This past weekend we had an opportunity to go on a personal tour of Andre Balazs' new Standard Hotel here in New York. Designed by Todd Schliemann, a partner at Polshek Partnership Architects (the same folks behind the Clinton Library back in our home state of Arkansas), this 18-story glass and concrete monument that straddles the High Line is without a doubt one of Manhattan's newest architectural gems! Although there are a few minor details we think are a tad off, for the most part we're absolutely crazy about what Mr. Balazs has created with this latest incarnation of chic-boutique, Standard Hotels. With 337 rooms, the hotel boasts several other exciting features including: two restaurants (one with a floor covering made up of $35,000 worth of actual pennies) and 5 bars (one with 25 ft ceilings and an attached pool, another that's one of Manhattan's largest outdoor beer gardens). We were allowed to go into 4 different hotel rooms (designed by Roman and Williams) and the warm, serene Scandanavian/Nautical design left us humming "Looove .... Exciting and New, Come Aboard---" You get the picture. Seriously though .... the rooms are fantastic with stunning views of either the Hudson River or the Manhattan skyline and terrific aerial views of the High Line. We have to warn you though - one feature that did get carried over from the West Coast Standard is the exposed shower in each room. Not an amenity suited for the modest guest! The hotel is currently open for business, although the restaurants and some of the bars are still finishing up construction. One last detail that peaked our excitement are the elevators whose walls will be floor to ceiling video monitors simulating what it might look like descending into the depths of hell (clever ....). However, once you get a look at the new Standard you'll realize it's anything but hellish. In fact .... it's quite the opposite.