NYC Hotels Where You Can Watch the 2018 Academy Awards with Drinks and a Crowd

OscarThis year’s Academy Awards offer an added element of suspense: will they announce the correct Best Picture winner on the first try?

If you want to be with a crowd when that happens — and for all the tears, theatrics, dresses and quips from Jimmy Kimmel unfolding beforehand — these New York City hotels are serving up drinks, big screens and a party atmosphere for Hollywood’s March 4 celebration airing at 8 p.m. Popcorn, too, if you’re lucky. Read more

Two NYC Hotels Where You Can Watch the Oscars with a Crowd

Oscar Sunday unfurls this weekend. If you like being surrounded by a crowd when you see if Leonardo breaks his streak or what Cate, Rooney and Jen Law (or their stylists) like for the Red Carpet this time around, these two New York City hotels stand at the ready with big screens and big plans. Read more

Checking Out the Crosby Street Hotel — And Its Grand Slam Cocktail

Can’t make it to today’s matches at the U.S. Open?

The Crosby Street Hotel offers a tall, cool alternative. The Grey Goose Honey Deuce Cocktail is available as long as the Open is in town – through September 8, in other words.

It’s a last liquid gasp of summer – vodka, raspberry liqueur, lemonade and chilled honey dew melon balls on a stick. Sounds like an ace. Read more

Hunting Down the Greenest Hotels in New York City

With a nod to Earth Day, we offer our (second) annual roll call of green New York City hotels.

The greenest of the green are those with LEED certification – third party proof of adherence to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards set by the U.S Green Building Council. Read more

When the Roof’s a Farm: Five New York Hotels that Grow Their Own Food

Hard as it may be to picture – especially if you’re gazing at the Empire State Building – Manhattan was once blanketed by farmland. John Rowland, the 19th-century surveyor who mapped Manhattan’s street grid, knew all about it. In his spare time he fashioned nearly 100 maps of the island’s farms.

But enough history. Manhattan farming is back, albeit on a very small scale (think planter boxes). Still, finding a Manhattan hotel that grows its own food – or at least some of it – is a lot easier than it was as recently as a year or two ago. Read more

See “Midnight Cowboy” — and Hear Spike Lee Talk About It — at W New York Downtown’s “New York in Film” Series

We love watching old movies in hotel screening rooms, the ultimate anti-multiplex (the chairs! the sound system! the champagne!).

Last month W New York Downtown initiated “New York in Film,” a smart if brief summer series of old movies curated by savvy New Yorkers. And just like that W joined the (too) small society of New York hotels, including the Crosby Street Hotel and Tribeca Grand, that screen movies to anyone who purchases a ticket, not just red carpeters and opening nighers. Read more

How NYC Hotels Are Coping with Mean Hurricane Irene

And a most unwelcome guest she is.

Flooding concerns in low-lying areas of Manhattan prompted several hotels at the island’s southern tip to close this weekend for city-mandated evacuation, including the Ritz Carlton New York Battery Park, the Andaz Wall Street, the New York Marriott Downtown and the tiny Wall Street Inn. And just like that, more than 1,000 hotel rooms dropped off the city’s radar. Read more

Scones, Sandwiches and Lapsang Souchong: Afternoon Teas Worth Taking at NYC Hotels

High tea and texting don’t mix. That, at least, is how I felt on a recent weekday afternoon as I sipped Lapsang Souchong and nibbled miniature sandwiches in the Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula hotel.

Afternoon tea at a hotel is something of an anachronism, a last link to a “What is the weekend?” world. It’s the anti-fast food, offering a civilized setting for a business meeting, a cozy chat or a vacation from the 21st-century for an hour or two.

Its charms depend on getting the mix of old and new just right, a balancing act that’s oddly tricky. Too much tradition and high tea feels fusty.  Not enough and it’s not High Tea.

I don’t do afternoon tea at hotels very often. Still, I like knowing it’s there, like the Empire State Building. A surprising number of New York hotels do up a proper tea with finger sandwiches, sweets, scones, mounds of clotted cream and leaf-filled pots. Beats a teabag in a paper cup.


Never mind that interior design pioneer Elsie de Wolfe, aka Lady Mendl, never lived here. This comfy-grand tea salon in an 1834 brownstone that was once a speakeasy channels its namesake’s indomitable spirit — and love of creamy beige walls. The Inn at Irving Place, a house hotel with just 12 rooms, also channels de Wolfe contemporary Edith Wharton. The result? Tea at Lady Mendl’s is the next best thing to time travel if The Age of Innocence is your destination.  The quiet, high-ceilinged room, outfitted with silk sofas and low tables, feels like a cocoon. And the $35 tea is generous – five courses, from scones with clotted cream to cookies and chocolate-covered strawberries – even if it comes with a 90-minute time limit. Lady Mendl’s Tea Room at the Inn at Irving Place, 56 Irving Place between East 17th and East 18th Streets. 212 533-4466


Given The Carlyle’s stern, 1930 Art Deco edifice, who’d guess one of the city’s great fantasy rooms is tucked inside? The sultan’s dining room at Topkapi Palace inspired Renzo Monglardino’s designs for the exotic Gallery, where afternoon tea is served. True, the red velvet chairs and antique kilim banquettes are oddly threadbare, in a genteel way. That doesn’t bother the regulars — writers, editors, actors and East Side socialites — congregating around scones, outsize-finger sandwiches and Payard pastries served on Monglardino’s deliciously gregarious china. Bonus: you can order a full tea or a la carte items. The Carlyle, 35 East 75th Steet at Madison Avenue. 212 744-1600 


Tea at The Plaza is such a tradition it’s almost a cliche.  But if you don’t mind gawking tourists traipsing past – ask for a table in the back if you do – it’s a pleasure to pull up a brocade fauteuil  at a white-clothed table and gaze up at the magnificent glass ceiling in the exquisitely restored Palm Court. Alas, the violinists are gone – but so are the stale tea cakes. Gone, too, is the outrageously expensive tea dating from the hotel’s renovation in 2007. The four streamlined replacements hit the right notes – two full classic teas ($45 each), a chocolate tea (chocolate fondue, chocolate truffles, cupcakes, scones with Nutella; $55) and a three-course $28 Eloise tea with lemonade for kids. The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. 212 546-5300


Afternoon tea as spectacle? Well, yes, when it’s served on the 35th floor by a wall of windows overlooking Central Park and midtown’s most iconic buildings. As befits a gleaming skyscraper hotel less than 10 years old, the Mandarin Oriental’s Lobby Lounge, where tea is served, is modern and sleek with streamlined slipper sofas, low tables and not a fauteuil in sight. It feels contemporary and glamorous. The $38 tea dutifully touches all the bases – scones made with Devonshire cream, sandwiches, cookies – but the showstopper, besides the view, is the brew.  Befitting a hotel chain launched in Asia, China teas rule. I took a sip of jasmine, closed my eyes and was whisked back to Hongkong’s old Mandarin Hotel in the 1980s.  The Mandarin Oriental, 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street. 212 805-8800


Tea and tranquility are the specialties of the Lowell’s Pembroke Room, where afternoon tea is served against an oh-so-English backdrop of crystal sconces, ruched curtains, white tablecloths and gleaming hotel silver.  You don’t come to the Lowell for surprises, but you can expect comfort, thoughtful service and scones that melt in your mouth. You can also expect grace notes, like Picard china egg cups holding lemon curd, marmalade and Devonshire cream. Tea choices abound including our favorite, smokey Lapsang Souchong, which isn’t served everywhere.  At $44.95, the full tea is not cheap – and the pastries aren’t perfect – but you can make a long, leisurely afternoon of it. The Lowell, 28 East 63rd between Madison and Park. 212 838-1400


Since it’s owned by Brits, it’s no surprise the Crosby Street Hotel serves an English afternoon tea – all day ($34). Hotel teas are a rarity in SoHo.  But you can take tea in the drawing room, a delicious, updated riff on a classic Victorian parlor. Or order it up in the restaurant or bar, an equally fanciful setting adorned with Warhol-esque portraits of the Queen. You can also order a solo tea ($5), choosing from eight brews and eight infusions and drink in the atmosphere without spending the afternoon — or breaking the bank. And yes, they have Lapsang Souchong. Crosby Street Hotel, 79 Crosby Street between Prince and Spring; 212 226-6400,


The Peninsula rolled out a new afternoon tea in the fall of 2012 that’s over the top in all the right ways ($55). In an art-filled room that’s serene, high ceilinged and lightened by big domed windows the Peninsula tea updates and amplifies all the basics — almond scones that taste like marzipan (classic raisin scores are also served), miniature sandwiches on five  types of bread, pastries created with seasonal ingredients, like mini pumpkin cheesecake and round little apple cakes crowned with white chocolate slivers glazed orange for the fall. Special pastry plates are offered from time to time, like the pink tea pastries served during October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. (They looked like confections created for the Sugar Plum Fairy.) There’s also a children’s tea with chicken fingers, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, mini cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries and hot chocolate ($27). The Peninsula, Fifth Avenue at 55th Street; 212 956-2888

Reservations are required at Lady Mendl’s. For the rest, walk-ins usually get a table but it’s best to reserve.




A First Look at the Fanciful, Floral Crosby Street Hotel

Shortly after I spent the night at the Crosby Street Hotel, I came across the April issue of Elle Décor. Inside I spotted the London townhouse of Kit and Tim Kemp, owners of the Crosby. Gazing at their fancifully sophisticated, color-drenched house awash in bold florals and even bolder stripes it seemed I’d never left the hotel. In fact, a shiny lamp base comprised of stacked silver balls looked like the one in my room. Read more

Cool Stuff From Nine Clever Artisans at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Design in bloom.

Design in bloom.

I love design shows, and this is one of my favorites. (Full disclosure: I moderated the show’s New York Times design seminars, but I’d love it anyway.) Read more

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