One of the great challenges I always have when I visit New York is figuring out where to stay. The size of the city can at times be daunting and because I don’t visit often, I don’t have a great grasp on the geography of the city. Sometimes I’ve chosen well and other times, well, I haven’t. But on my most recent trip to New York City I found what might be my favorite hotel in the city, the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park.
I’m no stranger to Ritz-Carlton hotels and have come to both love the luxury offered at their properties as well as their dedication to service. I know that when I stay at a Ritz-Carlton, whatever needs I have will be taken care of. This was true when I stayed with them in Tokyo, Amelia Island and definitely in New York. Just as a caveat, the folks over at the Ritz-Carlton were good enough to sponsor me for one night but of course my thoughts and opinions here are true and honest. Sometimes hotels love it when I’m honest and sometimes they don’t. But it’s just how I am.
I don’t know if I was smart or lucky, but the location of the hotel in Midtown Manhattan was perfect and every meeting I needed to attend was only a few minutes away by cab. Just as important are the amazing views of Central Park South offered by the Ritz-Carlton. Whether it’s in your room or the spacious Club level room, the views of the massive park are truly stunning. I was exhausted when I arrived after a long day of travel and immediately felt the stress from the day dissipate as I looked out across the beautiful Park designed by Mr. Olmsted.
If the Ritz-Carlton does anything well, it’s service. While I have no doubt their New York hotel has hosted some impressive personalities from around the world, I felt no less important as I checked in for the evening. I had shipped a package to the hotel a few days prior and instead of being handed the cumbersome box at the front desk, I found it waiting for me in my room. A simple touch, but an important one nonetheless. Ritz-Carlton also has what I think is the best Club level lounge of any similar caliber hotel in the world and I’ve made this point before when writing about their Tokyo hotel. Throughout the day you can stop by for a drink or snack and even a light meal. Plus the aforementioned views of Central Park make it a great place to relax with a good book, or have a quiet conversation.
From prior experiences in New York, I expect every hotel in the city regardless of their quality to feature smaller than normal rooms. Imagine my surprise then when I walked through the door to my room and was met with a comfortable, spacious room with amazing views of Central Park. That’s another thing that the Ritz-Carlton does exceptionally well around the world, the design aesthetic. Everything is carefully selected for its quality and sense of luxury, and yet it is warm and approachable. It’s like staying with a friend instead of an overly stuffy or uncomfortable space. Just as with their legendary service, it is also the small touches in their rooms that make all the difference. Of particular note and interest to me was an unusual amenity I found, a box of collar stays. I had never before seen this offered and since I was in dire need of them for my day of meetings, it was a welcome and gracious surprise. It surprised me and made me smile, an all-too rare occurrence in modern hotels.
My stay at the Ritz-Carlton was short, but undeniably sweet and as such I really couldn’t identify any faults with the hotel. I’m sure they’re there; every hotel in the world has an issue or two no matter how nice they are. But all I can do is speak from experience when I say that the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park was a warm and hospitable retreat when I needed one, a quiet place to relax and collect my thoughts as I set out to conquer New York in my own way, just as thousands have before me.