Hotels, Hotels - Design, New York

Thompson LES – Lower East Side, New York

Thompson LES is the epitome of New York downtown cool with slick, minimalist design and a young, creative crowd.

Located just off the Bowery on Allen Street, the striking 18-storey, 141-guest room hotel towers over the neighbourhood’s tenements, offering up some spectacular views.  It stands out from the landscape but is perfectly matched to the Lower East Side’s arty, style-conscious spirit.

Inside, Thompson LES has a buzzing vibe and the smartly-dressed staff orchestrated a swift early check-in.  Within a few moments we were escorted in the elevator on the way to our room.

Our very spacious Studio King Suite had a contemporary, industrial-luxe style with clean lines and Japanese accents.  Designed in a colour palette of black, white and grey, the room features exposed concrete columns, black wooden varnished floors, a striped grey carpet, a shiny black mirrored wall and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Room features include a large LCD TV with premium cable and in-room movie library, iPod dock, a minibar filled with Dean & Deluca snacks and plenty of storage space.  The plush lounge area is separated by a beaded metal curtain and has a sectional sofa and a coffee table with a stack of fashion magazines.

The king-size bed was incredibly comfortable and luxurious, covered in soft Sferra linen, which is a signature at all Thompson hotels.  Above is a stunning illuminated light box headboard by American photographer and artist Lee Friedlander that brings character to the room.

During the day, the room benefits from lots of natural light streaming in and at night it becomes more seductive, with mood lighting and the sultry glow from the city outside.  A few nice touch were the bonsai tree by the entrance of the room and the Belgian chocolates on the desk at turndown.

The slate grey open-plan bathroom includes a separate walk-in rainfall shower and toilet behind frosted glass doors, a circular sink and a full set of REN bathroom amenities.  The water pressure in the shower was very powerful and the oversized terrycloth bathrobes were perfect for lounging in.

Wifi internet in guest rooms at Thompson LES comes with a charge, but we were told on arrival that there is free wifi in the bar on the first floor.  Many guests flock to this lounge section of the bar with laptops to check emails and do business, so it has a sociable feel.  The staff tend to leave guests to use the internet in peace, however, drinks and bites are closeby, should you wish to linger.

The hotel’s popular restaurant Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya on the same level serves its own take on Japanese dishes alongside fried chicken and grilled NY strip steak and the Grand Buffet Brunch on the weekend sounds particularly tempting.

If you’re in the mood for a different type of cuisine, Thompson LES is in a prime spot for sampling some of New York’s most exciting restaurants – we ate at the nearby La Esquina, The Meatball Shop and Pulino’s.

A special perk of staying at Thompson LES is access to Above Allen, the exclusive members terrace lounge with great views over the city.  Sadly Above Allen is usually closed on the day that we visited, otherwise we would have visited for a nightcap.

The hotel’s rooftop pool is surely the coolest in New York and it’s a real downtown hotspot when the sun comes out.  Guests can swim over an Andy Warhol filmstrip and soak up some rays with a cocktail and light bites on the striking orange loungers.

For further relaxation, there is also a guests-only fitness and renewal centre with a gym, sauna and treatments rooms

Thompson LES is an ideal base to explore downtown New York, matching cool design with a fun atmosphere and surprisingly reasonable prices.  The hotel feels cosy and comfortable in the colder months, however to get the most out of the facilities such as the fabulous pool and outdoor dining, summer is the time to visit.

Rooms at Thompson LES start from $200 (approx. £130), per room per night.  For more information and booking, visit:

Cherie City was a guest of Thompson LES

Photos by Cherie City and Thompson LES

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