New York - Read our Stories and Reviews

New York

The skyline of the ultimate city gives us the same jolt every time; those iconic, jazz age spires seem to actually beckon, bring it on!  Manhattan is the big time, so you can get a hit of the arts, fashion and financial worlds, but what we love most is the energy out on the street: it’s like a magnet.

Some people find the big-city intensity intimidating for a holiday, especially with kids. We disagree. Visitors have never been more welcome - just exploring the new things on offer since we last visited kept us busy. The city has revamped classic landmarks; specialist, niche museums have opened all over town; tourism is at record volume and there are five thousand more hotel rooms. The Big Apple isn’t saying yada, yada, yada anymore, it’s rolling out the red carpet…
View our Black Book


We couldn’t imagine travelling all the way to the Americas without revisiting its honorary ‘capital,’ New York CITY. We wanted an urban counterpart to laid back South America and NYC is the US city that excites us. Flying from Sydney to LA then onto Brazil is logistically easier, but we hadn’t bitten into the Big Apple in two years. You need to constantly catch up with such a vibrant, cyclical town. And you should have seen the smile on Sheira’s face when I suggested it!

Working within our established maximum of no more than 17 days without the kids I calculated that four nights would be enough in New York before heading south. That only leaves 11 days for three other stop downs + 2 days travel.

My launchpad is always: where are we going to stay? What restaurants are we going to book? One upside of the economic slowdown is that you can pretty much get in everywhere. Also, we weren’t going to be elbowing other Manhattanites out of the way for a table in a hot place on either a Friday or Saturday night and the slower time of year helped - so there was less pressure to pre-plan.

We were willing to change hotels almost every night in New York to try the world’s ultimate big city from several angles. Over the years we had gone the traditional 5 star route, enjoying the polished perfection of THE FOUR SEASONS and THE PENINSULA. In the meantime, Manhattan has moved on. Uptown 5th Avenue culture isn’t the only way to tap into exclusive New York, now that Soho and the Meatpacking district have become gentrified and are booming with upmarket hotels to match. I felt that it was time to experience the new: Manhattan downtown chic. Plus it presented me with my favourite challenge: researching new accommodation.

Which isn’t to take anything away from our old choices… The Peninsula is one of those hotels that has become home to us. It has the right balance of old-world grandeur and buzz. The beautiful Belle Epoque ceiling and marble creates atmosphere, yet as soon as you walk in it is immediately clear where the lobby, dining room and gym is. It’s one of the biggest power broker breakfast spots in the city, you always see amazing guests (we spotted George Clooney, which is about as close to Cary Grant as we’ll ever get) and they have just opened a massive new spa. There is something so ‘I’ll Take Manhattan’ about walking out of your hotel slap bang onto 5th Avenue and Tiffany’s… The Four Seasons around the corner is a slick, glossy uptown hotel that also offers impeccable service. So I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either of them.

But this year it was time to hang out south of Fourteenth Street (the dividing line between downtown and midtown). I wanted a hotel in the Meatpacking District, a low rise area full of broad, nineteenth century, cobblestone streets where business is booming 24/7. Traditionally clubbers and tranny street walkers head for home at 4 am, leaving the area to the city butchers who are just opening shop to sell their meat to the big distributors. But since designers like Stella McCartney and Diane Von Furstenburg have put their high fashion grapple hooks into the area, the former rundown danger zone has become inner-city hot, edgy and expensive.

The sleek, glassed-in modernism of Gansevoort Street Hotel appealed to me online and I regret not booking it. In the end it was the design flair and imagery of The Standard in magazines and online that made this our first pick. The second hotel was The Bowery - the one that ended up working for us the best. I loved the images of the lobby and the rooms - then again (the fnagony!), should I book at the Mercer, Soho’s most famous hotel?

I wanted to check out the new hotel scene so we were even willing to do a third move. I was sold on Inshralia’s over the top interior decor at the Gramercy Park - the lobby and the bedrooms looked unbelievable. It was also a new neighborhood for us. I put so much energy and industry into picking the right hotels - about 20 hours in one stretch. 

Bookmark and Share

Why not join us on some other adventures?


I live life at the frontier. When we ...

Read More


I am a passport carrying, 24/7, lover of ...

Read More


When I search for accommodation on my favourite ...

Read More


I usually like to walk (and literally jog!) ...

Read More


Koh SamuiPhuket


Soneva Gili
Back to Home Page
Choose a Place we've visited around the World
Where to Stay around the World
Places to Eat around the World
Things to See & Do around the World
Where to Shop around the World
More travel tips and advice
Getting To New York
Where to Stay in New York
Places to Eat in New York
Things to See & Do in New York
Where to Shop in New York
Our Conclusion of New York
Your Comments on New York
Our directory recommendations for New York