BEST 4: EAST VILLAGE/SOHO/LOWER EAST SIDE
The Bowery (see BEST 4: STYLE)
Oozing as much cool as it did nearly ten years when it burst onto the scene, Hotel (The Mercer) (147 Mercer St., at Prince St.; 212-966-6060, fax 212-965-3838; $495+) is still the only downtown choice for a host of celebs and other bicoastal moneyed gadabouts (this is where Russell Crowe famously hurled a phone at an unwitting concierge in 2005; Calvin Klein lives here, too). The Christian Liaigre d?cor is elegant and trendy, but also comfortable, functional and inviting. the views are amazing, and its location is perfect for SoHo shopping sprees.
Part of a sparkling-new generation of downtown New York hotels, the sleek glass 21-story Hotel On Rivington (107 Rivington St., btwn Essex & Ludlow Sts.; 212-475-2600 or 800-915-1537, fax 212-475-5959; $325+) sits in the heart of hipsterdom and boasts excellent city views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms are sumptuously filled with India Mahdavi furnishings and Frette linens. Flatscreen TVs, in-room WiFi, heated Italian tile floors and Japanese soaker tubs also star.
Once a tenement building, the Blue Moon (100 Orchard St., btwn Delancey & Broome Sts.; 212-533-9080, $350+) has been converted into a 1930s/'40s-themed luxury hotel, boasting (relative to the city average) very large rooms (starting at 320 square feet), each named for a celeb from the era (e.g., James Cagney, Fanny Brice and Milton Berle). With the Lower East Side Tenement Museum right next door, it's a great launching point for exploration of this increasingly trendy neighborhood, as well as of nearby Chinatown, Little Italy and the East Village.