New York

A Luxe Guide To New York City

On my fourth visit to the Big Apple, I can confirm that this place gets better the more you uncover.

It’s a playground for cultured city-breakers, creative makers and fascinating people from all walks of life. It’s a paradise for people watching if you find the time to slow down and take it all in.

All of the usual tourist attractions are totally irresistible; you can’t help but climb the tallest buildings and take in those on-top-of- the-world views of the city skyline, stroll round Central Park, stuff your face with corn dogs at Madison Square Garden and browse the designer stores of 5th Avenue.

Of course, none of those things lose their magic touch, but this trip is about exploring new neighbourhoods, finding hidden gems and living like a local.

The magic of NYC is found, not just within the busy streets of Times Square and the avenues off Central Park, you’ll find the real treasures of the city in the neighbourhoods that locals call home.

Venture a little further into the city’s streets, and you’ll be amazed at what you discover.

One of my biggest pieces of advice when it comes to hitting up NYC is: don’t use the Subway to get from A to B – take to the streets, get lost in the crowds and stumble upon something by surprise.

That is how you get to know the real New York.

We made our way to the City of Dreams in the easiest way we’ve experienced yet.

A handy KLM flight from Teesside Airport, with a quick pit-stop in Amsterdam, flew us straight into JFK ready to hit the city before dark.

When it comes to finding the perfect place to lay your head, it can be tempting to opt for a big name brand sitting in the centre of Times Square with the bright lights and Broadway at your fingertips, but finding smaller chains like 1 Hotels has made this break our best one yet.

With two locations in New York – Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge – a multi-stay trip is the perfect way to explore new and old neighbourhoods.

Our first stop is 1 Hotel Central Park, a stylish postcode sitting amongst the Manhattan skyline, just moments from Central Park’s famous green spaces.

Dubbed one of the richest neighbourhoods in the world, you are moments from designer stores, celebrity bolt-holes and the iconic locations you see in the movies.

It’s a fantastic spot to see New York City at its best, but it’s also a great place to connect you with the lesser-known areas that will really make you fall in love with the city.

All of that is, of course, a huge pull – but what is so special about this hotel is its honest hospitality and its sustainable- chic style.

Shiny marble entrances and grand doorways might be what you’d expect from this location, but here you’ll find glorious greenery, reclaimed woodwork and laid-back service with a smile.

The hotel is very much inspired by nature, created with sustainability at the heart of everything. You’ll find filtered water taps in your bedroom, beautifully neutral decor and a three-storey living green facade that greets you on arrival.

Thoughtful touches include organic bedding and linens, farm-to-fork dining in the restaurant and a house Audi e-tron on hand to whisk you away.

1 Hotel Central Park sits between the high rise buildings of the ‘concrete jungle’ and the green spaces of Central Park, and it effortlessly blends the two.

An urban retreat with treetop views to one side and skyscrapers to the other. The best of both worlds.

This is our base for the first leg of our NYC adventure. Perfectly positioned for exploring all that Manhattan and its desirable districts have to offer.

From Upper East Side down to Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and Soho, there’s so much to explore. One of our favourite areas being East Village, home to the famous Katz’s Delicatessen (a must visit for legendary pastrami!) but also Una Pizza Napelotana – the best in the biz when it comes to wood-fired treats.

The menu is simple – a handful of appetisers, homemade ice cream, Italian wines and beer – all centred around the main event – Anthony Mangieri’s doughy delights.

We are won over by ‘The Special’ – a buffalo mozzarella base with extra virgin olive oil, Scullion sea salt, garlic, Californian walnuts and chilli.

Another foodie must in and around that neighbourhood is Soho’s Jack’s Wife Freda – a lively all-day bistro serving up lip- smackingly good American-Mediterranean brunch, lunch and cocktails.

As soon as the door swings open, you’re drawn in by the buzzy vibe, seated and left to take it all in as you browse the colourful menu.

Local families are gathering for brunch dates, groups of friends are celebrating with cocktails and couples are cosying up over coffee. It’s a box-ticker for all occasions and it’s brilliant.

Our second NY mini break takes us across the East River to Manhattan’s beautiful and boisterous friend, Brooklyn.

The trendy, waterfront wonderland of Dumbo, just over Brooklyn Bridge, is packed with bars, restaurants and pop-up markets, transforming its working class roots into a thing of beauty.

Brooklyn is a far cry from the swanky streets of modern Midtown Manhattan, but its impressive architecture and edgy charm is a spectacle of its own.

While 1 Hotel Central Park hotel enjoys its unique position between urban Manhattan and the open spaces of Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge hotel benefits from a little more space, overlooking the treetops at Pier 1, across the water to the Financial District skyline.

The rustic rooms are similar in style, but the hotel over the water has an industrial edge, opposed to the greenery of the Central Park site, reflective of its location.

Think concrete walls, slate tiles, leather headboards and marine-inspired decor like the use of rope and net. The interiors are effortlessly cool, but the far-reaching views do the talking here, particularly from our ‘Bridge Suite’.

With Brooklyn Bridge as our neighbour, and the city skyline flickering as day turns to dusk, it’s impossible to sleep with the curtains closed. And when we’re woken by orange hues bouncing off the bridge, we’re totally won over by this beautiful Brooklyn bolthole.

From 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, you’ve got Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn at your fingertips. Time Out Market New York is just moments from the hotel, a curated dining destination housing some of the best food, drink and culture NYC has to offer.

Fed and watered, there’s plenty to be inspired by as you stroll around Dumbo – from artsy concept stores and coffee shops, to pop-up markets and exhibition spaces, this chic neighbourhood will steal your heart – and if, after a little while, you’re craving the buzz of Manhattan, a quick hop over Brooklyn Bridge will take you there.

If, like us, you’re ready for a bit of wind-down after a pavement pounding trip, staying put at 1 Hotel’s Bamford Wellness Spa is an absolute treat.

Indulge in holistic treatments, nurture the mind and body in relaxation spaces, or head up to the hotel’s breathtaking rooftop pool. Now, there are many rooftop bars and high-rise buildings that top the NYC bucket lists, but these views are some of the best we’ve seen.

Lounge poolside or take a dip with a cocktail in hand while taking in the city skyline on the water’s edge.


The perfect way to see out a busy break to the city that never sleeps.

If you’re planning a 2023 trip to the ‘Empire City’, bundle up this Big Apple guide for a bounty of hip happenings and cool places to stay.

Whether you’re seeking out skyscraping views or brunch spots, shopping the designer districts, or exploring those lesser-known neighbourhoods we have learnt to love, there’s something for everyone in NYC.

Grab your New York CityPASS for Empire State escapades and sightseeing city cruises and find hidden gems on foot as you explore the eclectic areas surrounding New York’s wonderful 1 Hotel locations. |