Top-of-the-line pampering is a given at this luxe hotel on the edge of Columbus Circle.
Those who think the term “instant classic” is a contradiction need only step into the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental, New York. Despite residing in the behemoth that is the Time Warner Center (which includes a shopping mall and a “food court” made up of some of the country’s best restaurants), it feels like an institution, with its timeless style and tasteful tributes to the Orient.
Ensconced on the lofty 35th through 54th floors of the center’s north tower, this property offers an experience that begins at ground level, in aforementioned lobby, which is anchored by a striking, contemporary, Dale Chihuly Waterford crystal sculpture. With your appetite whetted for good things to come, you then take the elevator up to another, dedicated lobby for more Chihuly (a “bouquet” growing dramatically out of a moss garden), tooled silver inserts shimmering in the granite reception desk and sweeping views of Central Park and Broadway.
Using a blend of retro 1940s style and Asian accents, the guest rooms reflect the Far East heritage of the Mandarin Oriental group, while at the same time evoking the city’s chic urban apartments. The color schemes of gold and black or Chinese red and sterling silver are eye-catching, and there’s no denying the allure of the view over the park, Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. The hotel likes to boast that each room contains $27,000 worth of technology — your flat-panel LCD TV can be used to read text and fax messages, listen to voicemail, watch a DVD, play a CD from the in-room selection or use your laptop. Tubs have their own flat-screen TVs, and safes include charging outlets for your laptop. On an old school note, a bedside reading program provides newly released books, and the recently renovated, 2,230-square-foot Presidential Suite features custom-designed furnishings surrounded by Asian artifacts and artwork including antique textiles, paintings and a 250-year-old parchment calligraphy book with Chinese characters conveying a story of happiness and good fortune.
These days it seems a top-of-the-line hotel can’t have a trendy dining venue and bar unless they’re designed by Tony Chi. In Asiate, Chi’s hand is most evident in the suspended, modern tree branch sculpture offering an ode to Central Park; diners wanting a glimpse of the real thing need only look out the windows. Asiate serves contemporary cuisine with an Asian flair. Coming soon is The Aviary, an innovative cocktail bar from Chicago chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. Meanwhile, The Office offers a more old-school experience in a speakeasy setting.
We love Mandarin Oriental spas, and the 14,500-square-foot facility in New York does not disappoint. Thoughtful décor incorporates bamboo, natural stone, water features, Chinese furnishings and window treatments of Japanese rice paper. Along with traditional treatment rooms, the spa also has an amethyst crystal steam room, mineral water vitality pool, his and hers relaxation lounges, a tea lounge and a VIP spa suite with its own changing room, steam sauna and fireplace. Treatments, based on Chinese, European, Balinese and Thai traditions, are broken down into categories such as Massage, Rituals and Journeys, which begin with a foot bath and consultation with a therapist to determine your needs. Rounding out the experience is a stunning 75-foot lap pool overlooking the Hudson River.
MO Panda Club includes activities for young guests such as a photography sightseeing quest, while seven meeting and event facilities include an executive boardroom and ballroom. So whether you’re in town to indulge your kids at FAO Schwartz’ flagship store or conduct a corporate conference, Mandarin Oriental, New York offers everything (and then some) to meet your needs.
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