Manhattan in two takes

Nine Orchard hotel in Lower Manhattan
Nine Orchard hotel in Lower Manhattan © Jason Schmidt

Last May I met a friend for drinks at Le Dive, a bistro-bar on the tiny stretch of Manhattan’s Canal Street where Chinatown and the Lower East Side collide that’s known these days as Dimes Square. On the facing corner was the 110-year-old Jarmulowsky Bank Building, with a banner unfurling from its 12-storey heights that read simply: “Nine Orchard”. High-end hostelry was about to put its mark on yet another corner of Lower Manhattan.

The lobby lounge at Nine Orchard hotel
The lobby lounge at Nine Orchard hotel © Stephen Kent Johnson
One of the rooms at Nine Orchard hotel
One of the rooms at Nine Orchard hotel © Stephen Kent Johnson

In June the 116-room Nine Orchard hotel opened its doors, boasting understated, thoughtful design and a series of bars and restaurants overseen by everyone’s favourite New York chef Ignacio Mattos (of Estela, Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar fame). DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners’ Andrew Rifkin acquired the building a decade ago and spent some time thinking about what to do with it (luxury lofts? Sexy office space?), before settling on creating an independent boutique hotel with a compelling culinary offering.

The lobby at Nine Orchard hotel
The lobby at Nine Orchard hotel © Stephen Kent Johnson
The view from Nine Orchard hotel
The view from Nine Orchard hotel © Stephen Kent Johnson
A bathroom at the 116-room Nine Orchard hotel
A bathroom at the 116-room Nine Orchard hotel © Stephen Kent Johnson

Considerable care was taken with this genuine Manhattan landmark: the building’s vaulted ceilings and intricate plaster mouldings and cornices were restored, while a rooftop “tempietto” (originally there to camouflage a water tower) was reconstructed from period images. Three of the suites have private brick patios; the rooms radiate quiet midcentury style and natural light floods in through pretty leaded windows. Mattos’s Lobby Lounge and Corner Bar are already open, meeting all your oysters Rockefeller and soft-serve sorbet needs; Amado Grill, a second restaurant venue, will debut later this autumn.

The pool at Gansevoort Meatpacking
The pool at Gansevoort Meatpacking
The Chester Restaurant at Gansevoort Meatpacking
The Chester Restaurant at Gansevoort Meatpacking

Meanwhile, to the north, a stalwart of the Meatpacking District has emerged from a multimillion-dollar renovation and rebrand. Gansevoort Meatpacking’s 186 rooms now include a 1,700sq ft duplex penthouse suite kitted out entirely by Italian design house Poliform, while the look throughout the hotel favours soft leather and sharp contemporary lines. Above it all is a reinvented rooftop lounge, complete with an outpost of the Kissaki sushi empire, an omakase bar and a private dining room for good measure. gansevoorthotelgroup.com, from $535; nineorchard.com, from $475 


Salt’s new energy in Old Hollywood

The Aster in Los Angeles
The Aster in Los Angeles © Sam Frost

There’s a lot of overlap between members’ clubs and small hotels these days, with hotel companies cultivating membership-based spaces and programmes, and the likes of Soho House continuing to open places to stay across the world. David Bowd and Kevin O’Shea of US micro-chain Salt Hotels have given us, straightforwardly, a bit of both, right at the legendary corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles. At The Aster, the members’ club part is a full-service offering, from Pilates studios to a rooftop cinema, rotating beauty specialists in the salon and a recording studio and cabaret stage.

The swimming pool at The Aster
The swimming pool at The Aster © Sam Frost

Both here and in the hotel the California-bungalow decor is pitch-perfect, with Moroccan flourishes here and rosy velvet there. Hotel guests can have access to the club spaces, including its courtyard pool and pool lounge; Lemon Grove, the restaurant-pizzeria-bar, is open to all. Not so many years ago this was one of the grittiest, saddest intersections in Hollywood; kudos to Bowd and O’Shea for bringing ambitious and colourful new life to it. theasterla.com, from $500


Sydney pulls an ace

Ace Hotel in Sydney
Ace Hotel in Sydney © Anson Smart

Surry Hills, Sydney, south of the equator: here’s a first-in-the-hemisphere address for the Ace Hotel group and a welcome addition to a city whose considerable allure hasn’t prevented it from being weirdly, woefully short on characterful hotels. After a A$350mn (about £202mn) investment and a Covid delay, the 257-room new-build tower (which preserves the façade of Tyne House, the historic brick factory that once occupied the space) opened in late May.

Design “doesn’t shy away from colour or texture” at Ace Hotel
Design “doesn’t shy away from colour or texture” at Ace Hotel © Anson Smart

Melbourne-based Flack Studio oversaw design, which doesn’t shy away from colour or texture: raw concrete ceilings and barely finished plywood surfaces mix with bright wool rugs, blankets and upholstery (teal, purple, orange and yellow are all present and accounted for – in the same room). Cultural programming, which has long been a thing of the Portland, Oregon-based Ace, is promised here, from live music to pop-up product launches to readings. And plenty of noshing venues, among them a rooftop restaurant and a pocket laneway café/bar. acehotels.com, from A$359


Palace life in prime Lisbon

Lisbon’s Palácio Ludovice
Lisbon’s Palácio Ludovice

Lisbon – always a city I’m ready to fly for – has a new heritage hotel straddling the neighbourhoods of Bairro Alto and Principe Real. The 18th-century Palácio Ludovice has seen more than 300 years of history roll by, surviving the Great Earthquake of 1755 and, latterly, the seismic reverberations of Lisbon’s 21st-century development wave.

A room at the 18th-century Palacio Ludovice
A room at the 18th-century Palacio Ludovice
Palacio Ludovice in Lisbon
Palacio Ludovice in Lisbon

Its new owners worked with Miguel Câncio Martins – the architect who created the very chic Quinta da Comporta in that coastal resort town – to bring glory back to the interiors; now the rooms and suites, spread across three floors, gleam with marble, brass, mirrored surfaces and handpainted tiles and wallpapers. A jewel-box gym and Caudalie spa round things out. palacioludovice.com, from €255 

@mariashollenbarger

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