Luxury Hotels

NEW YORK – 3

Mandarin Oriental New York soars above everything down there, the hustle and bustle and screaming yelling and sirens and goodness knows what else. Ground level at Columbus Circle, the south-west corner of Central Park, is everything that implies noise. But rise to the hotel’s reception, on the 35th floor, and you may not always be above the clouds but you can look down at what you have left below. The reception area is invariably dominated by a giant white Dale Chihuly glass flower. Another player, although not full time, is hotel boss Marcel Thoma, the social media genius who instantly switched his themes from marvellous Marrakech to the madness of Manhattan.

Except Manhattan is NOT mad. It’s world centre of so much, from Wall Street to arts and crafts. Just look at the size of the arts section of the New York Times to how many shows are currently on. Look at any website to realise people who want to be in the know must eat, or nibble, veery hour that they’re awake.

When Mandarin Oriental New York opened in November 2003 it had what was called ‘fine dining’. Later it added a speakeasy behind the lobby bar.  Both are now events spaces. The sensible obviously do not travel to New York to have to take an elevator up to eat, and hotel guests may well prefer to private-dine – the many celebs who call this ‘home’ certainly would.  The rooms are gorgeous, high ceilings and, if they are like suite #5316, the most stunning views over Central Park and along Central Park South.

Marcel Thoma, incidentally, chose off-menu at dinner in the lobby lounge. Can you bring me a plate of cold cuts, he asked ever so politely. That would be a good test of any hotel, actually. How are your cold cuts? Starting this assessment at Mandarin Oriental New York perhaps is not fair. The resulting plate was an exquisite picture, see below – and Girlahead’s perfect breakfast parfait similarly bore evidence that having a highly experienced chef on hand, in this case Mandarin Oriental legend Toni Robertson, shows that a fine hotel can serve finest food, even if ‘only’ cold cuts.