James Elwes visits the city that never sleeps and is impressed by The Lowell, a five-star hotel.
If this is the city that never sleeps, I can’t say I’m aware of it at The Lowell. Stepping into its scented jewel box of a foyer, the honks and hubbub fade into oblivion and slumber is certainly not wanting amid soundproof walls and 300-threadcount cotton. Between Madison and Park Avenues, a hot dog’s throw from Central Park, this five-star hotel is surrounded by the city’s finest shops and museums – why not get a preview from one of the 14 private terraces?
A 1920s landmark, the hotel has just received a $25million (£19 million) refurbishment, overseen by the esteemed Michael S. Smith – who redecorated the White House in 2008 – and the service invokes a bygone era. The bedrooms, in modern-Gatsby style, are full of artwork, books, the latest technology and faultlessly appointed bathrooms stocked with DDC28 soaps and salts.
The only hotel in New York with real log fires, 33 of which are in the bedrooms, The Lowell’s Art Deco-inspired bar and restaurant are delightful. Breakfast in the Pembroke Room is a thing of beauty – pancakes and homemade jams are a staple. The penthouse is fit for a president, although the current incumbent stays at his own tower, seven blocks away, when in town.
From $960 (£735) per night
The Lowell, 28 East Sixty Third Street, New York, NY 10065
www.lowellhotel.com; +00 1 212 838 1400
Booze with a view
Enjoying the skyline over a Manhattan at the Rockefeller Center’s Bar SixtyFive is far preferable to a timed tour at Top of the Rock, two floors up. Be sure to book in advance. Other bars of note include Attaboy on the Lower East Side for high-quality contemporary cocktails and Bemelman’s at The Carlyle for a classical, grand aesthetic.
Travel in style
Taxi where you will, but you have to ride the Subway at least once. The sleek silver trains, featured in 1,001 movies, are more spacious than the yellow cabs in which I struggled to fit my 6ft 3in frame. Travel on foot to admire the soaring architecture and characterful neighbourhoods, from the trendy Bowery to shop-heavy Chelsea. Finally, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge for a horizon of glittering façades and the Statue of Liberty.
Eat like a king
For a slice of old-school, wood-panelled, good-tunes Americana, head to P. J. Clarke’s. Buddy Holly proposed to his girl here and Nat King Cole proclaimed the bacon cheeseburger ‘the Cadillac of Burgers’. The food is sensational – and huge – and it’s easier to get a table than at iconic beefy counterparts Peter Luger and Keens. More sophisticated is The Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village, a fresh twist on British contemporary cuisine.
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