For our annual late summer NYC visit, we once again split our stay between downtown and mid or uptown hotels--The Standard High Line and the Peninsula this year. Although we walk the High Line during every NYC visit and thus pass under the Standard, this was just our second stay here.
For my first visit, the hotel was just the Standard (since the Standard East Village was not yet opened and would first be called the Cooper Square Hotel), and it was not completely finished--upper floor rooms plus the top floor spaces that would become the Boom Boom Room (later the Top of the Standard) and Le Bain lounges were still under construction. The second phase of the High Line was also unfinished. The fairly large outdoor space in front of the lobby was not as fully realized as it is now. We had a deluxe queen room, I believe, that faced south with West Village, downtown and Hudson River views, and had an enclosed WC and shower drainage issues.
For this visit, I noticed many changes with the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and the hotel itself. New restaurants, bars, clubs and boutiques have sprung up, although such venerable institutions as Old Homestead Steakhouse and Pastis restaurants remain. The meatpacking warehouse across the street from the hotel, where I distinctly (and fondly) remember having to weave my way around trash bins full of discarded carcasses, is gone. The commercial building north of the hotel on 14th St. is completed, and blocks some northern hotel views. The High Line's second phase has opened, extending the gorgeous elevated park to near Madison Square Garden. An entire new community called Hudson Yards is being developed at this north end, while at the High Line's south terminus, the Whitney Museum is building a branch. The revitalization of Chelsea owes very much to the High Line, including buildings by famous architects Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel.
The hotel itself has changes as well. The outdoor space fronting the lobby now has 2 dining/drinking areas--one an extension of the Standard Grill (a trellised patio with mature, very realistic-looking but faux vines that went up in a week, according to our waiter), plus the Standard Plaza. There's also the Biergarten directly under the High Line. There is a large sculpture that reminded me of SpongeBob Squarepants. Gone are the yellow metal one-piece tables and benches that generated no income. There is a skating rink here in the winter.
In a hotel such as this where style and image are its lifeblood, I usually resign myself to expect so-so service. We were pleasantly surprised to receive very friendly service from every staffer we encountered, no matter how good-looking they were. And they ALL were, with such stylish uniforms, especially the bellboys with their high-water pants and sockless lace-up shoes.
For this visit we booked a Hudson Studio room, thanks to an online flash sale. I believe these are the largest rooms, aside from the suites, and there is one per floor. All primarily face west (Hudson River and New Jersey), with walls of glass also facing north (Empire State Building, High Line) and south (High Line, Freedom Tower at the 9/11 Memorial, downtown and West Village, Statue of Liberty). These king-bedded rooms have an open floor plan--the bathroom and bedroom/sitting area are demarcated only by carpet vs. tile flooring. Half of the bathtub is in the "bedroom". The stall shower with rain head is akin to standing in an exhibit case in a museum, like a piece of sculpture. Only the WC has a sliding door for privacy, although there are still floor to ceiling windows in there as well. The hotel is infamous for its clear-windowed rooms that can be en exhibitionist's dream--one can brazenly (or mistakenly) "perform" for audiences on the High Line, just like Michael Fassbender's character in the NC-17 film "Shame". This character had trysts in a Hudson Studio just like ours (by the window near the bathtub). And Carey Mulligan's character sang "New York, New York" in the Top of the Standard. Even regular room like on our first visit have peekaboo bathrooms. And since all rooms have only one bed, the hotel is not well suited for young families or business acquaintances, unless you don't mind these folks seeing you bathe or poop. I don't recall seeing any children at the hotel during either stay, which is not a bad thing.
The top (18th) floor has 2 lounges/clubs. The Top of the Standard was closed for remodeling, but is the more formal space. The adjacent Le Bain, meanwhile, sports a large hot tub and has an upstairs rooftop outdoor deck complete with a VIP area, waterbeds and the same views as the Hudson Studios and gym, except higher and grander. We paid a late afternoon visit to the deck and drank in the views with a cocktail and crepe from the cute crepe/gelato stand (both sweet and savory crepes served). In the evenings, these lounges become crowded, velvet rope and doormen affairs, with 2 elevators designated for club use only. Other TA reviews note problems with noise from these clubs, especially on higher floors. Because of this, we asked for a mid to low floor and got the 5th floor. The Hudson Studios are all situated directly under Le Bain, and while I heard some thumping music at times, the room was more quiet than I expected. Even with the long-standing Brass Monkey bar, whose patio backs up against the south side of the Standard, noise was not an issue.
The hotel lack a bit in amenities. There is free WiFi, but no business center. There is a nice fitness center on the 17th floor with fab views as mentioned above, but no spa. I remember for our first visit, the room's many bath products were cleverly packaged in generic (Kiss My Face brand) bottles to match the bath's laboratory-like sink area. For this stay, we noticed markedly less products (only bubble bath and one bar of soap for the sink), with those gym-like refillable pump dispensers in the shower.
The hotel continues to thrive in a forever changing neighbourhood. There is no hotel better located in these parts, and that simple fact warrants return visits.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Manhattan's thriving Meatpacking District, the latest in hotelier Andre Balazs' collection of Standard Hotels stands commandingly above The High Line, the former elevated railroad undergoing redevelopment as a public park. 338 guest rooms on 18 floors, The Standard, High Line boasts unparalleled views of the Hudson River and Lower Manhattan, full business amenities, extensive event space and a state of the art fitness facility. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Standard New York Hotel New York City
- Standard New York City
- The Standard New York City