The High Life: The C&TH Guide To NYC

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Where to stay and what to see on a flying visit to the Big Apple...

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New York is finally back, and with it a beautiful urban renaissance has sprung. The city is wild; the people frenzied; the mood, electrifyingly high and crazy once again. And with a string of new hotels, stellar new eats, glam makeovers, and sky-high no-frills thrills, it’s never been a better time to visit the OG of America’s skyscraper cities, says Luke Abrahams.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

The Ultimate Guide To New York City

STAY

a serene spa with straight lines, amber walls and still pool

© Robert Rieger

Aman New York

The latest – and most anticipated – address to open in the city ushers in Aman’s first urban ‘sanctuary’ in the US. As expected, it’s Manhattan’s new billboard for the place to be, and be seen in with a string of city hot shots, models and celebs already declaring themselves loyal devotees. Set within the storied Crown Building, 83 suites serve up a dose of rarefied city seclusion. Think minimal moody pads with ornate walls; linens draped in shades of slate, cream and black; roaring fireplace and views of Fifth Avenue. Main attraction? The three-floor spa. A palatial space kitted out with the trendiest wellness modcons, knockout full-body treatments (the best we’ve had so far in the city) and a glam 65-foot pool. The Garden Terrace is well worth a visit for views of Central Park and a sundowner come aperitivo hour, too. 

BOOK: Inspiring Travel offers a three-night trip from £5,549pp including flights with Virgin Atlantic. inspiringtravel.co.uk

a sitting area with a view of the new york skyline

Pendry, Manhattan West 

Slick, clean and chic – perhaps the best way to sum up this LA export to Manhattan’s West Side. A touch of the west coast reigns deep through the design palette with 164 rooms and 30 sprawling floor-to-ceiling window suites eyeing epic views over Midtown. Digs are Hollywood-esque, kitted out with roomy, hugging sofas, egg-shaped tubs, walk-in closets, tables full of coffee table books, and if you’re in for an upgrade, a baby grand piano in the fabulous Pendry Suite. Cool creatives make up most of the crowd lounging in the hotel’s groovy common areas, from the cutesy gold-flecked Bar Pendry to the marble-clad reservation-only whiskey rooftop bar with epic city panoramas. Grub wise, hit up the Garden Room for comfort eats like steak frites, seasonal salads and a stellar wine list. 

BOOK: Rooms from $745, plus taxes. pendry.com

a bar decorated in brown, bronze and neutral tones

The Ned, Nomad 

Part hotel, part under-the-radar members’ club, the sister to The Ned, London ticks all the boxes on the ‘trendy’ barometer. Housed inside the 1908 Beaux-Arts Johnston Building, the hotel brings a much needed theatrical breath of fresh air to Manhattan’s NoMad playground. Art Deco grandeur runs riot on all the walls with sexy portraits and special commissions covering every nook in sight. There are 167 rooms up for grabs, ranging from very small, cosy ‘crash pads’ to suites and studio apartments. Expect freestanding clawfoot tubs, king beds, writing desks and, if you’re at the very top of the building, glorious cityscapes. Date night comes courtesy of the 1920s-style, and very ambient, Little Ned, a bar-restaurant mashup that rustles up modern American fare with the odd European classic. 

BOOK: Rooms from $600, plus taxes. thened.com

EAT

Hags

One of the most talked about openings of the year ushers in a LGBTQI+ led fine dining experience masterminded by chef and co-owner Telly Justice. Why’s it different? The restaurant thinks about equity for both staff and diners, and wants you to really experience the joys of dining out again. News flash, though: the restaurant is about to have a major facelift, so head over to its socials for the latest on Hags’ next round of ultrafab pop-ups. hagsnyc.com

a white set table outside, surrounded by plants

Majorelle at The Lowell

This one is no secret, but over the course of the pandemic, the legendary Upper East Side spot has had a rather swish makeover like many other New York institutions. Think light and airy alfresco eats in an intimate courtyard that screams romantic Italian summer on repeat. The foie gras is exceptional; the soufflé still legendary; the service stellar; and quite literally everything on the menu is cooked to perfection. It’s all too delicious, if you can get a table. lowellhotel.com

Corner Bar

The Nine Orchard hotel has been all over everyone’s ‘gram of late, and its headline restaurant Corner Bar has already amassed tons of likes. Cool, fresh and supremely delicate eats come courtesy of chef Ignacio Mattos, who seems to have a thing for pristine oysters and salads. The place looks the part, yet, is unfussy and delivers all the goods from a divine roast chicken to a mean pomodoro that packs a decadent punch. cornerbarnyc.com

a layed table in front of panoramic window view over new york city

(c) Alex Staniloff

Peak at The Edge

The sky-high spot to know for killer cocktails with a view. Set above the metropolis within the walls of the stratospheric 30 Hudson Yards, the breezy Euro-American fusion joint marries the best of both worlds with small plate numbers and handspun, homemade Italian classics. But let’s face it, people are really flocking here to down the fiery margarita with the New York skyline in the background. We sure did. peaknyc.com

DO

an aerial shot of little island

(c) Michael Grimm

Little Island

No one can get enough of New York’s new floating oasis, part of the mammoth Hudson Yards project. Nature and art collide here, in a park that features lush, landscaped gardens on the Hudson River. Flock here for live gigs at ‘The Amph’, the grand amphitheatre and for seasonal performances at The Glade. It’s basically the new Central Park. littleisland.org

Alex Katz: Gatherings at the Guggenheim

This grand new exhibition celebrates eight decades of Alex Katz’s work, chronicled on canvases that explore Abstract Expressionism. Expect lots of colourful oil sketches, collages and drawings that capture the immediacy of visual perception in paint up and down the Guggenheim’s world-famous rotunda. Until 20 February 2023. guggenheim.org

looking down on the statue of liberty with feet in the foreground

Sky High with Flynyon

After being cooped up for so long, New Yorkers are taking to the skies in a bid to discover their great big old city outside the walls of a glassed observation deck. How so? Doors-off helicopter flyovers with Flynyon. Expect epic (and very windy) 360° panoramas as you take shoe selfies above NYC’s greatest city icons. flynyon.com

Swing by the Museum of Modern Art

Having just reopened after a £356m refurbishment, MoMA promises performances, film and 30 per cent more space. The museum covets the crème of the world’s modern painting and sculpture: Dali’s melting watches, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Oppenheim’s surrealist fur teacup – it’s all here. Fridays 4–8 pm are free, which makes earlier that afternoon the gallery’s quietest time. When the gallery starts to fill up, go around the corner to St Patrick’s Cathedral – a huge Gothic landmark of the city. If you’re visiting in December, try and inveigle yourself into their annual Christmas concert; it is a New York institution and everyone joins in with the choir for traditional and modern carols. moma.org

SHOP

Curated by C&TH editors.

Anna Wintour and Lady Gaga go to New York Vintage (in Chelsea) to supplement their wardrobes with museum-worthy silk dresses and Chanel designs. Upstairs there is an archive to inspire extravagant style and shows the best of every era. Afterwards, take a stroll down the High Line – a former tramline and now a planted raised walkway that stretches from Manhattan to the city’s newest high-rise development, Hudson Yards.

Make for Thomas Heatherwick’s sculptural public space Vessel. Stop at C.O. Bigelow, apparently America’s oldest pharmacy, for its lemon body cream. It’s where where fashion editors and celebrities stock up on their in-house products.

On a weekend evening, go to the East Village, which has retained its vintage shops and cocktail bars – and a cadre of veteran beatnik artists who acquired their flats 60 years ago. Head to Mister Paradise for a Party Lobster – tequila, garlic and Campari. The clientele is mostly early thirties and it has an ‘80s song list to match, which occasionally causes the bar breakout into spontaneous singing. You must also walk over the Brooklyn bridge (about 40 minutes) and see the brownstone houses.

Go on a weekend and find Brooklyn Flea, where Manhattanites mine for vintage brooches (Saturdays in Williamsburg, Sundays in Dumbo). Don your vintage treasures and find Maison Premiere for happy hour between 4 and 7.