This New York hipster hotel is big on style but not space

The place

Arlo Soho, Soho, New York City

The location

Just off New York's Canal Street in the city's Soho district in Downtown Manhattan, the hotel is in a quiet neighbourhood just a short walk from the Hudson River to the east and Chinatown to the west.

The space

The Arlo Soho offers 325 rooms across with various layouts including king, queen or bunk beds. Downstairs is home to a bar and restaurant, along with a 24-hour bodega (grocery). There's also a rooftop bar where yoga and fitness classes are held in the mornings.

The vibe is young and funky, with bright colours, friendly staff. There's a coffee lounge and liquor bar on the ground floor, along with an open air courtyard. Both seem popular for guest and locals to set up their laptops and work through the afternoon.

A wall covered in post-it notes offers tips and highlights from previous guests and you are encouraged to share your own.

The room

The Arlo calls its accommodations "micro rooms" and they're not kidding. My "alcove king room" is tiny. The king-sized bed, as the name suggests, sits in an alcove by the window. There's no space between the foot of the bed and the wall (which has a TV mounted in it), which means clambering over your sleeping partner if you need to get up in the night.

The shower and toilet take up a decent amount of the room space, with the sink outside near the entry door. There a small desk that folds down adjacent to it. A rack for hangers is available but the only real storage space is underneath the bed (which has been designed for this purpose).

Although we're not in one of the busier parts of Manhattan, there is a fair amount of traffic here (the entrance to the Holland Tunnel is nearby) so there is a bit of traffic noise.

The food

Harold's Meat + Three, a southern-influenced restaurant on the ground floor offers "proteins paired with three sides from a plentiful list of seasonal vegetables, grains and starches" and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The hotel's rooftop bar, Good Story, offers views of the Hudson and is a fine spot for an evening cocktail or beer. In summer, the bar does light meals and snacks, mostly in the Tex-Mex variety.

Stepping out

Guests get complimentary access to bicycles, which is a great way to explore the area. Take a bike to the Hudson River and follow the bike path, separated from the road and Manhattan traffic, down to Battery Park where you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

If you have the time and the energy you continue around the southern end of the island and go as far as the Brooklyn Bridge (and perhaps even take a ride over it).

The verdict

The rooms are very small, but given you're in one of the greatest cities on Earth, you probably aren't planning to spend much time in your room anyway. The hotel offers a cool, youthful vibe for those looking for a hip place to stay.

Essentials

Rooms at the Arlo Soho start from $US199. See arlohotels.com/arlo-soho/

Highlight

Staying at this hotel will make you feel less like a tourist and more like a New York hipster.

Lowlight

The micro-rooms really are micro.

Craig Platt stayed with assistance from the Arlo Soho.