I approach my holidays with military levels of organisation. If I’m flying halfway across the world for a week you can bet your bottom dollar I want to make the most of the experience, and for me that usually involves at least three spreadsheets and weeks of in-depth Googling to make sure my seven days away will be the bomb.
Hotels in particular are something I will spend hours agonising over, comparing locations, facilities, bedroom sizes and prices. I absolutely adore the feeling of going away and knowing I’ve researched the holiday to the nth degree: knowing I’m in the best hotel in the best location and at the best price is so incredibly satisfying, I can’t tell you.
PUBLIC Hotel Review
PUBLIC was a hotel I found via my evenings of online interrogations. I’d discovered this newly open hotel last year while researching for a hotel for a romantic break, but had written it off as being too small for two of us. This year my list of criteria was slightly different: I was travelling with a friend so there would only be me in the room, said friend is very much into design so I wanted to take her aesthetic preferences into account plus I wanted to be in the East Village/Soho area but didn’t want to spend more than £250-£300 a night. I also wanted a place that would be fun and buzzy, preferably with a rooftop bar and good in-house restaurant.
I ticked all of these boxes with this PUBLIC hotel review.
Studio 54’s Ian Schrager opened PUBLIC on Chrystie Street in the Lower East Side last year. Sold as a disruptor to the Air BnB model, he wanted to open a hotel that would do away with the unnecessary bells and whistles of traditional hotels (why pay extra for a complicated check-in process when you can do it yourself online?). The rooms themselves follow this model: they’re small but they work, full of polished concrete and Scandi-inspired simplicity. Think (faux) fur throws, Saarinen marble tables and floor-to-ceiling NYC views. Beautiful.
My room at PUBLIC
We arrived at PUBLIC on a Thursday evening having indeed checked-in online; we were helped out of our car with the luggage and hopped into the lift (the lit lobby escalator is already iconic) to the first floor key pick-up and quickly went up to our rooms on the 14th and 16th floors. We’d booked via Mr & Mrs Smith and had chosen the “Queen Great View” category room, which came in at about £256 a night.
Note that booking via this platform meant we had a 48 hour cancellation window before arrival so I double checked the room rate the week before we left: it had gone down by £150 over the week so I cancelled and re-booked at the cheaper price. Cher-ching: always worth doing this when you have a fair cancellation policy!
Jet lag becomes a lot more palatable with morning views like this.
The rooms are indeed small – even by NYC standards – and storage was a slight struggle. There’s a wardrobe that fit my week’s dresses in (once I’d called housekeeping to request 5 more coat hangers in addition to the 5 I had been given) but I struggled to find somewhere to store pjs and underwear. Though what the room lacked in storage it made up for in views, and I was so in love with my window out to the Brooklyn Bridge and Freedom Tower that I slept with my (remote control) curtains open every night.
The bathroom was more of a wet room, with the sink and vanity area on the walkway into the room itself. There was no bath but the shower was big and powerful, and large bottles of products – shampoo, conditioner and shower gel – are there for you to use. Towels were replenished as required, though my flannels weren’t and I had to call housekeeping a few times to get fresh ones (I blame Caroline Hirons). But that was really the only thing that let me down on this PUBLIC hotel review.
The view north from the rooftop bar at PUBLIC
On the roof of PUBLIC you’ll find an incredible bar with far-reaching views over the city. It’s expensive but worth it, and as a resident of the hotel you get fast-track entry (nobody likes to queue for a view!). Downstairs the lobby bar and deli is always full of the MacBook crew: bespeckled hipsters having meetings over camel milk lattes and gluten-free banana bread (I might have made that bit up). There’s no room service but food from here can be ordered online and you go downstairs to pick it up yourself. There’s also a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant within the hotel (PUBLIC Kitchen) and all the dishes we sampled from here were delicious.
PUBLIC is situated in my favourite area of NYC, the Lower East Side. Having done all the uptown tourist bits on other trips it has everything I wanted: great restaurants, cool bars and lovely shops. From there it’s a couple of miles walk to other really great spots in the city, and in the week we were there we went on strolls to Greenwich Village, Soho, the Meatpacking District, the Financial District and over the bridge into Williamsburg. If the subway is your thing its very easily placed for the 6 train, otherwise buses and Ubers are very freely available.
This is definitely a hotel for younger travellers who like staying up later than me so the only issue I had was with other people having noisy night time parties on my floor. I may or may not have gone a bit ‘mum’ on both the hotel rooms of the partiers in their early twenties, and politely knocked on the door to ask them to keep it down which they duly did. I mentioned this to a member of staff and they said if there were any more issues of this ilk they would happily sort them out for me.
Overall, I’d wholeheartedly recommend PUBLIC for a New York stay., and it was a pleasure to work on this PUBLIC hotel review. If there’s more than one of you I’d probably look to the larger loft rooms for that little bit more space, but overall if you’re looking for a low-maintenance and well-priced option the facilities and vibe can’t be beaten.
PUBLIC Hotel, 215 Chrystie Street, New York, 10002