Saturday

The New York Palace Hotel
455 Madison Avenue at 50th street
New York, NY 10022
Tel: (212) 888-7000
Fax: (212) 303-6000
www.newyorkpalace.com

To book accommodations: on line at www.newyorkpalace.com or reservations at: 1-800-NY-PALACE (1-800-697-2522)

Part One:
 
Although we revel in L.A.’s distinctive four seasons: Fire, Flood, Slide and Quake, and anything older than 50 years is considered decrepit (except for us, of course), we decided to zoom off to New York City for an easy-to-get-to long weekend with the smell of real fall in the air, and roasting chestnuts wafting from ubiquitous street carts.

Tossing aside the new and modern, we opted for New York’s iconic Grande Dame, The Palace Hotel, and are we happy we did.
When searching for a 5 star hotel, the Four Seasons New York (see our review of this lovely hotel) and the St. Regis comes to mind, but there is another jewel in the crown of leading luxury hotels and that’s the New York Palace. Having read that the Towers at the Palace had soft-remodeled and re-launched with just 176 exquisite rooms and suites occupying the top 14 floors of the building, we chose the One Bedroom Corner Tower Suite (#4109) that knocked our socks off from the moment we opened the doors.
Located in the fabulous and incomparable locale at 50th and Madison, the heart of New York and just across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral (and just literally steps from Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue shopping), we were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived.
Welcoming door men greeted us and sped us past the magnificently ornate gilded lobby and the superb courtyard, behind grand mahogany doors to the private tower entrance, where we were quickly checked in and guided into the dedicated high-speed elevators.
Created during the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, the historic Villard Mansion (where we enjoyed dinner at Gilt; more of that later on) serve as the grand entrance to the 55-story tower that was built in 1980. Housing the hotel’s most distinctive suites and the city’s most spacious guest rooms, the suite we chose on the 41st floor did not disappoint on any level.
The 1,210 square foot suite was truly grand by New York or any other standards, and the minute we laid our eyes on it we wanted to move in permanently. Racing past the powder room and full kitchen (one never knows when one might just want to throw a dinner party whilst in New York), we landed in the living and dining area that was surrounded by picture windows with some of the most breathtaking city views we’ve seen from a hotel room. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was directly below us, resulting in a gothic landscape against a sea of sky-scrapers and an unobstructed view through towering buildings to the river beyond.
The Art deco inspired design and furniture were tastefully selected to feel like we were in someone’s elegant, yet comfortable home. The walls of cream accentuated the massive use of light burl wood on the doors, walls, moldings and furniture. The large 6 person dining room table was enhanced by a deco chandelier, and the earth-toned sofas and chairs were dotted with lamps providing warm lighting and not typical hotel nightscape. More traditional American burl wood end-tables, side tables and moldings tied the beige and brown rich, plush carpeting into the design.
The master bath was liberally large, continuing an art deco design with lines of dark granite interspersed with white Carrera marble, and sporting two sinks and a generous counter. It was also loaded with exciting multi-colored Moulton & Brown amenities (just perfect for our gym bags), including myriad products for different body parts; the colored bottles looked like a display of Christmas ornaments against a sea of granite; and for our bubbly pleasure, a book containing New York stories was thoughtfully provided to pass the time during a warm soak in the long tub. As a final touch, the bathroom included an array of those “forgot-to-pack” goodies like scissors, collar stays, facial washes, and more. The cotton were so thick and fluffy, we could hardly close our suit cases!
Our Bedroom, also huge by any city standards, was elegantly appointed with more burl wood desks, headboards and such, accentuating the large and very comfortable bed clothed in high-end, high thread count sheets, a comfy fluffy comforter, and pillows matching your tastes (there’s a pillow menu thoughtfully provided so that you can choose something to your liking). We pulled back the bedcovers as we always do in hotels to look for nasties and such (by the way, there is a bed-bug registry due to the enormous problem in New York and other cities, and The Palace, thankfully, is not listed on it), and we discovered a sparkling new, clean and bouncy mattress. Chocolates are always left by the bedside each night (as well as a clean foot towel and slippers by the edge of the bed), and personalized business cards are left on the desk.
Although there is a beautifully stocked mini-bar in the living room (just under the flat screen TV), the hotel boasts a 3,789 square foot Tower Club lounge just opened this September as an “inclusive” perk for Tower guests, located on the 39th floor with spectacular views, and offering a enormous buffet for breakfast, lunch, evening cocktails and hors d’oeurvres and dessert, as well as dynamite freshly ground coffee, soft drinks and assorted goodies throughout the day. There is also a dedicated Tower Concierge should there be any questions regarding anything such as sight-seeing, restaurants reservations, directions, shows, or whatever. We never waited for the concierge when rushing off to adventures in the city at various times of the day and night, and that’s another nice benefit to staying in the Tower.
For a large hotel, the service provided on all levels is superlative. The housekeepers provided immediate service when called, and left us with the requested items, each time with a genuine smile. We had a small problem with the electrical system when we returned late one night, and the technicians arrived at our room in less than 5 minutes to remedy the issue. The bellmen in the lobby always greeted us in whatever direction we went, and the doorman ensured that we had a cab or a car (by the way, the hotel provides a free car or Maybach for travel within 20 blocks of the hotel, and if available). Everyone is clearly trained to provide service, but more so, they seem to want to please their guests, and it’s those natural and real smiles that shine through. Even Sonia, the night operator, was so friendly when we called in our do-not-disturb that we didn’t want to hang up the call.
For our readers who seek the ultimate in luxury, privacy and service, this is the spot, and it’s well worth the splurge of a comfortable and insulating suite with the manic hustle, bustle and excitement of New York City right outside the window and just within reach. You simply cannot beat the location and price for luxury and service provided by this Grande Dame, proving that what’s “old” is always new again.
And if it is indeed the ultimate in luxury without the worry of a price-tag, opt for one of the four signature penthouse Triplex Suites which flow across three floors, incorporating rare features in a hotel such as a wood-burning fireplace and a private elevator inside the suite which reaches an oversized private rooftop terrace with sweeping city views.
Each suite is about 5,000 square feet and goes for $17,500 per night—sold out most of the time. 5301 and 5308 have extensive views that include the majestic Chrysler Building, The incomparable Empire State Building and the East River; 5311 and 5319 face West with views over Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and across the Hudson River.

EXERCISE AND SPA
Don’t miss the gym on the 8th floor and while working out you can feel as if you are actually touching St. Patrick’s Cathedral while utilizing state of the art equipment. The panoramic windows face directly into the upper part of the Cathedral, inspiring you to reach godly heights with aerobics and weights.
Nearly always empty (walking in New York seems to replace the treadmill), there is an enormous selection of gym apparatus to keep you busy for as long as you wish. If it’s a rub down that you prefer to sooth those aching leg muscles, the spa facilities are right next to the gym and looked very inviting. Sadly, with so much to do and see in New York, we didn’t have time to actually try out the services, but we’re leaving this for our next visit and will report on this aspect then.


As tempting as it is to fill up on all those goodies provided for free in the Tower Club lounge, especially their breakfast with fresh hand cut salmon and juices, we could not keep away from the two-star Michelin (2009 and 2010) restaurant anchoring the Palace, Gilt. It proved to be one of the best meals we had in New York during our entire stay with absolutely impeccable service. Please make sure to read our review of this magnificent restaurant and space, as well as some other choice restaurants on the top of our list…all coming up in the next edition of The Dining Duo Does New York.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:46 PM | , , , ,

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