In a big, important new story in New York Magazine, lad about town Jonathan Van Meter writes about a thrilling New York trend. Chic boutique hotels — Ace Hotel, the Standard, the new Gansevoort — are now hotter than nightclubs.

Van Meter sets the scene:

Somehow, a handful of stylish boutique hotels in midtown spawned an army of imitators that marched out across the country to places like Las Vegas and Miami, where the volume got turned up-way up-on their lounge-y lobby scenes and then someone had the bright idea of just putting a full-fledged disco in the building for guests to slosh around in. All of this has boomeranged on New York City and created a kind of happening-hotel arms race in which we now find ourselves with a multitude of (somewhat similar) options: Which young-adult theme park with modern-day Playboy club and pool on the roof do I want to go to tonight?

None of them? No, we kid. Or, you know, we're complete nightlife Luddites, but it doesn't mean you have to be!

So which hotel is for you? The Bowery is a little more grownup, as is the nearby Cooper Square. Though the Bowery has the more exclusive lobby.

"I get calls still from people who try to come sit in the lobby," says [hotelier Eric] Goode. "They will text me and say ‘This guy won't let me sit down.'"

You can't sit in the lobby! What would R. Kelly say? So the Bowery wins the exclusivity contest. Plus, the Cooper Square? Well, let's have superentrepeneur André Balazs tells us what's wrong with the Cooper:

"The Cooper Square is such a travesty of architecture. It's really sad. The rooms are awful. Not that they haven't spent a lot of money, but the concept …" His face wrinkles up like he's smelling ten-day-old leftovers.

Over on the West Side there are the nonstop party palaces the Standard and the Gansevoort. If you want to feel like you're in LA or Miami, go to those. But we know what hotel you're really looking for.

The Jane, which is MacPherson's domain in a partnership that Goode qualifies as "a little dysfunctional" after ten years, feels a bit like the Chelsea Hotel without the art, history, or crazy people. "There's really nowhere downtown that has that eighties gritty New York sensibility," says MacPherson, describing the hotel, a former flophouse with tiny rooms that go for $100 a night, as a rock-and-roll Royal Tenenbaums meets Barton Fink. "If you are a 19-year-old runaway," he says, very genuinely, "we want to be your hotel."

You hear that, you little wraiths hanging outside the Chipotle on St. Mark's? The Jane is waiting for you. You have $100 a night, yeah?

So that's that! The hotels and their nightclubs and even lobbies are so exclusive that when you're in town, you from-somewhere-else scenester you, you should just stay in your hotel. Yeah, never leave. Don't walk around the city. Don't come to regular bars. Don't go to normal restaurants. Just stay in your hotel and then take a cab to the airport and bye bye!

How Manhattan Nightlife Has Become Synonymous With Its Hotels [NY Mag]

[Image of the scene at the Gansevoort: Getty]