Long Weekend: Our top tips for a New York winter break

Words by
Raphael Morgan

12th January 2018

In the colder months, The Big Apple’s relaxed atmosphere that leaves a warm glow. We round up the best places to stay, eat and drink in NYC, along with things to do

Winter in New York requires your warmest coat and sturdy boots. Yet there is a majesty about the cashmere-bundled grand dames of the Upper East Side, the elegant ice skaters in Central Park and the festive cheer on Fifth Avenue. And from the glitzy malls to the independent boutiques, it’s a great place for Christmas shopping or New Year sales.

STAY

The comfort of The Lowell, one block east of Central Park, makes this a glorious winter bolt-hole with staff who display an old school gentility. The recent refurbishment by Michael S Smith has seen the Club Room transformed into a flower-filled regal hideaway and the restaurant is splendid with its alabaster chandeliers and blue and white marble floor tiles. Choose one of his suites, with triple aspect views of the city. The floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms are stocked with customised DDC28 products, while bespoke cashmere blankets add a cosy flourish.

Lowell Bar
The convivial bar at The Lowell offers exceptional drinks

The convivial bar at The Lowell offers exceptional drinks

For those who seek the New York winter wonderland immortalised in the movies, The Plaza is the place to stay. Its unapologetically stately art nouveau entrance is a crowd pleaser, as is the Palm Court room for its afternoon tea. Ask for a room with a view towards Central Park and savour the bathrooms with double doors, Bergamot Le Labo products and gold and ivory mosaic styling.

The Plaza is unapologetically stately
The Plaza is unapologetically stately

The Plaza is unapologetically stately

A leap away in geography and style is the impressive 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. An eco-drive pervades this hideaway in the city with recycled materials such as hemp-blend mattresses and filtered water running from the taps rather than in bottles. Splash out on a King Bridge room with a view of the bridge dominating the floor-to-ceiling vista. There is also a good gym.

EAT AND DRINK

Getting a reservation at Eleven Madison Park is hard. It is a bit easier in the convivial bar, where one can try a five-course tasting menu (as opposed to the nine-courser in the white table-clothed eatery next door). Highlights include a photogenic Maine lobster with an intricate mushroom tartlet, while its take on cookies and cream for dessert is a thrilling bitter chocolate and vanilla sweetener. The drinks are also exceptional; the Seaweed (with bourbon, rum, sesame, elderflower lemon and ginger) is a preprandial delight.

Eleven Madison Park
The elegant dining room at Eleven Madison Park

The elegant dining room at Eleven Madison Park

The clientele at The Lowell’s Majorelle are old money, echoed by the restaurant’s grandeur.  As befits its French theme, the main courses excel — steak comes with a generous black pepper crust  and the asparagus is perfectly al dente.

For a younger and more party-centric crowd, head south to the Flatiron District and Cosme, the New York outpost of Enrique Olvera (of Pujol in Mexico City). Try the pricey duck tacos, scallops with avocado aioli and jicama, and the most intriguing of puddings — a corn-meal meringue with cream.

For those enjoying the smart shops, such as DVF, Gucci and Jo Malone, Blue Ribbon Sushi  is a great pit stop in Greenwich Village, as is Peruvian restaurant Mission Ceviche in the Meatpacking District.

When it comes to cocktail hour, head to the West Village and either The Happiest Hour or the enduringly popular Employees Only.

The Happiest Hour
The Happiest Hour cocktail bar in the West Village lives up to its name

The Happiest Hour cocktail bar in the West Village lives up to its name

DO

The soaring, almost whale-like beauty of the Oculus at the World Trade Center train station feels very monastic, yet it contains an abundance of tempting commercialism. With brands such 
as Montblanc, Aesop and Moleskine, it’s ideal for those who don’t want the bustle of Park Lane.

For independent local finds, Canal Street Market in Downtown is a place to ferret out addictively scented candles by Keap BK or Graf Lantz glasses cases. And even if you aren’t pregnant, the chic maternitywear at Hatch in SoHo has beautifully cut dresses that are perfect for slouching in.

For art lovers, visit the Whitney Museum to see Laura Owens’ pop culture pieces (until 4 February), or the various galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see blockbuster shows featuring Edvard Munch (until 4 February) and David Hockney (until 25 February).

ESCAPE

For R and R outside the city, the Grace Mayflower Inn in Connecticut is only two hours away by train or car. Explore the antique shops or indulge in a massage to keep the skin winterproof.

Grace Mayflower
Respite from the vibrant bustle of New York can be found at the Grace Mayflower Inn in Connecticut

Respite from the vibrant bustle of New York can be found at the Grace Mayflower Inn in Connecticut

British Airways has 15 daily flights from London with prices starting from £386.