A bustling, energetic cosmopolitan city, New York is known as the city that never sleeps.
But without a guide or insider tips, navigating the tourist hot spot can lead to headaches, long crowds and sore feet.
Here’s how to experience New York City, the luxurious way.
Where to Stay:
Location wise, the Mandarin Oriental New York is one of the best situated luxury hotels in the city, and its views of the city are unprecedented.
Located on the 35th through to the 54th floors of the Time Warner Centre, floor-to-ceiling windows offer high-up views of Central Park, Brooklyn and the Hudson River, the city sprawled out beneath.
With rooms spanning from standard Central Park View Rooms, Skyline View Rooms, to Oriental Luxurious Suites, every room features plush furnishings and is ornamented with Asian décor, but it’s really all about the view.
Three gourmet restaurants and bars offer luxurious food and cocktails with an Asian twist, and their rich, fancy décor makes it tempting to never leave. Health wise, the gym and wellness centre offers an exercise solution over the skyline, while the 75-foot lap pool, situated well above the city enjoys spectacular views over the Hudson River.
The luxurious spa also offers a chance to unwind with a number of lavish treatments, including restorative detox wraps, Áyurvedic rituals, Thai yoga massage and oriental essence massage oil therapies.
Located in the bustling Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental is a stones-throw away from Central Park, on the edge of the Upper West Side.
The Theatre District is within 10 minutes walking distance, and the Lincoln Centre and the Museum of Arts and Design even closer, approximately five minutes’ walk from the hotel. For public transport, subways are readily available and connect to almost every part of the city.
Prices start at $790 USD per night for a standard Hudson View Room and head upwards to $14,000 USD per night for an Oriental Suite, as well as price on request for Suite 5000 and the Presidential Suite.
Away from the city: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
A central location doesn’t just have to pertain to Manhattan. Across the river, Brooklyn is a trendy urban neighbourhood full of art and culture that deserves to be explored.
Offering a number of chic, boutique hotels that exude luxury, industrial architectural features and charm, Brooklyn shouldn’t be ignored when visiting the Big Apple.
The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, situated on the waterfront at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, offers 194 guest rooms in a unique design – the entire building contributes to the trend “eco-luxury”.
The entire hotel runs on 100% wind power energy, and 54% of the materials that make up the 10-storey building are from regional and reclaimed materials. Additionally, the hotel also uses a rain water reclamation system to help water the close-by Brooklyn Bridge park. It makes staying here feel like a luxury for the planet, not just one’s self.
Exposed beams, metallic lamps and lights and hanging plants, including a massive 25-foot “green wall” of plants in the lobby, give this space a natural, yet luxurious feel. From the common areas to the rooms, the interior is industrial luxe, with natural furnishings and wood features giving an industrial-Scandinavian feel.
Floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Downtown Manhattan skyline, along with marble bathrooms that feature rain showers, complete this luxury boutique hotel.
Three restaurants are available, offering a range of all-day dining in the Millennial, comfort food from the farm-to-table restaurant American Osprey and a welcoming café, Neighbours. There’s also a rooftop pool with a bar for those sunset drinks.
Prices start at $500 USD per night for a standard ‘Dumbo King’ room, and range up to approx. $6200 USD for the ‘Riverhouse’, a sprawling 2000 square foot, 2 bedroom retreat, complete with a hammock overlooking the river.
Eat: Michelin Star Restaurants
Overlooking the beautiful Madison Square Park, in the heart of New York City, this three-Michelin starred restaurant is one of New York’s – and the world’s best – earning the number one spot on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Eleven Madison Park offers an eight to ten course degustation menu full of New York-fine dining inspired flavours but dining here is more than just having a bite to eat. The restaurant is headed by chef Daniel Humm from Switzerland, who earnt his first Michelin star at the age of 24.
The menu, full of dishes incorporating ingredients such as truffles and caviar, celebrated with meats such as glazed duck and even a savoury cheesecake made from smoked sturgeon fish, is served over a three-hour period.
Housed in a historic Art Deco building, the restaurant underwent renovations last year, producing a décor that is as elegant as the food. Double-heighted ceilings, terrazzo tiling and hanging pendant lights give a bright, warm feel to the space, which only seats 80 guests. Private dining options are also available, suitable for up to 18, 34 and 50 seated guests.
Reservations open a month in advance and usually sell out fast, although a walk-in option is available, with more casual dining available at the bar.
Awarded a Michelin star in 2018, Le Coucou is the epitome of fine French dining.
It’s classical, yet modern and refined European gastronomy make this one of New York’s best, and chicest, restaurants.
Headed by Chef Daniel Rose from Paris, classical dishes such as chicken with foie gras, pike quenelles and dover sole grace the tables of the Soho establishment, which was opened in 2016.
The interior is designed by New York-based, award-winning design firm Roman and Williams. Their choices of whitewashed brick, marble and industrial chandeliers present an aura of elegance that feels comfortable and inviting.
Relax and Unwind: Aire Ancient Baths Spa
Located in upscale Tribeca, this sprawling, 16,000 square foot underground spa exudes the aura of a Roman bath house mixed with Turkish and Moroccan influences, massage parlours and luxurious spas.
Offering six different pools, based on the ancient Roman bathing ritual, these include saltwater or freshwater, hot or cold, still or bubbling. One pool, the “flotarium”, which is filled with salt water, has the same density as the Dead Sea.
AIRE uses water as the main healing element, accompanied by exclusive massages and rituals. The basic treatment, which is a 90-minute thermal bath session, starts at a price of $77 USD on weekdays and $87 USD on weekends.
The Wine Bath Experience is one of the AIRE signature rituals that is truly unique.
Submerging oneself in Spanish Ribera del Duero red wine grapes, soak up the antioxidants properties of wine, which help to protect the skin’s natural components. This has excellent anti-aging properties through by preventing oxidation of collagen and elastin fibres, further resulting in soft and bright skin.
An hour-long grapeseed oil massage and a 15 minute cranio-facial massage with a honey and propolis hydrating mask concludes the luxurious treatment. Additionally, this experience can be enjoyed alone, or as a couple. Prices start at an eye-watering $900 USD for Monday-Thursday sessions, with the price increasing over Friday-Sunday.
With only 20 guests allowed inside the spas at any one time, this is a blissful, luxurious relaxation hotspot, right in downtown New York.
New York from the sky: Helicopter Tour
Seeing one of the world’s busiest cities from the sky is an experience not many can say they’ve accomplished.
Liberty Helicopter Tours offers helicopter flights for 12 to 20 minutes, flying over quintessential New York icons that will look small from the skies.
The Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River, Empire State Building, the One World Trade Center and the Chrysler Building are just some of the iconic landmarks that can be seen in the tour.
Accommodating up to five people per flight (excluding the pilot), trips can be either be selected from existing packages, or customized to create a truly unique aerial experience, with the pilot simply the driver, the passenger directing them over the views they choose.
Prices start from $149 USD per person for a Harbour View Tour, and range up to customized aerial experiences, approx. $1975 USD per person for 30 minutes.
If your dollars have been burnt out by spa treatments and Michelin star restaurants, view the Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan and Ellis Island via the Staten Island Ferry. Leaving from the Whitehall Terminal at the edge of Manhattan, this 25-minute ferry ride is free, docking at the St. George Terminal on Staten Island.
Want more luxury New York travel tips? Click here for Renae’s hotspots.