I finally got around to seeing the year’s top fashion documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. In the spirit of her fabled Why Don’t’ You lists that spiced up an earlier iteration of Harper’s Bazaar, I offer Overnight New York’s Why Don’t You: the NYC Hotel holiday version. Here’s what to see and do at New York hotels while the holidays are still humming.
Take holiday tea at The Peninsula Forget petite fours. The Peninsula New York serves up a special holiday tea that’s as seasonal as Santa (or midnight champagne). Brightening the pastry plate are bite-size fruit cake, crescent macarons, peppermint chocolate cupcakes and eggnog pecan tarts. A special children’s tea includes snowman marshmallows, peppermint cupcakes and Christmas cookies.
See the Eloise Tree at The Plaza The glittering Gatsby Tree in the Plaza’s main foyer grabs all the huzzahs. But keep walking. Eloise, the fictional hotel imp conceived by writer Kay Thompson and illustrator Hilary Knight, gets her own special tree in the back lobby past the check-in desk. (Look for the pink marabou swags.) Or keep an eye out for the life-size Eloise doll gazing up at the candy canes – and pink glass balls and puppy ornaments.
Triple lutz under the wreath at The Standard High Line Or better yet, watch someone else do it (you can fortify yourself with hot apple cider – spiked). In winter The Standard’s front plaza morphs into an ice rink – complete with a Zamboni — open from early morning (for little kids) into the wee hours (for big kids). The après-skate menu includes crepes, hot soup, hot chocolate (dark and white) and bone-warming libations.
Sip Burnt Foam at the Pierre You read that right. And it’s delicious. Molecular Mixology is the theme this month (and next) at the Pierre’s glamorous Two E lounge. This of-the-moment drinks trend melds food and drink into sleek cocktails as pretty as they are interesting. Champagne flows over a dollop of cassis-infused gel you can eat with a spoon in the Cassis Caviar-Kir Royale. And Burnt Foam – St. Germain married with Nitrogen Oxide – tops a cocktail of Piscol 100, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice and simple syrup.
Visit – but don’t feed – the polar bear at Dream Downtown Once again Dream transforms its lobby into a hip winter wonderland with fairy lights (check), trees (check) and . . . wildlife (the stuffed kind). The life-size polar bear rearing up on his hind legs is magnificent.
Nibble eggnog cheesecake at the New York Palace Eggnog cheesecake is shorthand for fifty bazillion calories, but hey, the holidays only come around once a year (just like the New York Palace eggnog cheesecake). So go for it, eggnog – or cheesecake — aficionados. It’s also shorthand for yum.
Vote for your favorite gingerbread house at Le Parker Meridien The voting ends January 3. Six wildly creative gingerbread constructions — house is too tame a term for these big, almost edible babies – sit in Plexiglas boxes in the hotel’s back lobby. Votes cost $1 (or eight for $5). Choose your favs (who can pick just one?) and cross your fingers (proceeds go to City Harvest, which feeds the needy). The winner scores five nights at sister hotel Parker Palm Springs (where it’s a lot warmer!).
Warm up with a Cream Toddy at the Barclay Seasonal drinks are a specialty at the Intercontinental New York Barclay, one of our favorite 1920s hotels. Apple Calvados whipped cream tops the Cream Toddy – Calvados Chateau du Breuill Fine, apple cider, star anise cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. And if that doesn’t warm you up, know that $2 of the $15 drink will be donated to the Food Bank for New York City, which feeds the needy.
Salute the toy soldiers at the St Regis Some of the best decorations are outdoors. Two gigantic toy soldiers hold court in front of the St. Regis where zilions of fairy lights illuminate the limestone facade. (The hotel looks pretty good inside, too.)
Find Peace at The Maritime You don’t have to look far. The hotel’s iconic wreath is the first thing you see as you enter. All best to you in the new year!