As hot hotelier Andre Balazs’ east-coast cousin to the Chateau Marmont, The Mercer has carved a decade ‘n’ longer niche for itself as the most luxe and glamorous, often long-stay, hideaway for movie stars and the catwalk cognoscenti in downtown Manhattan.
Few have anything but rapturous praise for The Mercer experience (except maybe notorious phone-tosser Russell Crowe), and with good reason: the service is faultless, friendly and seems to second guess you. It looks utterly gorgeous – absolutely contemporary but pared down and masculine, without being at all ‘trendy’ – and it’s exactly where you want to be (Balazs should know, his own loft faces the hotel). Its Vongerichten restaurant, (The Mercer) Kitchen has never gone out of vogue.
The huge exposed-brick work, wood-floored, iron-pillared studios and suites have a profoundly, seductive at-home feel, with full-sized kitchens, and oversized tubs that allow for bubble baths a deux. The beds, with 400-thread count Frette linen, are an experience in themselves. The attitude of the staff, from check-in to room service, and the sense of privacy, makes you feel like you’re staying in the most lavish serviced apartments in the city, rather than a hotel.
While plenty of other aggressively au courant boutique hotels have opened up shop in SoHo, no one has – as yet – eclipsed The Mercer in terms of hitting the right note for such a mature balance of high design and comfort.
- The shameless star-spotting. Even the benches outside the hotel usually have a major celebrity perched on them, catching a nicotine break.
- The unmarked, discreetly fabulous SubMercer bar in the basement.
- Dog-walking services. (Because really, who has the time?)
- They’ll lend you Guitar Hero to play in your room
- No gym on-site, although you can get a pass to Equinox nearby. Not particularly useful if you’re jetlagged and want a 3am workout.
- No spa. But they do offer in-room treatments and yoga.
Need to Know: The Mercer
Number of rooms: 75
Check-in/check-out times: Flexible
Swimming pool: No
Dogs welcome: Yes
Eating and drinking: The upstairs café at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Mercer Kitchen, or rather ‘(The Mercer) Kitchen’ as the meticulously design-focused hotel prefers it, has become a kind of fancy Christian Liaigre-designed tuck shop for SoHo’s media, art and fashion community, from breakfast at 7am, to late snacks at 1am. The lower floor is devoted to serious dining in an American-comfort mode, but predictably it’s more about the crowd and the ambience rather than the menu.
Near to? The Mercer is in the epicentre of scenester SoHo, close to Prada and Chanel.
Getting there: The hotel is a block from Balthazar and the Prince Street N and R line subway station. The Spring Street/Lexington subway for the 4 and 6 trains is four blocks away.