(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

The northernmost block of Ludlow Street saw some momentous change this week: Sweet Chick opened in the old Max Fish space last night, and right next to it, the long-in-the-works Ludlow Hotel (the latest from that titan of tastemaking, Sean MacPherson of the Bowery, Jane and Maritime hotels) has also swung open its stately steel doors. We decided to check in for a night and, immediately upon entering the modest wood-paneled lobby, were hit with that “new hotel smell” — best described as a mix of sawdust and gentrification. Just kidding! Here’s the rundown.

Rooms are now available on the hotel’s website, at a “soft opening rate” that will go up in the fall. I booked a Studio Queen room – which make up about 30 percent of the hotel’s inventory – for $175. Booking was a little confusing: as I was paying, my total appeared in a pretty much invisible grey on black, so I didn’t realize I was actually forking over $204 (damn you, “Javits tax”) until the reservation was made. Rates are currently $165 for a Studio Full to $365 for a Ludlow Suite, but will eventually range from $295 to $575.

Not quite smooth sailing. The front desk sent me to a room on the fourth floor – even though I reminded them that Studio Queens were supposed to be on higher floors – and I had to come back down when, sure enough, my electronic key didn’t work. Apologies to whoever freaked out when I tried to get into room 406.

The room
At 215 square feet, the Studio Queen is a very modest affair. But the bed – a reproduction of a model that the hotel’s designers spotted in Portugal – was plenty comfortable. One nice touch: the nightstands are hunks of petrified wood, from Brooklyn’s own Organic Modernism.

In the corner, there was a little table just big enough for a laptop (the hotel offers free WiFi, which is nice). And these lambskin-type chair coverings.

The View
The view was marred by somewhat dirty windows and not exactly breathtaking. Below, there were cars stacked up in a parking lot on Essex Street, abutting an MTA substation.

The nice part: the windows can be cracked if you really want to hear the hotel’s AC units pur and the bros at Beauty & Essex fight with their dates.

The bathroom
Lot of lovely touches here: mosaic tiling, a marble sink with brass fixtures, a spacious stand-up shower with rainwater head, and a bathtub with a window over it. Products are by Red Flower, which makes “triple milled” soap – whatever that means.

The toilet has buttons for half or full flushing.

Food & Beverage
The hotel’s restaurant is currently under construction, so we weren’t allowed to photograph it (shown here is the hallway next to the entrance). Around mid-July, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi will open Dirty French, a 90-seat “roughed-up Gallic bistro” with rustic wood beam ceilings (same as in the rooms) and floor-to-ceiling doors that open onto the sidewalk. For now, a continental breakfast (coffee, croissants, bagels, bialys) is offered in the lobby.

Lobby lounge and patio
When it opens, this area — which MacPherson is calling a “living room for the neighborhood” — will boast a limestone fireplace, couches, and a small bar for coffee in the morning and cocktails later on.


In the back, there’ll be a plant-draped outdoor patio seating about 70. There are a couple of Chesterfield couches that appear to be leather but are actually made out of concrete. Clever!


Best Rooms
After checking out, we introduced ourselves to general manager Bruno Vergeynst and he showed us around the place. View-wise, the best rooms are the skybox lofts on the upper floors, which have 180-degree views in a very small sitting area. Amenity-wise, a terrace (above) is probably the thing to lock down, even if their view is marred by the high-rise hotel going up across the street. These are still in need of canopies and dividers, but once they’re good to go, the seven Queen Studios with terraces will be $365 in the winter and $425 in the summer.

The Bathrobes
Didn’t notice or use these, but we’re told they’re by Maison Martin Margiela – whatever that is?

So, would we stay again?
Not really. Despite nice touches like pressed-tin ceilings and Edison bulb lights, there’s something dreary about the dark, narrow hallways and their bad-acid-trip carpeting (same goes for the curtains). The bright, gleaming bathrooms are nice (even if my door couldn’t open fully without hitting the toilet), but next time I want my room illuminated solely by a chic Moroccan pendant lamp, I’m’a AirBNB it. That said, I’ll be parked next to that limestone fireplace with a cocktail in hand come wintertime.