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27 2015

The Pros and Cons of Hip Hotels—And How to Suss Them Out

Who else has a love/hate relationship with super-hip high-design hotels? They’re one-of-a-kind, which means they’re unpredictable, which means you never know what you’re going to get. And that can be good or bad. While each such hotel is unique, I’ve always found similar pros and cons.


The pros:

  • They’re in cool up-and-coming neighborhoods (e.g., London’s East End).
  • They’re relatively affordable—because even young sexy hipsters have a budget.
  • The Wi-Fi is usually free. (These hotels know how connected millennials need to be.)
  • They typically have black-out curtains; guests tend to sleep late.
  • The chance you’ll get woken in the morning by screaming kids is rare.
  • There are unique, artsy items for sale in the gift shop (and sometimes even in the room itself).
  • What with all the unusual visual details, they’re highly Instagram-able.


The cons:

  • Rooms may be tiny, with lighting designed for zombies.
  • Nights can be noisy, since partying guests tend to stay up late.
  • There may be no in-room coffee maker.
  • Bathrooms may be miniscule, with little light or counter space.
  • There may be bizarre inconveniences such as no phone, no TV, no safe….


All of that is why, when I look up such hotels on TripAdvisor, there are three extra steps I take—besides reading reviews—to suss them out:


I study the “Traveler photos.” Because they highlight deficiencies more than hotel management’s photos do, they’re your best indication of just how funky the bathrooms will be. (Do you see any counter space?)


I click to “Room Tips” because they often point to drawbacks you need to know. Say you’re considering the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn; Room Tips will warn you which rooms are noisy. (Anyone headed to a hip hotel should pack earplugs anyway.)


I look up the hotel’s restaurant. That’s because even if I choose not to stay at the hotel, it’s fun to go for drinks or a meal and check out the scene. You can get that Instagram shot without losing any sleep.


You’ll find more advice from Wendy at

Categories: Wendy Perrin

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