151 W 54th StNew York, United States of America -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
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!
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Right in the mix of things on West 54th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, the hotel has a fine situation close to many of the major tourist attractions: Central Park and Carnegie Hall to the north, MoMA and shopping on Fifth and Madison Avenues to the east, Times Square to the south and Broadway to the west. Need to get to another part of town? No problem. Just hop on one of the metros at one of the three stations which surround the hotel or head to Grand Central, around a 20 minute walk away. JFK is 19 miles away, La Guardia 10 miles and Newark 17.
The tower that houses The London NYC is tall and slim (rather like its personification might appear) meaning that there are only around 10 or so rooms on each of its 54 floors which in turn means a high degree of discretion for guests. The room types are divided into Suites and Luxury Suites and further subdivided into categories. Whichever room you opt for, it will be supremely designed with the highest quality furniture, the utmost style and the best thing is that it will never ever date. The standard room, the London Suite, is beautifully appointed and presented meticulously and is available in several colour schemes. The bed is dressed in Fili D'Oro Italian linens and has a thick plaid draped over its end with pillows and cushions placed perfectly at the head. On one side of the bed is an iPod clock radio docking station and on the other is a telephone with screen display. The third piece of technology in the room is the flatscreen television mounted on the wall. Above the padded leather headboard is a mirror stretching the width of the room which gives an extra spatial dimension. At the end of the bed is an extremely smart trunk concealing the iron and a lint roller. The rest of the room is finished off in white paint, with the ceiling having a gloss finish and the floor covered in a grey fishbone carpet. Through the mirrored double French doors is the salon area, featuring limed oak floor and a large bay window in which is installed a banquette which has been custom woven for the hotel. From behind this soars a lamp which arches over the couch and hovers above a round marble specially designed for the hotel in conjunction with Gordon Ramsey. It screws up and down depending on whether it is being used as a coffee table or for dining. Next to this smart set up is an embossed leather desk with, pulled up to it, a gracefully carved work chair. In one corner of the salon is a modern interpretation of a classic rocking chair, upholstered in cream leather with a wooden frame whose inferior part is painted black. You'll also find, just near the entrance to the room, the well-stocked minibar, which has paisley-covered doors and above this is a pouring station with bottle opener, swizzle sticks and an ice shovel. The brilliantly white spacious bathroom, which is separated from the rest of the room by a sliding door, is fitted with hand cut tiles and a marble vanity, features a roll in shower (or a single shower and a bathtub), giant mirror and Clear toiletries. The hotel's Vista rooms are the same as the London Suites, but are slightly larger and are situated higher up the tower, thus boasting a better view. The two-bedroom suites have an adjoining bedroom which can be closed off. The first of the Luxury Suites is the Sky Suite which measures just short of 1,000ft². The bedroom itself is fairly similar to that of the regular suites aside from the presence of the limed oak parquet and rug and the paisley wallpaper behind the bed. There is also a drawer unit for a little extra storage. Between the bedroom and the salon is a large floor to ceiling window in front of which is an uber-design perspex chaise longue with leather cushion and an oversize open closet. The salon is an extremely comfortable space centered upon the seating area of couches and coffee table. It comes complete with flatscreen television and full entertainment system. Just behind the couches are a chic little marble table and chairs above which is a highly original modern dark glass chandelier. The rest of the space is dotted with a beautiful light wood sideboard, objets d'art, lamps, photos and mirrors. The London Apartment is even grander with a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, marble fireplace and an array of objets d'art and books. The spectacular Atrium Suite has a glass ceiling offering panoramic views of Manhattan as well as a dining room, while the Penthouse, the hotel's masterpiece duplex apartment, boasts 180° views of the city, including Central Park, the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge, multiple bay windows, a kitchen and dining area and two bathrooms. All rooms have complimentary in-room internet and wireless access and of course safes.
You will not see a smarter hotel front entrance than that of The London NYC. Two oversize plant pots, each one containing a topiary Bulldog, stand either side of a grey carpet stretching the width of the brilliantly shiny front door, itself flanked by perfectly nipped shrubs. Above all of this is a glass overhang with greenery on the inside edge. The stunning lobby features a marble floor with a black square motif which is reflected in the ceiling. The reception desk appears right in front of you as you walk in meaning you don't have to go searching for it like you do in certain other hotels (extremely annoying!). Behind the desk is a huge tapestry by Elizabeth Deshayes based on Hyde Park in London which depicts caricatures enjoying a day out walking dogs and playing with not a care in the world; an image the hotel likes to associate itself with. To the left is a fireplace and further round in the same direction is the concierge desk. The idea behind there being no seating in the lobby is that it resembles the entrance of a grand residence, for which David Collins is renowned, and that there is no gathering of large crowds; people can congregate if they so wish on the first floor. The London NYC Club is the hotel's gym and is equipped with the latest cardio and weights machines as well as the Kinesis Wall, a concept whereby a chosen muscle group can be worked on by using a series of equipment in a particular way, demonstrated by a video on a screen next to the apparatus. The 24-hour facility also has a stretching area with punching bag and guests can help themselves to water, towels and earphones. There is no spa in the hotel, but guests can dial Spa Chakra direct from their room for in-room treatments. Alternatively, you can go and visit them on Fifth Avenue. The whole hotel, from top to bottom, is impeccable in a way that seems almost impossible to achieve and everywhere you look class stares right back at you, for example the suede room number panels on each door. And of course the staff is friendly and professional and charming.
A hotel of the standing of The London NYC is obliged to have a restaurant reflecting this repute?and it does, in the form of Gordon Ramsay at The London and Maze. Love him or hate him, he has created one of the finest hotel dining experiences in New York. Maze, which is modeled on the chef's Michelin-starred outfit in London, is the informal option for lunch and dinner. The décor, also signed David Collins, features hefty stone columns, handcrafted silk embroidered wall treatment as well as a suede-lined ceiling. At lunch time the vanilla-braised pork cheeks were cooked to perfection, the Carnaroli risotto of butternut squash was to die for and the crème fraiche panna cotta with market strawberries, Rooftop honey and strawberry sorbet capped things off divinely. The service, as you can imagine, having been overseen by the perfectionist himself, was flawless. And at $28 for two courses and $35 for three, the value is simply outstanding. The dinner menu is pretty extensive with such mouth watering dishes as Maine lobster with white radish honey vinaigrette and hand dived sea scallops roasted with spices, golden raisin purée and cauliflower beignets for starters and honey and soy roasted quail with sautéed foie gras and spiced pear chutney or twice cooked poussin, roast Coq-au-Vin with prune purée and foie gras velouté for mains. Alternatively you can choose from a much shortened menu with four courses for $60 or six for $75-still incredible value. Adjoining Maze is The London Bar, which serves breakfast (continental and cooked) and afternoon tea as well as cocktails and wine. For fine dining at Gordon Ramsay at The London there is both an à la carte menu and a prestige menu. The former includes dishes featured on the Maze menu plus new ones such as Berkshire pork loin with black pudding, romanesco apple and cider jus while the latter (of which there is a vegetarian option, unusually for Mr. Ramsay) is priced at $150 for seven courses (and another $95 for wine pairing). For the ultimate dining experience why not dine in the kitchen at the chef's table. For just $1,000 at lunchtime or $1,400 at dinner (divided by 8 places, excludes wine pairing) you can savor nine courses right in front of the chefs and even have a go at whipping something up yourself. For your money you will enjoy champagne on arrival and each course will be explained to you by the chef who prepared it. If you think that all this works out at less than £100 per person it really is worth considering if you can assemble the necessary numbers.
In 2010, the restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars, to go with the countless others that Ramsay has amassed over the years.
The London NYC has carved out for itself a great position in the New York hotel market, just below the traditional players and has an image unlike any other hotel we saw. The hotel was designed by David Collins, the British designer and architect specializing in residential and retail space. His other projects have included the restaurants J Sheekey and Locanda Locatelli in London, as well as interiors for Vivienne Westwood and Victoria's Secret. He was chosen precisely for his lack of experience in hotels which has turned out to be an inspired decision - all parts of the hotel exude impeccable taste.
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.
Primarily a business hotel, but also a feasible option for those travelling for pleasure due to its central location, Flatotel is a modest property which would make an ideal base. It is not a hotel that will blow your socks off with great innovation or world-beating design, but has everything you need to enjoy your stay in New York whether here for work or play. Exceptionally quiet, functional rooms with masses of space, this is one to be considered if on a humble budget.
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 you are on your first visit to the city and looking for a funky hotel close to the New York that we are all familiar with from the movies then this is the place for you. Renovated in 2011, just a year or so prior to our visit, the Ameritania is a fun, young-at-heart property with reasonably large, well-appointed rooms, interesting public spaces and a restaurant on the way soon (more info as we get it in). But perhaps the biggest advantage of the hotel is its Midtown location. Close to so many of Manhattan's famous attractions, it is also well served by public transport and there is a host of restaurants and bars in several nearby neighbourhoods. There are several little touches that we especially liked here that help it to stand out which is why we would certainly recommend the Ameritania as a base for your New York trip, whether it be business or pleasure.
Step back in time to the golden age of Hollywood at the Warwick and experience what some of the biggest names in show business did back in the 30s, 40s and 50s. As well as a rich history, the hotel has beautifully appointed rooms, a renowned bar and a dream location at the heart of all the main attractions. This is a place where service takes priority (as in all of Warwick's properties) and comfort is assured. Don't expect modern design and a trendy, artsy staff-that's not what the Warwick does. If you are a couple or a small family looking for old fashioned hospitality and calm then we'd recommend the Warwick without hesitation. One of the most distinguished hotels in New York.
Our feelings about The Michelangelo can be summed up by telling you that within 30 seconds of entering the hotel we had come across four members of staff who impressed us! This is probably all you need to know, but for the sake of this review we'll continue! The hotel, a favourite for obvious reasons with Italian visitors to New York, is a fine, classically appointed property with a great Midtown location. It boasts spacious, perhaps slightly dated, but still comfortable and functional guestrooms, a decent lobby restaurant and an excellent staff. The big sell though of The Michelangelo is its style and ambiance which is pretty unique amongst New York hotels. A great place to stay whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, as a couple, family or group of friends.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.