The timing couldn’t have been better: on the same day that I was to stuff myself at the Cheesemonger Invitational, a reservation fell into my lap for a night at the Box House Hotel, the year-old hotel on Box street built to cater to… well, I’ll see if I can work that out by the end of the post.  That weekend, I got the pleasure of staying in one of their duplex loft suites, which basically amounted to a staycation in the apartment I wish I could afford.  Stuffed to the brim with the world’s variety of dairy and not feeling like navigating the back streets of Long Island City at around 11 pm, I pulled out their card and called up the front desk, visions of their oft-spotted white classic cab in mind.

No dice.  The cab service runs 10 to 6 most times and a little less on Sundays, much to my chagrin.  One hike over the Pulaski later, I was at their door and warmly greeted by the late-night staff.  Making my way up to the room, the building’s conversion from an old door factory (though well done, to be sure) was plain to see.  The designers and decorators seek to incorporate the massive steel beams and industrial piping of the building into the room layouts, to good effect.  Entering the room, the first thing I noticed was the exceptionally high ceiling and ample windows that open to the city beyond.  The views from this space are highly touted, though what you get from the rooftop is mostly Pulaski bridge with Manhattan around the corner.  I actually appreciated this, though – Box House makes no attempt to hide its surroundings in the same manner it embraces the industrial past of the building, and having a relaxed coffee (provided free via the in-room pot) in the morning while watching my morning commute go by without me was a pleasant change.

Which brings me to my central question: who is this hotel for?  at $300 a night for the duplex loft, it’s certainly not usually for me.  Despite the smooth website, it’d be equally wrong to call the Box House Hotel luxury accommodations.  It simply doesn’t have (and doesn’t seem to want) the pomp and polish of a swank Midtown hotel.  Instead, it has the charm, and comfort of your investment banker friend’s (y’know, the one who drops off his laundry and has a maid come twice a week) apartment that you’re watching while he’s out of town for the weekend.  The bathrooms are like yours, only cleaner.  I spoke to one guest, a sweet middle-aged Australian woman in town to visit her daughter, who lives nearby. She gave me a good insight: the rooms (some of which are much cheaper than the loft) all have nice little kitchens and full refrigerators and the building has a pleasant gym and good sauna, making it on the whole ideal for a longer stay.  This would be a perfect place to put up your wedding party, your parents for a long visit, or your well-to-do uncle in town from Warsaw.  It’s laid back enough so that you don’t have staff tripping over eachother to do the things you’d rather do for yourself anyhow but as clean, pleasant, and comfortable as you could want.  She even praised the location, odd though it was, since with the 7 train just over the bridge one can be in Manhattan very quickly.

While it’s unlikely that most of us will end up staying there ourselves, it’s good to know that we have someplace nearby to put a visitor besides our couches or the YMCA.

Roof Deck View

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