The Lower East Side of Manhattan has always been known for its gritty edges. This is where immigrants, from Ellis Island and usually holed up in an apartment, got their first glimpse of New York, and indeed of their version of the Great American Dream. As a result, there remains a strong presence of a wide range of different communities and cultures – from Jewish to Italian. In fact, at the crossroads of Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho, you still feel as if you’re in the heart of the famous melting pot that makes this city so diverse and delightful.

In the sharp corners of any city, there’s always an explosion of creativity — and this Manhattan neighborhood is no exception. From cool streetwear shops to the foodie hub that is Essex Market (first opened in the 1940s but renovated in 2019); An alternative bookstore to the typical Jewish meal, it has a Lower East Side feel – or LES, as it’s known Alive.

Harnessing that energy — and offering a little of it — is what’s new Moxy Lower East Side, located on the Bowery, opened at the end of 2022. The brand – part of Marriott Bonvoy – has a youthful spirit, which seems to dance around you as you arrive – with its neon signs, self-check-in pods, and cozy lobby-bar lounge area . It may be associated with being a more affordable Marriott branch, but don’t confuse that with the meaning of “cheap”, that’s just something else. Moxy, as a brand, despite its accessible welcome pricing, is ramping up its offering in a myriad of ways, giving guests much more than they bargained for (in very good way).

“This is where the magic happens,” says one of the hotel’s glowing signs, as you head toward the elevators, where strange mask sculptures also line the walls. And it’s true, there’s kind of a weird feeling about the hotel concept (this turns out to be a reference to the weird design He is Moxy signature). Interior designers Michaelis Boyd and The Rockwell Group say they were inspired by the Bowery’s history as a center of entertainment, from Vauxhall Gardens and the German Winter Garden of the 19th century to the vaudeville theaters and burlesque houses of the last century – while channeling the neighborhood’s present day DNA.

The Fix, adjacent to the lobby, is a filled celebration of this — from the six-foot-tall bear with a hula hoop to the 3D-printed pin-up girls hanging from the chandeliers. This space is where you can grab breakfast at Café Avignon, one of New York’s best bakeries—the freshly baked pastries are exquisite—or lounge at the bar (finished in fluted glass and polished brass, with a clown-patterned floor underneath, evoking Art Deco styles For old theaters in the region). The fun atmosphere continues with shuffleboard and marble-topped tables with brass accents.

The bedrooms are quite colourful, with terrazzo floors, green walls and dark leather headboards. The showers feature bold subway tiles and vibrant Art Deco screens, with a striking circular design. The rooms also have plenty of urban design features, to maximize space, which is what Moxy is known for. There is, for example, a clever storage system, which combines a hanging space with a mirror, a TV and a foldable desk, and additional storage space can be found under the bed. Custom pillows, stone sinks, and a Hollywood-style mirror with bare bulbs add plenty of texture and a vintage feel to the beauty.

The hotel seems to operate on the fun factor, and there are plenty of areas where guests can seek entertainment, including the underground Losie’s Club. For drinks, on the ground floor is the Silver Lining Piano Lounge – an “after-hours” destination designed in shades of blue, black, gold and flashes of silver. The design was inspired in part by Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, a downtown loft that the legendary artist turned into an immersive sculpture with silver paint, aluminum foil, and a broken mirror. The chairs are upholstered in blue velvet and decorated with hand-painted ornaments, while velvet curtains and custom light fixtures by New York artist Erin Lorick create a magical, night-time feel.

You can’t come to New York and not find a new view, and here – in the rooftop Highlight Room – you can see all the way north to the Empire State Building and south to the Freedom Tower. The “garden in the sky” features hanging plants, candelabra-like chandeliers and premium materials – plaster, brass, velvet upholstery, caramel curtains and terrazzo tiles – bringing a dose of playful luxury. It’s the place to sample a Golden Hour Spritz and watch the sunset. It is one of many curated cocktails available and combines champagne, Chambord, peach tea and gold leaf for an elegant drink that matches the surroundings.

One of the highlights of Moxy Lower East Side is undoubtedly its signature Japanese restaurant Saki no hana. As you descend a dramatic curved staircase, antique kimonos are hung like a work of art, while in the underground dining room, a canopy of lanterns, inspired by Japanese pottery, hangs from a mirrored ceiling, while interwoven wood and embroidered fabric panels, with cherry blossoms and fanciful birds cover the Walls. It’s a lively and cheerful space, serving izakaya dishes designed for sharing and with a New York twist. Choose from teppanyaki plates, yakitori skewers, wagyu beef, and sushi rolls, plus a curated sake menu. Start eating sweet potato chips from Tsukijo Market while contemplating the menu – the best delicious snacks. Highlights include Spicy Tuna Tartare, Crispy Tokyo Gyoza, and Seaweed-Wrapped Thai Snapper. But, really, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, which is full of dishes that are quintessential Japanese soul food.

The hotel was developed by Light stone, which also developed the three other Moxy properties in New York City – the award-winning Moxy Times Square, Moxy Chelsea, and Moxy East Village. Apparently, earlier this year, the real estate company also opened its fifth property in Moxy – Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg.

This new hotel also sets a high standard for design from Lightstone Design Studio in collaboration with BASILE Studio and Stonehill Taylor. Its look nods to the past while remaining strongly contemporary — an approach in keeping with Williamsburg’s retro-loving aesthetic. The industrial-inspired architecture at Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg blends into the Williamsburg cityscape, from the area’s converted 19th-century warehouses and nearby Domino Park to the Williamsburg Bridge, just a stone’s throw away.

Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg also features a collection of dining and drinking venues designed by Bar Lab, the creative force behind Broken Shaker, including LilliStar, an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar whose terrace features stunning views of the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan skyline.

Returning to Moxy’s Lower East Side, you’ll find yourself in the beating heart of New York – there’s so much to explore in the area. The hotel feels like a welcoming beacon to return to after a day of wandering around the city. At the corner of Bowery and Broome, architects Stonehill Taylor designed the 16-storey tower with its “wedding cake”-style structure. It makes a thoughtful nod to the history of the area, with the first six floors matching the heights of traditional commercial and residential buildings in the area. While the upper floors are significantly set back and therefore can only be seen from afar.

On the rooftop, overlooking the city’s iconic skyline, staying with Moxy feels like discovering – and staying at – a fabulous ‘club’. A phrase that sums it up comes to mind: If you know, you know.
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(tags for translation)Moxy Les: Capturing the Cool Factor

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