It’s about this time in the winter that my husband, Jonathan, and I sneak down to New York City to re-charge our batteries. After finishing the year with a New Year’s Eve house party, we enjoy being a guest in one of our favorite hotels. And this year we preceded the snow.
Not only are the hotels and shops sporting “relaxed” prices (read: on sale) but one can almost have this international city to one’s self (such a relief after the madness and traffic of December.) Honking horns have abated, sidewalks are clear, restaurants have reservations and museums are lines-free.
Forty-eight hours, mid-week, is the perfect formula for us to soak up all that visual stimulation, and then relax in the interior charm of New York’s neighborhood restaurants. I find we enjoy this concise time-frame better than a long stay (as my mother always opined… “leave on a high note, wishing for more”) because we keep a sharp focus and make the most of every minute.
So here ‘tis, with quick notes brought home with me.
Where to Stay
The Mark Hotel at 77th and Madison, on the “UES” (Upper East Side) is singular in design and sensibilities. While the façade is a handsome example of pre-war architecture, the lobby is a small contemporary jewel box set off with a black and white-striped marble floor. That bandied-about term boutique hotel well suits The Mark, equally apparent in the “smart” European chic room décor which is comfy as well as a nod to tasteful intent (even the silk-like chartreuse draperies have just the right amount of puddling;) Jacques Grange should do more hotels! With amenities galore — large bathrooms with deep tubs; a TV glass within the over-sink mirror; dimmable lights everywhere; substantial, security-insuring safe; small, gooseneck bed light abutting the headboard AND a Laduree macaroon on our pillow at night — we were not in a rush to start our day.
Even if The Mark didn’t boast a top-tier restaurant ( Jean Georges) and “bold name” hair salon ( Federick Fekkai…where I enjoyed a most instructive makeup lesson,) The Mark would still make my top five list of New York hotels.
Breakfast in the glass-ceilinged atrium of Jean Georges is not to be missed. Even the simplest of breakfasts (my choice) is one of the best versions of this staple around…a generous serving of thick, thick Greek yogurt with yummy granola and mixed berries (truly…not just a gratuitous copyline.)
The only item we missed was a chance to check out one of their residential apartments… next visit!
A small, well-edited fashion stop
Just 11 blocks from The Mark; the inspired entrance to the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection was a trompe l’oeil interpretation of two rooms in his apartment, with the paintings in situ.
Revisiting a favorite in our former Upper West Side neighborhood; three-course, pre-theater menus are tasty and well-priced and the staff keeps a sharp eye on the clock.
And two neighborhood suggestions for pop-in lunch, afternoon tea or cappuccino:
Do plan your trip soon!