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New retro loft hideaway on the Lower East Side with a buzzy French eatery from famed hotelier Sean MacPherson
Situated next door to a glass-paneled luxury apartment building of the same name, the Ludlow Hotel is sultry and cool in comparison. Enter the mosaic-floored lobby, passing such standout pieces as a Manhattan-shaped coffee table with a grass centerpiece denoting Central Park. The subway-tiled space is anchored by a fireplace, a wraparound red leather couch and modern brushed gold chandeliers, giving off the air of an impossibly chic friend’s living room.
Bed and Bath
The 175 guestrooms span 20 stories, and all share the same bohemian-luxe decor found in the lobby. Expect geode-like marble side tables topped with Tivoli radios, hip graphic curtains and uber-comfortable four-poster beds adorned with white feather duvets. Capitalize on the prime downtown views by booking a 365-square-foot Skybox guestroom, which has a separate sitting area with shearling-topped velvet armchairs and nearly floor-to-ceiling views from three windows. The black-and-white bathrooms are standouts: They've got copper fixtures, Margiela bathrobes and rain showers with cheeky oversize windows.
The primary focus beyond the guestrooms is the ground-floor restaurant and adjoining bar, Dirty French. The latest project from the Torrisi team (of Torrisi Italian Specialties, Carbone and Parm fame), Dirty French serves classic French fare with Cajun and Moroccan touches — think Provençal fish with Cajun spices, or rotisserie lamb with cumin. The team also had a hand in the adjacent Lobby Bar, which serves expertly mixed cocktails under the direction of ZZ’s Clam Bar alum Thomas Waugh. Relax by the fireplace with a Pigalle cocktail (made from ancho chile, bourbon and bitter aperitif) or, better yet, head out back to the charming courtyard. Overhead, glass lanterns hang from black trellises; grab a spot on the couch and peer into Dirty French’s exposed kitchen. After feasting and boozing, work off the gluttony at the 24-hour fitness center on the 20th floor.
In the Area
The Ludlow is positioned on prime Lower East Side real estate. Start the day off with a cold brew and chia seed breakfast pudding at El Rey Coffee Bar & Luncheonette, or get your art and caffeine fix simultaneously at (Blank), a coffee counter that serves Intelligentsia brews in the back of a gallery space. Looking for something heartier? An offshoot of the historic Houston Street storefront of the same name, the Russ & Daughters Café just opened on Orchard, slinging some of the city’s best smoked fish platters and Bloody Marys (garnished with caraway and rye croutons). The LES is also home to some of the city’s best boutiques: Reformation for cool girl dresses, Pixie Market for one-of-a-kind pieces, and Extra Butter for hardcore sneakerheads. For dinner, do inventive Mexican at Danny Bowien’s Mission Cantina, the rotating list of farm-to-table sandwiches and craft beers at Black Tree, or the cult-worthy ramen at buzzy newcomer Ivan Ramen. Afterward, go dancing with the beautiful types at Leadbelly or the margarita-buzzed masses at Pianos.