I’m on a mission this year to post on my blog more frequently, as I love writing and sharing my travel experiences, but sometimes life just get’s in the way. When I say ‘life’, I refer mostly to work, going to the gym or yoga, or seeing friends, so it’s definitely not all bad.. just busy.
My goal is to write 1 post a week (starting from when I landed back in Australia), so last week was all about conversations with strangers on chairlifts, and this week it’s all about New York and my visit to SoHo.
I’ve been to New York 3 times now and this is the first time I’ve stayed in SoHo. On visits one and two I was lucky enough to have a good friend in the city, so I was able to take advantage of that, but this time I needed to make my own way.
New York is a tricky place to decide where to stay. With so many different neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct flavours, it can be hard to find your perfect fit…. so I figured I’d tell you a bit about SoHo, which is where I decided to make my base for my 4 night New York City break.
To be honest, I only chose the area based on a hotel that I wanted to check out, The Mondrian SoHo. I’ve had friends and clients stay here in the past, and all of them absolutely loved it. I’ve also stayed at other Morgans Hotel’s around the world and loved them, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to experience it for myself.
So, here is a sneak peak at my stay in Soho!
Nestled in lower Manhattan, with the Financial district, Brooklyn Bridge and the Freedom tower at one end, and Uptown, the Empire State and Chrysler building at the other, you can literally wake up to one of the most famous skylines in the world when you stay in Soho, without bring right in the thick of the ‘tourist’ hub of midtown or the theatre district.
SoHo is kind of an urban shopping mall for those that have a penchant for the finer things in life. High end fashion labels like Prada and Chanel have flagship stores here, but there is also an array of other international and independent designer stores, so if you are planning to make shopping one of your ‘must do’ New York activities then the architecture and cobble stoned streets, as well as the plethora of cute coffee shops, restaurants and sheer number of stores in SoHo are the perfect recipe for a shoppers and diners paradise.
It’s a 5* boutique hotel on trendy (but somewhat forgotten) Crosby Street, where you’ll find another hotel favourite of mine, Firmdale’s ‘Crosby Street Hotel’.
As for The Mondrian itself?…. Tres Chic!
Morgan’s hotels do the minimalist, romantic chic theme well, and the Mondrian is no different. With a palette of blue and white, the property entrance is covered with ivy leaves and sparkly lights, giving you a fairytale like welcome. The interior is antique style furniture, crisp white linen and dim (kind of hard to see at times) lighting.
While the size of the rooms are questionable (like the size of most New York hotel rooms are) the view over the city is well worth it, and their quirky use of space definitely helps to make the most of the room that you do have.
As for the location, Crosby Street itself is a little SoHo oasis, sandwiched between commercialised boulevards, where Bloomingdales, Apple, H&M and the like have all taken up residence.
Evolving from its dingy past, where it was once simply a supply street to the main chain stores on Broadway, with one end being particularly renowned for its crack smokers and seedy characters, Crosby street hasn’t sold out and is now the perfect balance of quirky, one off retail stores, high end residential condos ($5m USD ++) and delicious coffee (see below for recommendations).
The other thing to note is that the Mondrian is one of New Yorks ‘IT’ hotels, where the trend setters, hipsters, fashionistas, bloggers, music reps and so on, come to drink and dine at their upscale restaurant and bar, so you could be fooled to think that it would be a little pretentious.
Almost everyone responded with a ‘oh la la’ type of comment when we dropped the name of where we were staying, but I didn’t feel out of place at all. My experience was all positive and the staff were all very accommodating and friendly, and I can’t wait to head back to New York again someday soon.
Finding good coffee (and I mean good ‘espresso’ coffee) anywhere outside of Australia is a challenge, and it could come as a surprise to you, but Aussies truly do know how to make a great coffee. I have ditched dozens of coffee’s around the world for being too weak, too gritty, too burnt, too milky or basically just watered down toilet water!
Saturday’s Surf on Crosby Street is the exception and quickly became our morning ritual when in SoHo. A quirky surf and lifestyle store in Soho that serves Aussie style espresso ‘to go’, making it the perfect place to get your caffeine fix en-route to the subway to start your day of exploring.
When It comes to dining while we travel, it’s not always all about finding the hottest ‘IT’ restaurants and ‘Look at me’ locations. While they are undoubtedly great choices when you are out for an occasion or with friends, all of that get’s a little tiring trying to be ‘ON’ all the time, and too often we leave underfed and with a bill that could fund the next weeks worth of meals, if we chose our restaurants better.
So, we prefer to find local favourites and restaurants that suit our desire for healthy, farm to table, organic or sustainable choices. It’s still not always the cheapest, but we find that at least the portions are big and we leave satisfied (well, closer to ‘food coma’ status actually), and whilst in SoHo we stumbled upon a great selection of restaurants and cafe’s where we did just that!
Sanctuary T Restaurant. Perfect for a yummy breakfast & brunch with great coffee, fresh juices, street side dining and over 70 different teas to choose from. They also have a signature afternoon tea, and the venue is warm and inviting, and the staff were lot’s of fun! http://www.sanctuaryt.com/
The Cupping Room cafe. Another great brunch/lunch spot, with delicious servings of French Toast and fresh berries that are to die for. Plus the wood stove keeps the space warm and cosy. Perfect for snowy SoHo mornings. They also do dinner, and have live music too! www.cuppingroomcafe.com
Spring Street Natural. A beautiful open space that serves up farm to table, hearty American cuisine. The food is fresh, organic and grass fed, so if you’re looking for sustainable dining at reasonable prices then you can’t go past it. It’s been around for over 4 decades, so they must be doing something right! http://www.springstreetnatural.com/index.php
Hundred Acres. Anther farm to table style of restaurant, from the owners of Cookshop in Chelsea. They offer a market driven menu, serving up huge portions made with local ingredients, but with a twist. They offer an eclectic wine, beer and cocktail list too, all served up in a fun atmosphere that is full of rustic warmth. http://hundredacresnyc.com/
Another place I’ll mention is Dean & Deluca, a gourmet deli with a huge selection of fresh fruit, veggies, fresh flowers, coffee, cheese, breads, meats, pre-cooked (but fresh) ready to go meals like Sushi and sandwiches…. the list goes on. It’s the perfect place to grab some pre-dinner snacks or a bag full of your delicious picnic needs, as you jump on the subway, bound for Central Park. http://www.deandeluca.com/
To be fair, we didn’t spend a lot of time out drinking in SoHo whilst we were in New York. I found that of an evening we would have drinks with dinner, or as we were heading elsewhere for theatre or comedy shows, we would grab cocktails and per-theatre drinks whilst we were out and about. BUT I did chat to the concierge at the Mondrian, who recommended a couple of places that are worth checking out……
Pegu Club If cocktails are your thing, then I’m told that this is the place to be. Originally a famous gentleman club, Pegu club is bringing back the traditional cocktail culture with all house made syrups that hey prepare daily. Their professional ‘mixologists’ know that it’s all about the details, so they use big ice cubes, and soda bottles to ensure that you are able to enjoy the full cocktail experience (no soda guns here!). http://www.peguclub.com/flash/
B&B Winepub So, apparently this is your traditional American pub with a world class wine list (some of which are actually on tap, allowing you to sample them before committing yourself!). Combine that with another market driven menu and a 5 x award winning burger, and you’ve got a pretty great destination for lunch or dinner in Soho.
So, that was a glimpse of our short but very sweet stay in Soho, and whilst I am not going to post all of the ‘shopping’ tips and must visit stores, it truly is a shoppers destination. Just get lost in the streets of SoHo, and you’ll find everything you need.
All in all, Soho for me was a great base for our stay with the perfect balance of real life Manhattan and tourist hot spot, and I’ll be sure to visit again when I’m next in New York.
Thanks, as always for reading! I hope i’ve inspired a little something in you and that you have an awesome visit to New York the next time you visit.
I am not a local Manhattanite, and I don’t live in SoHo, so I’m sure there are many other fab places to eat, drink and be merry, so if you have any recommendations, then I’d love to hear them. Also, any questions you have for hotel rates, getting there or whatever, hit up my contact page as i would love to help plan your next visit!
PS – All photos are by me, unless otherwise stated 🙂 xx