comes to business travel, New York City is on a roll. In 2012, the city hosted a
record 52 million visitors, whose spending produced a whopping $55.3 billion in
While most business travellers have
likely bedded down at hotels in the popular, central Midtown area, demand has
prompted a hotel building boom across all five boroughs, providing a slew of new,
upscale options in areas like the Upper West Side (NYLO hotel), Greenwich Village (The Jade Hotel),
Brooklyn (Wythe Hotel) and Queens (Z
the Herald Square area has seen an influx of mid-priced, brand name hotels such
Western Premier, Hilton
Garden Inn, Holiday
Inn Express and Marriott
Courtyard, among others. Later this month,
Marriott will open two new hotels inside the same building: a 378-room Courtyard
and a 261-room Residence
Inn. The soaring steel and glass tower near the southwest corner of Central
Park will be the tallest hotel building in the western hemisphere. More
than 5,000 rooms have been built in the last two years, and by the end of 2014
the city will have more than 100,000, reports NYC
& Company, the city’s tourism organization.
York City is the US’ most frequented point of entry for international travellers,
the airport customs and immigration process can be slow and frustrating, in part because the city’s largest
airports, John F Kennedy International (JFK), Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, are a mix of old and new. However, the
arrival experience at New York City is improving. In May 2013, Delta Air Lines
moved into a brand new $1.4 billion international terminal at JFK’s Terminal 4. In
October, the airline rolled out new automated passport control kiosks in its
customs and immigration hall, which helped cut the 35-minute average wait time
Taxi fares into
Manhattan (not including tip and tolls) are about $50 from JFK, $30 to $40 from
La Guardia and $50 to $70 from Newark. During cold winter months, outdoor queues
for taxis can be lengthy, which might make a car
service a better option. Even though black sedan fares can run 20% to 50%
higher than cab fares, they might be worth it if you are on a tight schedule.
Train service to Manhattan is available from JFK and Newark, and bus service is
available from LaGuardia, but both involve multiple transfers, making a car the
preferred mode of transport for most business travellers.
909-room New York Palace in Midtown – part Italian
Renaissance mansion, part 56-storey skyscraper – has just finished an 18-month,
$140-million re-do of all rooms and public spaces. The most sought after rooms
in the house are high-floor corner suites in the exclusive 176-room Towers section of the hotel,
which are 25% larger than other rooms and offer sparkling Manhattan skyline
views. CEOs who are meeting and entertaining clients should consider the hotel’s
two spectacular 5,000sqft triplex penthouse suites, both of which include
fireplaces, kitchens and unusually large outdoor terraces with hot tubs. Book a
power breakfast at Villard Michel Richard (opened in September and
already one of the city’s top tables) or meet up with clients and colleagues
for a snifter of cognac at the clubby Rarities in the Palace’s busy lobby.
business is downtown on Wall Street in the city’s Financial District, check into
one of the 463 spacious suites at the cavernous-yet-cosy Conrad New York in Battery Park City. It is located one block west of the new 104-storey
One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom
Tower). The 15-storey hotel was originally built as part of the Embassy Suites
brand, but its owners (Goldman Sachs, with its global headquarters next door)
shut it down for a tip-to-toe re-do and re-brand, which was completed in March
2012. Modern, minimalist-chic rooms are actually two-room suites, with a small
living room/office area, oversized bathroom (with big bright walk-in showers),
two flat-screen TVs, espresso machines and quiet bedrooms; ask for one that
overlooks the Hudson River. After a long day at work, blow off some steam walking,
biking or running along the Hudson River Greenway, the largest car-free bicycle and
pedestrian path in the city, which starts one block west of the Conrad’s front
487-room, 54-storey Hyatt Times Square opened this month in the city’s theatre district
with big 364sqft rooms brightened with pop art and floor-to-ceiling windows.
There is also a 54th-floor rooftop
lounge (the highest in the city) with river-to-river views and cosy outdoor
fireplaces. In an unusual twist, arriving guests are greeted in the lobby by
hotel staff and checked into rooms via iPad.
and urbane 208-room Quin hotel opened near Central Park’s southern end in
November. Rooms combine classic and contemporary touches such as plush Duxiana
beds, original art and Nespresso machines. The building had a prior life as the
Buckingham Hotel, famous for hosting artistic cognoscenti like Marc Chagall and
eclectic 178-room Hyatt Union Square opened in April 2013 one block south of Union
Square, a leafy park sandwiched between Midtown and Greenwich Village. The
glassy 12-storey hotel sprouts out of a restored historical façade; the former nightclub
and a bowling alley space now serves as the hotel’s lobby, bar and restaurant
space. Small, but well-designed rooms offer unique touches like black washed
oak flooring, colourful headboards that are swapped out by the season, and
bright, functional bathrooms sheathed in marble mosaic tile. For an
indoor/outdoor feel, ask for a second-storey landscaped terrace room, especially
nice during warmer months. For lunch or dinner, do not miss out on the pink
salt roasted Amish chicken, served on a small wooden chopping block at The Fourth, the hotel’s Franco-American style brassiere.
If you have a chance, check out the local bounty from nearby bakeries, farms
and fishing boats at the Union Square Greenmarket, New York’s largest and most
popular outdoor market, open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8
am to 6 pm.
240-room Viceroy New York Hotel opened in October 2013 near Central
Park’s southern end. Rooms are appointed in warm stained wood and leather with
brass trimmings, have big walk-in showers, free wi-fi, Illy espresso makers and
huge picture windows (ask for one overlooking 57th Street or for a
Park View room on the highest floors of the 29-storey tower). In two surprise
touches, there is a basement plunge pool and the closets are lined with
wallpaper in patterns dating back to the 1920s.
The new 60-room
High Line Hotel, in the west Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea,
is part of a mixed-use block that is part hotel, part Episcopal seminary and
part residential building. All rooms are of varying size (ask for a large one)
with unique reproduction antique furnishings, heavy moulding and hardwood
floors. All windows open to allow in fresh air, and either look out at the popular
elevated High Line Trail or onto a quiet grassy courtyard shared with
the seminary and residences.
may want to check into the new 197-room Refinery Hotel,
located in the city’s garment district near Bryant Park. Rooms in this former 12-storey
Neo-Gothic hat factory are industrial chic and loft-like with 12ft ceilings,
dark brushed oak floors and beds framed in steel, trimmed in leather, and topped
with cosy down comforters and smooth Frette linens. Even though the Refinery has
only been open since May, it already ranks on TripAdvisor as New
York’s second most popular hotel for business.
Sirio is an increasingly popular spot on the Upper
East Side, attracting a steady stream of fashionable locals and business
travellers to its handsome Fellini-esque dining room at the recently renovated Pierre Hotel. It is the perfect spot for an
important lunch or celebratory dinner with colleagues or clients. The menu is
primarily contemporary Italian, featuring dishes such as porcini mushroom soup,
eggplant parmigiana served in puff pastry, and branzino with celery root puree,
tomato, capers and fresh oregano. If you do not have time for a meal, step in
for a martini or Manhattan at the long bar and watch the parade of high society
drop in for dinner.
Soho, the buzz is all about the new David Burke Kitchen. Like its neighbourhood, the atmosphere is
cool and casual. Start with savouries such as smoked pastrami salmon sticks or
peanut butter maple bacon dates at the upstairs Treehouse Bar, then descend to
dine on specialties such as potted duck and foie gras served in a jar, pork
chops served with cumin bacon and mango chutney, or dry-aged steaks. If you are
in town on Sunday, go for the four-course pre-fixe dinner that includes roasted
For a taste
of the Mediterranean in pleasant mid-century modern surroundings, stop by Daniel
Boulud’s popular Boulud Sud on the Upper West Side. Dishes, which get
their inspiration from southern France, northern Africa, Spain and Greece, include
charred octopus (which seems to be on every Manhattan menu these days), lemon-saffron
linguini, spiced swordfish kebabs and braised goat served with escarole and
the scene and the seafood at Midtown’s glitzy Harlow. The
upscale Art Deco space draws stylish locals to check out the crowd and sample
whatever is fresh on the big raw bar. Dive into popular dishes such as the seafood
pie, a warm puff pastry shell bubbling with clams, lobster and mussels.
Off the clock
you want see how New Yorkers really live, take a walk across the historic Brooklyn
and visit Brooklyn, the city’s most populous borough – home to 2.5 million residents. Walk
through the upscale neighbourhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill or Park
Slope for a look at some of the city’s most picturesque (and expensive)
brownstones. Wander around the trendy boutiques and restaurants in Williamsburg
for a few hours. If just wandering around is not your style, take one of many walking or biking tours recommended by the Brooklyn Tourism and Visitors Center.
alone? No problem! Walk over to the Plaza Hotel near Central Park and descend into its Plaza Food Hall, opened in May 2012.
While most New Yorkers do not spend much time in Midtown beyond going to work,
the new food hall is an easy way for Midtown-based business travellers to
sample many of New York’s most popular food purveyors. Don’t
miss the lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster; the cookies, brownies and pound cake
at William Greenberg Desserts; a juicy, messy submarine sandwich at No 7 Sub;
or a walnut cream croissant from Pain d’Avignon.
Don’t do this
their gruff reputation, New Yorkers are generally friendly, outgoing people who
are eager to help visitors with directions or recommendations. Just don’t get
in their way on congested sidewalks, and follow these unwritten rules of
walking in New York.
not walk three-or-four abreast (which blocks the flow of traffic). Groups
should walk in single file on busy sidewalks.
not stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look up at a skyscraper or to consult
your map or smartphone. Move to the side and let the pedestrians pass.
approaching another pedestrian on the sidewalk, always yield to the right.