102 North End Avenue, New York, New YorkNew York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
One of the biggest and most hotly anticipated hotel openings in New York in 2012 certainly lived up to expectations. The all-suite, full-service Conrad New York boasts some of the biggest guestrooms in the city and some fabulous harbour views to boot. Its public spaces are a bold statement which might not meet the approval of some while the same can be said of the contemporary décor which some may see as too 'hotel chainy'. While it is true that not many risks have been taken with the room design, the restaurant, rooftop terrace, fitness facilities and business centre more than make up for this. If you are insistent on staying right in the heart of Manhattan then I guess we cannot change your mind. But for those who are open to opting for a hotel a little off the beaten track then this is one of the places to go - you will not find space and views like this in many other places.
Hilton's luxury brand offers spacious and functional suites and some pretty daring public spaces.
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Although it may not be the first neighbourhood that comes to mind when one thinks of staying in Manhattan, you should really consider it, especially if this is not your first time in the city. Situated on North End Avenue, the Conrad New York is just a few minutes' walk from the 9/11 Memorial, City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge, while a little further afield are Battery Park and the SoHo district. In terms of public transport, there are several subway stations close to the hotel as well as the PATH train, highly practical if you are using Newark Liberty International Airport. JFK is 21 miles away, La Guardia 11 miles and Newark 13.
The Conrad New York is made up of 463 suites of varying sizes, although even the smallest, the deluxe, measures a whopping 40m². One enters the suite in the living space, a cosy carpeted salon comprised of a beige sofa and dark brown suede armchair arranged around a triangular coffee table. Above the sofa are two of the 2,000 pieces of original artwork while opposite this seating area is a writing desk with lamp and telephone and above is the large flatscreen television. Moving further into the suite you come, on the left-hand side, to the wet bar where you will also find a coffee-maker, a censored minibar, snack tray, glasses and the safe. On the other side of the corridor is the WC with its large vanity, well lit mirror, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, hairdryer, make-up mirror and more original artwork. Next door is the marble walk-in monsoon shower with yet more toiletries. Finally, at the back of the suite is the spacious bedroom which features either one king size bed or two queen size beds wrapped neatly in the hotel's custom linen. Each bed, or side of the bed, has a bendy reading lamp and there is a cordless phone and an iPod docking station on the bedside tables. Also in the bedroom, along the entire front wall, are wardrobes with a mass of storage space where you will be able to find an iron and ironing board, bathrobes, slippers, umbrella, shoe kit and extra bedding. More of the hotel's art collection can be found hanging above the bed. Note that the only difference between the deluxe room and the superior rooms is that these latter are to be found higher up the hotel. There are also superior river view suites which are the same size but look onto the Hudson.
If, for some reason, you fell that you need even more space, then you could opt for either a premier or luxury suite, both situated on the corner of the building. The former boasts a separate living space, walk-closet, both a bathtub and walk-in shower and of course city views. The latter has similar amenities with the addition of a dining table with leather chairs.
All rooms also have the added amenity of the Conrad Concierge, a virtual system through which guests can make dinner reservations, order room service and request additional room amenities all through your television, laptop, tablet or smart phone.
We find it quite irritating when you arrive at a hotel, go in through the main entrance and then find that the space in which you find yourself is not in fact the reception area and that you have to go up one more level to check-in being obliged in the process to leave your bags with the doormen. This was the case at the Conrad New York so it was not the best of starts, although luckily the impact of being gradually introduced to the spectacular lobby coming up the escalator helps to soften the blow. The space is a vast, blue atrium with the Lewitt work Loopy Doopy all the way up the left hand side of the interior of the space and with triangular sculptures hanging down from right at the top of the building on fine wires. To the right, again, all the way up to the top of the tower, are the guestroom corridors while behind you the vast windows allow natural light to filter into the lobby. On the ground a series of winding seating which reminds of an airport waiting lounge (or at least what one should look like). It is only after gawping at the sheer vastness of the hall that you will notice, slightly lost amongst all the space, the reception and concierge desks both of which are manned by a superb staff with a great sense of humour and professionalism. The result is what a hotel lobby should be: the prefect introduction to the hotel with an almost tangible sense of happening and eventfulness which makes you want to spend time here looking around you.
Also on the first floor of the hotel is a gift shop known as Accents NY. Selling a mix of fun souvenirs and more serious gifts such as jewellery, decorative objects and books the boutique is a lot classier than most hotel shops and there is no tack in sight. The lady looking after the shop during our stay was a cream! The hotel's complimentary business centre can also be found on the first floor just behind reception and has several iMacs for guests' use as well as a quiet work space.
If you are looking to keep up on your fitness regime then you will not be disappointed with the gym at the Conrad New York. While not the biggest we have seen, it is very well-equipped with both cardio and weights machines and provides earphones, towels, water and fruit for exercisers.
Getting around the hotel and finding your room is a piece of cake and also a pleasure given the original public spaces. The staff we came across were always helpful and pleasant even when on one occasion we accidentally pressed the housekeeping call button and made one of the maids come to our room for nothing!
The hotel's restaurant, ATRIO, is situated just off the main lobby and serves food all day long. The centerpiece of the restaurant is its stone oven-endowed open plan kitchen the noise from which unfortunately drowns out the background music in the eating space. Although the space has large picture windows most of the light that illuminates the room seems to be of an unnatural source, which is a huge shame. At one end of the restaurant is a round marble topped bar at which there is seating while the glass fronted wine cellar lies just beyond. The rest of the space is taken up with more conventional seating for couples of small groups and even spills out into the lobby for less formal dining occasions.
If breakfast is included in your rate you will receive a voucher upon check-in which you then exchange for your meal once sat in the restaurant. However, know that the choice is extremely limited if you opt for the breakfast included option so if you are of the persuasion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day then go for the full à la carte option which includes the typical continental and hot options as well as specials such as ricotta hotcakes with Mayer lemon curd and fresh raspberries.
The lunch and evening menus are surprisingly modest and not that inspiring if we are completely honest. In the afternoon a few salads are offered as starters and the mains consist of pizzas, pastas and sandwiches while in the evening extra sharing plates are on the menu as well as a few more dishes, but nothing highly original. ATRIO also offers a bento box lunch to take away, a brunch service and a kid's menu. There is also a coffee shop open in the morning for those who are in a rush.
Between the months of May and October, the hotel's rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy, offers stunning views across the Hudson. Weather permitting, it is open every day from late afternoon until late and serves all kinds of beverages, alcoholic or otherwise and even has proseco on tap. In fact, one of the bar's specialities if the boozy icepop - an ice lolly served in a glass of proseco!
Conrad is Hilton Hotels' luxury brand and this is their first property in New York. There are over 2,000 pieces of original artwork throughout the hotel including a Sol Lewitt in the lobby. During our stay at the hotel we were told that it was pursuing Gold LEED certification for sustainability. One quirky fact about the Conrad New York is that it is the only hotel in the city to have proseco on tap!
Right in the heart of the financial district, the World Center Hotel (WCH) is an excellent service-orientated hotel which serves a mainly business clientele, but which would suit couples who have already experienced everything that Midtown has to offer. The rooms are very spacious and have some great views, the staff is extremely helpful and there are some innovative ideas in terms of guest services which set the hotel apart from the rest. Not a place for those looking for groundbreaking design or trendy hangouts, the WCH is a functional, practical base for exploring downtown as well as Brooklyn and even New Jersey.
An historic Downtown hotel, The Cosmopolitan is a quaint property which was going through many changes during our visit in February 2013. Although there is not much they can do about the small room sizes, we saw how they had started to improve the décor in the guestrooms and they were a massive improvement on what came before. As well as upgrading the bedrooms, there were also plans for a lobby bar and second restaurant so by now it should be a completely different hotel! But what we saw during our visit was a well located, comfortable hotel with kind staff and a cute local eatery on its premises. Suitable for couples and small families who are not looking for a large-scale property in the heart of the New York hubbub.
In the city that never sleeps, it's always nice to find yourself in a ?calm hotel'. In terms of hotel typologies you've got those where you plunge into another era, those where you discover a world within a world, boutique hotels and charming hotels full of character. The Greenwich marries all of this but is at once very different. A tranquil hotel, bathed in a soft light, it does one good to take refuge from the hubbub of The Big Apple. More than just a simple hotel, you'll find in this animated residence all the passions and emotions of its owner, Robert De Niro, big traveller and patron of the arts, the seventh of which he has made his profession.
The Dream is a funky, mid-range hotel with a fantastic midtown Manhattan location. It design is rather eclectic with several styles running through the hotel. Perhaps its major selling point is its rooftop bar, Ava, which boasts unobstructed views of Times Square. The rooms can be quite small and the staff unfriendly, but with its popular restaurant and unique features it is one to consider for both couples and groups of friends looking to try something a little different on their trip to New York.
New York is crammed full of mid-range, good value boutique hotels and the trend doesn't look like slowing down any time soon. So what makes Duane Street so different we hear you ask? Well, several things. First, is its perfect Downtown location. Second, its sleek décor that does not try too hard. Third, the personable and enthusiastic staff. And fourth, its innovative and exciting little restaurant and its owner. While it might lack some of the facilities that larger hotels boast, it makes up for this with its character and fine balance between trendy and function. We couldn't recommend this hotel more highly for any type of traveller, no matter how many times you've been to New York.
11 years after opening in the eponymous district of Manhattan, the Tribeca Grand is still a force to be reckoned with amongst downtown hotels. At once classy, retro and contemporary, it offers a unique architecture, well-equipped, originally decorated rooms and a first rate staff all in the trendy, exciting backdrop of Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street). Just like its sister hotel, the Soho Grand, it also boasts some quirky novelties which set it apart from the competition. If there is one criticism it would be the restaurant, where the service, while pleasant, left a lot to be desired (more in 'Food and Drink'). Nonetheless we would definitely recommend this property to all types of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families.
Gild Hall is the least Thompson-like of the Thompson group of hotels. It certainly has some of the elements that have made the collection so successful but it is probably the least trendy of the five in New York. That's not to say it doesn't have its merits: it offers comfortable, spacious and well-appointed rooms with warm décor, a full service restaurant and lounge and a great downtown location perfect for business travellers and those tourists looking for a new perspective on the city. A hive of activity during the week and much quieter at the weekend (rather like the area it's located in), Gild Hall is a cosy hotel suitable for both couples and families wanting to avoid the (touristy) hubbub of midtown.
This is the younger, more contemporary and perhaps less prestigious sister hotel the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park. But don't think that just because it isn't slap bang in the centre of Manhattan that it doesn't have its own charm and distinct advantages. Located in an area which many visitors may never come to, it offers spacious, bright rooms with fantastic views, the possibility to engage in waterfront activities and easy access to the rest of the island and to Brooklyn. Whether you are a second time visitor seeking a new perspective on the city, a family wanting greater value for money, or a business traveller looking to be close to the financial district, you'll find that the Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park meets all your needs.
Let's not mince our words; The Peninsula is quite simply one of the finest hotels in New York, even more so now it is the other side of a renovation. From the very first moment you enter the hotel you'll have no doubt about the quality of experience that awaits you. There is very little to pick holes at here where excellence comes as standard: the large rooms are finely furnished, the restaurants of the highest caliber, the spa one of the most beautiful and complete in the city and the service faultless. Like all top class hotels this all comes at a certain price, however if there was ever one hotel which could justify the cost it would be this one.
Q. What do you get when you take $150 million and put them into the hands of one of the world's greatest architect/designers? A. The Mark. Be under no illusions, what Jacques Grange and co have conceived in the leafy surroundings of the Upper Eastside is now the yardstick against which all other hotels will now have to measure themselves. After over two years under renovation with some of the most sought after names in the creative fields working on the project, The Mark has transformed itself from a decent hotel to a hotel of superlatives. Everything is top draw from the design to the staff, from the food to the wellness centre. This all, of course, comes with the price tag that its quality demands, however rest assured that no other hotel can come close to what The Mark has to offer.
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!
We were quite simply blown away by this hotel. Rare are the occasions where there is nothing to fault, but staying here was one of those - it just couldn't put a foot wrong. Generously proportioned, impressively appointed rooms are complemented by a relaxed yet top class Italian restaurant, while the spa is a sight to behold. You'll have a tough job finding a property where the service is paralleled and don't even get us started on the views! A magnificent, modern and memorable hotel, we recommend the Trump Soho to all kinds of traveller, newcomers or old hands, couples or families. A huge thumbs up.
Although no longer associated with its Parisian namesake, the Plaza Athénée New York continues to offer one of the most refined hotel experiences in the city. Its style may not be as subtle as some of its competitors and thus some many find it a little overwhelming, but there is no getting away from the fact the hotel is a class act from top to bottom. It boasts capacious, well-appointed and recently renovated rooms (January 2010), a fine wellness centre, a celebrated restaurant and bar and an impeccable service from a smart, professional staff. If you're after that classic European opulence the other side of the Atlantic then the well-located Plaza Athénée is one to consider.
This mythical New York hotel has seen its fair share of changes, both within in its walls and outside, however one thing remains constant: The Carlyle is one of the swankiest, smartest, seductive hotels in the city. The very few flaws of the hotel (for example the size of some bathrooms) can be excused by its age; otherwise there are very few hotels of this genre which can claim to offer a similar experience. Not only does it offer top notch service and facilities, but its location and commanding views are also something spectacular. Throw in a rich history, fine dining and exquisite décor and you get a hotel (literally) fit for kings. If you've got the cash, don't even ask yourself the question?
The Pierre has always been a landmark hotel in New York City?and we are glad to report that after its latest $100 million renovation following its takeover by Taj Hotels, it is still very much one of the hotels by which others must judge themselves. It is true to say that it may not have some of the facilities of some of the other top hotels (no spa, smaller rooms), but when it comes to service, style and sophistication, not to mention history, it is untouchable. With a location that would make most hotels weep with envy, fabulously appointed rooms with an Asian touch and a new, top quality restaurant, The Pierre is back on top of its game and ready to welcome once again all types of traveller, no matter their motive for visiting the city. All this comes, of course, at a price, but if you had to choose a place to spend your hard earned cash, this has got to be near the summit of your shortlist.
You may be coming to the United States to see New York, but the St. Regis is a destination in itself. The most sumptuous hotel we have visited to date in the city, its beautiful Beaux-Arts interiors are a sight to behold. It's (rightly) famed for its unrivalled service and King Cole Bar (more in 'Food and Drink') as well as its beautiful, spacious and well appointed rooms, however it does lack some of the high tier amenities of its rivals, such as a swimming pool, and the views are not quite as good. That said it can boast an Alain Ducasse restaurant and original antique décor. It's true to say that some may find the hotel's opulence a little overbearing, but let's not lose sight of the fact that this is nonetheless a true masterpiece. Even if you don't have the means to stay here, come and take a look around as the property has some unique features. Couples, friends or business travellers will all find their calling at the St. Regis.