We had a couple of days in New York and this time, instead of staying in the usual midtown district we decided to try one of the neighbourhoods of lower Manhattan. During our last trip to New York, we tried a food tour of NoLita and the surrounding area, we loved the village atmosphere of these eclectic neighbourhoods.
Despite Mr W not having a hipster beard and a skateboard, we opted to try one of the ‘trendiest‘ neighbourhoods in Manhattan, SoHo. This area to the south of Houston Street (SoHo) is famous for its cobbled streets, celebrity spotting, pricey boutiques and classic restaurants such as Balthazar.
Also, it’s only a short walk to Nolita (North of Little Italy), the trendy bars of the Lower East Side and the restaurants of Chinatown.
Staying in a New York hotel is never cheap but you still want value for money, a good location and something with a bit of character (in a cool way, not the strange small town B & B way!). We found the Arlo Hotel SoHo fitted our requirements, the online reviews were good and the price was comparably reasonable. The only slightly negative comments were about the size of the rooms but like London, New York hotels do not have the biggest rooms unless you pay the price.
Arrival & Check-In
We arrived at 1 pm and although the official check-in time is 3 pm our room was ready, a ‘Courtyard King’. The reception staff were very friendly and the whole check-in procedure was quick and efficient. This makes a pleasant change to some other hotels where, for some unknown reason, it takes infinite taps on a keyboard to check you in.
The public spaces had a great atmosphere, they actually felt very similar to some Scandinavian hotels we have stayed in. The large library room had some great touches and yes, plenty of power sockets and USBs. You will probably feel a bit out of place if you don’t have a Mac in your hand.
They also had a Candy Bar in the foyer which proved to be very tempting.
In the centre of the hotel is cool open courtyard which during our stay was set up as Camp Arlo. Featuring a collection of chic, hand-sewn canvas expedition tents, rocking chairs, faux fur blankets, lights and board games.
The rooms at the Arlo are small but perfectly formed (150 square feet). The bed sits in the window with views over the courtyard or the city, so be careful what you get up to with the blinds open, unless that’s your thing!
There’s a decent size 42″ TV at the end of the bed, plenty of power points and USB’s, reading lights, a pull-down desk, fridge, automatic blinds and a place to store one large suitcase.
Although small, it was one of the best-designed rooms we’ve stayed in. The only issue would be storage for luggage if you were staying longer as space is very limited.
The Arlo is not really the place where you would just stay in your room as there are so many great spaces to work or simply relax with a drink.
The Bars & Restaurant
We eat in the hotel’s restaurant, Harold’s Meat + Three. The name and menu style is inspired by classic southern cooking. Although good, we did find it slightly pricey and we always forget that they never include tax or service in the price. We wish, especially in the shops they displayed the actual prices you pay.
We tried one of their cocktails, an ‘Old Fashioned’ which was very well made.
On top of the hotel is A.R.T the Arlo rooftop bar which is open from 4 pm weekdays and earlier on the weekends. It was a great bar with views along Canal Street and across to the Hudson River. We spent a couple of hours up there enjoying a warm sunny evening, relaxing while watching the chaotic traffic below trying to enter the Holland Tunnel.
The only thing with the bar was that they take your credit card away, this happens in a number of US bars and restaurants. To us UK visitors this is something most of us are not that comfortable with. To be honest, the whole card payment system in the US is still a bit antiquated, not that secure and slow, you still have to sign in most cases.
Overall we enjoyed our short stay at the Arlo Soho. The location was great and we loved the style of the hotel, the rooms were well planned with mirrors and plugs actually in the right places for a change.
We would definitely stay there again and would recommend it for a short stay in New York. We paid for the full trip ourselves and this review was not sponsored in any way.
Do you visit New York regularly? What area would you recommend and do you have a favourite hotel? Please let us know in the comments below.