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We’ve been excited about the Nolitan since we first heard about its summer opening – summer 2010, that is. Now the hotel will finally open its doors on August 1. Officially, the year-long wait is explained as part of “unforeseen delays or changes in the timetable for completion” that can happen at any new construction. I recently had the chance to tour the new property, and the Nolitan is still worthy of excitement.
Located in New York City’s Nolita (North of Little Italy) district – south of the East Village and just east of trendy Soho – the hotel is noteworthy for its connections to the neighborhood from which it takes its name. Rotating artwork from a local gallery appears in the lobby. A shopping program with some of the employees’ favorite neighborhood boutiques scores discounts and personalized services for guests. Bathrooms sport products from local vendor Red Flower. Free bicycles and skateboards are on hand for exploring the surroundings. On the other hand, the area immediately surrounding the Nolitan isn’t the greatest, and the modern glass structure stands out from the older neighborhood buildings.
The property’s 55 rooms are designed to feel homey – although I don’t know what kind of homes they think we live in – like you are visiting a friend’s apartment. Exposed rock ceilings, wood floors, and ceiling fans (don’t worry, there’s also air-conditioning) play up the stripped down vibe, while flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi ensure constant connectivity, if that’s your thing. Rooms are refreshingly light-filled thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass exterior walls; panels alternate between frosted and transparent glass. The Nolitan jumps on the peekaboo bathroom trend with exposed glass showers (or tubs in corner rooms), though thankfully toilets are enclosed separately. About half of the rooms have balconies.
One of the Nolitan’s best assets is a rooftop deck with 360 degree views of the city all the way from the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building to the Financial District and the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately, the area won’t be opening when the hotel does on August 1. Details are pending – all we can say for sure is that the rooftop will be open for guests by the end of the summer.
One area in which guests and non-guests can indulge right now is the hotel’s Ellabess restaurant, currently open for dinner and transitioning to all-day service when the Nolitan officially opens. The 70-seat eatery specializing in seasonal American cuisine is located on the ground floor but sunk below street level. Eventually there will be a sidewalk café just outside.