Wow. This is what staying in a hotel in New York is supposed to be — if the crowds and endless shops and stressed taxi drivers and constant noise of Manhattan gets too much, you can leave it all behind and come up here, 280ft above the streets, to the Mandarin Oriental, where you can enjoy a few drinks and exotic food, while looking at the ants below.
The hotel stands at the south-west corner of Central Park and you enter through the groundfloor lobby before taking the express lift up to the Sky Lobby on the 35th floor. The Sky Lobby, with dining area, overlooks Central Park, as do many of the rooms (the others look over the city or towards the Hudson River), which occupy all the floors up to the 54th. On the 36th floor is an excellent gym and a gorgeous swimming pool.
I was staying in a Hudson-side room. You're supposed to be able to see all the way down to the Statue of Liberty and all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. Unfortunately, I could barely see the Hudson at all due to the fog, but I did manage to look over a gloomy Central Park while dining in the Sky Lobby, where I enjoyed perfect Chinese dumplings (a more formal restaurant also serves excellent modern Asian food).
The room itself is decorated in a 1940s-style with dark, attractive furniture and lots of gold and ivory colours. All the technology is easy to connect to and very discreet, so you don't feel like you're staying in an electric goods store. In fact, the whole aura of the hotel feels very refined and elegant, neither modern nor traditional, and never over the top. But the best bit was undoubtedly having a bath while looking out into cloudy Manhattan.
Spectacular views over the city in all directions.
A beautiful swimming pool (also with excellent views).
Wonderful contemporary Asian food.
You're cheated of that 'grand entrance' feeling due to the reception being 35 floors up via a lift.
If you stay there on a foggy day you might see nothing.
A luxurious retreat from the chaos of Manhattan with incredible views and gorgeous facilities.
Double rooms from £434. Mandarin Oriental New York, 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, New York, 10023, USA (+1 212 805 8800; mandarinoriental.com/newyork)