The Bowery House: part museum, part hotel

It’s half hotel and half museum. The Bowery House at 220 Bowery is one of New York City’s oldest names. Purchased in 1927 as a manufacturing building, the hotel served as a temporary lodging for soldiers returning home from World War II in the 1940s under the name The Prince Hotel. The rooms or “cabins” became so popular that many soldiers never left and lived in the building all the way through the 1990s.

Today, the property has been re-launched as The Bowery House, a trendy hotel meets museum meets hostel that effortlessly blends historic charm with luxe modern amenities.

Owners Alessandro Zampedri (an Italian race car driver) and Sanford Kunkel (a former real estate broker) re-imagined the property as a new destination for cost-conscious visitors, attempting to preserve much of the property’s original spirit with upgraded amenities like 300 thread count sheets, Ralph Lauren towels, high-end custom mattresses, and more. Items such as dog-tag key chains and specialty posters in each room, pay tribute both the soldiers who once lived there as well as various periods in Bowery history, such as Skid Row and the Bowery Boys street gang. All of the artwork, lighting and furniture are manufactured by independent artists.
Adding to the property’s museum-like charm, the varied room options highlight the building’s origin and its neighborhood’s culture. Like the actual quarters of the WWII soldiers, majority of the cabins, which start at $59 per night, have just enough room for a bed and essential belongings. They are available in single, twin- and full-sizes. Bunks range from the Museum Bunk which provides direct views of the New Museum (which is located across the street), to the Peppers Bunk, named after one of the most colorful longtime residents of 220 Bowery – Charlie Peppers.

The Bowery House’s original, communal bathrooms have been updated with items like Carrera marble sinks, heated floors and bath products from the its local Prince Street neighbor, Red Flower. Other amenities include a landscaped roof garden, a private living room, The Bowery Bodega where guest can get snacks, toiletries and drinks, Dutch-inspired Bowery Lane Bicycles which are available for daily rentals, etc.

While we’re not sure that staying in a teeny tiny room fits our idea of a “fun” hotel stay, the price is certainly right for cost-conscious travelers who don’t want to utilize a traditional and dubiously-clean hostel.