The Hotel On Rivington is a New York boutique hotel, right in the middle of the Lower East Side. The hotel is probably one of the easiest to locate in the entire area, because it stands 21 stories tall between the 4-5 story buildings.
The Rivington describes itself as a full-service boutique, and of all the hotels I’ve tried in New York, the Rivington is the one that will be the most memorable. I’ll admit right away that I am not a big fan of boutique hotels, as many of them tend to use the term to justify tiny rooms and snotty attitude. The Rivington proves that smaller boutique hotels can be welcoming, while staying true to their roots.
The building itself is fairly narrow, and Rivington is a pretty busy street, so don’t expect a large open check-in area (or lots of parking space, though Valet service is provided). On the ground floor is their restaurant (THOR) and the check-in desk is on the second floor.
Check-in was quick and efficient and I was quickly on my way to my 9th floor suite. It took me a good 20 seconds to unlock my door, as the hotel issues RFID keys which have to be held up against a small black square on the door. I wish the check-in clerk had mentioned this to me. Since this is a boutique hotel, they keep the hallways nice and dark, which of course does not help in locating the door key tag reader.
Once in my room I was pleasantly surprised by the layout and space available. The room is narrow, but long and consisted of a living space, bathroom and bedroom/work area. The living room has a pretty minimalistic design, but still offers a leather sofa, table and flat screen TV. Floor to ceiling windows let in a lot of light during the day, and provide an awesome view during the night.
The bathroom is equally well designed – some rooms offer a basic shower, while others have an in-room bath tub and steam room. The shower in my room took a little getting used to, as the top portion of the windows are open, and your private parts are only shielded by a frosted pane of glass in the bottom half. Still, it was pretty damn cool to shower at night while looking out over the city. (Apologies for the poor photo).
The bedroom has a (very small) desk and a Tempur-Pedic bed. This room also features floor to ceiling windows, and the bed looks right out over the city. There is something soothing about opening the (remote control) curtains and looking out at the Empire State Building while you drift off.
Along the hallway are closets, one of which hides the minibar and a safe (large enough for a laptop). The minibar is surprisingly well stocked, though not surprisingly, the prices are insane. In the minibar, you’ll find everything from full size bottles of Champagne and Tequila to 3 different “intimacy kits”, though you’d better be pretty damn desperate if you are willing to pay $23 for 3 rubbers and a tiny bottle of lube.
The hotel has very capable WiFi, though you do need a login key (which was provided at check-in). The desk area is far too small to get any real work done, and there was just one open outlet under the desk.
Rooms at the Rivington are not cheap, especially if you want something more than a basic room ($225). Higher rooms or corner suites start around $380/night and go over $650 for a “unique room”. If you need something really insane, you can spend a night (or two) in their 3 level penthouse suite which includes a massive 21st floor patio and hot tub.
The hotel provides in-room breakfast or a free breakfast in their ground floor restaurant. I ordered a room service breakfast which came to $44 with tip and service fee. I ended up eating the breakfast off the large headboard of the bed, since the desk is just too small to hold anything larger than a laptop. The french toast with fresh fruit was delicious, as were the grilled potatoes, but the $4.50 bagel was cold and did not taste fresh.
I had a very enjoyable 2 night stay the Rivington, and have become less judgmental about hip hotels. Sure, I’m still not hip enough for most of them, but I can see the Rivington being the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. The area around the hotel is much cooler than I had expected and the hotel is a real gem. Prices are high, there is no denying that – but this is New York City, and in New York City all hotels are expensive. Even a big brand name hotel near Times Square charges $349 for a basic queen bedroom. At that price, I’d say the Rivington is absolutely worth checking out.