3 -min. read

In 2004, well before major hotel companies began putting forth their millennial brands, InterContinental Hotel Group launched Hotel Indigo. Intended to be individual properties influenced by the local neighbourhood, Indigo offered what the then emerging class of traveller wanted from hotels—a comfortable room with thoughtful design, genuine service, and free WiFi. Indigo was never meant to be a full-on luxury brand, nor was it meant to be a contemporary design brand, but certain touches—hardwood floors, photo walls, little haikus left on the desk, spa benches in the shower, and local hangouts downstairs—often made Indigos feel either luxurious, contemporary, or both. (Case in point: Hotel Indigo Shanghai.)


But now, more than 10 years since the first Indigo opened in Atlanta, and a few years since seemingly every hotel brand has begun courting millennials, Indigo is now changing its course ever so slightly.


Hotel Indigo LES which opened on Ludlow Street the other week (across from the ultra-cool Ludlow Hotel) has ditched some of the Indigo hallmarks, like the photo walls, the haikus, and the spa benches, in favour of more contemporary and more locally influenced design. Hence the artwork from LES street artist Lee Quiñones which adorns the sky lobby on the 14th floor and the walls of the 293 guest rooms; mini-bars inspired by the pushcarts often found on the LES at the turn of the 20th century; and iron fixtures in the bathroom. Hardwood floors and surface rugs remain, while Frette sheets are on the bed and C.O. Bigelow toiletries are found in the bathroom. (Previously, Indigo used Aveda toiletries.)


This Indigo also puts a premium on socialising. The 14th floor sky lobby is pretty much a giant loft offering up nearly 360-degree views of lower Manhattan. (Since the hotel is one of the tallest building in the LES, the views are spectacular.) One floor up is the 8,750-sq.ft. Mr. Purple rooftop restaurant and bar operated by the Gerber Group, which also features an expansive outdoor terrace, complete with a pool. When the weather gets nice again, here’s where the party will be at. Mr. Purple also operates the sky lobby café and bar serving quick bites, coffee and juice in the mornings and afternoons. While the hotel doesn’t have room service, guests can order the Mr. Purple items for delivery to their room.


Of course, Hotel Indigo is still more “programmatic” than an artsy boutique hotel, but the new hyper-localised design and style approach really does elevate the Indigo experience from something safe and comfortable to cool and exciting. And this will be what guests can expect from the new Hotel Indigos that open in the future, especially the ones in major cities. Already, we’re curious to see what Hotel Indigo will do for downtown Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin in the coming years.


Room rates at the Hotel Indigo LES start around $415 a night.

[Photos: Hotel Indigo LES and Juliana Shallcross/LE Miami]


Juliana Shallcross
A self-confessed hotel addict, Juliana Shallcross has been reporting on hotels around the world for more than a decade. She was previously the managing editor A good portion of her job involves sleeping in new hotels, obsessing over technology and keeping tabs on the ever-changing hospitality landscape. She's based in Los Angeles.

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