Like other cosmopolitan cities with a rich history, New York has as many layers as the Yemeni dessert Bint Al Sahn, as many nuances as Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations, the subtleties of a Montrachet. In other words: it’s difficult to navigate. Sure, there are speakeasies in the East Village with unmarked but well-known doors where a visitor with an issue of Time Out New York can readily imbibe, but without walking the streets you’d never know that lower Broadway is jammed with tourists while one block over Crosby is relatively serene. If you’re coming here for a visit, these ancillary facts are important — the difference between a quiet morning of coffee and pastry or getting steamrolled by a group of shopping teens. And that’s why you’ll want to know about The Broome, a boutique SoHo hotel.
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Any conversation about hotels in New York must inevitably address two things, price and the tyranny of choice, which turn out to be closely related: everything is expensive and the options are dauntingly unlimited. Want to stay somewhere for $100 per night? Try the Ramada Plaza at the Newark Airport. $200? The Comfort Inn by the Manhattan Bridge. $300 or more? Everything else, from boutique hotels like The Standard East Village in Cooper Square to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Without some advice you could get pretty bent out of shape. But if you narrow your focus to smaller boutique properties with a local vibe, the decision becomes much easier. That’s how you end up looking at a place like The Broome.
The Broome is a 14-room boutique hotel housed in a Federal revival style building dating from 1825. By way of comparison, the Soho Grand, also a boutique hotel, has 353 guest rooms. What we’re talking about here is a quaint operation, run by four French gentlemen with a history of doing business in the neighborhood, including operating one of our favorite restaurants before it closed, L’Orange Bleue. The Broome has four levels of accommodation — a standard queen guestroom, deluxe queen guestroom, junior suite queen deluxe room and a full floor penthouse with a private terrace — each with soundproof windows, a view of the hotel’s atrium, Samsung Smart TVs and nice local touches like Harney & Sons teas from the shop nearby and Nunu chocolates in the minibar.
In the spirit of other trendy hotels — we’re thinking about The Ace, The James, Mondrian South Beach — there’s also a cafe serving high-quality coffee and a retail shop, The Treehouse, with marginally necessary but thoughtfully chosen products like New York-focused sweatshirts and unique stationery. Of course, guests can walk a matter of blocks to other shops (check out Dunderdon), cafes (La Colombe) and restaurants (we like Bar Bossa) — not to mention old timey barber shops (New York Shaving Company) — in Soho, Tribeca and Nolita.
The reality is that more lodging options, while daunting, are better for the traveler. Our preference when we know a city well is to find a great apartment on Airbnb and get several times the real estate — plus all the luxuries of home — for a fraction of the price of a hotel. But in a place as notoriously impenetrable as New York, what you’re looking for is a room with the amenities of a hotel and character of a pied-à-terre. If it happens to also have a collection of art from the owners’ private collections, including pieces by Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kito Mbiango, like The Broome does, then you’ve found a place to call home temporarily.