|The Baccarat is set on West 53rd Street across from the Museum of Modern Art.|
The Knickerbocker is now open in Times Square; in fact, when we did a walkthrough on its rooftop we felt we could nearly touch the ball that drops each December 31. Inquire quickly about stays during New Year’s Eve; this is the new kid in town and it’s going to be popular among luxury revelers. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Knickerbocker has a storied past. John Jacob Astor opened it in 1906 at 42nd Street and Broadway. Its bar was “The 42nd Street Country Club,” attracting jetsetters from all around town until Prohibition cut into its business and “The Knick” became an office building. The Beaux Arts building, established as a New York City Landmark in the late ’80s, was well preserved and reopened in February.
Enrico Caruso, the famed tenor, lived at The Knickerbocker in its former glory and has his name on the hotel’s top suite. Spanning 1,400 square feet, it overlooks 42nd Street. Contact Gemma Keating ([email protected], you’ll know her from The Chatwal up the street), director of sales & marketing, for details or for other VIP needs, including reserving the hotel’s other three “Tribute” suites, all with fun twists and themes. Note: What’s great about The Knickerbocker is its bounty of Corner Junior Suites, which are 600 square feet in size with the option to connect to two adjoining rooms. The vibe here is contemporary with sleek lines and colors that extend into the bathrooms, with swanky recessed lighting, ceramic tile flooring and walk-in rain showers and double sinks. Nice Touch: Corner suites have views of Times Square, but there are black-out shades to dim the lights of the Great White Way if you want to get some shut eye.
|The Knickerbocker is literally in the heart of Times Square with dazzling views, but rooms are silent oases.|
The chief concierge, Keoni Boyer ([email protected]; 212-204-4934), is a member of Les Clefs d’Or USA, and can put you into a “Broadway Bootcamp.” That’s where you train with directors, sing with Broadway performers, attend a show and go backstage afterward. He can also organize a personalized VIP walkthrough of the Metropolitan Museum with an invite to the private Members Only dining room, or set you up with a stylist who will take you shopping all day and craft an all-new look for you.
|The Nate Berkus Suite at the Loews Regency is 1,000-square-foot in size, with a living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and balcony.|
Hot Wheels: The hotel has a fleet of BMW 7-series cars that are available to guests for local transport.
About that rooftop: Expect its St. Cloud bar to be the new high-end hangout in New York once the warm weather sets in. Its seating will take advantage of the stunning views; we can’t wait to try out one of the Sky Pods overlooking Times Square. A Nat Sherman Cigar Lounge is also on tap. Charlie Palmer at The Knick is the hotel’s main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Note: Rumor has it the hotel served as the birthplace of the martini, so you’ll get to sample that particular cocktail in its most classic form throughout the hotel, which is overseen by Managing Director Jeff David ([email protected]; 646-400-1329). Final Note: Dogs up to 30 pounds are welcome.
Due north, Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York has opened on West 53rd Street, directly across from the Museum of Modern Art. The glass-tower building pays tribute to the eponymous French crystal company and glitters throughout its 114 rooms in an understated manner (think ivory, platinum and champagne color themes). Imagine This: Those in suites get La Mer amenities and Baccarat votive candles. In fact, La Mer is the product offering in the hotel’s Spa de La Mer, the first time the luxury company has opened a facility in the U.S. The four-room spa is tucked away in the hotel and is open to guests and locals. The hotel also has an indoor pool and a 24/7 gym with personal trainers.
|The Glamour Suite at the Loews Regency was inspired by Marilyn Monroe and what she may have liked in hotel accommodations.|
Shea Gallante is the Michelin-starred chef at the hotel’s restaurant; he’s teamed with Charles Masson, who once oversaw La Grenouille, a Manhattan mainstay in fine dining. Gallante has also designed the small-plate dining at Baccarat’s 60-foot bar, which is meant to recall Versailles. Note: The bar has a terrace overlooking MoMA. Hint: If you’re going to stay at this hotel a few times a year, we suggest an annual MoMA membership, which provides you with an entry pass that gets you through the crowds in just seconds and upstairs to view the Picassos, Matisses and Renoirs, VIP style.
Jennifer Rutkowski ([email protected]; 212-790-8821) is the area director of sales & marketing and is on hand to take care of A-listers’ requests, such as booking the one-bedroom Baccarat Suite, which is 1,740 square feet in size, all lit by walls of windows and crystal chandeliers, natch.
|At The Knickerbocker, double sinks in spacious bathrooms can be found throughout the hotel.|
Note: The hotel is the brainchild of Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital. He invented W Hotels and, at press time, had sold the hotel to a group of Chinese investors at the rate of $2 million per room, establishing Baccarat as the most highly valued hotel in the country. Starwood, which acquired French crystal maker Baccarat in 2005, will continue to manage its namesake hotel, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue underwent a $100 million renovation recently and then wowed New York society even further when it opened six new suites, all with different themes, all looking over Park Avenue and 61st Street. We’re all about the Glamour Suite, which was crafted with the look of what Marilyn Monroe’s Manhattan pied-à-terre might have looked like, but we’d also be perfectly content to hole up in the Pop Art Suite (just think Andy Warhol and you’ll get it, totally).
Nice Touch: All suites in the hotel have free minibar access; they also have double-sink vanities as a family-friendly touch.
The hotel’s chief concierge, David Moreno ([email protected]; 212-339-2229), has a knack for being able to get tickets to sold-out Broadway shows and access to top sporting events and concerts around Manhattan, just ask. He can also make a reservation at the hotel’s Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa (or try [email protected]; 212-888-8988). Rita Roku ([email protected]; 212-3390-4081) is also on hand to reserve treatments with top estheticians and with Julien Farel for a haircut or color job.
Note: The Regency Bar & Grill is once again the home of New York’s Power Breakfast, so be sure to reserve ahead (for any meal, actually). We hear the banquettes are always highly sought after and offer fantastic people watching throughout the dining room; they can be booked via Christian Savaglia ([email protected]; 212-339-4050). The bar scene is quite lively; we suggest sampling the Regency Champagne Cocktail later in the day.
The hotel is pet friendly; be sure to reserve ahead for peak spring and fall periods. Busy months are April–June and September–December.
Good to know: Loews Regency’s house car is a Mercedes S550 and will deliver guests to any destination within a 20-block radius, gratis.
The hotel is run by Managing Director Jim McPartlin, who is on hand to work with top clients. Rebecca Sajous ([email protected]; 212-339-4126) is the luxury travel advisor liaison.
Where to Dine in NYC
Zagat has just selected these eateries as some of the “trendiest places to grab a bite in the Big Apple.”
Mission Chinese Food
Danny Bowien opened his restaurant last year, and it has a fun menu to choose from. The Koji chicken wings are popular, as is the stir-fried celery.
171 E. Broadway, missionchinesefood.com
This California-inspired restaurant is rustic and serves Mediterranean dishes like the Mushroom salad with seared robiola.
345 Park Ave., uplandnyc.com
Don’t be fooled by the name, vegetables are the specialty here. Try the Korean fried broccoli and remember this is a no-tipping establishment.
86 Allen St., dirtcandynyc.com
Glass chandeliers, tropical plants and a broken plate mural fill the dinning room. This trendy restaurant is known for its pasta — all of its pasta.
820 Washington St., santinanyc.com
Come here and enjoy the tasting menu from Executive Chef Sean Gray. Reservations can be difficult to make and should be done online.
8 Extra Place, momofuku.com/new-york/ko
Former Neta chefs Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim run this 19-seat sushi bar. The menu changes daily and serves sushi or kaiseki omakase.
47 E. 12th St., shukonyc.com
This is the place to come with friends. It is Mexican-inspired and guests share plates here. The menu changes frequently, and Cosme sits more than 60 guests.
35 E. 21st St., cosmenyc.co
This joint is run by a husband-and-wife team and has a communal table. Guests will enjoy the open kitchen and four-kinds of ramen. But be prepared, the wait can get long, especially on those New York City weekends.
1209 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, ramennyc.wix.com/popup
Chef Alex Lopez creates a menu of Mexican food with Asian flair. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat with a romantic touch.
151 Essex Street, tijuana-picnic.com
If you’re craving seafood in the city this is the spot to eat at. Try the shrimp and grits for a southern touch.
258 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, theheyward.com
Bowery Meat Company
Step back into the 1960s at this retro restaurant. Enjoy the best cuts of meat and a tasty burger.
9 E. First St., bowerymeatcompany.com
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
This Korean barbecue restaurant is all about the experience. The server cooks the meat in front of the guests, guaranteeing it’s cooked just right.
1 E. 32nd St.
Located in Smyth Hotel, Chef Andrew Carmellini cooks up a worldly menu. Try the black-kale ravioli or the spiced shellfish ragu.
85 W. Broadway, littlepark.com
Here, the meat is grilled slowly over embers, capturing the taste. Go ahead and have a meatball, or two.
29 E. 29th St., martamanhattan.com