Public Hotel, New York - hotel review


First Impressions

Ian Schrager knows how to make an entrance with his 367-room Public hotel: a neon-lit escalator, bordered by distorting mirrors, rolls upwards from the vibey Lower East Side.


Let your eyes adjust to a low-lit, hangover-friendly environment. It’s designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, the architecture firm behind Tate Modern’s Switch House. Queen rooms are small but perfectly proportioned for the downsize generation, like cabins on a yacht. Expect a wall-length window with panoptic views of Brooklyn, a 50in LCD TV, and enough USB points (10!) to stay both charged and in charge of all the apps you’ll need to navigate modern New York. It’s a smart hotel — self check-in and keys are available on guests’ smartphones.



This is no country for old men, although you’ll get away with “young at heart”. Rather, it’s a gilded paradise for under-30s. A smattering of Public “advisors” (the hotel’s word) flit around sofas wielding tablets at check-in, while new media sorts play pool or tap away on MacBooks.


The focus is firmly on “accessible luxury”, and instead of room service there’s a well-stocked deli bar, Louis To Go, which does turkey sandwiches and late-night pizza by the slice at a collection point by the lifts. Upstairs, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has mastered the New Yorker’s art of sloppy decadence at Public Kitchen, from lashings of miso grilled wagyu tenderloin to a devastatingly handsome cheeseburger.


The pastrami-toting Katz’s Deli is around the corner and some of the best noodles in New York are found in the cockle-warming broths at Ivan Ramen on 25 Clinton Street.


Dark Side

The hotel’s always-on culture means it can feel like staying in one of Apple’s Genius Bars. Drinks are expensive, with cocktails from $17. The “No brand” concept store, Trade, has hipster accoutrements that will both tempt and bankrupt you.

In a nutshell

Everything is informal, young and fun; a late-night crowd perpetually feels like it’s ready to drag you to one of the three bars.

Doubles from £150 per night, 215 Chrystie Street, New York, NY, 10002,