Sleeping Around: Sixty LES
By Shari Hartford
In the not too distant past, the Lower East Side was synomous with immigrants and crowded apartments buildings that were cold in the winter and broiling hot in the summer. The fire escapes that draped the structures provided the only indoor/outdoor amenity.
That was then. The now of the Lower East Side is a trendy and gentrified neighborhood dotted with hipster bars and clubs, fine dining establishments and trendy stores. And hotels are popping up to accommodate the new masses that want to stay where they can see and be seen.
One such standout is Sixty LES. With 141 rooms, 10 being sumptuous suites, this new structure is continually evolving to bring guests the ultimate in neighborhood vibe. I recently paid them a visit and found an oasis in a community more known for bagels and lox, than 400-count linens and rain forest showers.
Arriving in the black and silver lobby you sense a luxury apartment house, rather than a mainstream hotel. I was quickly whisked away to my sleek black and gray home for the night, with its king bed, large windows, separate seating area and small but luxurious bathroom. I love the trend of hardwood floors rather than iffy carpeting in hotel rooms…these floors were beautiful shiny black planks that complemented the overall ambiance. But, will someone please remember that there are those of us who want plenty of light to read…reading lights please!! I did love, love, love the illuminated lighted headboard. Such a welcome change from the ubiquitous stagnant framed art usually found in mainstream hotels. And, an additional source of light.
But the room was not the best part of this hotel. Yes, it’s comfortable and functional and gorgeous, but wait, there’s more…an outdoor pool! This rarity in New York City is elegantly proportioned and decked out with plush chaise lounges, a tended bar serving specialty cocktails and small plates, shower facilities and even a media room. Sixty LES has now gone from being just another hotel-in-the-city to possibly a resort-in-the-city. In addition, there is a terrace lounge and opening this summer, a rooftop beer garden.
I don’t often partake in room service. Waiting an inordinate amount of time for overpriced fare that arrives lukewarm doesn’t get my mouth watering. Blue Ribbon Sushi, the hotel’s resident restaurant, had a tempting menu (with not only sushi) and I decided to give it a try. Another hotel triumph! I sampled the best turkey burger and crispy hot fries I have ever had…and I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. It, along with a yummy house salad, arrived promptly, on a tray with every possible accoutrement and even tall glass of ice water. When I was ready, the tray was retrieved in record time.
The moral of this story? This is not your grandparents Lower East Side. This is a destination for the hip…and the not so hip…among us. The welcoming concierge will set you straight with a neighborhood guide to shops, sites and eats. My personal recommendation? After your turkey burger, head off for your next meal to the iconic Russ and Daughters for the best smoked fish around and take home a bag of their dried fruit. Yes, dried fruit. You will thank me.
For more information, see sixtyhotels.com.
Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.