As Ralph Kramden, of the 1950s hit sitcom The Honeymooners would say, “Your home is your castle” no matter whether it is a Near North Side apartment in Chicago, a lavish condominium on New York’s Fifth Ave, a gorgeous home in Washington D.C.’s Georgetown, or a beautifully refurbished brownstone in Brooklyn!
The same is true when you are traveling. While you want to enjoy your exotic trip, minimally you want to make certain that the experience is at least on par with the appointments, location, and accoutrements you have in your home.
Around the world, the number of hotel chains and boutique hotels being developed in the past several years has been astronomical. We can truly thank the Internet for the accessibility to information about countries, people, places and the best prices in the world. This access has created such an extraordinary curiosity that can only be sated by actually booking a flight and a hotel room or suite.
As we all know, the old adage “Supply and Demand” is one of the most fundamental economic concepts and has international developers and hoteliers expanding the supply of their empires to meet the demands of these nouveau travelers, while providing the traveling elite more prestigious properties to explore. But is it that simple? Absolutely not!
Why, because, all hotels are not equal. Don’t be fooled by the overly used term luxury… it is often abused and holds no weight when you are comparing the real definition of true luxury and experience what now seems to be “faux luxury.” It actually makes you question the standard of the brand versus the public relations spin on the marketing material.
For purposes of this article and our own knowledge, we took the guesswork out by sharing some of top hotels in some of our favorite cities around the world.
We begin our journey in my hometown, Manhattan, New York area, where options are an understatement—from the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Tribeca to the Upper East & West Side, to Midtown, and the list goes on. Amazing, 33.77 square miles and holds some of the most prestigious properties in the world.
So, let’s begin with some of the legendary and historic locations that are a “must” stay in during this lifetime.
The Plaza Hotel – this hotel has a legacy that it has maintained by continually maintaining its position with regular renovations and upgrades. This family owned hotel exudes their commitment to luxury. From the moment you lay your eyes on this palace like structure it draws you into its circle. Red carpet ready, white glove service is just the beginning. The timeless elegance of the lobby leaves you in awe as the glamour and exquisite ambiance leaves you breathless.
Once you have dined sufficiently, it might be a great time to venture into their incredibly appointed Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa. It is there that you will leave any tension or anxiety that too many hours of travel may have caused. As you develop your plans during your whirlwind schedule, do include the Warren Tricomi hair salon as a must for the finishing touches on your beautiful mane.
From shopping boutiques for the whole family from garments to literature, Assouline will forever be the one place I am happy to empty my wallet as a collector of coffee table books. You will thoroughly enjoy being confined to this incredible space that sits in the heart of the world famous Fifth Avenue, across from Central Park, next door to Bergdorf Goodman; walking distance to Chanel, Dior, Blvgari, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Cartier, and endless five star restaurants, and my favorite arts entertainment space, Carnegie Hall.
Imagine the winters in New York, the spirit of family, and the hustle and bustle of New York City. Rockefeller Center, the theater district and the Empire State Building will light your way to midtown as you make your way through Times Square. Priceless.
Let’s make our way a bit further down the road. Not too much, but to another “small” family owned hotel The Peninsula– our journey begins at the door, there stands someone ready to turn the revolving door, grab your bags, and escort you to the front desk, but not before passing my favorite spot for high tea at Gotham Lounge… The service is grade A. (Ask for Saroyah.)
Should Fifth Avenue not be your cup of tea, perhaps you would consider venturing towards the Theater District and visit the London Hotel off 7th Avenue. This little hideaway is a celebrity staple. It prides itself on being chic, modern but very discreet to its guests. I love the countless times I have had the pleasure of having one of my high-profile power meetings while staying at the London Hotel. I adore their top secret, hush-hush staff commitment to their guests. If it’s privacy you want, then you have found the right place and no one will know you are home. And room service is impeccable.
The NoMad Hotel is housed in a turn of the century Beaux-Arts building that has been fully restored to its original grandeur. It is positively sexy! It is many things in one; incredibly mysterious, with amazing ambiance, it is enchanting yet quaint! Their staff is extraordinary; their every move is to be attentive to your every whim. The décor, straight out of the world’s most brilliantly creative minds! Stunning.
The Trump SoHo – the Trump name alone speaks to a standard that has raised the bar on everything they touch, located in lower Manhattan where SoHo intersects with Tribeca and the West Village, totally surrounded by art galleries, restaurants, international boutiques and an incredible upscale nightlife. It is interesting to note, their team of concierges is quite fascinating as they respond to your every need in this chic downtown modern oasis. I love the four fully equipped incredibly appointed restaurants and expansive menus—each providing a unique gastro experience; it’s a great location for a soirée for your out-of-town guests.
The Chatwal Luxury Hotel – this iconic hotel has not spared any expense on luxury and every conceivable appointment. I must admit, I am absolutely obsessed with the decor of this enchanting hotel. It is a fabulous getaway for you and your beau after the wedding festivities are over. Fully equipped with restaurant, bar lounge, which I have to say is a great space for hosting a great engagement party, but not before you head over to the Elizabeth Arden Spa.
The Standard Hotel is definitely not standard. This haute spot was created for the young and chic. This beautiful downtown boutique is taking New York by storm. The legendary Annie Leibovitz introduced me and several of her out-of-town clients to this amazing 18-story hotel building with a wonderful view of the Hudson River, outside park like terraces to winter skating rinks and then incredible farmers markets through spring, summer and fall. And New Jersey never looked so good. I love the amazing symphony of experiences throughout this amazing experiential luxury hotel.
And so, with such an array of options, how does one actually choose? Perhaps you can stay at one of them every anniversary!