It is not often that one family getaway can please everyone individually. Different interests, different expectations, different priorities…sometimes family travel can be hard to plan. Unless of course, you find a destination that caters to individuals and prides itself on personalization. A destination that makes gives everyone in the family something to smile about. A destination like the Four Seasons Hotel New York.
We recently traveled to New York City for a museum focused weekend and had the opportunity to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel New York as our home base. To say that our trip quickly became more than just a typical weekend getaway would be a gross understatement. The Four Seasons Hotel New York literally made my heart smile… and my daughter’s… and even my husband’s.
You see, the beauty of this unique New York City hotel is not just in the design or the luxe setting.
(Although let me be clear- the design and luxe setting is pretty amazing. Factoid: The Four Seasons Hotel New York is the only IM Pei-designed hotel in the western hemisphere. The honey-coloured French Magny “Le Louvre” limestone, which covers the Hotel’s exterior and interior, is the same limestone used by Mr. Pei in his expansion of The Louvre in Paris.)
The beauty of the Four Seasons Hotel New York comes in all the big and little details, amenities and kindness of the staff.
Five reasons to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel New York
(…and give your heart a healthy does of smiling)
1. Eat at The Garden Restaurant
We are a family of foodies, so our expectations run a bit high when it comes to food, especially when you are in a city like New York with thousands of restaurants of all varieties. The Four Seasons Hotel New York shines (according to our tastebuds) when it comes to food at The Garden Restaurant which is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch dining.
The first thing you notice when you sit down to breakfast is the African Acacia trees that surround you, making you feel like you are outside in a garden instead of inside the tallest hotel in New York City (another factoid: the 52 story Four Seasons Hotel New York is the tallest hotel in New York City, standing at nearly 700 feet).
The next thing to make my heart smile was opening the breakfast menu to see a juice bar menu with a list of juices that made it very hard to choose just one. If for some reason I had not wanted to try one of the suggested juices, I could have made my own (in fact, my daughter’s heart smiled when the staff concocted a strawberry banana smoothie with a hint of chocolate just for her)…but I opted for the Green Machine (and have since been using the recipe at home).
How could your heart not smile with a cappuccino like this to start off the day?
When it comes to the actual eating…Executive Chef John Johnson has created menus that will delight foodies and make you wish you could extend your stay so that you could try everything on the menu.
I had heard rumors about the decadence and legendary taste of the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes prior to arriving in New York City.
Trying to be “good” I ordered the “Super” Green Egg White Frittata with Spinach, Asparagus, Broccoli and Tofu…which was perfect to fuel me for a day of exploring at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of course, what I really wanted was the Lemon Ricotta pancakes- so I “suggested” that my husband order them instead…which in turn made his heart smile. (I could not resist ordering the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes for myself the next day- even though I had nibbled on his, I decided that I needed a full serving for my own tastebuds). For guests that want to take a taste of heaven home with them, the Four Seasons Hotel New York has provided the recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes– which I have a feeling that we will be trying to make one day in the not so distant future).
Behind the scenes throughout all the dining options on the property is another reason to smile with Executive Chef Johnson’s commitment to fresh local ingredients.
Chef Johnson believes that…“A great dish is no greater than the sum of its parts: simple, quality ingredients prepared carefully by passionate people who know and respect where those ingredients come from.”
Most of the ingredients that are used at the hotel follow Chef Johnson’s “rule” to source from within a 100 mile radius of New York City. Staying local is important not just for breakfast, lunch or dinner but also at The Bar. Although I indulged in a grappa as my after dinner drink, guests will soon be able to taste a bourbon, specially crafted for the Four Seasons Hotel New York in partnership with Empire Spirits and Tuthilltown Distillery, New York’s first whiskey distillery since prohibition.
2. Give Back at the Four Seasons Hotel New York
It is no surprise that I love companies and brands that do more than pay lip service to corporate responsibility. The Four Seasons is a strong supporter of sustainable efforts to support fair trade and causes and efforts both as a unified brand and at each local property.
The Four Seasons Hotel New York has partnered with La Colombe coffee roasters to support the revitalization of the Haitian coffee industry thought the Haitian Coffee Academy along with the Clinton Foundation and Leslois Shaw Foundation. This single origin coffee, served in the restaurants, room service and special events is an heirloom typical variety grown semi-wild in the mountains surrounding Thiotte in South-East Haiti.
Not only are the bathrooms in the guest-rooms at The Four Seasons Hotel New York stunning- but these relaxing spaces give back to domestic homeless shelters in the United States (in addition to 45 other countries that participate) through the Clean The World program. The hotel donates all leftover bars of soap and partially used bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion to Clean the World to be recycled into hygiene kits. While I love, love, loved pampering myself with the BVLGARI soaps and shampoo and conditioner, the idea that these products are being recycled for good makes my heart smile even more than the zen feeling from the fragrant products.
3. Get Fit and Take Time for Pampering at the L.Raphael Beauty Spa
Walking over 11,000 steps in New York City and around museums, you would not think that I would have needed to get to the gym during our weekend getaway. Except that for me, starting a travel day with a workout is like a gift, especially in a fitness center like the one at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. The gym itself had everything I could ever want above and beyond the “regular equipment” including a TRX system, foam rollers, resistance bands and a barre.
I knew I was not going to have time to schedule a spa service but I do regret not waking up earlier on our second day to make time for the whirlpool, sauna and steam facilities. Guess that means that I need to go back, right?
4. Get advice from the Concierge
Our trip to New York City was very intentionally planned. We knew we would spend one afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History and a full day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We knew that we wanted to experience and eat at Eataly, but other than that, we had not researched (or ahem- made reservations) for dinner (on a Saturday night!) or thought about where we might grab a bite to eat during our museum visits. While many hotels have excellent concierge service, we knew we were in good hands when we started chatting with Helen Chedra at the concierge desk.
Helen took our facts (we are foodies, we were in the mood for small plates and that we needed a place that was kid friendly even if it did not have a children’s menu) and timing (did I mention that it was midday on Saturday and we needed dinner reservations for that night??) and delivered delicious recommendations. Helen recommended the perfect laid back (but delicious) spot for lunch at Isabella’s on the Upper West Side that was filled with local families getting together with friends for our pre-Natural History meal and Le Pain Quotidiene on Madison Avenue for our lunch break while exploring the Met. For dinner Helen helped us find a reservation at Sojourn for a feast of small plates like chicken satay, fish tacos and manchego and chorizo croquettes, while our daughter had a deliciously al dente garganelli pasta with a meat ragu.
5, Enjoy the View of Central Park
Sunrise, sunset, midday and in the rain, I could look at Central Park all day long, every day. For better or worse, my daughter has developed the same love of Central Park which was perfect since our room overlooked this urban gem. There were several times that we were in the room before dinner or in the morning before heading out that I found her perched just looking outside- taking it all in. (If I am being honest, had I been alone on the trip, I might have just stayed perched in the window seat overlooking the Uptown view.) Of course, if you want a 360 degree view of Uptown, Downtown and Midtown New York City, you can always reserve the Ty Warner Penthouse (for $45,000/night).
I could go on and on….about the closet that I wish I had in my own house or the fact that instead of having to sleep on a sofabed mattress, the Four Seasons Hotel staff made sure there was a twin bed for our daughter, not to mention a perfect location in the city for shopping, museums and exploring. Granted, a stay at this luxury hotel is not inexpensive, but if you are looking for an ultimate luxury getaway- not only are these five reasons to stay at the Four Seasons Hotel New York sure to keep your entire family happy during a getaway, but each one is guaranteed to make your heart smile.
*Disclosure: We were guests of the Four Seasons Hotel New York for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. All opinions (and heart smiles) are my own.