Grazia's guide to New York Part 1: Where to stay

Throw away your guide books, Grazia’s insider look at the city is everything you need to take a fresh bite out of the Big Apple
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Grazia's guide to New York Part 1: Where to stay

It might be the city that never sleeps, but let’s be honest, even the hardiest party-goers eventually need to rest their heads. Manhattan is famous for having some of the smallest hotel rooms on the planet (we can vouch for that), so the newly refurbished Conrad New York Midtown (conradnewyorkmidtown.com) is a breath of fresh air – there’s nothing like having space to open your suitcase and not fall over it as you get into bed. The 500 suites at the 54-floor property relaunched at the end of 2019, and with prices starting at Dhs1,500, you’re looking at some of the most sought-after accommodation available near Central Park.

The newly refurbed Conrad New York Midtown is perfect for those who appreciate space

Relish in having more than just a tiny bedroom and bathroom as you enjoy the spacious living space and ponder the choice of a big comfy sofa or mid-century modern leather chairs to sink into. You can add to that the floor-to-ceiling windows showing off the New York skyline, top-of-the-range TVs and a luxury Nespresso coffee machine (a little jewel that’s as difficult to find in New York hotels as a fairly-priced breakfast – expect to pay around Dhs120 plus tax, plus service for a full American). Outside of the room itself, the fitness centre gets a big thumbs up, being stocked with equipment including Kinesis walls by Technogym, a boxing bag and premium cardio and weights machines by Life Fitness. The lobby area is home to the stunning contemporary ‘Leda and the Swan’ sculpture by artist Carole A. Feuerman – a nod to the art and museum district in which the hotel sits. In fact, the property has an art collection featuring 37 artists, and includes an original Henri Matisse lithograph, two original Andy Warhol silkscreens, and two limited-edition photographs by Amy Judd. The hotel’s lobby is also home to Dabble, a lively restaurant and bar.

The Arlo SoHo is cool, edgy and dripping in Gen-Z types in over-sized jumpers, working on Apple Macs

If you prefer to swap roomy comfort for hipster living, then give Midtown a miss in place of trendy Soho, where the brand-new micro-hotel chain Arlo might be for you. Accommodation starts at just Dhs600, but travel light as these rooms offer an immaculately designed but ‘cosy’ space of around 145sq ft. There’s no room for big suitcases (we kept ours closed during the night we stayed) but there are no corners being cut when it comes to the large comfy bed. The Arlo SoHo (arlohotels.com/arlo-soho) is to hotels what WeWork is to office spaces: cool, edgy and dripping in Gen-Z types in over-sized jumpers, working on Apple Macs while devouring a large portion of New York’s caffeine. It’s all about the ‘vibey’ community space, which includes a happy hour with free plonk for hotel guests, outdoor winter chalets, a library-style lobby bar and a coffee shop that serves a very impressive range of pick’n’mix.

Want both luxury and cool in the most understated fashion? Then our standout favourite place to stay in New York is Robert De Niro’s The Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca (thegreenwichhotel.com) – home to New York’s most expensive zip code.The no photography policy, the highly trained (and very private) staff, and the beautifully polished communal areas accessible only to hotel guests, make it the perfect celeb haunt. New Yorker Lena Dunham is a regular at the hotel, as are Beyoncé and Jay Z, Kim and Kanye, Kendal Jenner, Selena Gomez and a slew of actors including Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart and Kate Hudson.

The Greenwich Hotel is sleek, sophisticated and super lavish

The low-key entrance to the building is in sharp contrast to the magnificence of the interiors: the lobby and lounge areas are home to a mix of hand-cut terracotta tiles from Italy, and solid oak beams that have been lovingly sourced from out-of-use factories, all complemented by the warm and gentle hues of the soft vintage-style furnishings. A beautifully quaint courtyard area sits beyond the drawing room, and the ever popular Locanda Verde Italian restaurant – which famously houses an array of paintings by Robert De Niro’s father – is just next door. The rooms and suites (prices starting at Dhs2,700) are decked out with wellthought-out furnishings including vintage sofas, rugs and quirky knick-knacks, and the lush Moroccan-tiled bathrooms with giant tubs that fill in 60 seconds have become something of a legend with anyone who has stayed at the hotel. The complimentary retro snacks and soft drinks in the mini-bar are as nice a touch as the Bose speaker and library of classic reads that line the shelves. The whole property has a charming serenity to it, but the pièce de résistance when it comes to wellness is, of course, the Shibui Spa – which was brought over piece by wooden piece from Japan. The 18th-century bamboo structure, constructed without a nail or screw in sight, was assembled by a staff of 13 artisan craftsmen flown in from Asia. The spa’s stunning gym and delicately, lantern-lit swimming pool are just two of the breathtaking features.

Photos: Colton Duke for Unsplash, Mark Field Photography, and supplied