Enveloped by SoHo and Chinatown, the Moxy NYC Lower East Side is making a tasteful mark on the Bowery neighbourhood. Designed with pleasure in mind, the address is the fifth New York outpost from the hip Moxy Hotels group, which has been injecting a dose of hedonism into the world's accommodation landscape since its Italian debut back in 2014. At this iteration, guests can expect slick, pared-back bedrooms, a swish rooftop bar, co-working den and dazzling destination restaurant.
Conceived by architecture firm Stonehill Taylor, the 16-storey property was purposefully built to honour the multicultural character of its surrounding community. This is evident in the building's outer shell, where a mish-mash of materials are stitched together using brushed concrete, metal panelling and glass sheets, forming a structure that grows narrower as it rises. There's something remarkably satisfying about the way in which the facade changes depending on where you stand. One thing that doesn't change, however, is the dramatic doorway - being perfectly aligned with a marked crosswalk, it lends itself to a Carrie Bradshaw-style entrance, obvs.
Exploring the exuberant, 303-key boutique stay can only be described as somewhat reminiscent of a scene from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - a wacky and warmingly wild ride. On stepping inside, we're enthralled by the sleek lobby space - all plant-clad ceilings, monochrome tiled floors and chandeliers that wouldn't look out of place at a royal banquet. It's the quirky design details, though, that give this bolthole the mischievous Moxy stamp (shout-out to Michaelis Boyd and Rockwell Group). Picture white-neon LED signs that read "this is where the magic happens", life-sized animal sculptures and vending machines that dispense the sort of toys generally destined for the bedroom. Being handed a champagne token, it seems we might have fallen into the X-rated version of Wonderland - and we're not complaining about it.
A snapshot of the contemporary lobby area, left, and the self-check-in kiosks.
Bedrooms are inspired by the spirit of an old-school circus, a concept that plays out through lava-stone sinks, vanity areas studded with Hollywood-esque mirrors and walk-in showers enclosed by coloured glass screens. While living quarters are crafted to offer guests a fun-filled sanctuary, they also deliver on the functionality front. King-sized beds come complete with cubbies for baggage storage (goodbye, tripping over the carry-on), retractable accent mirrors (perfect for getting that all-important selfie done) and pipework that doubles up as hanging space (ideal for showcasing your favourite garms). Of the nine different room types, we stayed in a Corner King with a partial city view, where floor-to-ceiling windows presented undisturbed views of the twinkling Empire State.
What's for breakfast?
Fresh, pastry goodness is served from dawn till dusk at all-day café The Fix. They know how to make a mean latte, too. Pick up the goods, then settle down to feast in one of the swinging egg chairs.
Interiors at Sake No Hana restaurant, and a look inside all-day café The Fix.
How about lunch and dinner?
The sultry and sophisticated piano lounge, Silver Lining, is exactly what you'd picture a dinner reservation in NYC's hottest neighbourhood to look like: black marble tables, plush velvet armchairs, walls etched with illustrations and a low-lit bar made inviting by its ample stock of spirits. Make it your choice to enjoy live piano music or, alternatively, follow the imperial staircase downstairs to Japanese restaurant Sake No Hana. There, the likes of black truffle-laced soup, spicy tuna sushi rolls and king crab salad await. In typical Moxy style, the interiors are worthy of a visit in themselves. Picture lantern pendant lights, awnings made from kimonos and bamboo screens. Not your vibe? Cathédrale French restaurant at the Moxy East Village is on standby.
Is there a bar?
It's not too often we find ourselves genuinely lost for words, but rooftop bar The Highlight Room has us speechless for a solid five minutes. Completely unaware of the setting we're about to encounter, we exit the elevator and step inside a spacious drinking den filled with antique mirrors, overgrown greenery and an abundance of plaster, velvet and wood. Tell us about the views, we hear you whisper. Put it this way, we were inclined to cancel our Empire State Observation Deck reservations. Arriving in the late afternoon, the sky washed in a powdery peach, golden-hour colour, we truly appreciate the glass walls that cocoon the entire room. Heading to the outdoor terrace, cocktails in hand, my bestest girlfriend clinks my glass and there follows the first silence we've had in our entire friendship. "Wow," we finally, simultaneously, exhale.
You'll also find a relaxed, art deco-inspired bar on the ground floor, finished with fluted glass and brushed brass. We'll meet you there for pre-drinks.
Discreetly buried down an unassuming alley behind the hotel lies a gritty entrance scribbled in graffiti by the late street artist Lance De Los Reyes (aka Rambo). Found at the bottom of several swirling staircases, the hotel's subterranean club, Loosie's, draws guests and locals alike. Inside, the ceiling glints with copper, brushed concrete walls are splashed with metallic flecks and a bronze tiled bar is lined with independent and iconic liquors. Above the bar, a cage-like structure could easily be mistaken for scaffolding, but is actually laced with intelligent lights that sync with the soundtrack. Friday night plans, sorted.
As far as your hotel room goes, it's worth noting that extra trimmings don't come as standard. There are no mini-fridges or pod coffee machines, nor is there hand soap or cream. A small fitness studio is open 24/7 and is equipped with all the stuff you'd need for a pump.
How about their green credentials?
Squeaky clean. Built from the ground up using recycled materials, the property offers climate-conscious menus and a housekeeping service that only does laundry on request.
What about accessibility?
All floors of the hotel are suitable for those with reduced mobility, and there's also a collection of specially converted bedrooms.
What's the crowd like?
You know the sort of people you make friends with in the pub? Over a borrowed lip gloss, spare hair tie or quick dab of perfume? That's exactly the sort of crowd you'll rub shoulders with here. Kids and dogs are welcome, though we didn't spot any during our stay.
Things I should know
There are three meeting rooms, two of which can be joined together for larger functions. All rooms are kitted out with conference tables, along with laid-back seating corners and games tables for refuel breaks.
Within a short walk I can find…
Vibrant SoHo is just a short walk away. Make a beeline for the cobblestone sidewalks of Spring Street, flitting between independent boutiques and pit-stopping at the Museum of Ice Cream for a scoop. Hungry? Little Italy is your place. Be sure to snag a slice from the family-run Da Nico.
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