Last night I slept in my own bed for the first time in weeks, the night before that I slept in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic flight 10, and the night before that I slept on the 11th floor of the Standard in New York’s Meatpacking District.* You know the one overlooking the High Line? Yes, that one.
* And the night before THAT I slept in Mississippi, so I am a bit all over the place right now.
Years ago, I had the good fortune to go up on the roof of the Standard in Downtown LA and have some drinks with some string theorists (as one does) and we had an awesome time! It was a chilly night in January, so we didn’t jump in the pool and the place was basically empty, but we admired the amazing view over whisky, and lolled around under the heat lamps in the indescribably cool waterbedpodthings. The big red ones. If you’ve been there you’ll know them.
Because I had such a great time there, I was really excited when they finished building The Standard at the High Line. We rocked up there a couple of years ago and the first thing I asked was whether there was a rooftop bar a la LA. It wasn’t finished yet, sadly, but we put the NYC Standard on our growing list of places to see and be seen.
So Friday night we made good and checked in after clawing our way out the depths of middle America, and I have to say there isn’t a more polar opposite to Mississippi than the Meatpacking District. But look, I am no yokel fresh from the farm. I’m a passport-carrying Londoner now, and I’ve seen a bit of the world, and I fly business class more often than your average Southern/British girl so I can handle a bit of pretentiousness.
Or so I thought.
(I don’t normally put dollar signs next to my glam experiences, but for a bit of context I am going to do that here. This is not to brag, this is for context, for historical accuracy, okay? Bear with me. I don’t like it but it adds to the story.)
After sitting in traffic for ages, we finally arrived at The Standard about 9pm on Friday night. When we checked in, we thought things would be great because the lovely girl at the desk upgraded us to a better room (which Mr Man had specifically requested when he made the reservation anyway). We went up to the room in the shiny black lifts with the amazing Heaven/Hell Dante’s Inferno video art playing on screens inside them. So far, so swank.
The room, though, was…interesting. In that it was white and minimalist and actually not as nice as one would expect after forking over $750 for a night. It reminded me rather of a white dorm room, except with a staggeringly amazing wraparound view of Manhattan (we got a coveted corner room) and a sweet bathtub. It was quite small and a bit cramped and we barely fit our entourage of luggage in. I appreciated the Kiss My Face toiletries and the art wank magazines, and it was a nice enough room, but in all seriousness you can get a bigger and better room for half the price in a 5-star hotel in Midtown. From flattering angles, it was sort of 2001…from unflattering angles not unlike my first grad student apartment.
The first thing we did on arrival was get tarted up a bit to go to dinner at The Grill, which I’d had the foresight to book reservations for. It was crowded with lots of gorgeous young things, and the food and cocktails were really great. Nothing mediocre here, and I in fact wholeheartedly recommend that you also make reservations and go one evening after a walk on the High Line. The Lift Ticket cocktails are grand, and the portions were more than generous, so you really don’t leave hungry. We had a lovely dinner here, and left divinely satisfied around 11.30 to see about this rooftop bar business.
Now, we asked about it all when we checked in. We were told to go around the corner after 11 to get access. Being residents of the hotel, we mistakenly thought that getting in would be no problem, queues notwithstanding. I mean, maybe it is presumptuous of me to assume that paying for the privilege of staying in a bling hotel also gains one access to any attending restaurants and bars, but that is how it usually works. In civilised places, anyway.
Not at The Standard. Nope. Upon arrival, we spot the queue, and then the doorman, and then two blonde bints shoved in front of us and duly gained admission solely for being hot and rude, I guess. Way to reward the admirable qualities of high society. I (attired in a white cocktail dress and silver strappy sandals, just to set more context) bent down to address the small doorman: “What ho, good sir,” say I, “we are guests of this fine establishment.”
“The hotel door is over there,” says he.
I am utterly taken aback. Is it so odd and unusual for people staying at the Standard to want a cocktail on the roof? Is this so out of order? “No, I was wondering if perhaps we might have a small drinkette upon thine rooftop?”
He casts his Mad-Eye Moody eye upon us. “Sorry. Members and guest list only.”
I was speechless (but inwardly OMGRLY?!?) and so we made our way back up the Dantean elevator to our room. While standing there waiting for the lift, some chirpy bellhop asked, “Hey, have you been up on the roof yet?” Well, we TRIED. God, how killing. So we went “home” to our dorm room, whereupon I removed all of my clothing, hairpins, and makeup, and laid down for a good cry in the bath for an hour. I was tired and emotional after such a long day, and honestly being made to feel like an ugly old bat just capped it all.
Mr Man, being the proper chivalrous sort, was outraged and rang up the concierge to find out what gives. Their helpful information? “At the doorman’s discretion.” Oh, so it doesn’t bother you that paying guests are crying in their bathtub after not being able to get a simple drink on the roof despite paying the GDP of Sudan for a room and dinner? At the time, I wasn’t even attempting to get into the ultra-exclusive legendary Boom Boom Room* bit of the roof, JUST THE ROOF. FOR A DRINK. MAYBE A DANCE. For god’s sake, there was none of this queueing for the doorman experience in LA, and it wasn’t as if I didn’t try and make an effort and dress up. And if our attire was lacking in any way, the guy could have just said, I donno, put some heels on and we’ll talk, sister, because it isn’t like I didn’t have FOUR bloody suitcases upstairs. Christ.
* The funny thing is, I have been to the Boom Boom Room before, the REAL one, the one that is a blues club in San Francisco.
So the next morning, we woke up (or I did, Mr Man got NO SLEEP due to noise and I mercifully had earplugs in). We had a bit of french toast room service, and enjoyed the view and the late checkout. Then we had a bit of a wander around Chelsea and along the High Line and whatnot. Our town car wasn’t due to fetch us until 7pm for a 10pm flight, so we had a lot of time to lark about and the weather was fab, so that was nice. We ended up lunching back at the hotel and with two more hours to kill, we thought we would take just one more stab at this rooftop drink thing (as you can tell, it was actually quite important to us to get up there, because I hadn’t shut up about the wondrousness of the LA roof for 5 years).
Around the corner, Mr Man accosted the chap on the door. He demanded to know where the resident’s entrance was and what attire would pass muster with dress code. The guy demurred. Mr Man had none of it. We were finally told what a simple google would have told us had I had access to 3G (FFFFUUUUU, AT&T), so we had our luggage retrieved for suitable attire and had a quick costume change. I wasn’t about to pimp myself out for these assholes again, so I just went for the skinny jeans/blazer/ballet flats uniform. Then we got into the lifts and uttered the magic incantation and checked it out.
Unbelievably, IT WORKED. We walked right in. We sat down at the bar of the Boom Boom Room and ordered drinks. Was this so hard, people? Could you not have just said?? Why all the runaround? We were not young and trendy enough for you? Is our money not green (or in this case, BLACK) enough for you?
I started out with a vodka and soda from a surly bartender (who was nonetheless hot, all the bartenders are smoking smoking hot), but the next bartender was super lovely and sweet and I asked him to make me a bourbon cocktail of his choice so he made me an Attitude Adjustment. It was lovely. I wore my big sunnies and a rockabilly band (The Debonairs) warmed up in front of the serious view behind the serious windows.
We checked out the roof terrace, more staggering views.
We checked out the craylarious loos, with MORE staggering views, god the loos were the best bit, really.
Then I had one more long drink courtesy of the lovely bartender, and as the band cranked out hits from the 50s and anorexic chicks danced in a cringeworthy way, we made our exit and were whisked away to civilisation and lived happily ever after. Was it worth it?? Not sure, my friend, not sure.
Sorry this turned out to be such a saga, but the whole experience was quite surreal: 24 hours in The Standard NYC. In short, if you want to pay about $1000 dollars to be wined and dined and be made to feel like the most utterly pathetic ugly worthless nobody ever, go stay at the Standard in the Meatpacking District. Otherwise, save yourself the hassle and just press 18.