Andre Balazs, the hotelier behind the impeccably chic Standard hotels of downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and Miami, has brought his gifted brand of innkeeping to Lower Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Rising up over the Hudson River, the Standard New York is a visually striking property, designed by Todd Schliemann of New York City's Polshek Partnership Architects and built right above the Highline a former elevated rail track in the process of being converted into an aerial park. The Highline's first section is open to the public and runs between Gansevoort Street and 20th Street. As Manhattan's newest attraction, it has an almost symbiotic connection to the hotel, feeding an endless stream of strollers to the Standard, while allowing hotel guests to enjoy a landscaped walkway through the neighborhood.
The Standard's sleek gray lobby is an essay in midcentury Modernism and sets the tone for the 337 rooms above. Accommodation comes in eight categories, ranging from the 250-sq.-ft. (23 sq m) Standard Queen rooms to the top-of-the-range 400-sq.-ft. (37 sq m) Standard Suite, with its enormous bathroom and jaw-dropping 180-degree views. All take full advantage of the location with floor-to-ceiling windows. The views particularly when facing the water or looking downtown will have you gazing outside in mute distraction every time you climb out of your sprawling bed. Organic bath amenities, iPod sound systems and high-definition TVs feature among the many luxurious touches.
The hotel's bar, the Living Room, is currently abuzz with New York City's cultured classes, as is its signature restaurant, the Standard Grill. The latter serves deceptively down-to-earth fare (try the trout); the rest of the hotel, however dwells in fashion's stratosphere and does not come cheap: rates start from $320. For more information, see www. standardhotels.com.