Hotel Food to Stay For

Why ever leave your hotel when so many accommodations now offer a wonderful spread for their guests, like the freshly renovated Auden Bistro and Bar at the Ritz Carlton? Where once the bar and dining room of this classic hotel exuded old, musty money, the newly revamped space brings a clubhouse vibe and chef Mark Arnao’s modern-meets-traditional bistro cuisine. Hotel guests and diners can choose whether to look at the view over Sixth Avenue or at their plates of regionally sourced nibbles. Over at the bar, the team has carried over the regional bent and offers many local spirits and beers, all poured by bartender Norman Bukofzer.

Of course, Auden Bistro and Bar stepping up their game comes long after the boom of laidback, yet fine dining. Not too long ago, Reynards made waves by opening up in the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yotel also entered the game with their fun FOUR at Yotel and Dohyo, which looks like it should be in a hip-hop video, which is just might. Oh, and Ace Hotel has the joy of hosting April Bloomfield’s babies, The Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar.

Todd English spread his, ahem, seed to the Plaza Hotel a couple years ago with the Plaza Food Hall, which is more like a fancy food court that hosts guests as well as permanent residents like Tommy Hilfiger and family. Yes, I am told he is a regular.

Lest us not forget the institutions that have made hotel dining a fine and glorious thing, such as Alain Ducasse’s Adour in the St. Regis, or the famous King Cole Bar next to it. The Trump Hotel also features a world-renowned chef’s self-titled eatery, Jean Georges. In fact, New York’s shift out French food and the start of fine dining featuring American cuisine began in The Four Seasons.

All of this sure beats the continental breakfast low budget travelers (like most of my friends and I) are faced with. True, nothing beats a good cup of cold orange juice from a machine or gooey, prepackaged cinnamon roll, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a little bit of bubbles added to it.  

New York Opening: La Palestra at The Plaza Hotel

Founded by Madonna’s trainer Pat Manocchia, designed by Frank Gehry, and situated in The Plaza, fitness club La Palestra is monumental.

A purely Gehry angular staircase connects floors, while multi-level ceilings and mirrors mounted away from the walls create a whole different sense of depth. Many of The Plaza’s historical features were left intact (La Palestra is located on the lower levels), but a sense of stylish futurism nevertheless prevails. A rather serious place, it combines both cutting-edge and classical equipment with training that includes consultations with internists, orthopedists, and even what’s known as behavioral therapists–and we all know a few people who could use some help with that. 
 
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Nightlife Try Outs: Amanda Leigh Dunn’s Week of Parties

It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday night and I’m in gym clothes crossing Union Square wondering if I’ve anything good left on TiVo when I first hear them. “Let’s just get drinks here,” a California blond squeals to her fellow interns, a group of smiley, freshly implanted college girls. “This part of the city is amazing—there are so many places to go!” Suddenly I feel refreshed, the soggy, angry heat evaporating around me. I immediately recall those same, remarkable feelings of excitement when I was new to this city: every step was one outside my comfort zone, and the possibilities were endless—the night was a mystery. Now, since I’ve settled into the groove of actually living in this city, the knee-jerk reaction toward their enthusiasm is a swift eye-roll at their naïveté and a silent recitation of the latest snarky blog post about this exact area going to hell in TGI Friday’s hand basket. These days, the trend is to speak about nightlife as you were attending its funeral. I’ve grown bored with the idea that there’s nothing new or provocative happening in this metropolis. Nightlife isn’t dead, it’s just different, and it’s different for everyone. It’s been a while since I first started covering nightlife as “Holly GoNightly,” but my interest is once again piqued to seek out new ways to look at New York after dark. While some longingly wish for their days at Studio 54, Tunnel, or the Beatrice Inn, there are many more seeking out the new. The internet has given everyone a certain kind of access, diversifying trends and experiences. There’s something for everyone, and the only way to find out what works is to step out and try it on for size.

So this is what I’m hoping to do: like those transplanted interns weighing their options with gimlet eyes, I’m going to set my sights on stepping out of my own comfort zone, on noticing, trying, and doing more, on venturing out to see nightlife through other people’s eyes. To start, I’ve asked Amanda Leigh Dunn, a quintessential ‘Girl About Town’ who’s always at the “It” place with a band of cooler-than-cool kids, to fill me in on her own little black book of go-tos. Her’s is an agenda not for the faint of heart—a week of non-stop partying with an array of eclectic and truly hip characters.

image Amanda Dunn

Professional Resume: I own a company called Cross Street Productions Inc, a Manhattan based firm specializing in brand integrated events, artist management as well as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle public relations. I also run an event space on Greene Street. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Endless.

City Loves:Favorite lunch spot: Cipriani Downtown, I pretty much live there. • Favorite dinner spot: Fig and Olive, Ilili, Hotel GriffouFavorite nightlife trend: Le Bain, the new spot at the top of the standard. Naked girls, water beds, and the best view of the city—what more could you want? • Drink of choice: I’m mostly a champagne kinda girl. • Meal of choice: Tuna Tar Tar • Favorite group of people to bump into: My night kiddies: Becka Diamond, Stef Skinner, Carol Han, Sami Swetra, Paul Johnson Calderon, Timo Weiland, Jane Bang, Matt Kays. You know, the cool kids.

image Le Bain

City Gripes:Nightlife trend you loathe: I hate Juliet Supper Club, the Empire Hotel roof is a clusterfuck of ugly people. I hate places that anyone and their mother gets let into • Drink: Cafe Patron, sick. • Meal: fried food, ick. • Group of people to bump into: Hipsters, teens, and coke fiends—and the usual uninvited crowd, you know who you are.

Her Hotspots: Monday: Dinner with my closest, plotting the week. Tuesday: Lit Lounge Wednesday: Soho Yard, the “Everything’s Ridiculous” party with Spencer Product and Becka Diamond. Thursday: Avenue, BEast for Main Man Thursdays, Norwood with Timo & Alan. Friday: Le Bain, Tribeca Grand Salon with Matt&Maia and Andrew Saturday: Pianos for the Mile High party with Jane Bang, Easthampton Boathouse, hosted by the Eldridge Sunday: Sway, Goldbar

image Kenmare

Every night: Kenmare, we call it Kenitis, or La Bain. Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Greenhouse, Tenjune. For special occasions: Depending on the season, every drink occasion with my closests is a special occasion. But if I had to say, it would prob be the Plaza Hotel (the have the best bloodies in NY). Brunch is usually: Cafe Cluny, Schiller’s, Serafina, Soho House (Essex House is the Greenhouse of brunch).

Buy Two Nights, Get One Free at New York Hotels

imageHotel deals are starting to get good — even in New York, where it typically costs more than your month’s rent to stay for a few days. Currently, there are nine hotels participating in a “Buy Two, Get One Free” bonanza, good from January 9 through February 27. The following hotels are hoping this deal will entice you to come and stay for a while:

1. The Carlyle (Upper East Side) – Stuffy Euro aristocrats plus rootless American nouveau riche equals 23 grand pianos, a highball, and a mammoth room fee. 2. Jumeirah Essex House (Upper West Side) – Art Deco, Central Park West, Broadway, it’s all here. 3. Loews Regency Hotel (Midtown East) – Modern yet fancy, close to the museums and lots of shopping, this is the spot where John Edwards starting cheating on his wife, so you know it’s got to be somewhat good.

4. The London NYC (Midtown West) – Sex and the City (the movie) had some scenes here, so rest assured, it’s officially “New York.” Though most of the rooms are teensy and cramped, apparently the view from room 4601 is killer. 5. The New York Palace Hotel (Midtown East) – It’s not exactly blowing up, but the Sultan’s Palace is in a heavy harem-recruiting phase. 6. The Plaza Hotel (Midtown West) – Historic, and historically expensive. Home of the $28 burger, the $17 cheesecake, and $755-a-night rates. 7. The Sherry-Netherland (Midtown East) – The lobby is modeled after the Vatican. Need I say more? 8. Trump International Hotel & Tower (Midtown West) – The Donald’s sick park views for masters of the universe and the Euro-rocking aristocracy. 9. The Waldorf Astoria (Midtown East) – Three bars, four restaurants, and Jazz Age overindulgence. Mostly businesspeople now, but a certain spirit abides.