Hotel on Rivington, New York
"Stay away from the midtown area," advised the concierge. "Those UN guys are in town and the traffic will be hell up there." It's possibly not the kind of impact Gordon Brown had in mind when he addressed his fellow world leaders at the end of September, but it was a fair point and delivered with what's rapidly becoming the typical New York tone.
Forget hard-bitten and cynical, New York increasingly feels like the capital city of customer service. OK, the cabbies are as hard boiled as they've ever been, but even in the streets surrounding the Hotel on Rivington, an area most kindly described as full of character, the locals seem cheerful and eager to help.
Indeed, positioned as it is in the heart of the Lower East Side, you don't need to walk far from the hotel to find yourself in something like an episode of The Wire. But that just adds to the thrill. And you're well placed for a quick stroll up to Broadway or a taxi ride to the earthier delights of SoHo or the classy meatpacking district. The hotel was designed by Marcel Wanders and the entrance is based on a magnified section of his famous egg vase. It is unusual and impressive. But the rooms boast something more unusual and impressive in New York hotels—space. The new-build hotel was something of a revelation when it opened, not least because it was the first building this tall (it has 21 floors) in this part of town.
If the long, dark corridors are at times a little disconcerting, the floor-to-ceiling glass in the rooms more than makes up for it. Hotel on Rivington is one of a new range of hotels offered by Virgin Holidays in conjunction with Hip Hotels. A package including economy flights on Virgin Atlantic and three nights accommodation costs from £935pp.