As I mentioned in my post on Monday, apart from redeeming the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with my various cards like the Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Bold, from time to time, Chase offers exclusive events and packages for which Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred can either redeem points or pay cash.
As you can see in the letter above, my package included:
-Admission for two to Conde Nast Traveler’s 25th Anniversary Visionaries Gala and reception including food and beverages
-Accommodation for two nights at the Mandarin Oriental New York in a standard room
-Pre-event hair staying and makeup service for two at Warren-Tricomi Salon
-Ground transportation between the Mandarin Oriental and the gala
-A $150 gift card to The Palm steakhouse for lunch
-A $250 gift card to Marea for dinner for two
Although I was looking forward to the Gala and the meals, the best value I got from this package was my two-night stay at the Mandarin Oriental, since the rate of the room I stayed in was over $1,100 a night (they accidentally told me the room rate when I checked in, not realizing Chase was picking up the tab as part of the package). Whether Chase got it for cheaper or not is another story, but I still feel like I got a great deal on the hotel, even if I didn’t earn any hotel points or elite credit.
The Mandarin Oriental is located at 80 Columbus Circle (right near Lincoln Center where the gala was taking place) in the sleek Time Warner Center on high floors, so all 248 guest rooms and suites have views of either Central Park or the Hudson River. Turns out my view was a partial Central Park and part Hudson view, but it was still incredible and so quintessentially New York.
I was given a King Standard Room – spacious at over 400 square feet – with a really comfortable bed with goose down bedding and Fili d’Oro linens, a chaise lounge near the window along with a small end table, a simple dark Asian cherry-wood work desk and chest of drawers upon which sat an LCD flat-panel TV (there was another one on the bathroom wall), and even an orchid plant on the chest.
The whole aesthetic is meant to be 1940′s glamorous with an opulent black-gold palette, dark finishes and shiny glass and metallic accents, kind of like a golden age cruise liner.
The bathroom was also huge with marble walls and black stone vanity area with a soaking tub and a separate glass-enclosed shower.
One of the coolest features of the hotel is the 75-foot indoor lap pool with panoramic views, since finding such nice pools in New York City is truly rare. Although I didn’t get to try it, the hotel also has a full-service Spa with six treatment rooms, a Thai Yoga Room and a two specialty spa suites with their own fireplaces and steam showers. The men’s and women’s locker rooms also have small, warm pools for relaxing and amethyst-crystal steam rooms, Oriental Tea Lounge and a modern fitness center.
The Mandarin Oriental’s flagship restaurant is Asiate, an Asian-fusion fine-dining room that’s open only for dinner Tuesday-Saturday, while the Lobby Lounge is open for all-day dining, and the hotel’s MOBAR serves drinks and small plates in the afternoon and evening (again, just Tuesday-Saturday).
It was a whirlwind two days in New York and getting to the rest of my Chase Exclusives package perks kept me pretty busy, so I didn’t get the chance to just hang out and enjoy the hotel much, but what time I did spend there was really relaxing, and the location and views made me feel like I was having a truly New York experience. I’d definitely stay there again if the opportunity arose. I had dinner one night in the lobby lounge, which has a great view of Columbus Circle and the park. While drinks are $20+ and the food pricy, it’s all about the location and people watching. If you are a guest of the hotel I’d recommend reserving a window table in advance because they get snatched up quickly.
For the non-Chase cardholders out there, the Mandarin Oriental New York is also a member of Fine Hotels & Resorts which is a program exclusively for American Express Platinum Card cardholders, who are eligible for extra benefits such as room upgrades, free continental breakfast, early check-in and late check-out, and a $100 food and beverage credit when booking a stay through Fine Hotels & Resorts.