The Mercer Hotel New York (147 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012, USA)

Built in 1890 as an office building for John Jacob Astor II, this landmark location was until recently home to shabby lofts for Soho artists. Then it was totally renovated into this impressive luxury boutique hotel. High ceilings and large windows add to the grandeur of each room. It is across the street from the Guggenheim Museum Soho and near all the galleries of SoHo. It is not far from Greenwich Village, Little Italy and Chinatown as well. The super chic restaurant The Mercer Kitchen is located in the basement. Amid cobbled streets and cast iron buildings, The Mercer could well be the hottest hotel in New York City. Intimidatingly trendy and slap bang in the middle of the fabulous SoHo district, the red brick six-storey Romanesque revival building is the first of its kind in the city to promote a truly authentic taste of lower Manhattan loft living. At the intersection of Prince Street and Mercer, each of the 75 guest rooms capture the very essence of the loft - a SoHo phenomenon that was pioneered in the 1960s by artists who took over the neighbourhood's abandoned warehouses. Leaving the original architecture intact and exposed, brickwork and all, the Mercer is a hotel where brilliant sunlight floods through the room's industrial sized windows, and the word minimalist takes centre stage. Bespoke through and through, soaring ceilings and a blend of soothing modernist interiors designed by the renowned Christian Liaigre sees a mix of hardwood floors, spacious living space and a palette of subtle and calming colours. Dark African woods contrast with stark white fittings to give a brooding, masculine feel. Plasma TVs and DVD players, complete with an outstanding DVD library, come as standard. The bathrooms are exceptional, centred around a luxuriant marble bathtub big enough for two, and an unfeasibly wide range of beauty products. Suites have individual features such as bamboo terraces, French doors, Juliet balconies, walk in showers and sumptuous bedding with 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. The Mercer Kitchen, a restaurant in the basement, creates the feel of eating in the kitchen. The ambience and the cuisine of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has made the venue one of the most consistent restaurants in SoHo. The matte-black crowd of ad agency staff, art directors, photographers and fashion people may have shunted out the artists, but SoHo still has an attitude you won’t find on the Upper East Side. ON THE SPOT Service? Beautiful and loveable, The Mercer feels like it gives the best service in the world. Extras? Complimentary guest access to the Crunch Gym around the corner, and there's a giant lobby library full of books and magazines for the picking. Food and drink? The 200-seat Mercer Kitchen specialises in "American Provencal" cuisine - such as Raw Tuna and Wasabi Pizza. Breakfast in the light-filled street-level cafe is a delight. Accommodation? Massive, magnificent and so light and airy its a real breath of fresh air. Location? In the heart of SoHo. Enough said.
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