Thanks to an intrepid location scout, Katie Holmes is shooting a 90-second scene for her forthcoming film The Extra Man . . . in my living room. After confirming that Tom Cruise and Baby Suri will not be joining Ms. Holmes on the "set" (I really wanted Tom to jump up and down on my sofa), I do what any self-respecting New Yorker would do upon finding his/her apartment overrun by grips, gaffers, best boys, and Scientologists: Book a room at the nearest hotel. That's how me, my partner, and our French bulldog Meatballs end up at The Cooper Square Hotel, a 21-story white glass and aluminum tower that swells above the East Village's six-story brick tenement buildings. In its "soft opening" phase since December, the 145-room design hotel is offering recession-busting rates through April 30: Just $195/night on weekends and $255/night during the week (expect to pay $350 to $550 come May). Though a few key public spaces are still under construction – including the N.Y. outpost of L.A.'s famed Table 8 from star chef Govind Armstrong – the Cooper is ready for its close-up.
See what we loved about our stay after the jump. Even Meatballs was in heaven!
- You'd be hard-pressed to find loftier views over Downtown Manhattan. Even the newish 17-story Bowery Hotel, just three blocks away, doesn't afford guests this level of intimacy with the skyline. The Cooper's curved floor-to-ceiling windows do the trick. Book a room on the northwest corner if you want a ménage à trois with the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings.
- No front-desk formalities (in fact, there is no front desk). Instead, complimentary cocktails are served around a fireplace in the library/lounge upon check-in.
- Atop the duvet? Not a tired old mint but a vintage Playboy magazine ("We spent all last summer buying them on eBay," said Evan Altman, the hotel's sales and marketing director. "We expect guests to take them home."). We took home the October 1976 issue.
- The timelessly minimalist, modestly decadent vibe from Milan-based interior designer Antonio Citterio, who did the Bulgari hotels in Milan and Bali.
- Pet-friendly to the max! In addition to a princely dog bed, Meatballs got a faux Luis Vuitton-patterned amenity kit from Arf Dog, complete with white terrycloth bathrobe, throw blanket, treats, ceramic bowl, etc.
- The gadgetry: iPhone-compatible Sony docking station, flatscreen TV, DVD player (with extensive library of rare films), room key cards with radio transmitters (no more swiping!), and free Wi-Fi.
- Mini-bar stocked with Tina Thor jewelry. Forget your earrings? Wear Tina's during your night on the town; then, either return them or pay to take them home.
The Cooper's penthouse suite (which will run between $5,000 to $7,500 per night upon completion in April) will have an outdoor shower and a 1,600-square-foot wrap-around terrace – a perfect perch for Tomkat when they're in town for another film shoot. Perhaps Katie will gaze over at our apartment building, five blocks away, with fond memories of the day she kicked us out of our living room. We'll be there, avec Meatballs, who will be wearing his bathrobe, smoking a cigar, and reading Playboy (for the articles, of course).
Check out our New York City Travel Guide for more great-value hotel recommendations.