New York 2014

My New York trip that happened less than 15 days ago is something I obsessed over for weeks. I couldn’t wait to get my visit visa and actually land in the city. I am well acquainted with some of the best hotels and brands in London and just getting the experience of another city was something I have been hungry for ages. However, its not just the glamour. I have always wanted to visit the neighbourhoods, the cafes, bookstores and enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of the city.

I must say New York is much more relaxed overall as a city if you were to compare it to London. People tend to take life a bit more easy and the morning commuters to work seemed to be a bit more sociable even though they were equally in a rush to get somewhere.

My trip consisted of walking around for hours, just getting a feel of Madison Avenue, 5th Avenue, Times Square, the West Village, Upper West Side, Upper East Side and the list goes on and on!

I must recommend to all visitors and especially those who want to get a real New York experience. Dont plan everything. Let a few things happen naturally and stumbling upon little streets and stores is the most enjoyable part of NYC. I particularly enjoyed discovering The Plaza Food Hall! I mean, what an amazing idea! One of New York’s most iconic luxury hotels actually managed to open a very European yet stunning food hall in their basement open to foodies, guests and tourists.

My favourite building was The Trump Tower on Madison Avenue. The black exterior with the welcoming door men just does the magic. If you get a chance do walk through it. Do also visit the Four Seasons New York for a morning coffee. The cafe is situated right above the lobby so you get a chance to enjoy people watching and don’t feel too enclosed.

Above all, I love how New York does start coming back to life at 5:00 am. The Starbucks’ start opening up at 5:30 and that is the best time to take a walk around in your vicinity watching yellow cabs lining up and if you happen to be near Time Square, actually getting a sight of the lights without the crowds.

 

Bouchon Bakery and views of Columbus Circle

The Bouchon Bakery I went to is located in the Time Warner building that overlooks Columbus Circle and Central Park. I vowed to walk everywhere in New York even though everyone warned me that my feet would eventually kill me but I was quite adamant.

Took me 25 minutes to walk from the Paramount Hotel to The Columbus Circle which I very much enjoyed. I had a meeting at the Mandarin in an hour so decided to snoop around the shopping mall. The thing about American shopping malls is that they are very spacious. This is exactly what I felt about the Time Warner building. Very open aired, wide and it just allows you to breathe. The glass building is another plus point. You’re able to enjoy the views even from the 2nd floor as you face Manhattan, the CNN building and Central Park.

Bouchon Bakery’s restaurant was where I decided to have a bite. A bit on the pricier side but yet amazing service, a delicious salmon and good cold coffee had me sold. I enjoyed relaxing there and admired the views.

I do recommend this place as a meeting point but also as must go place for its baked goodies as it is New York’s gem.

I actually didnt get a chance to take a picture but this is a snap of the view from the same floor as Bouchon Bakery. One thing I regret is not checking out the massive Whole Foods below which I will do next time for sure!

Dont you just love the views?

 

My Stay at The Mark Hotel

I had heard a lot about the Mark Hotel from friends and colleagues in London and it was definitely on my hit list for places to vist/stay in NYC.
Little did I expect to be visiting in September and spending a night there. I have stayed at some amazing resorts worldwide and more recently the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.
The luxury hotels in the UK offer the best service and quality that I have come across in recent years. I had also heard that hotel rooms in New York would not be spacious or as glamorous as those in London. The Mark Hotel experience proved all these assumptions to be wrong.
I was greeted with a very warm and elegant staff on the Friday morning I arrived there. It was 8 in the morning and I was definitely quite early before check in time. I was immediately escorted to the reception where they took my details and ensured that would call me as soon as the room was ready.
The entrance of the hotel is charming. Black and white marble flooring of the lobby gives it a very retro yet refreshing look. Despite being 3 years old the hotel still looks brand new!
I was headed to a meeting in Madison Avenue but before that I wanted to get a coffee at a local place. The Hotel Manager was kind enough to walk me over to Sant Ambroeus, a local and elegant Italian brasserie/cafe, a local hang out spot for those living and working on the Upper East Side.
The location of the hotel is definitely exclusive and very much has a neighborhood feel allowing you to feel at home instantly. The shopping on Madison Avenue is on your doorsteps.
When I returned I was escorted to my room, The Seventy Seven Kings Room. A beautiful room overlooking East 77th Street and featuring some of the best interior designs I have come across by Jacques Grange. The bathrooms were breathtaking! I say when you are on holiday you must get a decent and clean bathroom to ensure that you are pampering yourself and this was exactly what one needed!
The time I spent in the room was as enjoyable as in the surrounding areas. The advantage is you could go shopping down the road and come back for breaks. Central Park is 5 minutes up the road and the choice of restaurants is ample. At night time the serenity of the area really allows you to relax and enjoy the area.
My newspapers arrived with my morning coffee the next day at 6 am sharp allowing me to kickstart my day with great energy. The room service is of a high standard and the staff is super friendly and yet professional. My check out time was extended for my convenience and this really reflected that the hotel wanted to build a relation with their guests which is what one would expect from a 5 star property.
I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough. I would say that the service matches that of the Iconic London Hotels and is definitely going to take this hotel a long way!
For more information visit The Mark Hotel

Sant Ambroeus Upper East Side

I believe I should start blogging about my New York adventure by starting to write about Sant Ambroeus, the gorgeous cafe in the Upper East Side right next door to The Mark. Credit goes to the Hotel Manager of The Mark for guiding me to this gem. I don’t think it could have gotten any better.

The cafe is the epitome of what you would see in movies. A classy spot for the New Yorkers to stop by to pick up their morning coffees and iced lattes on the way to work or back from their morning work outs. The cafe was buzzing with business meetings and friends meeting up for breakfast.

I was headed to a meeting at Madison Avenue right after so I decided to order some breakfast and quite a big one. I opted to have the pancakes along with a latte. The good thing was they were not greasy and came with a good portion of fruits taking the guilt away from me. I had heard that coffee would not be amazing in New York but the latte was actually good. The only thing that did surprise me was the size of the latte more geared towards a flat white.

The location is amazing and the cafe really did introduce me to the life on the Upper East side – couldnt have asked for more! Definitely a taster of the local life.

To book your next breakfast please visit: http://www.santambroeus.com/ristorante.html