It wasn’t that long ago that, excepting our favorite insalubrious rocker bars, the only other destinations of any note on the Lower East Side were Katz’ Deli and El Sombrero, a no-frills taco joint that has remained a stalwart of the neighborhood.
Since that time, Michelin-starred restaurants have come and gone, and luxury high-rises dot the LES skyline. Amidst all this radical change, Intercontinental opened an outpost of its hipper boutique brand, Indigo, on Ludlow Street just off Hudson. Being as we are always in pursuit of an awe-inspiring view, we checked in recently to check out the Hotel Indigo LES‘ generously windowed spaces.
Fascinatingly, one enters through a ground floor lobby that feels like a Renaissance palace as updated for a Steampunk film shoot. But grabbing the elevator to the 14th floor lobby, we were suddenly taking in a genuinely breathtaking overview of New York City below. Actually, when squinting, we almost thought we could see Russia from there.
The lobby hit all the right zeitgeist notes, with a busy little cafe plus grab-and-go bar, as well as communal co-working tables. Even though we pretty much spent most of the time staring out the window.
The show continued on up in the rooms, whose walls have also been graced with more glass than plaster. Down on the lower floors, you get an eyeful of LES, and its charmingly preserved tenement architecture. But our 24th floor room was surely what someone was thinking of when they coined the term “sweeping views.” Indeed, looking one way, and there were ships gliding along the East River; another way, the Con Edison building and everything else West to the Hudson. In between, a humbling vista of the imposing, eclectic Lower Manhattan skyline.
Our room was unfussily stylish, with elegant wood floors, geometric rugs, and retro chic mini-bars.
But the Indigo has built its early reputation on its super buzzy 15th floor bar, Mr. Purple. Admittedly, we sometimes hold our breath when preparing for hotel rooftop nightspots; yet there was literally none of the anxiety associated with typically overamped scenes. Rather, the place was bursting with affable partygoers grooving in their seats, and, well, throwing off really good vibes.
And always a relief, Mr. Purple – part of nightlife gods Gerber Group – actually served a proper cocktail (read: not cutesy, precious or watered down). Specifically, they make a brilliant (GG) Manhattan – but we also recommend the Bottled Sparkling Negroni, The Stormy Mule, and the signature Mr. Purple, made with Casamigos Reposado Tequila, and served as a punch.
But we made sure to watch the booze intake, as waking up early to the sun rising over nearly all of Downtown was an amenity we simply couldn’t put a price on – and nor should you.