The Carlyle has a true place in New York's history and a firm following of repeat guests, which is testament to its distinguished reputation. Set in a Beaux Art building between Park and Madison Avenue, the hotel is surrounded by fabulous boutiques such as Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Prada and Lilly Pulitzer, and close to a host of top eateries and upscale galleries like Gagosian and Arader. There's no question that this is the grandest place to stay in New York City, having housed Royalty, heads of state and celebrities aplenty. And, as to be expected from a Rosewood Hotel, it is run with slick confidence and exceptional service, offering a glamorous sojourn for those looking to travel in style.
Some suites are more contemporary than others, which are a little tired and in need of a refurb - I can advise you on the various styles when you're booking to make sure it suits your personal taste, and we always request rooms that have been recently refurbished where possible. For marvellous views, the Tower Rooms are perfect, with big sash windows overlooking Central Park. In general, rooms are spacious and stylishly decorated with traditional furniture that compliments the original dark wood parquet floors; beautiful writing desks (befit with The Carlyle writing paper and notelets), large chests of draws and soft white linens - glorious to return to after a day exploring. And you'll enjoy even the most modern of comforts with each room containing a flat screen TV. The atmosphere is lovely and homely; vases of fresh flowers and exquisite pastries greet you on arrival, and the classic Rosewood touch of your initials sewn into your pillowcase is a charming detail – one of many. Some suites even have stunning grand pianos…! The bathrooms are fairly small, but enjoy lots of natural light, big tubs, powerful showers and the nicest Kiehls amenities. The Carlyle's own soap brand is also heavenly and available at the concierge desk (where you should also pick up one of their gorgeous scented candles!).
The Carlyle feels very discreet with an elegant old-world ambience - think sparkly chandeliers, spectacular flower displays, ornate mirrors and antique ottoman's adorning the social spaces where guests are seen meeting and mingling in the evenings. I love that the elevators are still operated by charming men in uniform, which adds a sense of security and epitomises the personal, old-fashioned service that you can expect from The Carlyle. The staff are all heavenly; always welcoming and attentive, helpfully assisting with reservations to the best experiences in the city, so all you need do is relax.
The Carlyle restaurant, now under Chef Mark Richardson, feels like you're dining in an opulent English stately home – it's elegant, extremely comfortable and serves the most delicious breakfasts. An impressive selection of black and white photographs showing the hotel's star-studded guest-list adorns the walls, including one of The Beatles with Mohammed Ali. Be sure to indulge in a celebratory glass of Champagne in the Turkish-themed Gallery, where traditional English tea is also served daily. Bemelmans Bar is one of my favourite features of The Carlyle – a buzzing cocktail bar serving epic martinis with live music, enjoyed from soft dark leather sofas and surrounded by beautiful murals depicting quaint Central Park scenes, painted by Ludwig Bemelmans (a successful artist for the New Yorker, Vogue and Town & Country, famed for his ‘Madeline' books). The murals in Café Carlyle are also the work of Bemelmans - this is the hotel's renowned jazz bar, which hosts recitals from the world's top musicians and often arranges private piano recitals just for guests. There's something fabulous and flamboyant about ‘cocktails at The Carlyle' and it's a must for anyone looking to experience the glitz and glamour of the Big Apple.
Although there's a small gym, the park is just a block away and much more inviting. The peaceful Sisley-Paris Spa offers lovely treatments such as facials and massages, and there's a fantastic Yves Durif hair and beauty salon. Children are made very welcome by the ‘Rose Buds' children's programme, enjoying an array of special services including children's menus, bathrobes, slippers and Madeline's Tea (available seasonally). Well behaved canine guests (not that we're comparing!) also enjoy customised Carlyle dog beds and bowls, tasty pet treats and spring water(!).
Send a friend a post card from your room using The Carlyle's old-fashioned mail shoot between the elevators, and watch it whoosh down!
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...