NEW YORK CENTRAL PARK (*****L): Housed
within a striking 33-story 1930s building designed by Emery Roth, the
former legendary St. Moritz Hotel shows a perfect definition of what
“ritzy” actually means. An authentic palace hotel, the Ritz-Carlton New
York Central Park opened in 2002, becoming a top end address in
Manhattan. The Plaza, Sherry Netherland and Pierre are located a
stone's throw, and the fierce competition with those brilliant
properties acts in favour of the guest, welcomed like a nabob and
treated like a king. A superabundance of anticipating staff expected us
from the door till the cosy lobby, for a courteous and express
check-in. We felt like in good hands from the very first minute of our
stay, and the smart but not stiff reception and room staff, concierge
and butlers, educated in the best international hotel management
schools, ranks atop the best in the Americas.
THE SHERRY NETHERLAND
iconic hotel has got something magic: it transforms the traveller into
one of those happy few New Yorker, living in one of the 5th Avenue
“Millionaires Row” prestigious residences. This historic neo-Romanesque
by Schultze & Weaver, the architectural firm
responsible for The Pierre, The Waldorf-Astoria, The Breakers and other
upscale luxury hotels of the Jazz Age, topped by an elaborate Gothic
minaret, is strategically located opposite the main entrance of Central
Park. It is actually very different from the large corporate hotels
standing in Manhattan “triangle of gold”: its 50 rooms
suites, alternate with private, co-operative apartments
located in the
upper floors. The
Sherry's lobby was modelled after the Vatican Library; it is quite
small, and nobody can wander without being noticed by the staff who
knows all the guests and call them by their name. The level of intimacy
and security is optimum. The turn-of-the -century panelled
from billionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt's mansion, are masterpieces of
art operated by uniformed attendants: an endangered specie which
survives in this urban museum of deliciously “Old Style” hospitality,
employing 140 people to satisfy its very high profiled guests. This is
“the place” for the Society: a pied-a-terre at one of Manhattan's best
addresses, without the upkeep and staffing expense of a
New York residence for American business and political leaders; not to
forget Hollywood stars, who like the stylish though informal atmosphere
at The Sherry which is still, as advertised in the 1920s, “ more than a
place to live…. a way of living”.
LOTTE NEW YORK PALACE (*****L): More than a century ago in 1882, Henry Villard, one of America’s most prominent financiers, commissioned McKim, Mead, & White, the outstanding architectural firm, to create an exquisite private residence. The Villard Mansion, located on Madison Avenue, surrounds a large open courtyard and was conceived in the neo-Italian Renaissance tradition, after the Palazzo Della Cancellaria in Rome.
The hotel opened in 1980, as The Helmsley Palace: topping the Villard Mansion, which stands proud as the grand entranceway, with a modern 55-story tower. The dark bronze, reflective glass skyscraper integrates fairly well the urban environment.
The Lotte New York Palace is a genuine palace. The impeccable service, coupled with plush interiors, exudes luxury without being snobbish: it made our overall experience very similar to our recent stays in legendary palace hotels like Le Fouquet's (Paris) and The Oriental (Bangkok). With 733 guest-rooms and 86 Towers Rooms & Suites, keeping such a top level of service comes as astonishing as remarkable, indeed. Our beautiful Junior Suite was located in The Towers. Perched on the top 14th floor, it has a separate reception lobby and dedicated concierge, private high-speed elevators, Acqua di Parma bath amenities, and Maitre d’Etage Service. Our large suite had sweeping views of the famed 5th Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The inspired Art Deco décor was lovely with plush fabrics and elegant yet comfortable furniture.
The Lotte New York Palace four signature penthouse Triplex Suites are guaranteed to impress even the most seasoned travelers, with a vertical design that captures the essence of the city with a chic Manhattan vibe. With 5,000 sq-ft stretching through three levels, there are soaring panoramic skyline views from every angle, and on the top floor, a true rarity for New York City, a 1,500 sq. ft. private rooftop terrace and a wood-burning fireplace. This ultimate New York luxury has a price: USD 15,000 per night. In contrast to the modern Triplex Suites, The Lotte New York Palace offers the opulent, classically decorated Royal Suite. Spanning over 3,000 sq. ft. of the 45th floor, the suite resembles the private quarters of an exquisite chateau. Created by French interior designer Pierre Court, the suite is truly one of a kind and sells for USD 20,000 per night.
The Lotte New York Palace offers approachable luxury as well! With gorgeous views of the city skyline and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Executive Lounge offers a 3,789-square-foot retreat 39 floors above the bustling streets of Midtown Manhattan. In addition to offering two food presentations daily, the Lounge also features three state-of-the-art meeting rooms available for private rental for groups of up to eight people. We had fabulous food and enjoyed the wine and beer bar on a nightly basis. The lounge is offered to guests staying in Executive Level suites from floors 30-39.
The Villard restaurant can’t be missed. Located inside the Villard Mansion, it specializes in chic breakfast and brunch, amongst the most attended in town.
Lotte New York Palace is a wonderful
and unique property exuding a supreme elegance.
We didn't inspect The Plaza until it reopened in 2008. Nostalgic guests miss the «old Plaza»; since the hotel has been partly converted into a 152 apartments condo, with «only» 282 hotel rooms and suites remaining. In May 2007, a new apartment was sold for a USD 50 million... just to show how prestigious the place remains!
We stepped into the lobby, and recognized the already familiar, gilt caravanserai seen in «North by Northwest», «Crocodile Dundee», «Home Alone 2» or «Sex and The City». Glad to see that this Beaux Arts masterpiece had been refitted in its original opulence. Right or wrong, we have crossed many tourists visiting the lobby, taking plenty of pictures. This might look somehow a curb on the guests' privacy; though we could perfectly understand that the lobby was well worth a shot. More particularly the legendary Oak Room and Oak Bar, renovated with the original painted murals, wood-paneled walls and barrel-vaulted ceiling, with a view of Central Park that is incomparable. Thus this fine dining place has not been rated yet by the Michelin Red Guide, Chef Eric Hara is actively challenging for one star or two in a near future.
The rooms are classy; though some of them lack the character one might be expecting in a palace hotel. A wireless flat-panel display provides an array of concierge services, as well as the capability to control the interior ambience. The bathrooms are ritzy. Just make sure you book a room or suite with a Central Park view: it is worth the stay.
review the hotel in further details within a few months, just to see
come the service and dinning, once this luxurious vessel had reached
visiting New York on a regular basis, looking for a good value luxury
hotel, already know this address. Featured in the best travel books,
promoted by mouth to hear, it has the ambience of a country
in Manhattan best business and shopping
area, plus a classy French
note. A cultured hotel for cultured travellers, with an inviting
library-lounge and Internet access for ALL guests (serving
complimentary breakfast, evening snacks, cheese and wine...), a
fireplace and a well tuned grand piano in the best suites (the “Royal
Suite” is splendid, with a private terrace), not to forget the highly
distinguished staff who looks sometime more high-society than the
casual elegant clients, the Elysée is worth the mention amongst the
-and much more expensive- hotels which we have experienced in NYC.
This is now a very attractive boutique hotel, totally redesigned by Jordan Mozer, who has crafted a central hearth made of blown glass. An inlaid apple blossom in the floor and on surfaces throughout the public spaces leads guests up the glass-enclosed spiral staircase to the lounge and Opia restaurant. The 200 guest-rooms and suites are outfitted with birch paneling, 340-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and marble tile and sinks in the bathroom. In addition, the upper floors of the property's corner carriage house hold a fitness center and two suites with exposed brick walls.
The small, dark lower lobby doesn't reflect a luxury hotel: this is just the basic place to check-in and drop the luggage. But once in the first floor, we felt like so much in New York. A classy, innovative, multicultural atmosphere exudes from everywhere. This is the heart of the hotel. The place where the action is, attracting a brilliant clientele from the Upper East Side and Madison Avenue chic areas.
A perfect complement to New York City's East 57th Street & Lexington Avenue's prestigious galleries and fashionable shops, the hotel is mainly targeting a young, active and rather wealthy clientele. The public areas are quite concentrated. and animated in the evening with DJ lounge music, which we enjoyed very much. However, the more mature travelers over 50 years old will certainly prefer a more classic brand from the Marriott group of hotels.
The guest-rooms are smart, comfortable, featuring a European design with warm birch wood paneling, big flat-panel televisions, and spacious marble bathrooms with Aveda bath products. We have been lucky enough to stay in a Deluxe Room with a large terrace overlooking Midtown Manhattan: thes best location, with Central Park, Carnegie Hall, and some of New York's finest dining and museums at the doorstep.
liked very much the genuinely
friendly and most efficient staff, the complimentary access to high
WiFi in the public areas, the «à la carte» fine breakfast
in the Opia restaurant, owned by two French business partners, and
saving packages making this hidden gem of a hotel accessible
to a larger
category of travelers wishing to be part of Manhattan's vibes.
57 NYC: 130 East 57th St. New York City, New York 10022 USA
RENAISSANCE NEW YORK HOTEL TIMES SQUARE (****L): This newly redesigned hotel stands in Midtown Manhattan's world-class entertainment district. Safer and more attractive than ever, the gentrified Times Square and Broadway now offer a pleasant environment for families: this a a cheap shopping alternative to the nearby 5th Avenue. Central Park, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building are just a few blocks away.
This 26-floor, 310 rooms and suites modern building has been wisely transformed by designer Jordan Mozer into a cool boutique hotel. Very American, indeed: with extremely spacious public areas and rooms, six concierge levels, impressive though quite impersonal impersonal restaurants and lounges surrounded by windows displaying breathtaking panoramic views of Times Square, its bright neon beckons, with heavy crowds and frenzied traffic jams. In contrast, the warm, intimate guest-rooms, featuring tasteful hardwood furniture, signature Revive bedding, 37" flat panel HD televisions with cable TV, luxurious bathrooms and state-of-the-art in-room technology. Soundproof windows silence the buzz of Times Square below, ensuring a restful night's sleep.
There is free WiFi in the public areas.
NEW YORK HOTEL TIMES SQUARE: Two Times Square, 714 Seventh
W. 48th Street
The rooms are classic, comfortable, though not so impressive for a five star hotel. The bathrooms are among the most lovely we have seen in New York, and the St Regis is worth a good mark for this. Now, should we pay a high rate to stay there? The reply is no; unless the St Regis undergoes a major refurbishment, renewing with its past glory.
GRAND HYATT NEW YORK (****): We dreamed to experience one of those grand, oversized hotels, characterizing New York. With 1,311 rooms “only”, the Grand Hyatt comes on the 5th position: after the Hilton NY (almost 2,000 rooms!), Marriott Marquiz, Sheraton & Towers, and the Pennsylvania. A legendary concurrent -and close neighbour-, the world famous, Indian railway-station like Waldorf Astoria, comes right after the Hyatt with 1,245 rooms. Stepping inside that kind of caravanserai is like visiting a landmark, and should be included in any tour of the “Big Apple”.
If the cyclopean marble lobby weren't so luxurious, with refreshing fountains, sitting areas, and a long rank of reception desks, it would look like the annex of the Grand Central Terminal railway station located next door... The eclectic clientele, featuring a large number of businessmen, queuing for check-in, contributes to our first impression. But the quality and efficiency of the service actually reflect a first class hotel: it took us five minutes to have our magnetic card handled with a smile by the reception clerk, and one minute to check out by introducing it into an ATM-like machine... The large number of lifts will please the impatient guest: we never waited more than 30 seconds to reach the top floors!
Many rooms have a stunning views of the bustling city streets and skyscrapers; ours was located at the rear of the hotel, and amazingly quiet. With 250-square-feet (24 Sq M), it displayed much volume and comfort. We felt like the Ocean away from the “boxes” with a basic “design”, characterizing the European railway-stations hotels. It was not as impersonal as we were logically expecting; the carpet and fabrics displayed warm colours, and the furniture was actually smart. There were cable / sat channels and VOD on the large flat-screen TV, comfortable armchair and ottoman, and an ergonomic work chair at the spacious work desk. Wireless Internet access (provided at a fee by T-Mobile), IDD dual line telephones with voicemail / data port, and even a iHome Stereo with iPod dock are part of the high-tech equipment. We enjoyed the “Grand Bed”, with European-style bedding, ultra-plush pillows, and thick down blankets piled atop irresistible pillow-top mattresses: one of the most comfortable king-size beds experienced during our visits to New York, indeed. The bathroom was quite small, but conveniently elegant: with granite vanities, imported stone flooring, marble shower stalls and deluxe Portico bath amenities. There was a laptop-sized safe, and air conditioning.
We are in the “City that never sleeps” and, of course, there is a 24-hour room service, business center and "Stay Fit" gym.
New York Central and the The Lounge at New York Central provide fine cuisine, and there are plenty of fast-food, pubs and gourmet restaurants all around. For fresh fruits or quick, yummy snacks, the Central Market (featuring bio-food) is located right beneath the lobby.
The meeting rooms and ballrooms are impressive: rivalling in size and style the Waldorf Astoria.
Many guests choose the hotel for its comfort and efficiency, but also for its prime Midtown location on the fashionable East Side: adjacent to Grand Central, putting the city's top attractions – including Times Square, Broadway theaters, Central Park and Fifth Avenue's world-class shopping - and major businesses a few steps away.
Another positive aspect of the Grand Hyatt is the fact that, being so large, it is usually possible to find a nice room, quite often with promotions, when the other, much smaller first class hotels in Manhattan show no vacancy. Try it out just like us, in Autumn, or during Christmas holidays, for instance, when Manhattan is overbooked.
fine Hyatt hotel is a regular winner
of the Corporate and Incentive Travel magazine "Award of
HYATT NEW YORK: 109 East 42nd Street at Grand Central
Club New York offers
visitors an affordable way to experience a truly luxurious vacation in
the heart of the city, and offers a variety of affordably priced
timeshare units for rent and for sale.