We're going to stick our necks out here and say that of all the hotels we have stayed at in this city, the Setai probably takes top spot. Of course there are many different types of hotel in the city and not everyone is looking for what the Setai has to offer, but as on overall experience, it can't, in our opinion, be bettered. The rooms are not only some of the biggest in the city, but they are likely to be the best appointed in terms of amenities too. The stunning, contemporary spa is as luxurious as it is spacious and in its restaurant the hotel has one of most memorable dining experiences to be had. But what impressed us most, and where the hotel rises above it competitors, is the consistent attention to detail and impeccable service the likes of which we've never seen. Although new (November 2010 opening), this is right up there with the old masters and the best thing is that it can only get better!
The Setai has a central location on Manhattan on Fifth Avenue at 36th Street, meaning it is right at the heart of it all. All within a 15 minute walk are: the Empire State Building, Macy's, Penn Station, Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the theatres of Broadway. There are plenty of shopping opportunities too in the area as well as restaurants and bars. There are several subway stations close to the hotel which will take you uptown, downtown and to Brooklyn. JFK is 16 miles away, La Guardia 9 miles and Newark 15.
As part of the peerless service at the Setai, each guest is assigned a personal assistant who will contact you several days prior to your arrival in order to introduce themselves and to take care of any special requests you may have. This assistant will then be available throughout your stay and is contactable at any time. Another feature which proves how important guests' comfort is at the Setai is the non-existence of check-out times. You can stay in your room for as long as you wish on your day of departure and not have to worry about hanging around in the lobby or elsewhere waiting to head to the airport.
The most striking feature of the tower's exterior is the bedroom windows which are faceted at 45° angles allowing guests to look straight down onto the street (not advised for vertigo sufferers!). The building's uprightness and brilliance is a tribute to the experience one lives within its walls. As you enter the lobby you will be greeted by the doorman and taken to the backlit, amber onyx panelled, black marble welcome desk where a charming receptionist will check you in and introduce you to your personal assistant (who has their own desk just to the right). Any one of the aforementioned members of staff is able to answer questions and will go out their way to make your stay comfortable. They manage with sophistication to find that fine line between being friendly without intrusive. Tall flower arrangements at each end of the reception desk give a theatrical sense to proceedings while opposite, the sublime art piece 'Falling Rain' by Santiago Villanueva hangs down, enwrapped by a circular staircase. As is the case throughout the hotel, the design makes use of clean, angular, horizontal lines which really underline the already spacious spaces.
The entire fourth floor of the hotel is given over to Auriga, the hotel's spa, and its fitness room. An equally warm welcome awaits you here too as does an impressive array of facilities and treatments. The centre boasts eleven treatment rooms, including two for couples, stunning, luxuriously appointed male and female locker rooms with sauna, steam room and ice cove, a mixed sex hammam, plunge pool, television area and a common area for pre- and post-treatment relaxation with complimentary drinks and snacks. Throughout the facility are small niches to rest and it features stylish, contemporary furniture, artwork and décor in line with the rest of the hotel. The treatments, carried out using natural products from The Organic Pharmacy, are designed to reflect the energy of the moon's universal rhythm and each one is dedicated to a particular phase of the moon. As well as these signature treatments, guests can indulge in massages, body wraps, exfoliations, facials and slimming and cleansing cures. For those in a hurry, 15/30 minute treatments are available too. Julien Farel has a feng-shui inspired salon within the spa offering hair, make-up and nail care, while the impressive fitness centre with official Olympic equipment also has a yoga studio for private classes.
Other services offered at the Setai include a business centre, complimentary wifi in public spaces, complimentary pressing service for up to five items upon arrival and a free shoe shine. Finding your way around the hotel is simple as well as pleasurable and there are several large lifts to get you to your room.
The hotel offers a mixture of guest rooms, suites and apartment suites, all of which are appointed along similar lines and feature more or less the same décor. At just under 4ŕm˛, the standard rooms are impressively spacious. They are divided into two halves with the bedroom at the front and the bathroom behind. The room has a king size bed dressed in custom Pratesi linens and Italian walnut finishes and furniture which include desk, bedside tables and open hanging space. In one corner is an incredibly armchair and foot rest next to an occasional table with fresh orchids. Amenities include flatscreen television, iPod docking station, espresso machine, complimentary minibar, dial up and wifi internet, cordless telephones, safe, iron and ironing board, bath robes, slippers and shoe kit. You'll find a welcome gift of chocolates upon arrival and cookies on your pillow at night. The spacious marble and walnut bathroom boasts a long, double vanity with a make-up counter and stool between sinks, deep Zuma soaking tub, separate shower, separate toilets, a television screen embedded in the large mirror and custom Lorenzo Villoresi toiletries. As well as ample light coming in through the angular windows, the in-room lighting is also excellent. The other guestrooms and suites have similar setups and have either larger surface areas, terraces or living areas within the bedrooms. The most spacious rooms are the apartment suites which boast separate living and dining areas and Miele kitchens. The Penthouse apartments have two bedrooms and can be combined to make a four bedroom apartment. Guests in these suites have the luxury of being driven round Manhattan, subject to availability, in the hotel's house car, a Maserati.
Opened the month following the hotel, Ai Fiori is the hottest new Italian/French restaurant in Manhattan. Located on the second floor of the hotel, this latest venture for acclaimed chef Michael White serves a highly refined cuisine using sensational ingredients, all in a stunning room with dramatic flower arrangements and still life photography by Cecilia Paredes. The service and attention to detail is irreproachable as is the food, which was regal from start (the amuse-bouche brought before the meal) to finish (coulant di cioccolato), and with a prix-fixe option at $79 in the evenings, this is unbelievable value for money. Not only this but the wine list runs into many hundreds of bottles, many of which are displayed in the wine wall to one side of the restaurant. The lunch menu borrows from the evening choice, but also has some lighter options, while at breakfast specialities such as Swiss chard frittatas with truffetto or sweet/savoury polenta are served alongside more traditional continental or hot dishes. Adjacent to the restaurant is a trendy bar and lounge area with a marble-topped bar, mirrored ceiling and Japanese-themed photos also by Paredes. Here you can enjoy cocktails, wine by the glass and light snacks including mussels, diver scallops or cheese plates.
Downstairs, at lobby level, is Bar on 5th, which features a central fireplace, black oak hardwood flooring and art pieces and books in the tall custom bookshelves. It's a very cosy and intimate space, perfect for informal business meetings, meeting with friends or simply relaxing with a cocktail or glass of wine. A light food menu is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner (tartines, salads, sharing plates, etc) while every week night the Setai 3 jazz trio entertains between 8pm and 10pm.
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flights June : average price