What does a girlfriend getaway look like in New York City? A rose-petal massage with views of Central Park, a starry night toasted with a magnum of Champagne or, perhaps, after-dark socializing at Brooklyn’s hottest rooftop hotel bar. The Big Apple is geared for girlfriend getaways, with a wide selection of hotels that offer everything from high-end pampering to literary-themed entertainment to bachelorette naughties. Don’t miss out on your chance to follow in the stiletto footsteps of the Sex and the City gals, hitting the shops, sipping Cosmopolitans and finding your own Mr. Big. Here are our top hotels in New York City for the ultimate gal pal adventure.
At the elegant Mandarin Oriental just off Central Park, it’s not just a room with a view … it’s a spa with a view. True, you’ll pay through the nose for your room and treatments at the hotel’s 14,500-square-foot spa, but how often do sweeping Hudson River vistas come with an indulgent Asian-accented spa menu, and did we mention the 75-foot indoor pool? Pampering treatments such as Thai yoga massage and vitamin-infusion facials are all here, but if you really want to break the bank, try the all-day Mandarin Oriental Escape — which includes multiple services and a bento box lunch for an eye-popping $1,410. Top off the posh indoor adventure with cocktails in the lobby lounge, gazing out at views of Central Park from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Hungry for more? Have dinner at the restaurant Asiate; its three-course menu includes post-spa day choices such as strawberry gazpacho with smoked lobster, branzino and a dessert. Once you’ve taken in the park from up high, spend a day exploring its shaded trails. You’ll find everything you need for a gourmet picnic lunch at the Whole Foods Market within the Time Warner Center. And ladies, shopping doesn’t get closer than this: The Shops at Columbus Circle, which are also within the Time Warner Center, house everything from Godiva to Coach and are just an elevator ride away. Rooms from $400. 80 Columbus Circle, 212-805-8800, mandarinoriental.com
Mr. Big once slept here. For Sex and the City gal pals, that’s usually enough reason to visit, but that’s just for starters. The Hotel Giraffe in the Flatiron neighborhood is one of those hotels (excuse the cliché) that feels like a home — a lavish, fully staffed home with lots of tasty nibbles. Start the morning with the complimentary breakfast spread — fresh fruit and bagels slathered with cream cheese — and end the day at the wine-and-cheese reception. The inviting, light-filled lobby, with a baby grand piano in its center, is a good indication of what awaits further within: impeccable rooms done up with velveteen chairs and French doors for a modern European vibe. The hotel is also ideally placed for shopping: Stroll south down Fifth Avenue from the hotel, and you’ll come across shops such as Madewell and J. Crew; cut back east towards Union Square and you’ll find it’s ringed with shops, or head west to check out the boutiques and galleries of Chelsea. In between, refuel over juicy burgers at Shake Shack at nearby Madison Square Park, a block away. The hotel also has packages for a group of gals traveling together, like the Suite Escape, which includes a suite with separate living room and Prosecco and chocolates upon arrival. And if you do find your own Mr. Big, the hotel has concocted a cheeky package: How to Elope in NYC. Beyond the expected Prosecco, chocolate covered strawberries and rose petals, it includes a guide on eloping, recommended sites for elopement ceremonies, how to get quickly get a marriage license and more. Rooms from $200. 365 Park Ave., 212-685-7700, hotelgiraffe.com
Kick off the day with a Champagne brunch at Pastis, hit the sales at Diane von Furstenberg down the street and then indulge in a DIY spa day in your spacious room at The Standard, which has been drawing socialites like moths to the flame since its opening in 2009. Owned by the dashing hotelier Andrew Balazs, the hotel towers over the Meatpacking District, putting you (and your girlfriends) within strolling distance of New York City’s trendy clubs like Revel, high-end shops like Jeffrey and many, many restaurants. Despite the name, the hotel is anything but standard. You can’t go wrong in picking a room — all have views, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows that actually crack open. The spacious, glass-walled bathrooms are perfect for relaxing, and many also have views, so you can soak in a bubble bath and gaze out at the skyline. The hotel straddles the High Line park, which itself hosts all sorts of fun group events, like star-gazing with local astrologers and walking tours with park gardeners. Plus, you can top off each night with cocktails on the hotel’s rooftop. Rooms from $300. 848 Washington St., 212-645-4646, standardhotels.com
Recreate the famous literary Algonquin Round Table with your book club girlfriends at this well-groomed spot, the oldest operating hotel in New York City having opened in 1902. Relax in the beautiful wood-paneled lobby, and if you feel something furry rub up against you, don’t worry — it’s probably just Matilda, the hotel’s resident cat and mascot. The Algonquin recently launched the Simon & Schuster Suite, which is perfect for book lovers. The spacious suite has shelves lined with books, including classics like A Farewell to Arms. And for turndown service? Forget the mint chocolates. Here, guests receive advance copies of soon-to-be-released books from a Simon & Schuster imprint. The Algonquin is just a few blocks away from Times Square and the Theater District, so you can take in a Broadway show or five. The hotel itself hosts a wide array of entertainment, from readings by new authors to tinkling jazz concerts. Finish the night at the Blue Bar, where you can sip cocktails and spout Dorothy Parker witticisms all night long, like “I shall stay the way I am,/ Because I do not give a damn.” Rooms from $290. 59 W. 44th St., 212-840-6800, algonquinhotel.com
The James New York
For gal pals who have one important pursuit in mind — shopping — there’s no better hotel than The James. The stylish property is an easy hop to the SoHo shops, from Prada on Prince Street to Anthropologie on Broadway. You may never want to leave the hotel, however, as you can easily spend an entire day (and night) on the rooftop: starting with women-only sunrise yoga, followed by sunning at the pool and ending with cocktails under the starry night. For your girlfriend getaway, opt for the one-bedroom apartments (as the larger rooms are called), which have an open-plan living room that’s perfect for late-night wine-sipping. Also, the hotel has one of the best art collections in the city, with a focus on emerging artists – look for the unique art piece “QWERTY” in the lobby, which is made of thousands of recycled keyboard keys. Rooms from $320. 27 Grand St., 888-526-3778, jameshotels.com
It’s not just little girls who love the Plaza. Big girls do too. The Plaza’s most famous (fictional) resident is the precocious Eloise from the series of children’s books drawn and written by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight. Now she has her own on-site store: Eloise at the Plaza, which is stocked with everything from dolls to barrettes. Grown-up girls are equally catered to, and the Plaza features everything you need for an indulgent weekend, including swank suites, afternoon tea and scones at the elegant Palm Court, blowouts and pedicures at the Warren-Tricomi Salon and wine and grape treatments at the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa. Come evening, raise your glasses at the Champagne Bar, with a decadent side order of ink-black caviar. The Plaza is also filled with boutiques, from Krigler perfumes to Maurice fine jewelry, where you can test out one of Eloise’s favorite lines: “Charge it please!” Rooms from $460. 768 5th Ave., 212-759-3000, theplazany.com
Girlfriend getaways don’t have to be pricey — even in NYC. The funky Gershwin is a great choice for an affordable girls’ getaway, with rooms that are spacious enough to share comfortably, plus soft Frette linens and sparkling bathrooms stocked with bath products by New York apothecary C.O. Bigelow. As well, the hotel has a wonderfully diverse events calendar, with everything from concerts by a chamber music group that celebrates women composers to cabaret and comedy. For a perfect outing with the girls, start out the morning with a croissant and the city’s best hot chocolate at City Bakery (3 W. 18th St., 212-366-1414, www.thecitybakery.com). Then, head to the nearby Museum of Sex (233 Fifth Avenue, 212-689-6337, museumofsex.com), where you can pick up all sorts of naughty items such as edible underwear and how-to books for a giggle at that late-night bachelorette party. Rooms from $200. 7 E. 27th St., 212-545-8000, gershwinhotel.com
Wythe Hotel – Brooklyn
Manhattan isn’t always the center of the universe for girlfriend getaways. After all, even some of the Sex and the City episodes took place in the outer boroughs. For an alternative girls’ adventure, head to Wythe Hotel. The handsome hotel, with airy, loft-style rooms, has become such a fixture in trendy Williamsburg in Brooklyn that it’s now hard to imagine one without the other. The hotel is ideal for a lively weekend, from the small-batch booze in the minibar to after-dark socializing at the rooftop bar to strolling the shores of the East River. You can also get in touch with your inner hipster by sampling frothy brews at Brooklyn Brewery, shopping at artisan boutiques on Bedford Avenue and testing your bowling skills at Brooklyn Bowl. Oh, and the local flannel-and-mustache guys aren’t bad-looking, either. Rooms from $195. 80 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, 718-460-8000, wythehotel.com
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