Out & About in New York City

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A Manhattan hotel can be a welcome respite after the nonstop activity of the city, but the choice of where to stay in New York City can be overwhelming. And the options in New York City have become even greater with a hotel boom in recent years, including more than 30 new properties opening in 2010 alone.

To help you determine what Manhattan hotel is the perfect fit for your client, Recommend decided to take an up-close look at some of Manhattan’s newest properties, knowing full well that neighborhoods help determine the pulse of the property.

times square: the chatwal The first neighborhood we stopped in at was in Times Square, checking in at a recently renovated landmark hotel. The Times Square area is by far one of the city’s busiest neighborhoods as it’s the hub of the theater district, countless restaurants and diverse attractions. A stay here means you are within walking distance to it all, plus have access to most main subway lines to zip off to other parts of the city.

Here you can return to another era at The Chatwal on 44th Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. It’s smack in the middle of the theater district, and once inside, you’re engulfed by luxury and superior service. This boutique property, a part of Starwood’s The Luxury Collection, has only 76 guestrooms, but boasts all the services upscale clients could need. The property opened in September 2010, but originally opened in 1905 as the clubhouse for The Lambs Club, America’s first professional theater organization.

The Chatwal’s history was used in its design, which is reminiscent of the “glamour of early-20th century travel,” with Empire Art Deco touches. Delightful in-room surprises include backgammon sets (a throwback to the time of cards and cocktails), copies of “The Great Gatsby” and an author-signed copy of “American Eve,” and an integrated mirror TV in the bathroom. Complimentary extras include WiFi, shoe shine service, bottles of water, choice of newspaper, and use of laptops, iPads and preprogrammed iPods.

The hotel is home to The Lambs Club Restaurant, which offers fine dining plus 24-hour room service. The Chatwal Spa by Kashwere on the lower level uses the most of its compact space with two plunge pools (hot and cold) and a saltwater lap pool, as well as a small fitness center and treatment rooms. Nightly rates start at $795.

midtown: the setai fifth avenue The Setai Fifth Avenue sits only a few blocks from the Empire State Building, between 36th and 37th Streets, and is a striking new construction building that opened in November 2010. The Capella Hotels and Resorts brand stresses personalized service, and this hotel delivers. Each guest is assigned a “Personal Assistant” who calls prior to and during your visit to provide help with any task. There is no official check-in or check-out time, allowing guests to arrive and leave at their leisure. Upon arrival during an overnight stay, a 5-minute wait for our guestroom was met with apologies and an escorted walk to the bar area for a drink of our choice while the room was readied. Another real plus is that a driver and his Masarati is available to drive guests anywhere in the city, subject to availability.

The majority of the 157 sumptuous modern guestrooms, 54 apartment suites and three penthouse apartments are 700 sq. ft. or more. Flat-screen TVs, mini-bars with complimentary water, sodas and juices, plus audio and video iPod docks provide plenty of extras en-suite. Complimentary pressing is available for up to five items upon arrival. And the bathrooms are so luxurious you almost don’t want to leave them. They boast TVs inset into the mirrors, deep-soaking tubs and separate rain showers.

The 11,500-sq.-ft. Auriga spa is not your typical urban spa. This “tranquil retreat of nourishment” has 11 private treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, hammam and experiential showers.

Ai Firoi restaurant draws in guests and locals alike with sophisticated Italian Mediterranean cuisine, while The Bar on Fifth is a hotspot for after-work professionals with nightly jazz. A large fitness center and separate exercise room gives guests a chance to burn off the calories. Nightly fall rates start at $705.

central park: the plaza Though not a new hotel, The Plaza—A Fairmont-managed property—re-opened in March 2008 following a $450 million, 3-year restoration. Originally constructed in October 1907, The Plaza is the only New York City hotel deemed a National Historic Landmark. Located at the crossroad of Central Park and Fifth Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets, The Plaza is also a New York icon that many clients will want to stay at just to say they’ve been inside the hotel that has played host to such legends as The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe.

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