi-Fi and – why not? – your own yoga mat.

Heading out into the Nolita neighbourhood…

With SoHo, Little Italy, China Town and the Bowery on the doorstep, there’s obviously no shortage of things to do, buy, eat and drink around here.

It’s also easy to take a stroll over the Williamsburg Bridge to Williamsburg, a hip and happening Brooklyn neighbourhood. Street art, chic boutiques, live music and the trendiest of bars and eateries are all here waiting to be discovered.  

And when feet get fed up of pounding the streets, you can hop on the subway at Bowery Station – pretty much next door to the hotel.

Brekkie, beers and burgers…

“The Usual” is the Nolitan’s on-site, ground floor restaurant. Pancakes, banana toast and granola are the order of the day for breakfast and brunch. Then it’s the likes of burgers and fried chicken for dinner.

If you’re in need of a snack, drop in at “happy hour” (3pm to 6pm) when beer, cocktails and light bites are available in abundance.

The Usual serves up tasty food. But it’s a bit run-of-the-mill. So if you’re after a more memorable experience, you need to head out the door.

Some alternative, local foodie tips…

World famous Katz’s Delicatessen is a couple of blocks away and has been a sure-fire hit with meat lovers for well over 100 years. It’s a low-key joint, always buzzing with peeps tucking into pastrami sandwiches, platters, burgers and meatloaf.

Prefer surf over turf? The Nolitan is just a short cab ride away from another of my NYC dining faves – Chelsea Market’s Cull & Pistol, with oysters that make my mouth water just remembering them.

Any little extras at the hotel?

If you’re ever stuck for somewhere to satisfy hunger, thirst or culture cravings, head to the Nolitan reception desk. The staff have no end of great insider tips. And can tell you the best way to get pretty much anywhere in the city.

Alternatively, make use of a hotel iPad, free to borrow and great for researching and organising your day.

Some other cool stuff? Free bicycle and skateboard hire. And temporary membership at a local gym – passes are available at reception.

Up on the roof…

Don’t leave the Nolitan Hotel without heading up to the top floor. Here you’ll find a rooftop deck with a truly wow-provoking view.

You can head up there at any time of year to get your fill of the vista. And in the summer the space comes into its own with a variety of cool events.

I’ve tried to capture the view in photos. But I can’t do it justice. It sounds like a cliché but you can only get a real-deal sense of Manhattan when you’re experiencing the living, breathing hum of it.

View from the roof deck
Another one from the top floor terrace

In a few words…

A magical, Manhattan stay (as long as you get the Corner Room).

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