Discover: The city that’s so good, they named it twice! (part 1)


The only city I can be talking about is New York City.  My love affair with New York began 17 years ago when The Domestic King took me for my 21st birthday (I told you he was the best Papa in the world!).  And to this day my passion for this incredible city hasn’t waned one bit.

Since that long-weekend back in 1995, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a regular visitor. Whilst the City has changed in many ways, the excitement I feel as I walk through the exit doors at JFK hasn’t changed at all.  Everything I want to share with you about NYC would result in the longest post on earth, so I’m splitting my guide to NYC over a few separate ones.

I’m kicking the first one off with where to stay.  I’ve selected hotels at different price points. Manhattan is an easy city to navigate, so unless you really want to be near a certain attraction, I don’t think it really matters where you actually stay.  Just pick one that takes your fancy and which fits your budget.

The Ritz Carlton Battery Park (Downtown).  I’ve been lucky enough to stay here on a few occasions in one of the harbour facing rooms, which have spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty. With exemplary service, luxuriously appointed rooms, the best hotel beds I’ve ever slept in and delicious food, this is one of my must-stays at the top-end of the budget.  And if you really fancy a splurge, book a Club Room – you won’t be disappointed.  From $405 a night.

6 Columbus (Midtown).  Located just off Columbus Circle (hence the name!), 6 Columbus is within a cat’s whisker from Central Park, the shops at Columbus Circle and the Lincoln Center. If you like trendy boutique type hotels, then you should think about booking 6 Columbus.  Off the lobby is Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, which serves delicious Japanese food.  Guests are also able to access Above 6, an exclusive indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge, overlooking Central Park.  From $180 a night.

Gansevoort, Park Avenue (Midtown East & Murray Hill).  Located on Park Avenue South, just a couple of blocks north of Madison Square Park (home to the original Shake Shack) and not too far from the sublime 11 Madison Park restaurant – is the wonderful Gansevoort.  The Empire State is just a few blocks away and can be seen from many of the rooms. Unsual for NY hotels, are the size of the rooms; with most measuring a quite spacious 400sq ft.  Like it’s sister hotel in the Meatpacking District, this hotel boasts a roof-top pool.  But, this is not just any roof-top pool, oh no!  It’s a heated indoor-outdoor rooftop pool, coupled with a trilevel bar, giving this hotel serious glamour!  The glass floors extending out over Park Avenue provide a birds-eye view of the chaos below…although be warned this is not for the acrophobic! And if you need some more glamour, then hop in one of the chauffeured Porsches, which will chauffeur you around some of Manhattan free of charge!  From $285 a night.

The Standard Highline (Meatpacking District).  The Standard is a stunning glass high-rise hotel, with wonderful views over the Hudson.  There’s a very cool bar on the 18th floor that offers full-circle views of Manhattan.  And if keeping fit is a priority, there’s a well-equipped gym and free-bicycles to go cycling along the Hudson.  It’s a hop and a skip from Pastis and the superb Highline – more about both of these in future posts!  If being near some of the coolest night and fashion spots are important to you, then this is the hotel to pick.  From $275 a night.

Ace Hotel (Midtown).  This reasonably priced hotel is not far from 5th Avenue, the cavernous Macy’s, The Empire State Building and the New York Public Library.  It is also home to The Breslin, a super restaurant from April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, founders of the Spotted Pig.  With free Wi-Fi, a gym, some rooms with a Smeg fridge, this hotel is pretty perfect!  Oh, and did I mention a photobooth in the lobby?  From $199 a night.

Crosby Street Hotel (Soho).  This fantabulous hotel is the Firmdale Group’s first foray overseas. If you’ve never come across some of Firmdale’s other hotels, then the best way to describe the design would be classic, contemporary, English elegance, with a bit of kitsch thrown in.  If you’re there on a Sunday night, keep it free to snuggle up in the 99-seater screening room.  If you fancy a hotel that feels like you’re staying in a friend’s large, luxurious home, then look no further than The Crosby Street!  And if eco-friendly is important to you, you’ll be pleased to know that The Crosby has been awarded The Leed gold award for the greenest hotel in New York state.  Just a few steps from Spring Street and Broadway, The Crosby is the perfect location.  From $505 a night.

Hotel on Rivington (Lower East Side).  The Lower East Side is the area du jour, and the Hotel Rivington is as hip as the neighbourhood it’s located in.  Located in an area that has copious cafes, restaurants and bars, foodies will be in their element.  A short-walk from The Rivington is Katz’s Deli (more in another post on this NY institution!).  The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows are incredible – gazing out at the iconic buildings, whilst soaking in an oversized tub, is pretty special.  With complimentary Wi-Fi and cookies at turn-down, this is a great hotel to pick if you want to stay in an area that’s less touristy and a bit more “real”.  And with the hotel’s restaurant, CO-OP, serving delicious mac ‘n’ cheese – what’s stopping you?  From $245 a night.

Smyth Tribeca (Tribeca).  If you’ve seen Kim & Kourtney Take New York (I’m ashamed to say that I have seen this!), then you’ll be very familiar with this hotel.  With slick interiors (think homage to Mad Men), a young vibe, an apartment-style feel to the rooms and amazingly helpful front-door staff, the Smyth is a dream stay.  Being in Tribeca, it’s very close to pop over to Brooklyn, pay your respects at Ground Zero, walk down to Battery Park to take the ferry over to Staten Island, or sample the many restaurants in this area.  From $259 a night.

The Franklin (Upper East Side).  If museums are your passion, then seriously consider staying at The Franklin.  Located on East 87th, it’s very close to “Museum Mile“.  And if haute-couture fashion is your thing, then never fear, as Madison Avenue is an easy walk away.  The Franklin is a gem of a hotel on the Upper Eastside, both cosy and inviting.  The moment you step through the door you feel as if you’ve come home.  Despite the rooms being small, ok very small, they are extremely well-appointed: Bulgari toiletries, iHome docks, free Wi-Fi and delicious Frette lining.  If you’re a coffee lover, then you will adore The Franklin, as they provide espressos and cappuccinos 24/7.  And if that wasn’t enough, they also include continental breakfast (with pastries from a local bakery) in the price of the room, a cheese and wine reception every evening between 5pm and 6.30pm and to work off all that cheese and wine, there’s free passes to The New York Sports Club.  Amazing value I would say!   From $199 a night.

Mandarin Oriental (Midtown).  The Mandarin in NY is everything you would expect from this first-class hotel chain.  Sumptuous rooms, a bar with incredible views, and one of the most well-connected concierge teams in NYC.  The Mandarin is conveniently located at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center, and just a short-walk to Central Park, the shops of 5th Avenue and the Lincoln Center (home to the New York Philharmonic, New York Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera).  Also nearby is the famous Carnegie Hall.  The Mandarin also boasts a 14,500sq ft spa overlooking the Hudson River – the perfect place to recharge after walking for miles!  If money is no object, or you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, then I wouldn’t hesitate suggesting you make a reservation here.  From $695 a night.

This is just a small selection of hotels I would recommend, my list could go on forever.  Other hotels which I would highly recommend are:  The Royalton, The W Downtown (in fact any of the Ws), The Conrad, Soho House, The Mark, The Hudson (albeit offering tiny rooms), The Intercontinental in Times Square, The Plaza and Pierre for more old-world charm, The Mercer in the hub-bub of SoHo and The Gramercy Park Hotel, to name but a few!

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. If you’d prefer to stay somewhere a bit more homely, and possibly more reasonable, check out onefinestay.com (apartments start at $135 for a 1 bed) and AirBnB also have some brilliant apartments to rent.
  2. Take a look at lastminute.com and travelocity.com and see if they’ve got any top secret hotels available.  If you’re not comfortable taking a punt on where you might end up, copy and paste the description into google and nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to workout which hotel it is.
  3. Jetsetter.com is also a great source for NYC hotels – often having secret sales too. They have a sale on Hotel on Rivington next week!
  4. Check around a few different websites – different websites can charge vastly different prices for the same type room.  Trivago is a great comparison site that I use.
  5. When making bookings, check the price includes tax.
  6. The best prices are not always on a hotel’s website, so call the reservation department and see if you can negotiate a better rate, or include Wi-Fi if it’s not included, or breakfast (rarely included in the price of US hotel rates), or an upgrade to the next grade of room.

If you’ve visited NYC, please share your favourite places to stay in the comment section below.  And NYers, please be ready to share your must do activities, the most delicious places to eat, where to find the best coffee (I’m not talking Starbucks!) and anything else NYC related.

Do you love NYC as much as me? Have you stayed in any of my recommendations?  And do you have any good tips to share on getting deals at hotels?

As I’m finishing this post, I’ve just heard that NYC is experiencing another terrible storm – stay safe NY, I love you!

With much Big Apple love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Comments

  1. Bob Howells says:

    Great post – interesting and informative with very good tips. I could easily be tempted to The Franklin for another stay in the wonderful Big Apple! After London, NY is my favourite city. My three visits have never disappointed, but in addition to the countless tourist and cultural attractions, four things I’d do again would be: walk across Brooklyn Bridge then stroll around Brooklyn; take lunch in The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station washing it down with a couple of pints of glorious Guinness; search out any exhibitions in The New York City Library; stroll around Greenwich Village pausing to relax in The White Horse, a warm, friendly pub, little changed from the Fifties when it was a favourite haunt of Dylan Thomas and his bohemian writer friends!

  2. Anytime anyone talks about NYC, I get incredibly happy and giddy like a 4 year old child! Maybe it’s something about my having left there almost 1.5 years ago, but my love for that city is just growing and growing. I have to agree with the comment above about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but I would follow that with a pizza from Grimaldi’s and an ice cream from a small shop next to the river on the other end before exploring Brooklyn. I’d also add go to a Yankees game to your list of things to do, as well as get a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity and go for an early morning run from Battery Park up the west side Hudson River 🙂 Looking forward to part 2.

  3. The Domestic Prince says:

    I can’t really say what my one favourite thing is about NY, but one thing I love doing is exploring all the side streets and finding independent cafes, restaurants, bars and all sorts of small shops. When me and the Domestic Princess were there for a month last year we found an awesome little coffee place just a block or so away from where we were staying. There are too many places to write in just a comment!!

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