400 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018New York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
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!
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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.
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 4àm², 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.
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.
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.
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.
One of New York's newest hotels, The Strand is a well conceived property with a fresh look and a youthful personality, of which easyvoyage.co.uk got a sneak preview before its opening in early December 2009. It has well appointed rooms with a subtle use of colour, some nice touches unique to the hotel (motion-censored air con) and perhaps best of all a rooftop bar to rival those of any of the city's hotels. It is true to say that the hotel's location is not in the most attractive part of the city, but it is still not far from some of New York's biggest attractions and is great for transport links. In addition, it does something that very few hotels in the city do nowadays and that's to offer a complimentary breakfast. We recommend this hotel for leisure travellers, in particular couples and groups of friends (families would also enjoy the hotel, however there is not a huge amount of space for larger families).
It all started right here in 1984 when Andrée Putman, the celebrated French interior designer, unveiled the Morgans hotel and triggered what was to be arguably the greatest phenomenon in hotel history by creating the boutique hotel. Renovated last in 2008, still with a large input from Mrs. Putman, the property has kept the same values which has made it and the other hotels in the group of the same name what they are today. An innovative design, functionality, a renowned restaurant and a superb location combine to produce a property which still meets the heavy expectations placed upon its shoulders. Recommended strongly for friends, families or couples as well as those in town on business. Once a classic, always a classic.
This high class property is everything one would expect from New York's only Japanese-owned hotel: exceptionally calm and quiet, meticulously decorated and appointed and very much focused on giving the very best customer service (which is succeeds in doing with flying colours). With its immaculate, generously sized guestrooms, top class restaurant and bar and excellent location, there is very little for us to pick holes at at The Kitano. While a large proportion of the hotel's guests hail, naturally, from Japan, any demanding traveller will appreciate the luxury and professionalism of this wonderful establishment which would suit any type of traveller to the city.
The very first Kimpton hotel to see the light of day in New York, 70 Park Avenue is a smart hotel with a great location which has recently been renovated to bring it (almost) up to date. Its rooms, which have recently been partly renovated, are still not quite as impressive or as spacious as those in its sister properties, but they are nicely appointed and want for nothing. The restaurant and bar provide an added pull to a property which is largely patronised by a business clientele, although there is no reason, unless you are looking for something particularly trendy/luxurious, not to consider 70 Park Avenue as a tourist.
A firm favourite with the 'in' crowd since its opening in 2001, the Bryant Park Hotel stills packs a punch despite its seniority over some of its closest competitors. The design is pretty sleek and contemporary and the restaurant and bar are certainly of the type to attract the type of clientele needed for the hotel to retain its trendy status. Although some of the rooms have no view, they are very well-appointed and many give on to the park just across the road. If you are travelling as a couple or family and want the very best of Manhattan on your doorstep then you should very definitely consider booking here, providing you have a considerable budget.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.