Opened in September 2016, this was the first hotel launched under the Arlo brand by investment firm Quadrum Global. The brand was created by Brand Bureau and, boy, do they know what they’re doing when it comes to dreaming up a hotel concept that encapsulates New York cool.
Located in a new-build property, Arlo Soho is one of a new breed of “micro boutique” hotel; translation, rooms are on the small side but are designed to the Nth degree to utilise space and evoke a luxury feel. The brand has partnered with local businesses to provide everything from uniforms to toiletries.
Set in Lower Manhattan, near the ultra hip areas of SoHo, Tribeca and the West Village, and, as such, not far from the financial district.
What’s it like?
Brace yourself, as soon as you enter Arlo SoHo you are among the cool kids. On the left is the “Soho Bodega” selling, pick and mix, juices, coffee, snacks and on the right is another selling desirable, on-trend nick nacks, from cards to soaps to jewellery.
Reception is between the two and is attended by staff in the hotel uniform of dressed-down smart created by neighbouring tailor Miller’s Oath.
Service was chipper and accommodating on my visit, although the gregarious nature of the member of staff serving me was almost too much for a grouchy woman fresh from a long-haul flight. NB, that’s more a criticism of me than them, and check-in was quick and efficient.
Appearance-wise, the industrial/warehouse look rules, with open spaces, divided by screens and sliding doors, if required for events. Monochrome, bare brick, mismatching modern furniture, and grey upholstery are illuminated via large floor to ceiling windows.
While rooms are small, communal space is plentiful with several distinct work/play areas, some with large tables for Mac-using hipsters to sit around, some with comfortable sofas and chairs for those who want to relax. There is a central courtyard filled with a couple of summer house, outdoor seating and quirky objects and ornaments.
There are 325 rooms – Kings or Queens (some of the Queens come with terraces) with courtyard or city views, Two Twin rooms (14 sqm), and the Bunk room with twin bunk beds. I’m in a Courtyard King room, which is finished in white paint and tiles and warm walnut cladding.
The layout is exceptionally well thought-out. As you enter there’s a toilet and shower on the right, sectioned off with frosted glass, and a full-length mirror on the right. Next is a sleek polished concrete sink, besides which is a very neat fold-up desk with USB charging and other power points, plus a Bluetooth radio.
On the opposite wall, instead of a wardrobe is a pegboard, beneath which is a mini fridge (there’s no mini bar). The bed is at the end of the long, relatively narrow, room, in the window alcove, which is snugly lined with walnut. It is enticing and cosy but doesn’t feel cramped thanks to its position by the window.
Lazing on the bed with the blinds up isn’t a very discrete experience, as the rooms overlook each other across the courtyard and you are right in the window. However, there are two sets of blinds, lighter ones that afford privacy and blackout blinds, both controlled by switches.
More USBs points are located on each side of the bed, which is very comfortable with crisp white bedlinen. Additional storage is located underneath and there is a 42-inch TV on the wall at the foot of the bed.
Lighting is provided by an array of black industrial-style lamps, spots and wall lights, so that you can create just the right ambience.
Although it’s well equipped with a hairdryer and a steamer for clothes, there are no tea or coffee making facilities. That’s pretty standard for hotels in the US, though.
The bathroom features a good rain shower and handmade ceramic tiles, with bespoke toiletries from Blind Barber.
All in all, it’s comfortable, stylish and ergonomically designed to be a pleasure to use – rather reminiscent in ethos to Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation.
Food and drink
The aforementioned SoHo Bodega, on the left as you enter, sells juices, sandwiches and coffees, which can be taken into one of the many communal spaces or your room to be eaten.
Beyond that is the Arlo Liquor Bar for cocktails and more, with the main food offering Harold’s Meat +Three, based around the Southern American style of serving meat of fish with three sides, at the back of the property.
A continental-style breakfast buffet (not included) is also served here. At US$21, it’s not cheap but it will set you up for the day, with fruit, bacon (delightfully crisp like only the Americans know how), sausage, avocado, bagels and other breads, cereals, eggs and more.
Harold’s is a pleasant, light-filled space, with great people-watching potential through floor-to-ceiling windows. I particularly enjoyed gawping at the glamorous types doing increasingly bizarre workouts in the fancy gym opposite. There is also a rooftop bar, but this was closed for refurbishment on my visit and due to open early May.
The communal spaces in the hotel can be divided off with sliding doors to provide private meeting areas, although many hip New York types seemed to be carrying out informal powwows throughout the hotel’s communal space.
There are three Studio spaces on the second floor that can screened off for independent use or combined to provide more space. All can house between 12-13 people in a theatre-style set up and can be reconfigured to suit your purpose.
Several events take place in the hotel throughout the week, including live music, exercise classes and movie nights. Guests can also use the hotel’s bicycles for free.
A beautifully designed space, with everything in its place, in a great location for both business and pleasure. Rooms are comfortable and pleasant to be in despite their wee proportions, staff are friendly, food and beverage are good and there’s a lively, buzzing atmosphere that makes a stay here fun but equally appropriate for business or work.
- Best for Admirable attention to detail when it comes to design.
- Don’t miss Doing a spot of work or relaxing in the inviting communal spaces
- Price A mid-week stay costs from US$259 a night
- Contact 231 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013; +1 212-342-7000; arlohotels.com