Time to check the public areas of the sparkling new Park Hyatt New York, Manhattan’s next-generation luxury hotel. With partnerships already established with such nearby institutions as Barneys, Carnegie Hall and MoMA, it was on the glitterati map even before opening. Now when the culture-vultures and fashionistas come in, and up to the third floor lobby, they justifiably ooh and aah at the space, and Yabu Pushelberg’s design. Left-over bits of the dozens of stones, many precious, used throughout the 170 rooms have been shaped into decorative blocks, toys for grown-up boys (and girls).
The main lobby lounge, with bar, is, like the rest of the hotel, iridescent with ice- coloured stones and fabrics. One table here holds a glass box with designed chocolates, using cocoa from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Madagascar and Venezuela. Next to it, a silver salver, with filled carafes (cut-glass, of course), is flanked by a 1968 Armagnac and assorted Cognacs. Go past all this to the Back Room, the all-day brasserie, with an easy-read, easy-eat menu – memo to other hotel developers, follow this concept, go for updated comfort food, like lobster cocktail and 45-day aged USDA sirloin with choice of sauces and side. It is very difficult to compete with freestanding designer restaurants in a city that claims to be world capital of celebrity dining, so go for local residents, and hotel guests jaded with what is available outside. The hotel’s Executive Chef, Sebastien Archambault, will, by the way, be guest-cheffing at divine Park Hyatt Tokyo November 13-15, 2014.
Under no circumstances miss seeing the Onyx Room, a 30ft-high grand ballroom with walls completely formed of back-lit onyx panels. You feel as if you are in a jewel box (hey wedding planners, this is where the top couplings who appear in the Sunday edition of the New York Times will want to hold their parties). Now an insider tip for anyone about to open a hotel. On the first morning, after the first night, the GM, no less, must somehow be at breakfast at the opening hour (if it says 6.30, the doors must open at 6.30 precisely, and staff need to move quickly as guests may well be in a hurry). More ideas. Make sure all the equipment in the gym – here a 24/7 Technogym, with stunning 26th floor views – is working. Of course the gym, the pool – here a 65-footer, with two-floor high window wall, and adjacent vitality pool – and the spa opened at the same time as the hotel, not weeks or months later.
The spa here is so restful you shed any stress as soon as you walk into its reception area, and as for the six treatment rooms, with ice-coloured silk covers on the beds, well, they are just beautiful. Amazingly, Walter Brindell, GM of this stunning new luxury hotel, seems completely stress-free. Two days ago, immediately before the actual opening, the staff had a pep rally, with everyone sporting the colour of his or her department. Last night, at the end of the first day, there was a managerial de-briefing. You have to have passion in this kind of life!