Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A new Standard for toddlers

Hanging in the lobby
And a glimpse from the High Line

I'm not sure Andre will thank me for this, but I thought a question I received from Planethalder about the toddler-friendliness of the Standard Hotel merited a quick post rather than a long return comment. Now, I feel kind of bad making a big thing out of staying there, because it's NOT the sort of place we normally wind up. Sure, we'd like to; if someone else was paying. (In fact, we debated exactly what sort of job you'd need to do to stay there for work. Not sure of the answer except it's definitely not working for a loss-making newspaper or a licence-fee funded media group.)

The only reason I booked it was because we stayed there for a couple of nights last year when it was barely open. The "barely" bit is crucial because it meant the rooms were a steal. Okay, so they'd only finished building about five of the 18 or so floors but we certainly didn't miss the lack of fitness suite or cocktail lounge. Or restaurant. Especially when the lack thereof meant they threw in a room service breakfast, which I worked out this time would have cost north of 50 bucks! And under 21s weren't allowed in the cocktail bar. Which was just as well because given it was like walking into a Bond film - we popped in one by one to check out the amazing view - we probably wouldn't have been allowed to stay either. 

Anyway, it being March and the weather being awful meant the advance internet-only rates were vaguely affordable on a one-night only basis. So I decided to splurge. I'm guessing Andre Balazs didn't have under twos in mind when he designed it, but it turns out high-end luxury is perfect for little ones. From the sleekest hotel cot I've ever seen, to the peekaboo shower, the (small) room was perfect for Louis. A King-size bed helped too, even if it did take up most of the floor space. And yes, that means he's still often to be found in our bed come the early hours. So, no, Planethalder, we didn't have a suite. Gulp. I'll admit it was cosy, but hey: we're family. Apart from the view, the best bit was the bathtub, which was big enough for Louis to swim in. And they provided bubble bath. 

Annoyingly, given that it was our last night in NYC we didn't need to make use of the Standard's most toddler-friendly aspect: the first floor bar that served drinks and meals 24/7. Where was that on our second night when I couldn't get Louis back to sleep at 3am?! We could have both done with one of their potent cocktails. Not to mention fries. Instead, I needed a 7am coffee but balking at the room service charges I went on a foray and found Hector's Cafe, "the low rent" option according to the guy at the front desk. One of the few genuine relics from back when MePa was all about packing meat, Hector's has been dishing up greasy mountains of corned beef hash and stacks of eggs and pancakes since 1949. An institution. Writing this makes me feel bad that we actually had breakfast in the Standard Grill, just to check it out. Ah well, next time. 

And I nearly forgot: the staff are lovely. Plus, it's smack, bang over the High Line, Manhattan's newest - and most pretentious - park. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely. But when you're not even allowed to walk on the grass, well, that's America for you. As is the fact that there were more "park wardens" than visitors there the day we were there. But I'm probably just sore because the weather was so bad. It's beautiful and Louis loved it. Even if he couldn't play on the old railway track. 


Planethalder said...

Thanks for the detailed post. We walked the High Line last year and loved it. The Standard sounds great and I may check it out next time. We usually stay on the Hotel on Rivington on the LES which is fab.

Babies who brunch said...

pleasure. we loved the high line too. just not the weather.... we'll just have to go back!