You've got to give it to Sean MacPherson. The zeitgeisty hotelier has a knack for creating the most in-demand gathering spaces for pretty young things most likely to wind up in Vogue or Page Six—all while curating a look that we'd kill to have in our own homes. Though the Marlton, with its modern chesterfields and townhouse stylings, has become our go-to spot for press breakfasts and afternoon teas in Greenwich Village, the Ludlow has a distinct character all its own.
"I try to make all my properties feel as if they belong to the neighborhood," says MacPherson. In the case of the Ludlow, that's the Lower East Side, a constantly evolving enclave that's home to artists and students but also some of the hippest restaurants in town. "I've always loved its history, from the time of the massive immigrant influx to the more recent counter culture influx." To capture that eclecticism, he combined design elements in a variety of styles from varied backgrounds. Guest rooms feature camouflage-like drapery made locally, rustic-mod wood bedside tables from Organic Modernism, and custom lighting sourced from Morocco. Public spaces take a retro approach thanks to vintage pieces: two Milo Baughman sofas were reupholstered in shearling, and antique Moroccan rugs soften the look in the Lobby Lounge.
"I was thinking a lot about the Lower East Side I knew during the '80s," says MacPherson. "At that time, rents were affordable and spaces were large (by NY standards), but it was fairly gritty, so one had to be something of an adventurer to live there. I liked the idea of a moderately privileged kid—what we call GFL (Groceries For Life)—fleeing the suburbs to the Lower East Side to try to find their place in the world. I hoped to capture both the edge and comfort of that time, place and sensibility." We say: Mission accomplished.