For my #hotellife, I get to explore new hotels, restaurants and bars in the city every week, as a hobby. Yes, it really is as fun as it sounds. This past weekend, I wanted to relax poolside in the sun so I checked into the ultra-trendy Dream Downtown, one of my favorite lifestyle hotels in New York. I've stayed before but only during the dead of winter, so coming back felt like a whole new experience.
One of the reasons why I love Dream Downtown so much is because the color palette just screams my name: grey and ivory with magenta accents, which give the room a sleekness that's modern and but not at all stiff. Bubble lamps dangle over the low, zen-inspired bed. Circular patterns and windows instill a nautical, submarine-like experience, where I am deep city diving into a contemporary oasis. Balcony rooms offer a view of either the courtyard/pool or the boxy windows of Google. Request the courtyard, especially during the summer.
The vibrant lobby is connected to Bodega Negra, a Mexican-style coffee shop/restaurant/bar which specializes in tequila, and also provides the in-room dining. Dream Beach, the much hyped about pool-lounge, is accessible via a stunning ivied staircase towards the back of the lobby. If Poison Ivy did a collaboration with the Little Mermaid, this would be it. As soon as I checked in, I stripped down into my bathing suit and flip-flopped my way to the hottest hotel pool in the city.
Dream Beach is open seasonally and for hotel guests only, but you can purchase a day pass for $60. At just 4 feet deep, don't expect to actually dive or swim more than a lap before being tempted by one of their irresistible summer cocktails, which include Kelvin slushes (available virgin or spiked). Get it spiked.
Not only is watermelon my favorite fruit, but I also drink spicy cocktails more than I drink water -- it's the truth (and I'm not too proud if it). The Spicy Sandia (tequila, watermelon, habanero, lime) totally hit the spot on a hot and humid afternoon.
For dinner, we went to Toro, the Spanish tapas bar which opened up in the former Nabisco Factory. The dining room channels the lively spirit of Barcelona and features industrial elements as homage to the building's history. The menu offers both traditional and modern tapas, combining regional Spanish flavors with local, market-fresh ingredients. Pro-tip: Request to sit by the chef's counter to see all the live action!
On a morning coffee run, my partner (in crime) and I wandered to the bustling Chelsea Market and just couldn't pass up on an oceanic indulgence at the Lobster Place Seafood Market. Yes, we had kumamotos for breakfast, and uni too -- it's a lot more tasty and fun when you can scoop it out yourself. Fresh from the shell; fresh as hell.
Who else craves hot food on a hot night? We do! Dinner was at Uncle Boons, the buzzworthy Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in NoLita which serves creative South Asian eats and cocktails in a cozy (almost claustrophobic) space. Since you are supposed to feel transported to a Bangkok night market, I didn't mind the light shoulder rubbing in return for delicious food and spicy Thai beer.