How a Restored Bank—and New Hotel—Became NYC’s Hottest Culinary Destination

A neoclassical bank in New York City’s energetic Lower East Side neighborhood has been transformed into a luxurious boutique hotel.

The lobby of the Nine Orchard in New York City features nubby yellow couches and chairs and floral wallpaper.

The wood paneled lobby of the Nine Orchard hotel on the Lower East Side.

Courtesy of the Nine Orchard Hotel


The vibe: Laid-back glamour (and excellent food)

Location: 9 Orchard Street, New York City | View on Google Maps

Book now: Website



The AFAR take

When the Nine Orchard opened in 2022, the culinary world perked up. For the first time, NYC star chef Iganco Mattos (Estela; Altro Parardiso; Lodi) helmed a hotel program, opening both the now-celebrated restaurant, Corner Bar, and the hotel’s gorgeous cocktail lounge, Swan Room. It’s turning heads in the design and architecture world, too: Under the guidance of its new owners, the landmarked building, a former bank, has been transformed into a boutique hotel that feels as comfortable as home—if your home is outfitted with vintage furniture, Ojas speakers (with four stations broadcast by DJ Stretch Armstrong and speaker-maker Devon Turnbull), and contemporary art. From the moment you enter the handsome, wood paneled lobby—which offers a peek into the Swan Room, the hotel’s cocktail lounge—Nine Orchard exudes a polished, Old World charm.

Who’s it for?

Food and drink aficionados and socially-driven travelers will appreciate easy access to Mattos’s Corner Bar bistro and the Swan Room cocktail lounge, both hot spots for the city’s pretty young things. But Nine Orchard wants to be a respite for a wide range of travelers. Families can book two-bedroom suites. Business travelers will find comfortable tables and chairs in most rooms, as well as a daily newspaper delivery, and down in the Swan Room, morning coffee and space to linger over the paper or work. Dog owners can have beds, food, and water bowls for their pups delivered to their rooms.

The location

At the corner of Canal and Orchard streets (an actual orchard in the early 19th century), the Nine Orchard occupies a prime spot in the happening Lower East Side, right on the periphery of Chinatown. Walking out the front door is like a choose-your-own adventure: Head one direction and you can stroll beneath paper lanterns in Chinatown and drink cocktails at Apotheke, set inside a former opium den; head in another and you can snag a latte and walk along the East River.

The Nine Orchard is truly a neighborhood hotel in other ways, too. The owners restored the building’s original rooftop tempietto—an elegant cross between a dome and a gazebo—as well as the original clock that smiles down on passersby. They also partnered with contemporary neighbors to outfit the hotel: Beloved local bookstore Sweet Pickle Books curated the collections in each guest room, the local Dimes Market provides all the mini bar snacks (from organic dried mango to Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels), and the legendary Mel Bakery, just down the street, provides the chocolate-chip cookies guests receive as part of the nightly turndown service.

The owners collaborated with an architectural historian on a painstaking restoration of the 1912 building—the former Jarmulowsky Bank—including its neoclassical facade.

The rooms

Nine Orchard has 113 guest rooms, 12 of which can be converted into two-bedroom suites via an adjoining door. Three of the suites have large brick-paved terraces with plants, Grecian-style sculptures, and tremendous uptown city views. Reza Nouranian, the firm behind a number of prominent New York homes, designed the rooms in collaboration with the L.A.-based gallerist Ray Azoulay. Together, they furnished each space with a rich mix of new and old—think antique French desks and vintage chrome chairs from the 1970s.

The New York furniture company BDDW made the swirly, floral-inspired fabric headboards, the round ceramic lamps painted with blue, fern-like decor, and the ceramic room key tags.

Some rooms, including Corner Kings, Orchard Loft suites, and two-bedroom Terrace Suites, also have luxurious soaking tubs, many with excellent views. The amenities are notable, too: Nine Orchard’s shampoo and conditioner, crafted for the hotel by stylist Takamichi Saeki, are made from herbs and botanicals using a special Italian extraction method.

Be sure to take note of the art hanging in the rooms, hallways, and public spaces. Nearly all pieces were made by New York City artists or feature the city in some way. While the Swan Room holds the most arresting—a large-scale piece of two women looking out on an ocean from Brooklyn-based artist María Berrío—guests can also (informally) tour floors 3 though 12 to explore works from four artists and printed by master printmaker Felix Harlan, whose studio is nearby.

The food and drink

Even if you don’t book a night or two at Nine Orchard, it’s worth the trek to dine here, though guests do get priority booking. The aforementioned Ignacio Mattos, New York City’s celebrated Uruguayan chef who’s worked with both Alice Waters and Francis Mallmann, oversees the hotel’s food and beverage program.

An evening at Corner Bar—inspired by bistros from around the world—might include delicate oysters, the fish of the day accented with hollandaise and hazelnuts, and standout pommes frites. Do not skip breakfast: Overnight guests get a free continental spread, which includes a flaky, buttery croissant from Nordic bakery La Cabra, and coffee from Counter Culture. For something heartier, the restaurant also has a robust breakfast and brunch menu featuring dishes like the omelette Française with gruyère, asparagus, and gribiche (like a French tartar sauce).

Be sure to book a reservation in advance at the 52-seat Swan Room, especially on a weekend, when the place becomes a bit of a scene. The menu’s original cocktails are expertly prepared: Try a strawberry-accented Sbagliato Primavera, an umami Negroni with soy and mushroom gin, or go big and order the martini service, which serves up to five. Snacks range from oysters Rockefeller to a damn-fine burger (I’m looking at you, smoked-onion remoulade). The Swan Room is also where guests can linger over the New York Times and a fresh selection of pastries each morning, separate from the continental breakfast served at Corner Bar.

This fall, the Greenhouse on the hotel’s rooftop will be available to rent—imagine a holiday party with the city spread at your feet—and it will host special programming available to guests and locals.

Staff and service

The staff is available, kind, and respectful, but never intrusive. One sweet service: You’ll find flowers (like lush peonies or architectural orchids), typically arranged by florist April Johnson of Flower Psycho, but if you want more flowers in your room or to gift a bouquet to someone, the front desk can arrange it.


The hotel has seven ADA-compliant rooms, with both king and queen-size beds available. The elevators are large and easy to maneuver within with a wheelchair.

Looking to the past

The owners collaborated with an architectural historian on a painstaking restoration of the 1912 building—the former Jarmulowsky Bank—including its neoclassical facade. The Swan Room, where tellers once worked, is one of the most iconic spaces in the hotel, with arched windows and an ornamental coffered ceiling that would like right at home in Europe. Look above the bar and you can see windows where the bankers worked (and watched). The floors are Tennessee marble and the walls Botticino marble (similar to what you’d find in Grand Central Station), in a nod to the original bank. Keep an eye out for little details throughout the hotel, though, including the cornice moldings on each floor and the millwork (trim, mantels, etc.), all of which is historically accurate though not original.

Aislyn Greene is the associate director of podacsts at AFAR, where she produces the Unpacked by AFAR podcast and hosts AFAR’s Travel Tales podcast. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito.
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