Culture / Travel

How to Spend 48 Hours at An Opulent Escape Nestled Amidst Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan

Experience Autumn's Splendor at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

BY // 11.17.23

It’s no secret that a trip to dazzling Manhattan is a welcome retreat for most Texans any time of year. But there’s just something magical when the city undergoes a fall foliage transformation, donning its most enchanting and vibrant attire. The bustling streets of this iconic island metamorphose into a tapestry of fiery hues, and at the heart of it all, Central Park becomes a true masterpiece. Perched a stone’s throw away from the iconic park is The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, where we recently spent 48 hours experiencing autumn’s splendor.

Ritz-Carlton New York
The iconic Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park hotel is nestled amidst Billionaires’ Row. (Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park)

A Little History About The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

Although the building was originally constructed in the early 20th century, the property underwent significant renovations and rebranding in 2002 and emerged as what we know today as The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. Although its prime location is a major selling point, (I literally got from my hotel room to the park in less than 60 seconds), it’s iconic and touted as one of the city’s premier luxury hotels. And nearly a century after the original bones and frame of the building were first imagined. 

The Aesthetic 

Upon entry, I was met with a harmonious blend of classic New York elegance, modern comfort, and a nod to the natural beauty of Central Park. Windows draped every wall I spied, offering a perpetual glimpse of the coveted green space — and pops of orange, rust, and yellow as the leaves were showing off for autumn. 

The first aspect of the hotel design I noticed, just footsteps through the door, were the classic architectural features, and sense of grandeur. I instantly wondered which famous and historical New Yorkers filled the lobby on a Manhattan evening decades ago. The classic feeling I crave when I visit New York was bottled up and pristinely preserved in the lobby and throughout the space. 

I always love seeing what artwork is featured in iconic spaces with such rich history, such as this one. It was evident art plays a significant role in the hotel’s aesthetic.

From paintings to sculptures and decorative elements that enhance the visual appeal and cultural richness of the space, artistic elements were scattered throughout the property. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the over-the-top elements in the dining room, like the fine linens, crystal glassware, and elegant table settings. One of my favorite moments of the stay included a breakfast along the expansive windows, catching snippets of the busy sidewalks and locals roaming about.

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ritzNYCCPst-567838-The Royal Suite – Entrance and Park View-High
Suites are spacious and offer sweeping views of Central Park. (Courtesy)

The Accommodations

Everything is bigger in Texas, and more often than not, space is much smaller in New York. In every hotel I’ve ever visited in the city, I tend to expect the space to be limited. This was not the case at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park.

I was pleased to discover a long corridor as the entryway to my room, and a seating area next to the fluffy white bed. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less, with The Ritz-Carlton seal stamped on the property. The color palette of the room was relatively muted, which was paired with the sweeping views of Central Park from the 17th floor. The oversized, marble-white bathroom made me feel as if I had my own private spa retreat just steps from my bed. And of course, my favorite element of any luxury hotel visit is the turndown service. It did not disappoint. The signature turndown note: slippers had been thoughtfully arranged near the nightstand and petite chocolates were delicately placed nearby.

Neighborhood Offerings

Central Park is classic New York, and what visit to the city is complete without it?

Billionaires’ Row specifically, adjacent to the park, is a stretch of ultra-luxurious real estate along 57th Street. It runs from Park Avenue to the Hudson River, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It has gained a reputation for being one of the most exclusive residential areas in the world. It’s complete with sky-high skyscrapers, which contain some of the most expensive apartments in the city, with unparalleled views of Central Park. I wandered down the block from the hotel and discovered the most darling rooftop bar, naturally called Darling. The views were unmatched atop the 47th floor. 

The area is also rich in cultural proximity. It’s all about location, right? Some of the city’s most cultural landmarks are nearby, including Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Modern Art. Not to mention some of the world’s most premier designer shopping and the most delicious offerings on every corner.

Dining Highlights at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

Every time I went by the hotel’s restaurant, Contour, the locally-sourced smells and sights were welcoming. I finally decided I couldn’t resist any longer and had a decadent breakfast on my last day of visiting. I’m still dreaming of the airy pancakes and the freshly squeezed orange juice. I found the menu to be comforting and approachable but with an impeccably classy delivery. And by nightfall, the classic cocktail culture of New York City emerges in Contour. I feel like this could easily be the backdrop of an iconic Sex and the City scene.

Quintessential New York. 

La Prairie Spa – Treatment Room
La Prairie Spa offers a serene oasis enveloped within the walls of the hotel. (Courtesy)

La Prairie Spa Experience

This is the first New York trip where I actually took it slow. Most trips I’ve taken to the Concrete Jungle entail sunup to sundown miles in my tennis shoes, with no relaxation. Too much to see. Too much to do. I slowed down so I wasn’t moving faster than a New York minute, and booked a massage at the hotel’s spa, La Prairie Spa.

The attention to detail in this spa experience surpassed many I’ve encountered before. From the warming of my slippers to the hot towel around my neck mid-treatment, I just wanted to melt into the table and never get up. My massage therapist even offered me the choice of what channel of music I preferred during the treatment. I’ve experienced the choice of essential oil blends, but the option of musical stylings during my massage was a first.

I kept thinking, that nestled within the walls of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, was an oasis of serenity and indulgence, while outside was racing, busy, and buzzy. Its sumptuous interiors, adorned with soothing earthy tones and soft, natural lighting, create an atmosphere of pure elegance.

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