By Mike Shen
Whether you like it or not, men are taking a more active role in wedding planning today. Long gone are the days when the groom’s job was just to show up at the altar. I myself am getting married this September (fanfare for me…. “thank you, thank you”), and thus far I have had a strong hand in deciding the type of venue, location, décor, color scheme, menu, wedding cake (which is actually a tiered multi-dessert presentation), and wedding registry. But this month, I would like to tip my hat toward tradition a tad and talk about honeymoon suites. Plans for the wedding night and the honeymoon have long been the responsibility of the husband-to-be, though this, too, has been changing somewhat. Regardless, I contacted a few of my favorite romantic hotels in the city to see what they could offer in terms of an unforgettable post-wedding experience. Here are the results from those that have responded (“Law & Order” – doink! doink! sound effect).
The Ritz-Carlton Suite – Bedroom, Living Room, Dining Room
The Royal Suite – Bedroom, Bathroom, Living Room
One of my favorite hotels in the city is The Ritz-Carlton by Central Park. If expenses aren’t an option for the wedding night, I highly recommend either The Ritz-Carlton Suite or The Royal Suite, both which are priced at $12,000 per night. Aside from breath-taking panoramic views of Central Park, the 1,500 square foot rooms include:
– one bedroom with one and a half bathrooms
– living room and dining room (seats eight), separate pantry
– floor model telescope
– guest choice of either 100% linen or 700 thread-count jacard cotton sheets, custom designed for the hotel by Pratesi, the world’s most luxurious linen
– plush terry robes by Frette
– marble soaking tub with Jacuzzi jets and separate stall shower with six heads
– exclusive Frédéric Fekkai and Cote Bastide bath amenities
– Floris shaving kit
– Frette candles
– Bang & Olufsen television that senses human movement and turns in different directions to follow the guest around the suite
– Bang & Olufsen stereo system
– two 12-inch Sharp flat screen televisions in bathroom
– library of books on art, architecture and New York
– in-room compact disc selection …and more.
Yes more. Both rooms also have complimentary access to the exclusive Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, which features five food and beverage presentations, caviar hour every evening and a dedicated concierge. Let us not forget that the Ritz-Carlton is also home to the critically acclaimed 5-star restaurant, Atelier, led by celebrated Chef Gabriel Kreuther’s French cuisine with American accents. If you’re a wine enthusiast, don’t pass up the opportunity to speak with one of only two master sommeliers in the city. With friendly, professional service without pomp and arrogance, you can guarantee to get your money’s worth in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Tribeca Grand – Atrium, Church Lounge, Rooftop Terrace
The SoHo Grand – Grand Bar & Lounge, room view, Penthouse Terrace
For a little more hip and lively honeymoon destination, I recommend either the Tribeca Grand or the SoHo Grand Hotels. The Tribeca Grand Hotel is home to the international film, fashion and entertainment community from Kevin Spacey and Willem DaFoe to Daryl Hannah and Kylie Minogue. The hotel recently underwent a $2 million renovation, completed last August, spearheaded by celebrated interior designer William Sofield, the visionaire behind the Gucci and Yves St. Laurent boutiques. Located in the hotel’s eight-story atrium lies the also newly renovated Church Lounge, featuring culinary creations by Chef Franklin Becker. The lounge is also a hot-spot power scene for the business elite in New York City after hours – quite the spot for people-watching while sipping a properly made Cosmopolitan.
The SoHo Grand is located in the heart of Manhattan’s bubbling and trendy SoHo (South of Houston St.) area known for its world famous art galleries, designer boutiques, and restaurants, just minutes away from Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and Wall Street. The Gallery restaurant inside features “global comfort cuisine” created by Chef John DeLucie. The hotel has just finished construction and renovation on 2,200-square-foot loft style suites with private terraces, also designed by William Sofield, which will open mid-May (this month!).
For the honeymoon, I would recommend book a 555-square-foot suite at the Tribeca Grand with floor to ceiling panoramic views, which averages about $625 per night, or one of the new penthouse suites at the SoHo Grand (Call 212.965.3400 for rates). However, for those who want more spending money on the honeymoon, both hotels last year launched two exclusive “Sex in the City” packages – Grand Sex in the City or Sex in the City.
In the Grand Sex in the City package, upon an early arrival at noon with a champagne toast at check-in, guests will be treated to a personal concierge to facilitate their evening festivities. The Grand Sex in the City package pre-selects and upgrades premium rooms to Executive Kings (or Corner Kings) – each fully-equipped with a flower, candle, and a “Survival Kit,” including a hangover remedy (you know what I’m talking about), a map of downtown, and special offers to downtown shopping and entertainment.
Additional amenities include drink vouchers (valued at $10 each) and VIP seating in the lounge, chocolate-covered strawberries delivered from room service, breakfast in bed (or two breakfast vouchers for $15 each for use in the hotels’ restaurants), Grand Lounge CD, and late check-out (4PM), with prices starting at $399 a night.For those with their robe already packed, the Sex in the City package works just as well with a pre-selected Grand or Deluxe room. There is also early arrival at noon and a champagne toast at check-in. Additional amenities also include drink vouchers and VIP seating in the lounge, the same chocolate-covered strawberries deal, breakfast in bed, and late checkout, with prices starting at $319 a night.
Both hotels sport fantastic packages including spa treatments, Broadway shows, shopping gift cards and discounts, and even an Om Yoga package for the Zen-conscious couple. Did I mention that the hotels are pet-friendly? Still, though I shouldn’t have to say it, leave Fido and Fluffy at home.
The Pierre – Main Entrance, The Rotunda For a honeymoon/wedding night location that’s more old-world charm, check out The Pierre, New York’s landmark hotel along Museum Row on Fifth Avenue. The restored 1930s Georgian-style building is one of the few New York hotels to provide 24-hour staffed elevators. It is situated a few steps away from the boutiques and designer shops on Fifth and Madison Avenues, museums, and cultural centers. A Four Seasons hotel, you can be sure to receive the best service that money can buy. The hotel features eleven Grand Suites with apartment-like quarters, some with full dining rooms, Central Park views, and terraces. Don’t forget to at least bring a jacket if you wish to dine at the award-winning Café Pierre during evening hours (casual during the day) to experience contemporary-classic French cuisine. Royal treatment includes complimentary courtesy car service to the theatre district, free overnight shoe shines, Bulgari toiletries, 24-hour valet and hand-laundry services, and twice-daily maid service.
Grand Suite, Café Pierre Since its opening in 1930, The Pierre has preserved the original character of opulence with its eleven Grand Suites. One-bedroom suites range from 700 square feet to over 1,750 square feet. The Presidential and The Park Suites have unobstructed views of Central Park, quite impressive when you’re 41-one stories high. The Charles Pierre Suite offers a spacious 900-square-foot terrace for those who enjoy stepping outside for fresh air in the comfort of one’s “home.” Grand suites also include:- original paintings and impressive sculptures- silk tapestries on the walls- the hotel’s original marble tiles- marble foyers, decorative fireplaces, and a boudoir changing room (some suites)- fine Italian bed linens and window treatments to block out all light- Bulgari toiletries and plush terry robes- Private shopping in your suite provided by Barneys New York I highly recommend the Romantic Package, which starts from $845 per night for a premier suite and includes a bottle of champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries (when did strawberries become so sensual?), a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and breakfast in bed (or at Café Pierre). The hotel can also arrange a romantic candlelit dinner for you and your new wife at the restaurant, a relaxing massage for two, a picnic basket for the park, or a romantic carriage ride (which I would actually shy away from, lest you don’t mind the strong smell of horses). And for our more “mature” readers, remember when Coca Cola was only a dime and hotel rates were $18.00 per night? Well, those who actually spent their wedding night at The Pierre can celebrate their anniversary here at the same rate they paid years ago. A two-night minimum stay is required, and all guests most show their original hotel bill – one of the few occasions where being a packrat will come in handy. The Anniversary Memory Weekend package, now available until September of this year, includes an anniversary wedding cake with a split of champagne upon arrival and the same breakfast packages mentioned above. There is a small catch in that the first night is $550 while each subsequent night is at the “anniversary rate.” For a few dollars more, the hotel can recreate the “wedding dinner” through room service or organize a special ceremony to renew your wedding vows.
W Hotel (Times Square) – Extreme WoW Suite Bed, Living Room, View And now for the finale…the W Hotels. There are five W Hotels in New York City, and I highly recommend browsing the W Hotels website to find the right one for the both of you. Each W hotel offers signature restaurant and bar areas that attract both the hotel guests and native New Yorkers. I myself have been to all five in the city on numerous social occasions. Though often deemed as business hotels, each W exudes a type of sentimentality found in boutique hotels once you leave the hustle and bustle of the lobby and restaurant areas. Perfect for the adventurous and social, type-A newlywed couple, check in at the W New York – Times Square, the flagship hotel in the city. Yes, Times Square is always crowded. And you are literally a few blocks away from some of the city’s world-renown attractions, including Broadway shows, Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. However, the second you arrive on the seventh-floor (check-in), you will be transported to a Zen-like environment with quiet colors, calming textures and a really cool glass-encased waterfall. I have a thing for water features.
Try to book one of the hotel’s 43 suites, indicative of chic modernity without losing class. A floating glass desk looks out onto the famous New York City midtown skyline.
– pillow-top mattresses and feather beds
– goose down duvets and pillows
– 250 thread-count cotton blend sheets
– Aveda bath products
– Terry/piqué spa robes
– 27″ TV with Broadband high-speed Internet access
– 24-hour in-room massage available
– 24-hour in-room dining for those late-night munchies If possible, book a Bliss Spa package with the hotel. Don’t forget to dine at Blue Fin – book a table on the second floor in the semi-private alcove dining area where the two of you can sit back and listen to New York City’s finest jazz musicians while experiencing incomparable people-watching of New York’s industry power players. For a more lounge/club feel after hours without leaving the realm of your hotel, check out The Whiskey, a 7,500-square-foot hot spot tucked beneath the W that features a steady lineup of some of New York’s talented DJs.
Whether you’re a native of the New York Metro Area or an out-of-towner, I hope I was able to shed some light on the possibilities available to all of us in the city that never sleeps. After all, you shouldn’t be doing much sleeping on your honeymoon anyway. (doink! doink!)
The Ritz-Carlton Central Park
50 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
2 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
Fifth Avenue at 61st Street
New York, NY 10021
W New York – Times Square
1567 Broadway @ 47th Street
New York, NY 10036