Located in an unassuming corner of Soho on the far west side of Manhattan that’s also occasionally called Hudson Square, the new Hotel Hugo is not only a very comfortable and stylish place to stay, it also boasts two of the neighborhood’s best outdoor bars. They’re still relatively off the radar, but they shouldn’t be for long.
The hotel, where we had the opportunity to spend an evening a couple weekends ago, opened in early 2014 on Greenwich Street between Spring and Vandam Streets. The neighborhood doesn’t have too much going on save for the historic bar Ear Inn around the corner (which is a must-visit), but guests at this hotel have no reason to venture outside.
The accommodations in the newly constructed hotel are comfortable, if slightly small, but that’s to be expected; the designers did a great job of taking advantage of the space with built-in furniture, and the rooms themselves are smartly and elegantly designed, with lots of heavily polished dark wood giving them a nautical theme. The bathrooms are larger than expected, however, with marble and a rain shower. Another surprising standout was the mini-bar, which boasted several half-size liquor bottles and plenty of high-end mixers, making for what’s honestly the best bar setup I’ve ever encountered in a hotel. The beds were also incredibly comfortable, and as you might imagine, views overlooking the Hudson are stunning.
The ground-floor Italian restaurant, Il Principe, offers outdoor seating and high ceilings, and continues the yacht-inspired influence with plenty of dark polished wood. Menu items include poached lobster salad with cannellini beans, watercress, and sundried tomato dressing; Portuguese octopus with braised escarole and chickpeas; a quality spaghetti carbonara; lasagna alla Bolognese; ossobucco; slow-roasted organic chicken; and a nicely cooked ribeye steak. The menu changes regularly, and it’s clear that the kitchen staff really knows what they’re doing.
If the hotel stopped there, it would still be a great place to dine and stay, but they really outdid themselves with their two rooftop bars/lounges, Bar Hugo and Azul, which both overlook the Hudson River.
Bar Hugo is located on the 20th floor, and features leather banquettes, wood floors, and both indoor and outdoor spaces (the outdoor space closes during the winter months. It’s a comfortable and stylish space, and cocktails were creative and expertly prepared.
One flight up is a completely different rooftop bar, Azul, which is the hotel’s real centerpiece. While Bar Hugo definitely had a solid crowd the evening we visited, Azul, which has otherwise stayed off the radar in the world of West Side rooftop bars, was comparatively packed but never felt excessively crowded. The Cuban-inspired bar is smartly designed with comfortable white cabana-style seating, and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world with stunning views of the Hudson from one side and straight across Manhattan from the other. Cocktails average $16, and include a frozen passionfruit mojito, the Sandia Fresca (vodka, watermelon juice, cucumber, and honey), and the Saoco (rum, coconut water, and passion fruit). It’s pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for.
The Hotel Hugo may look nondescript from the outside, but it’s incredibly modern and stylish, has comfortable and smartly designed rooms, the restaurant is as good as you’ll find at any New York hotel, and its two rooftop bars are destinations in their own right — certifiable hidden gems.