The "wow" factor is high at the Bowery Hotel, which channels the kind of grand mansions E. M. Forster would have inhabited (think ultra-luxurious colonial outposts). The lobby—which you should visit for a drink, even if you don’t stay here—is decorated with fine pieces of woodwork and furniture salvaged (I was told) from European churches and historic homes; the tile floors and walls, too, speak of long journeys from abroad (Morocco, most likely). But though the hotel looks old, it was actually built in 2007 by New York University as a dorm (they changed their minds and sold the building off). Oddly, no two guest rooms are alike (you’d think NYU would have wanted more consistency), but all are light-bathed and comfy, with more antique furnishings, fine linens, and a teddy bear (dressed as one of the bellmen), gracing each bed.