New York; the perfect city break for wining, dining and lots of shopping!
Before last weekend I had never been to New York City but it always appears in the top holiday destinations of friends, family and colleagues alike. Whether it is the imposing skyline, famous tourist attractions, fantastic shopping deals or chic bars, there is certainly plenty to absorb during a weekend break to this acclaimed city.
When I touched down at JFK airport I hailed a famous yellow cab to take me to my hotel that was located on Manhattan Island. It was rush hour on a Friday evening and the traffic was incredibly congested, which meant that I was in my yellow cab for over an hour. Despite this, as a result of a flat scheme rate that was introduced by a former major, the cost of the journey from JFK (and vice versa) is only $45, excluding a small toll charge.
For the duration of my visit to the Big Apple, I enjoyed staying at the luxurious Royalton, which is part of the Morgans Hotel Group. Situated a short walk from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan, the Royalton is billed as the witty, stylish living-room for New York’s media, publishing and fashion elite. And it didn’t fail to impress.
Discreetly located behind imposing, oak doors on West 44th Street, guests are instantly greeted by a plush, yet softly lit bar that sweeps down a long hallway on the first floor. A popular after-work drinking haunt, most of the crowd can be seen enjoying intriguing cocktails or a glass of champagne.
The guest rooms are lavish, quiet and nicely compact. The modern lighting arrangement is a feature to note and allows you to create a number of different vibes; the simple use of an elegant, standalone candle provides one romantic option. My bathroom was finished to the high standard indicative of a 5* retreat and each room has its own iPad.
Shortly after I had settled into my hotel on the Friday evening, I was whisked off to the launch of the photographic exhibition ‘American Beauty’, by Claiborne Swanson Frank. Held at Lu Magnus, 55 Hester Street, guests included Jenna Bush and a number New York’s high-society set.
After the drinks reception, I visited the rooftop bar at The Gansevoort to sample a Manhattan in Manhattan! This chic venue allows you to enjoy a drink whilst overlooking the rooftop pool on one side of the bar and the bright lights of NYC on the other, including a view of nearby SoHo House. If you fancy taking a stroll down the street, the Standard is also one of the most fashionable venues to relax with a glass of champagne.
Dinner followed at the award-winning Ajna Bar (formerly known as Buddha Bar) in the Meatpacking District. The chefs present a unique cuisine that combines the bold flavours of Asia with delicate French essences and the cocktails have an exclusive twist too. The impressive venue mixes eclectic Asian décor with hypnotising music to create an experience that you will not forget in a while.
For those who want to dance the night away, a trip back to Midtown to enjoy an evening at the fashionable Lavo Nightclub, should fit the bill.
As dawn broke, I excitedly awaited my first NYC shopping experience and it didn’t disappoint. 5th Avenue boasts an array of designer boutique’s and also features some high-street retailers. The famous department store, Macy’s, is a must visit and you could easily lose yourself in this shopping haven for a whole morning. As afternoon arrives, some of the top sites to see in the city are Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Central Park; the latter can facilitate your weekend workout.
Saturday night entertainment can include further exploration of the Meatpacking district, trendy SoHo or a show on Broadway. But, as Sunday arrives, brunch must be top of the agenda. New Yorkers do this social occasion in style and it evokes the party atmosphere of the previous two nights. You can enjoy a live DJ, along with a wide range of cocktails and brunch dishes at the fashionable Felix in SoHo.
Although there are some key tourist attractions that you should visit whilst in the city, the endless skyscrapers that define the New York Skyline are not my cup of tea. Aesthetically, I far prefer Paris or London, but the social atmosphere in New York is in a league of its own and makes it an ideal city break for wining, dining and lots of shopping.