The lowdown Situated on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, the 23-storey Peninsula New York is a quintessential New York hotel, housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building dating back to 1905. Though part of the Hong Kong-based Peninsula group of hotels (you will notice a few Asian hints here and there), with 239 rooms and suites, this place has none of the trappings of a corporate chain – instead, what you get is the feeling of an intimate boutique hotel, with amazingly helpful staff (the concierge can arrange anything you want, and the doormen can rustle up a cab in no time, at any time). The hotel is brilliantly situated for all that midtown Manhattan has to offer – shopping (on your doorstep on Fifth Avenue, plus you can get to Bloomingdales, Barneys etc in just a few minutes), museums (easy walk to the Met, the Frick and even the Guggenheim), Central Park (we recommend a bike ride round the perimeter).
The rooms By NYC standards, rooms and suites are big here; each is individually decorated in warm beiges and antiques, and equipped with the most hi-tech, state of the art electronic system (remarkably easy to use) we have ever seen – a control panel by your bedside allows you to regulate lighting, television, stereo, air-conditioning and the “do not disturb” sign on your door. Even the super luxe marble bathrooms have control panels next to the bath, and a flatscreen telly to watch while you soak in a tub of bubbles.
Eating and drinking Gotham Lounge is the place to indulge in afternoon tea and early evening cocktails; or head to the Bar at Fives for a quick pre dinner drink before eating at Fives where you will find an impressive menu of contemporary American dishes with a Mediterranean twist. Our favourite early evening spot has to be the rooftop Salon de Ning where you will find a range of signature cocktails and Asian-inspired snacks; and best of all, if the weather allows, there are two outdoor terraces.
The spa This ESPA spa has to be seen to be believed – we’re talking mega wow factor. Over three floors, this is the ultimate urban retreat where you can get re-energised and pampered with the vast range of Asian, European and Ayurvedic treatments. There is also a large glass-enclosed swimming pool, a massive cutting edge gym-cum fitness centre and a sundeck. We can think of no better place to pound the treadmill overlooking those stunning panoramic views of Fifth Avenue and the Manhattan skyline (sadly, we forgot to pack the gym kit!).
Out and about Guests who book a suite can book one of the hotel’s two complimentary chauffeured Mini Clubmans (above left) to zip them round the city for three hours daily. Perfect for a spot of shopping (the cars’ topboxes can take a lot of bags) or for sightseeing.
The details The Peninsula New York, 700 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019. Prices for a Superior Room start from $895 excluding taxes. The Spa Retreat package starts from $1,095 excluding taxes for a Superior Room (until the 31 December 2011) and includes daily Continental breakfast for two and two 60-minute Holistic massages or Intensive Facials at The Peninsula Spa by Espa. For reservations contact The Peninsula New York on 00 1 212 956 2888 or visit www.peninsula.com/New_York
By Jeannette Arnold