Brand new Park Hyatt New York | New York, US | Today I was invited to visit the brand new Park Hyatt New York, followed by a casual and wonderful lunch at The Back Room ONE57 Restaurant, American Grill with a touch of French, all prepared by the expert hand of Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault. Park Hyatt New York is located in the heart of midtown at 153 West 57th street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, across from Carnegie Hall and a short stroll from Central Park. The hotel, designed by world-renowned, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, features 210 generously sized guest rooms including 92 suites, designed by Yabu Pushelberg. The state-of-the-art guest rooms are among the largest in the city, starting from 475 square feet or 44 square meters. Throughout the hotel, guests will experience an uncommon space offering sophistication and elegance. The hotel is located at New York’s tallest residential building, occupying ground floor to the 25th floor. Onwards is all private residences with services and amenities, signature of Park Hyatt. A full-service Spa Nalai, fitness center with partial views of the Central Park and a lovely indoor pool. Fully pet friendly. Seamless check in concept, right from the entrance to your room. On the third floor there is a Guest Services and Les Clefs d’Or Concierge desk. I LOVED: Size of the rooms and bathrooms + the MiniBars which are like little jewel boxes full of surprises + the ballroom spaces for events + the balcony suites (specially the balconies) + the indoor pool + the fact that the building is fully WiFi Free of charge + being Pet Friendly Hotel w/ what I like to call VID – Very Important Dog treatment and amenities + the Beets Risotto I tried for lunch at The Back Room ONE57 + the Bar. I WISH THEY WOULD HAVE: Being such a high-rise building, I was expecting to have breathtaking 360 degrees and panoramic views of Manhattan and most particularly of the Central Park, from the public areas and most specially from the rooms and suites. But unfortunately only those at the private residences get to enjoy that part, not if you are staying at the hotel. New York needed its very own Park Hyatt property, here you have it. Book with me and enjoy the following VIP Amenities: Full Breakfast for each Guest Daily at The Back Room at One57. Also available with Room Service + $100 Hotel Credit, per Room, per Stay. Plus the following amenities subject to availability at the time of check-in/departure: Upgrade + Early Check-In + Late Check-Out. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email email@example.com or phone # 917.754.5515. Also check our scheduled Small Travel Groups at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network. www.carlosmelia.com
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Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria NY | New York, United States| Last night invited by my dear friend Michael Romei, Chef Concierge at the Waldorf Tower and General Secretary of UICH Les Clefs d’Or, along with our other friend Alejandro, we shared and enjoyed a lovely evening at one of the most iconic restaurants of New York, the Bull & Bear Prime Steakhouse. VIP treatment right from the start, when we were informed that we were seating at the Waldorf Astoria’s General Managers table, and the excellent service, efficient and professional, but yet friendly and relaxed. We even had the joy to have Celso Moreira, Concierge and Manager on Duty, to stop by and have a little chat with us. There is so much history and myth in these two rooms, that makes the whole gourmet experience even more enjoyable and rich. Every week, when the three of us are in New York, we get together to try a new restaurant and share week with each other. Continue reading Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria NY
VICEROY New York City Photo Tour | New York, United States | Yesterday, invited by their General Manager, I got to explore around the new and recently inaugurated VICEROY New York City. An urban retreat, right on 57th Street, located steps away to some of my favorite restaurants in town, and centrally located, for those looking to experience New York City in full and beyond the usual city attraction. Do not be deceived by the look of their lobby, which is tiny, understated and has not much character. The façade is defined by two shoulders – made of iron-spot black brick – that define, frame and ground the building’s front elevation. Over-scaled, fluted, cast-glass bricks march over the building’s twenty-foot storefront. Above this street façade, glazed black brick-and-metal muntined windows continue up the thirty-story building to comprise the bulk of the façade. When lit from within, they create the effect of a glowing lantern. These windows relate the new hotel to much of the traditional, iconic architecture in the neighborhood. This property is a member of the VICEROY Group, and sister to other of my hotels choices, this time in Los Angeles, such as AVALON Hotel and my absolute favorite, the L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. The design of the hotel’s public spaces feature figured stone, rarely used in New York City as of late. While it was a common element of the aspirational buildings of the 1920s and 1930s, it lost its popularity as a flatter, less-articulated modernism took hold. Roman and Williams embraced the elegant and natural quality of the Paonazzo marble, using it to clad nearly the entire lobby; the stone is offset by book matched honey-toned woods, culminating in a handsome wood library. The spaces are understated yet grand, featuring a combination of custom-designed and vintage elements.
KINGSIDE restaurant and bar, adjacent to the lobby, are a contrast and contradiction to the lobby’s glamour. It is more Grand Central than Rockefeller Center. It embraces something rarely expressed in recent uptown restaurants – a casual yet rich interior. It is clad in tile with a strong graphic palette of black and white, expressed in glazed brick and zinc – a modern diner meets train station on 57th Street. It invites the bursting hub of activity that has always defined the neighborhood.
Guest rooms feature rich exotic woods, leather, and a mix of metals, such asbrass and aluminum. I’ve got a 60’s old glam style and concept, infused into the lines of their furnitures and color palette. They are reminiscent of a tailored ship’s cabin with exceptional views toward Central Park, as seen through the elegant muntined black windows, which span floor to ceiling. The overall effect is closer to the feeling of an atelier, rather than a hotel. The rooms are fitted with an original collection of lighting, detailed with precision and weight, using handmade perforated brass with aluminum strappings and hardware. Check out this bathroom below and the exceptional Central Park view. Double shower heads, heated marble floors and views views views. Very romantic or, if you choose naughty. The VICEROY New York, also features a well equipped and decent size Fitness Center. Also a small indoor pool. I’ve got to check the 02 Bedroom Suite, which will be called “57”, to be ready in a few weeks. I was not able to do photos of this suite, since it is still under construction, but I can tell you that it is lovely and very traditional understated Hollywood glam with beautiful views. As for the entry level Standard Rooms, my only comment is that there is not much closet space, other than that, the size is very fair to New York size standards. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends (*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
The High Line Hotel in photos | New York, United States | This morning I came, invited by the General Manager, to do a quick site inspection of the fairly new The High Line Hotel, right across the High Line in the heart of Chelsea, over 10th Avenue between 20th and 21st Street, in New York. A peaceful location, full of serenity and stillness, right in the center of Manhattan. Formerly Desmond Tutu Conference Center. Neo-Gothic brownstones, each of The High Line Hotel’s 64 rooms (including 5 beautiful cosy Suites) evoke a bygone era of a graciously decorated guesthouse. Guests will enjoy staying in light-filled rooms featuring beautiful hardwood floors and one-of-a-kind locally sourced furniture. Continue reading The High Line Hotel in photos
Merry Christmas from Rockefeller Center | New York, United States | As every year at the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, here is the Holiday Spirit. Hope you enjoy it. Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
2013 Richard Tucker Music Gala | New York, United States | Last night we assisted to the 2013 Rickard Tucker Music Gala at the at theat Lincoln Center, in New York City, where Soprano Aylin Perez, performed live wearing two Rubin Singer couture designs. Aylin Perez, winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, is increasingly in demand at the world’s leading opera houses and cultural capitals. Read the full post, see videos and photos at Rubin Singer Blog. What a weekend, mix of Pop with Lady Gaga at SNL on Saturday and Classic with Aylin Perez at the Lincoln Center on Sunday. So beyond proud of my partner Rubin Singer, and for such huge step in his career, week after week. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
Saturday Night LIVE and OUT | New York, United States | So las night I experience a VIP backstage of SNL – Saturday Night Live, and got to hang out with Lady Gaga, during and post the show. I must be fully honest, I never cared much for her, and yes I got hooked up many time to her songs and marketing, but tonight I saw a different side of her. The live performer, the professional and the human being, and I must say I was impressed by them all in no particular order. Our night began at Asia Galore restaurant TAO Downtown. If I would have to describe this venue, I would say is a sort of convention center food venue, with a menu that includes every single type of Asian cuisine (and not in the best way). A huge statute takes over the room, a weird one, which combines the shape of Shiva with the face of Buddha. I do not recommend it at all. But thank God our night have much more interesting surprises ahead. So we left TAO in Chelsea, and moved to the Rockefeller Center area, to the NBC Studios and headquarters of SNL – Saturday Night Live. Thank you Lisa Medrano and Ted Harbert, Chairman of NBC Broadcasting, for the invite to see Lady Gaga live and invite us to the backstage and after party, at Dos Caminos. BTW Lisa Medrano, chose a Rubin Singer Leather jacket for the look of the night. We spent the rest of the evening watching Lady Gaga backstage right from Lorne Michaels’ office, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects. An unique experience indeed. But of course, the after party was still ahead. A great night !!! and I got to see how generous and professional Gaga was with her co-stars. Professional shining with her own talents and generous, making sure everyone was shinning equally as her. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends (*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email email@example.com or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
Grand Central Terminal behind the scenes tour | New York, United States | If there is something that always intrigues and interests me about iconic landmarks and destinations, is to dig deep into their apparent facade and learn about the myths and legends behind them. You saw my recent post on Buenos Aires, from my visit last week, and now New York. Invited to join this exclusive group of luxury concierges of Manhattan, by my friend Michael Romei, I took part of this exclusive behind the scenes 3hs tours of Grand Central Terminal and Beyond. The tour was conducted to detail and perfection, by Docent-in-Chief Daniel Brucker, who not only is an erudite in the subject, but also is known and referred as “The Keeper of Grand Central’s Secrets”. Grand Central Terminal is “the world’s number six most visited tourist attraction”, bringing in approximately 21,600,000 visitors annually. The first tip to learn about Grand Central, is that it is a “Terminal” and not a Station. Grand Central is the point the end and the beginning of the rail line into and out of New York City. Our tour guide, made strong emphasis on this, and demanded respect alluding Grand Central Terminal, is the biggest train terminal in the world.
From there on, we immersed into a behind the scenes and secrets tour, which took over 3 hours. I must say it felt like just one. We started with a brief introduction. while seating at the stunning and breathtaking Vanderbilt Hall. This room is very important, and you will be able to read the plaque placed there. The Grand Central was the first building in the United States to be saved under the Landmark Act by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In 1975, when Grand Central was threatened with demolition, Jacqueline Onassis lent her support to the preservation cause. Facts: Grand Central Terminal is the biggest terminal in the world. New York’s biggest basement. The entire population of San Francisco passes by and uses the GCT everyday (750K people). 700 trains daily. 44 platforms with 67 tracks. 99% punctuality. 80% Lost and Found rate. 1200 passengers per train formation.
Did you know that all the Train Schedules displayed on the boards, are wrong ? Well technically they are wrong, but on purpose. All train departures are scheduled to leave a minute before they do. This is to allow the massive crowds to move safely and organized.
Have you ever tried the Whispering Gallery? There is a section of the Terminal on the lower concourse, next to the Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The acoustics of the low ceramic arches, covered of Guastavino tiles, can cause a whisper to sound like a shout. I looks like I am confessing, but no. This is how it works. Stand at opposite corners with a friend. Let your friend whisper something, facing the wall. You will hear it loud and clear on the other opposite corner, you were right next to them.
The Grand Central Terminal Clock, is a stunning true jewel. Urban legends say, it is worth between 10 to 20 million dollars. Each of the four clock faces is made from opalescent glass; the story that the faces are made of opal and that both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have estimated the value The ceiling over the Main Concourse, one of Grand Central Terminal’s most famous features, displays a massive celestial piece of art. This remained covered for many many years, with grime and dirt, result of millions of cigarettes smoked by waiting commuters. However, if you look carefully, you will notice the great mistake made by the artist. The zodiac on the ceiling is depicted backwards. The Vanderbilt, never recognized this mistake, claiming the painting was made as if God would be looking from the skies. Also if you look carefully, next to Pisces you will find a hole in the ceiling. This hole was pierced by a Redstone rocket, which was place on display at the Main Concourse to show Americans and the world the supremacy over the Soviet Union and the Sputnik Satellite.
But this was just the beginning of our behind the Scenes and Secrets for Grand Central Terminal. Till this point, we had seen same as any other regular visitor. But of histrionic guide, had a few more surprises of us, which are only accessible to a few. First we went down to New York City deepest and largest basement. There we saw and learnt about the very soul and power of this iconic station.
We explored the tunnels under GCT, with rock formation that date 600 million years. Did you know that the Grand Central Terminal and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, are linked by a secret train platform and track “Track 61” ? which allowed VIPs to enter the hotel in a more private manner, and was always fueled and ready for the use of presidents. Even Andy Warhol was popular for throwing parties in this train, called “The Underground Party”. This simple tiny red button, is the one responsible for shutting off the ENTIRE power of Grand Central Station, in case of an emergency.
From there we move to the higher floors of the Terminal, where we visited the “Situation Room” and the “Headquarters of Operations”. But I must say, that the most exciting part of our tour was reaching the highest point of the building, and seeing Grand Central Station at full splendor, from the city windows of the ceiling. What I called “the eye in the sky of Grand Central Station”. Little windows located right on top the 100 years sing.
What an amazing way to explore Grand Central Terminal, and learn more about such an iconic building, which in many ways has transformed the life of Americans and most closely New Yorkers. After over 3 hours walking along, up and down, was time for lunch. For this which better option than walking to the lower level and enjoying some great fresh dishes at the OYSTER Bar & Restaurant (I strongly recommend the Manhattan Clam Chowder, and the Tuna Steak, with a chilled Chimay Belgian beer). Hope you enjoyed my report. I do not want to say much, not to spoil your own experience. Once again BIG THANK YOU to Michael Romei, Les Clefs d’Or organization and Metro-North Railroad. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
Hôtel Americano NYC | New York, United States | Last week, I had an express 24hrs stay at the Hôtel Americano in New York City, member of the Grupo Habita and Design Hotels, as part of my Stay & Dine OUT New York for locals, a different way to experience your own city. Located in the heart of the Chelsea between the High Line and the Hudson River. Quaint small hotel, very happening, on a rather quiet street, only two blocks from the Hudson River Park over 27th Street, between 10th and 11th.
Hôtel Americano takes design by simple choices, infused with a modern mix between nordic-japanes approach. Urban ryokan with wooden platform beds, warm lighting, natural materials, some with fireplaces, and although small bathrooms, some featuring soaking tubs. We were hosted at a STUDIO KING Room (video below).
My comments on the room are… I quite like the concept, but I was a bit disappointed by the lack of external views, having an entire wall in-front of us which could have been a full window. The bathroom was very small, and I quite did not find an use, other than decorative purposes, for such a fireplace. I loved the ryokan style of the bed, but I would personally have updated the phone sets, to match and blend with the concept. The experience on the Food & Spirits outlets was not the best to be fully honest, but I will be fair, the setting is quite interesting, although too happening and overcrowded to my personal taste. I would personally prefer more quality and less quantity. We were invited to try The Grill at La Piscine, a year round grill on the rooftop of the hotel, but in the end after a long wait and a rather rude host, we decided to move on to another option within the neighborhood. This was an isolated incident, and I must say that I have been re-invited to join them for dinner next week, so I might have more to share on this after my second, hopefully more welcoming, experience. I must mention that the hotel also features a second restaurant on the ground floor, which is very popular among locals for brunch. French fare with a Latin flair. Chef Joseph Buenconsejo, presides over West Chelsea’s dining room with outdoor patio.
Some of the featured amenities for those staying at the hotel are: Soft washed denim bathrobe by Loden Dager. Aesop bathroom products. iPad customized with in-room controls and guest directory. Guest bicycles. I would recommend this hotel for young travelers, who are not on the budget, and are looking to explore Manhattan with a hip sexy happening approach. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email email@example.com or phone # 917.754.5515. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of MLGTPP, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.
Apothéke Mixology and Prescriptions | New York, United States | Inspired by the history and rise of the apothecary in Europe as well as the artistic influence of absinthe dens in 19th century Paris, Apothéke is the first of its kind. The entire experience from wandering down a hidden street to find the entrance, to tasting the first sip of a specialty cocktail made with exotic herbs and fruits – is a privilege. I have only experienced such take on mixology before at The Alchemist in Manchester, UK. At Apothéke, the presentation of a cocktail is just as dramatic as the cocktail itself. The bar is no longer a bar. It’s a stage. A chemistry lab. A theatre. A unique-shaped Austrian crystal glass is carefully selected for each cocktail, and into it, is poured a beautiful, jewel-colored liquid. This is much more than a cocktail bar – this is a cocktail apothecary. My choices for the night, three of them… Well two different cocktails, and one repeat ha ha. Call me crazy but anything that has cilantro and is combined with ginger and the word Buddha in it, I am down with it, so two of those drinks were a Sitting Buddha, Absolut Vodka, Lemongrass, Fresh Pineapple, Cilantro, Ginger, Lillet Blanc, Lime, Skin Tincture. And then one The Matador, Olmeca Altos Reposado Tequila, Bell Pepper, Cantaloupe, Habañero Bitters, Pink Peppercorn, Sea Salt Rim. Just arriving on the taxi and going by Doyers St alley and seeing all the cool people walking by and around looking for the little door, right in the heart of Chinatown, with the trash truck wondering around, the low lights and smells classic of this neighborhood, and all of the sudden walk through the door, after you make it through the invitees list… WOW just so many flashbacks on my late fun nights in Asia in Hong Kong, Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Thank you Anthony and Denise Vasi. Best of luck at the VMAs tonight, and check the red carpet for some Rubin Singer moments. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends (*) Follow me around the world curating the best on Luxury Travel and Lifestyle by subscribing to my Facebook Page Carlos Melia Recommends, liking my Facebook Page, following me on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and/or pining me on Pinterest. Also check out my new page Carlos Melia Recommends.