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I may call Chicago home, but I’ve been in New York City for work almost as frequently this past year and have come to think of the Big Apple as my home away from home. I’ve stayed at nearly two dozen different hotels during that time, and have got a good handle on which places are best suited to which style of business travel. Here are six of my favorites, perfect for six different kinds of travelers who want to work and play hard.
1. For the Classic New York Experience, Head to The St. Regis
The St. Regis New York is undoubtedly one of New York’s most storied hotels. Sip afternoon tea at Astor Court or get a drink at the King Cole Bar, where the Bloody Mary was supposedly invented (two other bars claim to also hold this title), and where the likes of Salvador Dalí, Ernest Hemingway and Marilyn Monroe used to party. A 2013 renovation preserved that history while updating the rooms so they’re prettier, more comfortable and more tech-friendly than the dated rooms at The Plaza or The Peninsula across the street.
At some St. Regis properties, only certain floors and suites come with butler service, but here there are 40 butlers on staff, and all 238 rooms and 67 suites have a designated butler — this includes special perks like free coffee and tea delivered to your room until noon, complimentary garment pressing and even a yoga mat provided to your room in the morning. If you really want to impress, there’s a collection of bespoke designer suites artfully designed by the likes of Tiffany, Dior and Bentley.
Rates at The St. Regis New York start at $681 or 30,000 Starpoints per night in January.
2. For the Aspiring Elegant Upper East Sider, Stay at The Surrey
“Only here among the crowds can you find rest, nestled up above the park deep in the city…” reads a line of poetry embroidered on the window box seat in my one-bedroom suite at The Surrey. For a city girl like me, the saying rings true here at New York’s only Relais & Chateaux property. Discreetly located right off Madison Avenue in prime high-end shopping territory, The Surrey is the full package, with Michelin-starred Café Boulud and charming boutique Cornelia Spa, which has its own exclusive line of skincare products.
Although the hotel has been around since 1926, it remains current with a sophisticated silver, black and white color palette, luxurious white marble bathrooms stocked with Diptyque amenities and an impressive collection of modern art. On Friday and Sunday evenings, a live jazz trio serenades you at Bar Pleiades, where you can sip Champagne or a whiskey cocktail while listening to strains of Bobby Darin. Book your through the Visa Signature Hotels portal for special perks like complimentary continental breakfast, automatic room upgrades, late checkout and a food and beverage credit. I look forward to returning in the summer to do morning yoga on the property’s private rooftop garden.
Rates at The Surrey start at $400 per night in January.
3. For the Discreet Aristocrat, the Four Seasons Is Top Choice
All 368 rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel New York were scheduled to be renovated by early 2017, with bright beige and white interiors, custom furniture made from Japanese tamo ash, and pops of colorful contemporary art. 23 of the rooms have private terraces, absolutely priceless on a beautiful summer day, while others offer sweeping views of Central Park. There’s no better way to take full advantage of the terrace than with the hotel’s new “meals in the sky” experience, where the kitchen prepares a bespoke six-course tasting menu with wine pairings in just 24 hours’ notice. Both the food and service, including the tricky timing of multi-course room service, were at the same level of any of the Michelin-starred restaurants I’ve experienced in the city.
Another amenity that sets the Four Seasons apart is the L. Raphael Spa, the Swiss skincare brand’s first location in North America. While treatments are pricey, the exclusive products really seem to do the trick. The oxygen facial I ordered was one of the best I’ve ever had — the cold oxygen blasts weren’t exactly calming, but gave my skin a glow that lasted several days.
Rates at the Four Seasons Hotel New York start at $775 per night in January.
4. For the Midtown Executive, Hotel 48LEX Is a Lush Second Office
Hotel 48LEX is a reasonably priced hidden gem on the corner of Lexington and 48th Street. Its inconspicuous lobby belies the large, apartment-style rooms and suites that await upstairs, with floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms that are much newer and nicer than at the historic Waldorf Astoria across the street. The entire hotel even has a subtle cucumber-and-green-tea scent reminiscent of a spa.
There’s a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, and wine and cheese every evening in the second-floor lounge for all hotel guests. I especially liked the organic Beekman 1802 toiletries and being able to spread out my electronics on broad desks that have plenty of conveniently located outlets.
Rates at Hotel 48LEX start at $254 per night in January.
5. For the Young Wall Street Hotshot, the Conrad Is Convenient and Cool
The Conrad Hotel New York is located right next door to Goldman Sachs, so it’s no surprise that it’s a popular spot for finance guys and gals. The clean, modern ambiance in the hotel’s airy atrium mimics what you’ll find at Goldman’s sky lobby next door. The Lower Manhattan location was also convenient to Brookfield Place and One World Trade Center.
After a busy day of meetings, the on-site Loopy Doopy rooftop bar was a great spot to unwind with boozy popsicles and Hudson River and New York Harbor views. As a Hilton HHonors Gold member, I received complimentary continental breakfast vouchers for each morning of my stay, along with free internet access.
Rates at The Conrad Hotel New York start at $214 or 70,000 Hilton HHonors points per night in January.
6. For Lovers of Lady Liberty, Get a View at The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park
If you can’t get enough of that signature NYC postcard view, redeem 100,000 Ritz-Carlton / Marriott Rewards points for a scenic stay at the Statue of Liberty 800-square-foot one-bedroom suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park. Most guest rooms even have telescopes to help you capitalize on that sweet, panoramic view.
The club lounge level is what separates The Ritz-Carlton from comparable luxury brands like the Four Seasons, and it can be worth purchasing access for $150 if you’re not staying in one of the 11th-floor club-level rooms, considering all that’s included. If you’re busy working, there are five distinct meal services throughout the day, so you won’t have to spend a dime on food. The evening dessert service — with complimentary after-dinner drinks, including The Ritz-Carlton house Champagne — is my favorite.
Rates at The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park, start at $279 or 60,000 Ritz-Carlton / Marriott Rewards points per night in January.
Bottom Line: New York City’s Your Oyster
Whether it’s the character and amenities of your hotel or a convenient location and workplace support that are most important for your next New York business stay, there are many great hotels all over Manhattan to try. Maximize your stay by opting for points-hotels, but don’t overlook independent properties, as they can still offer a great experience — just be sure to book your stay with a card that’ll reward you, like the Citi Prestige, which gives you 3x points on hotel purchases.
Which NYC hotel best suits your style of business travel? Let us know in the comments, below.
Featured image courtesy of The Surrey.
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