When Australians visit New York City, they’ve travelled so far to get there, they tend to stay longer than travellers from other parts of the world. These extra days might be best spent moving around to a few different neighbourhoods. Each of Manhattan Island’s neighbourhoods has a distinct vibe so moving around every couple of days to sample each of them is a great way to get a feel for the city. On my last visit to New York, I did that. I stayed in four hotels in different neighbourhoods and explored on foot the immediate vicinity of each hotel.
Upper East side
This famous hotel is on the Upper East Side among beautiful, tree-lined streets. This really is a neighbourhood with apartment buildings all around – very expensive ones! Back in the day, this was where the wealthy worked and then played in the Hamptons or Newport during the “season”. It’s great to stay in a hotel where because you are actually living in a neighbourhood with New Yorkers walking dogs and going about their lives, you can feel part of the neighborhood. This is where Woody Allen, who lives just a few blocks away, plays regularly with the jazz band in the bar honking on his sax. When I was there, Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel, was singing in the Café Carlyle. Who knows who you could be sitting next to you while you sip your Manhattan? Even better, one block away is Central Park. It’s right there for a walk or a run. Also, you’re a few blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Prices start at US$450 (about A$514) per night for a Superior Room King Bed. rosewoodhotels.com/en/the-carlyle-new-york
Upper West side
This hotel is beautiful: flashy, gold, glass and everything you would expect from Donald Trump. The rooms are great with views to all different parts of the city. I could see Downtown and the Hudson River from mine. It’s cool to be here with athletes hanging out and models cruising around. I was in the elevator with NBA superstar Dirk Nowitzki and his wife and baby talking about how great a neighborhood Soho is – and it is such a great neighbourhood. Soho has that reputation. Cool shops, restaurants, bars close to so many other attractions. We walked to the East Village shopping, had lunch in a great little café in the courtyard with the sun shining through the trees – quintessential New York. My daughters were just in awe. Then, the recently opened High Line was our next stop. On a clear day with the sun shining, it’s an amazing place to be. First opened in 2009, this old elevated railroad has been turned into an elevated botanical garden where trains once moved above the street. Grab a coffee or ice cream and walk along taking it all in. The Meatpacking District is also right there for shops and other entertainment.
Prices start at US$338 (about A$386) per night for a Deluxe Room. trumphotelcollection.com/soho
The Waldorf Astoria is the pride and joy of New York hotels. First inventing the concept of 24 hour room service gives this legendary hotel its ultra-luxury service status. Presidents and dignitaries love it and have done for years and years. It’s beautiful and elegant and you’ll have to try and stay at least once during your visits to New York. Everything is happening around you. Central Park is at your doorstep and the horse and carriages are always waiting to take you through Central Park. Plenty of Michelin-starred chef restaurants to choose from that are within walking distance to the hotel. And of course, every designer and luxury brand have their flagship stores just around the corner.
Prices start at US$319 (about A$365) per night for a Deluxe Guestroom. waldorfnewyork.com
Andaz Wall Street
All the way Downtown, on the bottom of the Island, is the real historic area of the city: where it all started. The first settlers of New York landed here, including George Washington who hung out in the city’s first pubs talking revolution. The Andaz Wall Street is located at the southern end of a famous street. It’s modern and inviting. There’s no front desk, just a smiling face welcoming you to the hotel with an iPad. The rooms are luxurious, stylish and spacious with large bathrooms and a free mini bar. The hotel also has complimentary coffee, fresh pastries and muffins and fruit first thing in the morning along with the newspapers. Take away cups are available. Here, you’re within walking distance to all the downtown sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial site, the famous “bull” of Wall street, and the Century 21 department store. Since the area is in the financial district, once the workday is over, it can be quiet on the streets.
Prices start at US$335 (about A$382) per night for an Andaz Double. newyork.wallstreet.andaz.hyatt.com