I had a few days off and decided last minute to go the NYC and meet my BFF for a weekend filled with good food, art and shopping.
Here my tips on finding the best place to stay and discovering Brooklyn, and of course my dinning and cultural tips.
Hotel: I am hotel-snob, at least i am honest about that. My day job is dealing with high-end hotels and when i travel being it leisure or business i like staying at nice properties. Now, i don’t need a Four Season each time (although i love them) but i do have specific criteria when i start my research:
1. Location – of course: where do i want to be regardless of what most travel guides recommend, it needs to work for me. I need air space, i know it sounds redonkers but yes, i need to see the sky or i will never wake up! So for me Meatpacking has the best views over the water and skyline. Some may consider needing a metro stop close by but since i am used to walking i really don’t care much about that. Staying close to my place of business is also never a criteria for me, that’s why there are taxis or public transportation.
3. Hotel style: it needs to be fresh, newly renovated as i HATE old fuddy-duddy rooms. I need a modern and comfortable shower and day light. I am not a huge fan of very large hotels, say 400 rooms and more as i feel like a number. I prefer little boutique hotels with a sense of style, it doesn’t matter if it is modern or classic, as long as it feels fresh and new. Also i like to see staff having a good time at work, a less stiff, distant type of service. Sure call me Sandra but most of all, tell me where you hang out… at the very least the perception of them having fun at work is what makes me feel good.
2. Price – in last importance indeed – i will pay good money for a hotel room if it meets the first 2 criteria but it is not unimportant. No-one wants to feel robbed and pay too much. There are lots of hotel deals to be found but be careful and read the fine print as cancellation polices can be harsh and prepaying your entire stay mandatory. I always bring some Belgian chocolates for the desk staff, a little something sweet might get you a better room, who knows … ( i must admit i forgot to give them at The Standard, next time i promise guys)
I use sites like booking.com, trivago.com and travel blogs to get inspired. I chose The Standard High Line Hotel
in the meatpacking district as i really love The Village and the Hudson river views. The hotel has super friendly staff and it is very different than any other hotel i ever stayed at. Even finding the entrance was tricky but their concept really works; this psychedelic, modern, slightly exhibitionist deco style does make you feel at home . And the views – OMG – i could not get enough of the view and even slept with the curtains open to not miss a single second of it. It was the best choice for me!
A lot of people are using AirBnB these days even for short stays but i can’t quite get my head around staying in an apartment when you are just away for the weekend. I get it when a group of friends want to share and hang out together but i will always prefer having service over space.
I discovered Brooklyn on this trip – it felt truly like being in the movies or on a TV show: taking the L-train over the water, having a boozy brunch with friends, browsing in gourmet store and buying my friend’s jam ( see the post 16 Feb), waving at Miss Liberty, getting air in the Brooklyn Bridge Park
and admiring that Manhattan view – what a day that was ! Thank you Guhan and Jen for being our tour guides!
Some of the waterholes we frequented:Maison premiere:
A replica of an infamous bar in New Orleans, this bar has heaps of soul and style. And the cocktails aren’t bad either. The oysters and brunch menu is ah-mazing and we enjoyed every minute of it. That lobster roll with pickled red onions was delectable. And after my “usual” Bellini (peach puree with champagne) the hansom young bartender Dave made me a few colourful ones with rhum i believe.
Clover Club: an institution on it’s own, we truly enjoyed the harvest punch and devilled eggs.
Angel’s Share: a Japanese speak easy bar above a japanese restaurant, no signs, just go up the stairs and open the door. A little oasis awaits you. They made me something vodka and egg whites, it was frothy and delish!
CorkBuzz: a little wine bar tucked away in Chelsea market with an exquisite international wine list by the glass and delectable small dishes to share. I tried of course Californian reds and was nicely surprised. I loved the fact the server was able to give me some recommendations and background about eh estates.
The Top of the Standard: you need to be on the guestlist to get in to this nirvana. The views and the cocktails are to die for and if people watching is your sport like me, than this is THE place to park it for a while. LUV IT! (Thank you Baudouin for putting us on the list)
I loved strolling around Chelsea Market and had some superb lobster and burgers there. But i truly loved our celebratory dinner at The Standard Grill: fresh oysters and King Crab, a fabulous piece of beef and a cocktail to finish the meal with – with my BFF, what more do you want! TXS Wendy xoxo!
Of course a stop at the Guggenheim was a must, i walked from meatpacking, so about 3 hours. But ah-gain for the 3rd time i am in NYC, the exhibit was closed so i could only view a small permanent collection, no luck! But still soaked up the innovation and loved listening to the Guggenheim and Wright stories when this was being build. It was (is) quite a controversial building and i loved hearing how Peggy Guggenheim, Solomon’s niece, called it her uncle’s garage. haha.
As the new Whitney museum was just one step outside the hotel’s front door, we of course went to check it out. What a great addition to that part of town and a tribute to American art!
I walked to Battery park and ground zero, one needs reminding how short life truly is and pay their respects.
A bit of shopping well mostly window shopping is a must, but contrary to people’s believes i never really buy much; only absolutely had to get a personalised monogramed HRH jewellery travel pouch from Henri Bendell, that’s all… oh and THE hat as it started to snow and it looked cute too and was on sale of course…
NYC ye never disappoint! Hope to see you soon again, my luv!