While the interiors are classic, they don’t gush with style as you’d expect. Still, there’s a level of old-world luxury that shouldn’t be discounted. Four blocks to Central Park and in the midst of Fifth Avenue shopping and all that Midtown offers. Modern art lovers can stroll to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in three minutes. New York City Center – a stunning Moorish Revival venue featuring dance performances and Broadway musicals – is one block away. Some excellent restaurants share the block: Italian mainstay Il Corso, Alain Ducasse’s Benoit, and an outpost of Dig Inn, a casual and raved-about eatery serving farm-to-fork favorites.
Public transit is easy to come by here; find six subway lines within a six-minute walk. It opened as the short-lived Gotham Hotel in 1905 but closed due to bankruptcy in 1908. After several unsuccessful endeavors over the years, including a brief stint in 1987 as Hotel Maxim’s de Paris, the architectural grand dame became The Peninsula New York in 1988. Years after the hotel’s opening and several renovations, much of the Gotham Hotel’s character remains.
Revel in neo-classic elegance the moment you arrive. The traditional Beaux-Arts exterior sets the tenor before you enter. Step inside to a grand two-story foyer. Clusters of slender seasonal flowers greet you, and an ornate all-plaster ceiling houses a handsome crystal chandelier. Meanwhile, magnificent dual staircases lead to the main restaurant and reception area. Anticipate world-class contemporary art in the public spaces; the curated exhibit during my stay celebrated 1980s New York, with original works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat staff aims to please. Nothing is too much trouble and their politeness is genuine. You’ll feel at home here with such a five-star service.
Anticipate a world-class spa offering body wraps, facials, Swedish massage, reflexology, and other restorative treatments. There’s also a glass-enclosed pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center that provides group classes as well as live and on-demand Peloton workouts, and a sprawling sun terrace. The food and drink shine in this hotel; you’ll have two restaurants and lounge areas, as well as a chic rooftop bar that provides magnificent skyline views. A house BMW and driver are available for jaunts around town. Guests can also book the private chauffeur or Mini Cooper S Clubman for up to three hours per day (subject to availability).
Even the smallest of the 235 rooms are large by New York standards, so you’ll have plenty of wiggle room. While accommodations are classically designed and include neutral textiles and finishes, the décor could benefit from a refresh and a few pops of color. Still, old-world luxury abounds. Executive desks are furnished with multi-functional printers, scanners, and fax machines, and dual-line telephones with voice mail make doing business a snap. You can control lighting and temperature with the press of a button, and you’ll feel spoiled by the uber-cozy beds, walk-in showers, soaking tubs, robes, slippers, and sumptuous Oscar de la Renta bath products. Gotham Lounge is a fabulous place for sipping cocktails and savoring dishes such as seared salmon with seasonal vegetables or a turkey club topped with a fried egg. The relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere makes Gotham a delightful spot for afternoon tea (and fabulous scones), too.
For a quiet, upscale dinner, don’t miss Clement on the hotel mezzanine. Dinner highlights include the jumbo lump crab cake perched on ripe avocado, whole Dover sole, and the bright ‘Pavlova’ of crispy meringue, mixed berries, and delicate Chantilly cream. All are beautifully presented, as is the Yabu Pushelberg-designed space, which feels like an oasis removed from the frenzy of Fifth Avenue. As for the breakfast, opt for simple bacon and eggs, huevos rancheros, quinoa porridge or malted Belgian waffles. Clement also serves lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends.
After dinner, hop on the lift to the 23rd floor and quaff cocktails at 1930s Shanghai-inspired Salon de Ning – one of Midtown’s most stylish (and priciest) rooftop bars with terrific views of Fifth Avenue and the surrounding cityscape. Cocktails start from $26 (£20).