Every now and then you come across a hotel that ruins you for any of its peers. For me, that establishment is the Ritz-Carlton New York.
Situated next to the city’s Central Park, it has set my bar so high that I worry nothing will ever compare.
This hotel exudes sophistication, understated elegance and confidence. It doesn’t attract the masses – it has just 259 guest rooms, including 47 suites – but it leaves a lasting impression on those who stay.
Getting down to business should not be a problem as the hotel caters for meetings and events with 185 square metres of conference space and four meeting rooms, and offers a range of other services, including a business centre, audiovisual equipment and a conference concierge.
On any given day at this Ritz-Carlton, you will find successful business types on holiday with their families, enjoying afternoon tea and happy hour in the Club Lounge, which, by the way, should not be missed.
From eavesdropping on their conversations, I discover that some of them have been regular guests at the hotel for more than 10 years. Their friendships with staff suggest that they too have been at the hotel a long time. To further prove this point, I also observe a genuine embrace between an arriving guest and the doorman, indicating not just friendship, but a level of service I have not seen at a hotel anywhere else in the world.
The Ritz-Carlton doesn’t have flashy signs in front – it doesn’t need to. It fits in with its surroundings in an unobtrusive way.
It’s the personal touches that make it for me. The staff greet me by name, even if it’s the first time I’ve seen them. My husband and I are immediately brought bottles of cold water after returning from a bicycle ride through Central Park on a hot afternoon. These gestures are delivered with genuine care for our comfort and satisfaction.
The rooms, like the rest of the hotel, feature a classic design with wood and neutral-coloured furnishings. The bed is incredibly comfortable and the pillows are soft and fluffy – just what is needed after a long flight, a tough day of meetings or some serious shopping. The view of Central Park is also a treat.
Whether in New York City for business, pleasure or both, a stay at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park will thoroughly spoil you. You have been warned.
What is there to do in the area?
The Ritz-Carlton is on Central Park South, right in front of the entrance to the famed park, which you could easily spend a day or two exploring. It is also within walking distance of many attractions, including Bloomingdale’s and Fifth Avenue, Radio City, Broadway, the Rockefeller Centre and more. The concierge desk can make recommendations on restaurants to try in the area.
What is the history of the building?
The art deco building was constructed in 1930 at an estimated cost of US$6 million. Originally home to the Hotel St Moritz, it has featured in several episodes of the TV show I Love Lucy and also appeared in Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008. It has had several owners, including Donald Trump for three years, but was bought by a development company in 1999 and remodelled in partnership with Ritz-Carlton Hotel. It reopened in 2002 – the top floors as private residences and the remainder as the hotel.
How much does it cost to stay here?
From Dh4,200 per night midweek, including taxes.
What is the price of a taxi from the airport?
Taxis charge a flat fee of $52 from JFK to Manhattan, however you’ll also need to factor in a tip and tolls. Payment can be made by cash, credit or debit card.
The writer was a guest of the Ritz–Carlton
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