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Fine Art and Fresh Air: SoHo’s Modernhaus SoHo Hotel Opens in New York

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No surprise, the New York City hotel world has taken a hell of a beating over the last year. But from the industry ashes, Modernhaus SoHo, occupying the former James Hotel, is rising, and on May 1, its doors were thrown open to a re-energized city. While we’re still reacquainting ourselves with the idea of returning to the Big Apple, one if its newest properties seems like the perfect way to dive back in.

From the mind of Jack J. Sitt, of the Thor Equities Group, the 114-room property features a Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant, over 11,000 square feet of outdoor space, and, most noteworthy, a museum-worthy art collection of modernist paintings and sculpture. Selected from Sitt’s personal acquisitions, guests can meander through works by Alexander Calder, George Condo, Nicolas Party, Kaws, and others. Really, by art collection alone, the only way you can be around more high quality modernist works is by squatting inside the MoMA.

Could it be that the last 12 months of social distancing have rubbed off on the property’s hospitality group? A strong argument pointing to “Yes” might be the fact that the hotel provides more outdoor space per room than any other hotel in downtown Manhattan, and one could argue that there’s more fresh air circulating the property than in Central Park. If you become overwhelmed with the bustle of a revitalized city, sequester yourself among its multiple planted lounge setups cultivated throughout, or have dinner at the greenhouse-inspired restaurant, Veranda, which features a a fully retractable roof for al fresco dining in fair weather.

With no small reverence for chefs, we were thrilled to learn of George Mendes’ new role. Formerly at the helm of Flatiron’s Aldea, for which he earned a Michelin star in 2013, he’s now ensconced under a massive retractable pergola that matches the size of his talent. The son of Portuguese immigrants who is as known for his cookbooks as he is his cooking, Mendes may have toned down the influence of his parents’ native cuisine, but its presence remains within the more American-blended menu. Look no further than its feature dishes of mouth-watering sea scallops or a whole-roasted branzino fish for two for proof that his heritage remains a significant influence within his work.

While its modest number of rooms are hyper-delineated over 10 categories, the focal point must be the Gallery Penthouse, which sits atop on the 16th floor and provides guests with an Instagram-worthy view of the Manhattan Bridge and the Freedom Tower. Its 1,300-square-foot open layout includes a 12-person table ideal for strategy sessions and celebrations of all types.

At first light, for breakfast or cocktails, there’s Jumpin Jacks, decorated in a theme of coffee tones. When nighttime descends, there’s the legendary Jimmy, a lower Manhattan staple showing off its new facelift, which was patterned after the Picasso Blue Period and perches 18 floors over the city. To round out the package, a 400-square-foot gym, replete with Peloton bikes, is at the guests’ disposal. Individual rooms are outfitted with Le Labo bath products, heated floors, glass-enclosed bathrooms, and more.

Call it PTSD after a year locked inside, but the new Modernhaus sounds like the way to transition back into New York stays. Sure, you are steps from all the SoHo attractions and energy, but the property exists as an independent ecosystem, from an award-winning chef-helmed restaurant to legendary club. If, after a long day, you simply want some peace and quiet, you can enjoy a fine drink with influencer-worthy views of the New York skyline. Whether you’re heading out or staying in, the Modernhaus Soho is a worthwhile reason to reacquaint yourself with the city that never sleeps.

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Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
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