118 W 57th StNew York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
Although one of the biggest hotels we visited in New York, Le Parker Meridien, to a certain extent, has the look and feel of a boutique hotel a quarter of its size. It is blessed with energetic public spaces, fresh, contemporary design, great places to eat and the finest fitness facilities you'll come across in any hotel in the city. Its location isn't bad either, at the heart of everything in Midtown Manhattan, minutes from Central Park. An attractive option for couples, families and friends alike, whether in The Big Apple for business or pleasure, we very much liked this property and would strongly recommend it to all.
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Le Parker Meridien is situated on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues just three blocks from Central Park. Carnegie Hall, MoMA, the Rockefeller Center and shopping on Fifth and Madison Avenues are pretty much on your doorstep while Times Square and the theatres of Broadway are a little further south. For transport you're also sorted with 57th Street and 7th Avenue metro stations minutes away. JFK is 19 miles away, La Guardia 10 miles and Newark 17.
The hotel offers rooms and suites in different sizes and with varying amenities although all the bedrooms are appointed similarly. The standard room, some of which have views on to Central Park, has a generous square footage and the décor is understated yet sharp and clean. The bed is smartly made with custom reddy orange duvet and matching pillow cases and sits against a wall panelled in lacquered wood with both lamps and reading lights. A Tivoli radio alarm clock sits on the bedside table while opposite is a flatscreen television implanted into a swiveling storage unit. In the closet you'll find an enormous safe and iron and ironing board and there is a desk and Aeron desk chair face the window. A well-stocked minibar is located in the unit next to the closet. The bathroom, which also features the wood paneling as well as a black marble vanity, has a bathtub, Peter Thomas Roth toiletries, hairdryer and custom white robes with orange ties. The shot glasses for rinsing your mouth are a nice quirk. The larger Deluxe rooms have another 100ft² and so space for a living area with a couch, armchair and coffee table. Moving on to the suites, their bedrooms tend to be slightly smaller than the guest rooms allowing for a more spacious living space. The Junior Suite has a separate lounge which features a couch sunk into the window sill and a series of attractive autumnal canvas above a second sofa. It boasts a pouring bar and closet (with umbrella) hidden by a plush red velvet curtain. The swiveling unit housing the television (and in these rooms a DVD player) spins 180° so it can be watched either in the bedroom or the lounge. The larger suites, such as the Corner Suite and the Central Park Suite have kitchenettes and are of course more spacious, the latter having a sofa bed for extra guests. The Diplomatic suite, as well as having stunning views, has a dining table and chairs making it great for longer stays in the city or for business meetings. The crowning room of the hotel is the Presidential suite which has no kitchen, but does have a screening room with an 80" plasma screen and a deep bath and bidet in the bathroom.
It would simply not do for Le Parker Meridien to have a lobby that did not echo the magnitude of the hotel and so it comes as no surprise that the entrance hall is quite magnificent: lofty ceilings, contemporary seating and lighting and Greek-style arches supporting galleries up above. Both the reception and concierge boast original works by Damien Hirst reigning down upon them, while an explosion of small squares occurs on the carpet. Adjoining the reception area is a marble-floored space with perfectly aligned seating and a row of lamps crossing diagonally overhead. Off the reception are the hotel's three eateries: Norma's, Knave and the Burger Joint (see Food and Drink). Gravity runs the hotel's fitness and wellness services which are second to none; indeed, President Barack Obama stayed at the hotel expressly for the gym. There are two floors of the finest cardio and weights machines as well as free weights and all the equipment you could possibly require for the best workout of your life. Incredibly for a hotel Le Parker Meridien boasts racquetball and basketball courts and classes for spinning, kickboxing, yoga, pilates and sculpting. You can take your anger out on one of two boxing bags and for something a little more light-hearted why not try a Wii workout! Instructors are available for guidance and advice. Gravity also offers a limited wellness programme with facials, massages and waxing available. The hotel is one of the few in New York to have a swimming pool which is on the rooftop and has a terrace. The hotel is spotless and extremely well-kept and has unique touches such as beautiful fabric on the corridor walls and a Droopy cartoon playing in the lifts.
Food and drink
With four places to eat you won't go hungry at Le Parker Meridien. First up is Knave, a high end espresso bar housed in a cathedral like setting with a long stained glass atrium running the length of the room from which hang gothic chandeliers. Where there would be stained glass windows recounting a particular scene from the bible there are mirrors and where there would be pews there are tables and chairs for enjoying a morning beverage and croissant or, a little later, a sandwich and a glass of wine or a beer. From late afternoon Knave becomes a bar where you can enjoy cocktails and nibbles in an angelic setting. Norma's, named after the late Jack Parker's wife, is a legendary address, particularly for brunches. In fact Zagat guide liked it so much that it ranked it as its second favourite place in New York to pig out late morning. Open from 7am to 3pm, it serves pancakes, all kinds of French toast, eggs they way you like them, crepes, salads, sandwiches and other dishes, all in substantial quantities. The restaurant has 120 covers and on a busy day can serve 700 dishes! If you fancy reliving the outrageous Norma's brunch experience at home then make sure you grab a copy of the cookbook. For a good old fashioned New York burger then make a bee line for the tiny Burger Joint off the hotel's lobby, but get there early or else you risk having to join the queue which often wraps around the lobby so good are its burgers. The place actually did one better then Norma's and made it to number one in Zagat's list of the top burgers in the city. The room cannot be much bigger then 200ft² and its walls are covered in celebrity autographs and as well as framed photos, posters and raving reviews from every magazine that matters.
One of the largest hotels in New York with 731 rooms on 42 floors, the hotel is part of the Jack Parker Corporation started in 1955. Jack has now passed away, however his wife actually still lives in the property. Last year (2009) the hotel underwent a soft furnishings renovation which explains the impeccable state of the rooms.
Dated, impersonal (in every sense) and a slave to mass tourism, The Salisbury is a ghastly hotel which probably only survives thanks to its proximity to Central Park. It appears as though not much has changed for several decades at this property which is in serious need of an upgrade. It is void of character, pretty grim and full of package holiday clients looking for the cheapest possible deal. The members of staff, some of whom seem more interested in their mobile phones than the guests, have a laissez-faire attitude and would quite obviously be somewhere else. With no amenities, wifi you have to pay for and poor quality accommodation, we see no reason, aside from price and location (and even then you can find something better, in the same area, for a similar price), to come and stay at The Salisbury.
It is difficult not to get excited about hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park as it encapsulates everything one would dream about New York before having visited. With a commanding position right on the city's most famous green space, its services and amenities are amongst the finest in Manhattan: generously proportioned and excellently appointed guest rooms, fine décor and furnishings throughout, a spa very much in the tradition of the hotel and a restaurant which is not, proving that despite the hotel's classic appearance, it can still keep up with modernity and the demands of its guests and neighbours. This is a hotel where quality has a price but if you're going to buy it anywhere, then consider this property before you do.
A centrally located property, just minutes away from Central Park, The Blakely is a smart mid-range hotel with spacious rooms, good amenities and a decent little restaurant just next door. Decorated throughout with a nod to the English country manor, the hotel is suitable for those in the city for both business and pleasure and would also be a good base for those on extended stays thanks to the kitchenettes in each room. The service, at times, left a lot to be desired, however on the whole it is competent, while the condition of the hotel too is largely in order. Quiet, low-key and fairly intimate, you probably just about get what you pay for at The Blakely.
Take a step back in time and enter the golden age of 1930s travel at the Jumeirah Essex House. Formerly the tallest tower in New York, this Art Deco icon, which opened in the same year as the Empire State Building, was refurbished in 2007 just after its takeover by the Dubai-based hotel group and looks excellent for it. From whichever way you look at it, the hotel exudes class and has everything to put it right up there in the same mould as the greats: gorgeous rooms, a privileged situation, a fine restaurant and savvy staff. Thoroughly recommended by easyvoyage.co.uk for all types of travellers, whatever you're your motive for being in the city.
Very little has changed at the Wellington since we last visited. It is still the hotel par excellence for mass tourism with some of the cheapest rooms available in the city. The saving grace of the hotel is its location making it a practical base for seeing the sights, shopping and the theatre. But aside from that the hotel has little appeal with little character, dated décor and crowds of tourists milling around the lobby. The hotel is apparently under constant renovation although the results of that are difficult to see. Recommended for those on a budget who are in search for only the most basic amenities.
If The London NYC was a person, it would be confident, sassy, unpretentious and happy knowing that it would never be a fully fledged member of the A-list crew as, anyway, who wants that, right? It has all the positives of a well established five-star luxury hotel such as The Pierre or The Four Seasons, plus a touch of modern luxury, minus the price tag. Although only just over four years old, it has established itself as a real alternative to the big players and as an affordable step up from the large chains. It is blessed with a dream location, some of the finest interiors we saw in New York and a restaurant from our very own Gordon Ramsay. One of our favourites!
Classicism, luxury, and refinement characterise the Plaza - one of the must of the American megapolis. No doubt that even the most demanding clients find the environment, the amenities, and the equipment to be all they dream of - everything in a sumptuous decor in "French Renaissance" style.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Take a step back in time (through a passage lined with suede and leather, of course) to the golden age of travel and the magnificent new Art Deco hotel The Chatwal. Opened recently in August of 2011, it has quickly become one of the places to stay in New York and to be honest, it isn't difficult to see why: a dream location in the heart of Manhattan, superbly appointed, world ?class accommodations, a luxury spa and a fine restaurant. Marrying both old world glamour and modern day luxury, this 'baby grand' hotel will appeal to those looking for good old fashioned service in a romantic setting with everything that makes this a great city within reach.