Delays. Delays. Delays. While New Yorkers are used to delays due to legal snafus and zoning restrictions, a delay of more than a year is usually unheard of when it comes to a hotel opening. The Nolitan hotel, the first establishment of its kind to be built in Nolita in years, has long teased us with opening news. First it was to open in the summer of 2010, then the fall then the spring of 2011. Thankfully, the kitschy hotel on Elizabeth and Kenmare finally welcomed guests August 1. And judging by its popularity, it was well worth the wait.
The boutique property—it has only 55 rooms—stands out on busy Kenmare. Walking to the structure, one spies glass, glass, and more glass. Enter the lobby and you are greeted by a light brown leather tufted sofa, a small library and animal rugs. It's a great meeting spot without a lot of traffic. The reception desk isn't like those at most tony properties. You won't see uniformed staff stiffly greeting guests. Instead, it has a relaxed vibe with workers clad in J. Crew outfits offering a smile and suggestion on area hotspots.
Rooms are cozy and have either balconies or floor-to-ceiling windows. Both room categories—Neighborhood and Cityscape—offer great views of the teeming throngs below. Watch the sunset from your balcony as you sip a glass of wine. While rooms aren't expansive—everything is compact and utilitarian in feel—what they lack in size they make up for in amenities. Guests have access to plush robes, a signature yoga mat and case, cute red slippers that are yours to take home and fast and dependable free Wifi. Comfortable king or queen beds are covered in white duvets with pops of red throughout the rooms. Showers look out onto the bedroom—you could easily stand naked under the rainforest shower head watching the action across the street—but a curtain is added for privacy. Wash basins and toilets are in separate rooms. For Americans, this may seem a bit unsettling but for Europeans, its pretty much rote. The water closets have enough space for a bidet but lack the added amenity. Too bad. That would have set it over the top.
The restaurant serves affordable yet delicious fare in an elegant setting and the rooftop bar affords great views of Brooklyn and beyond. It will surely become the go-to spot in the area come next summer.
The Nolitan offers free guest passes to a nearby Equinox as well as complimentary bikes and skateboards for guests. So, skip the cab and head out on the streets. It's a great way to see the city, if you dare.