We can’t help it – sometimes we just slip into etymology. And so it was that we discovered that the name Arlo is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “fortified hill.”
Of course, NoMad, the mythological neighborhood squeezed between Gramercy and Midtown, has no hills; but it does have one of the best perches from which to view those most awesome skyward edifices of the exalted borough of Manhattan. It just happens to belong to the new-ish Arlo NoMad hotel, sister to the Arlo Soho a little further downtown, and the Nautilus by Arlo in Miami – an obviously relatively small hotel group, that nevertheless seems to be stirring up a lot of attention.
We checked in recently, admittedly lured by the possibility of open-air cocktails with a side of that aforementioned fabulous view, courtesy of the hotel’s A.R.T NoMad rooftop bar. But as happened, some of the rooms themselves offered just as much eye-candy.
Here’s what we loved.
NoMad is still a neighborhood finding its way – for instance, upscale retail has not quite taken off here. But it’s a visual gem of an area, with much of the same handsome Beaux Arts architecture as the adjacent Flatiron. From the hotel (located on 31st between 5th and Madison) it’s a quick hop to Midtown meetings, a Park Avenue South lunch date…or take an evening zip westward for a bout of irresponsible fashion profligacy, followed by some even more fashionable cocktailing in the Meatpacking District. And, well, the increasingly thrilling Museum of Sex is just around the corner from the Arlo.
Like its Soho counterpart, the Arlo NoMad very much wants to coax out your inner social animal, with relatively small, reasonably priced rooms (meaning, please spend more time in the bar). But those on the higher of the 31 floors (the Sky View Rooms) may just leave you mesmerized enough to hole yourself up for long periods of time. Indeed, they are for all intents and purposes glass cubes with a bed and bathroom. So, the majestic city is right there sprawled out around and below you – a dizzyingly stunning urban tableaux. Should you prefer something a little less dramatic, rooms with more recognizable walls still have generous windows – ours even looked out onto the Empire State Building.
What is most impressive, however, is what they’ve managed to fit into 150 square feet, including abundant, comfy beds, as well as surprisingly spacious and beautifully styled bathrooms, with cool, grey concrete floors (our favorite). Overhead storage units allow for getting unsightly luggage out of sight, a pragmatic but thoughtful touch.
Studio / Barlo
It’s essentially a lounge area. But playing to trends, Studio is set up as a co-working enclave – because, apparently, none of us ever seem to stop working. It handily divides up into three separate territories, fitted with ample TV screens (perfect for small group screenings or presentations, obviously) and all the right tech gadgetry. But the stylish, light-flooded space does genuinely invite a bit of downtime, relaxing over a coffee from Barlo, which is just a quick walk past the central staircase.
In the evenings, for those not particularly enamored of rooftop scenes, the Studio/Barlo duo offers a quieter, more contemplative – or possibly even romantic – cocktail alternative.
A.R.T. NoMad Rooftop
Due to the luck of location, there is nary a visual obstruction from where you sit at the A.R.T. NoMad – so it has easily one of the few most breath-stopping views in the city. There’s even a plexiglass floor in one spot, which allows you to see 31 floors down to the street (careful with that vertigo). Now certainly, the drinks themselves can sometimes be an afterthought as such sceney spots; and while there were indeed no Aperol-worshipping, old-timey-suspendered “mixologists” on hand, the manhattans and mojitos we ordered were spot on. The crowd, which seemed to include a fair mount of flirtatious types, was also very much international – so come prepared to chat about politics in Turkey, the economy in Argentina, or the latest hotspots in Milan.
Though reviews were good, Arlo NoMad’s former Massoni restaurant was just given a thorough makeover, and is now Lamalo, a stylish Middle Eastern spot with colorful tile work and an intimate bar area. Expect a menu of cabbage shank, short rib, grilled octopus, etc, with eastern-influenced prep and spices – as well as The Daily Spread, featuring an assortment of seasonal dips and salads.