MANDARIN ORIENTAL NEW YORK
New York City
WHAT YOU’LL FIND JUST OUTSIDE: The Mandarin Oriental is in the Time Warner Center, connected to the rest of the complex via a hallway on the third floor. This means hotel guests have direct access to shops like Williams Sonoma and Thomas Pink, as well as restaurants like the tony Per Se and $450-a-person sushi emporium Masa. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your budget.
WHAT’S NEW: Because the Mandarin is located so close to Manhattan’s theater district, its sleek Lobby Lounge has always been a good place to order a pre-theater snack. Now that the hotel has invited up-and-coming student musicians from the Juilliard School to perform every Thursday evening, culture vultures might even consider giving curtain-up a miss every now and then.
SIGNATURE COCKTAIL: The most appealing spot to enjoy a drink here is 280 feet above Central Park in the Edison-bulb-bedecked hideaway MObar. When the setting sun starts to reflect off the surrounding buildings, order a Mandarin Sunset, with Absolut Mandarin vodka, blood orange and lychee juices and Lillet Blanc.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: Located on the building’s 35th floor (as is the lobby), the Spa at Mandarin Oriental achieves serenity by way of its remove from the bustle of Columbus Circle. From here, Central Park might as well be a miniature forest in a hobbyist’s train set, and the beleaguered commuters might as well be … tiny beleaguered commuters. For the ultimate de-stresser, book the 650-square-foot VIP Spa Suite, which comes with an elevated tub, fireplace and massive Oriental relaxation bed.