Luxury lodging abounds in Manhattan, but if you’re looking for a classic New York experience — liveried doormen, an elegant hushed lobby bar, a house car to deliver you to dinner, and a remarkable view of Central Park — you’ll find it at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.
Budget Level: Luxe ($300+ per night)
Lodging Type: Large City Hotel
What You Need to Know
Timeless and elegant. With its gold-domed ceiling, tapestry-covered walls, and sparkling chandeliers, the lobby and public areas of the property exude old-school elegance. A recent renovation gave rooms a more contemporary feel; the paneled walls have been painted a soft white hue, and a couch and coffee table have replaced the desk. Suites celebrate New York City with specially-commissioned artwork, large-format coffee table books, and photography; newly launched partnerships with New York-based artists and artisans are a constant reminder you couldn’t possibly be anywhere but Manhattan.
During the week, business travelers give the hotel a brisk, professional air, but, by Friday afternoon, families and couples from all over the world have checked in — and the vibe becomes a lot more casual. Walking the line between unflappable efficiency and generous warmth, employees are sure to make all feel welcome, and deliver crayons and coloring books with the same aplomb with which they’d present a bottle of Bordeaux.
Who Will Love It
If midtown is your stomping ground and you crave an upscale experience devoid of confounding hipster amenities like mood lighting and an on-line DIY concierge, you’ll find the Ritz-Carlton right up your alley. Legions of staff members are reliably on hand to fetch umbrellas, hold elevator doors, carry bags to your room, hail a taxi, provide fragrant bath salts, iron clothes, polish shoes and, each night, place a gold-wrapped square of chocolate on your pillow.
Who Might Not
Minimalists who don’t need — or want — the expenses associated with a fancy lobby, plush bathrobes, staff members greeting you at every turn, or 24-hour room service may want to book elsewhere. And, since this is midtown, you won’t find the kind of neighborhood establishments — atmospheric coffee shops, eccentric hole-in-the-wall bars — that line the sidewalks uptown and downtown.
The Club Lounge, which offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, pre-dinner snacks, dessert, and free-flowing alcohol each day from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., as well as a dedicated concierge and a full wall of windows overlooking Central Park. Yes, it’s extra. And, yes, it’s expensive. But, beyond the obvious convenience, there’s something decadently lovely about being able to pop downstairs for quick glass of champagne whenever you want. And, who knows, you might find yourself sitting next to one of the celebrity guests who regularly stay at the hotel.
Your room rate includes use of the large, well-maintained fitness facility and sauna. Internet access and taxes are extra.
How to Get a Deal
Beyond utilizing Marriott Rewards points to pay for your room, consider visiting during the off season, which is typically January through March, excluding holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day, or Easter. Winter rates start at about $695.
In the Neighborhood
Wander through Central Park on your own—there’s a castle to explore, paddle boats to rent, street performers to watch, and even a zoo to visit. You can also join one of the cultural tours organized by the Central Park Conservancy. There’s no dearth of shopping in this part of the city either, including the stars of Fifth Avenue (think Tiffany, Saks, and Louis Vuitton), The Shops at Columbus Circle, and Madison Avenue’s chic boutiques. Add in sights like Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center (where you can hit the newly-opened FAO Schwartz store) and Radio City Music Hall, all of which are within easy walking distance. Fuel up on Naples-style pies at PizzArte on West 55th, or duck into Maison Kayser near Columbus Circle for French pastries that taste as good as they look. Later in the afternoon, grab a glass of wine at French-inflected Benoit, also on West 55th, or sip on a martini at the 21 Club on West 52nd.
Fly into LaGuardia and, unless you hit a traffic snag, you can expect to get into Manhattan within a half hour or so. JFK and Newark are further but are linked to the New York subway system. LaGuardia and JFK are also serviced by the New York Express Bus, which picks up and drops off passengers at Grand Central Station and the Port Authority.
Posh, welcoming, and infused with New York style, the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is an oasis of calm within the bustling Big Apple.