SoHo, New York City
Artsy Cool, $$$
Because New York is a town that's constantly reinventing itself, it's risky to get too attached to a favorite spot: It might not survive as long as you want it to. (I still miss Village, Follonico, and L'Acajou, my favorite '90s restaurants — and I don't even want to think about what we lost during the pandemic.) NYC also likes to recycle its offerings. This year, The NoMad Hotel has been transformed into The Ned NoMad (not an improvement on the epic original), and last year The James New York SoHo became ModernHaus SoHo (definitely a step up).
ModernHaus, the first NYC hospitality concept from global real estate developer Thor Equities Group, was clearly a passion project for the father-and-son team of Joe and Jack Sitt, respectively Thor chairman and director. Jack curated the artwork throughout the hotel, much of it drawn from the family's impressive collection of paintings and sculptures by Alexander Calder, Harland Miller, Jean Dubuffet, and Hans Hoffman, among others. (The prints above the guest room beds are reproductions, so don't get funny ideas about smuggling anything out in your rolly bag.) Jack also got really into coffee during the pandemic, which may explain why the former James lobby is now Jumpin Jacks — coffee lounge by day, cocktail bar by night — with coffee by Devocion served in especially pretty terra cotta cups. I've met several friends here since Jacks opened in the spring, and everyone agrees it feels like a secret NYC find — though it's unlikely to remain a secret for long.
ModernHaus is the right hotel for the times, and exactly what NYC needs right now: an upscale hotel with downtown vibes, an outstanding restaurant high on culinary rigor and low on chef-y pretensions, tons of outdoor, urban garden spaces, and a cool rooftop bar where you feel like this ever-changing city is yours for the taking.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Cool and stylish while simultaneously welcoming and warm.
Standout Detail: The artwork, easily, with floor-to-ceiling windows and natural light streaming everywhere a close second.
This Place Is Perfect For: Those seeking an upscale, but not ridiculously luxurious or ostentatious downtown experience.
Rooms: 114 rooms, of which five are suites, come in eight categories, four of which are ADA-compliant. The decor is modern, sleek, and Bauhaus-inspired, with wood furniture and reclaimed wood floors, a palette of taupes and creams accented with warm golds and blues. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for great city views, and a quirk of the hotel's location — at the intersection where SoHo meets Tribeca, the long entrance to the Holland Tunnel in between — means the surrounding blocks include vacant stretches not dense with buildings, so even lower floors enjoy natural light and unobstructed views. In an ecofriendly touch we applaud, the drinking water in the rooms is not commercially bottled but is instead triple-filtered and complimentary. Also good and green: the full-sized Le Labo bath amenities in the bathrooms, which have heated floors and selfie-ready ring lights around the mirrors (relax, you look gorgeous).
On Site: In addition to the restaurant and bars, the Signature Room (formerly the David Burke restaurant, for readers who remember The James) is now a flexible and nicely skylit events space that can accommodate parties large and small, with catering by in-house chef George Mendes. The gym on the 17th floor has Peleton and Technogym machines, and special fitness offerings include classes led by local companies. The hotel is pet-friendly.
Food + Drink: The options alone make ModernHaus worth a visit. Michelin-starred Aldea restaurant is another now-closed spot that's sorely missed, but Fathom Favorite chef George Mendes has an arguably better platform here at Veranda. The spacious, greenhouse-like dining room has a retractable roof and lovely outdoor space as well as two bars — a fitting stage for his seasonal menu of American dishes inflected with global touches — a curry here, a plancha there — that always deliver. Veranda is Mendes' partnership with NYC nightclub impresario David Rabin, who still oversees Jimmy, the bar on the 18th floor. The rooftop pool, the fireplace, the great cocktails, the busy scene, the line to get in, and the bouncers at the door: It's all still there as it was at the James, just a little refreshed. Jumpin Jacks on the second floor is a breakfast and coffee area by day and a lounge by night (a more relaxed evening option than Jimmy).
What to Do Nearby
The hotel sits at the intersection of SoHo and Tribeca, both thriving neighborhoods overflowing with restaurants, shops, and galleries. Less well known is Hudson River Park just a few blocks away — where you'll find tennis courts, waterfront wineries (two!), redeveloped piers, sports fields, and playgrounds, right at the edge of the urban jungle.