Most of us choose to ring in the new year with great intentions, dreams of a restart button, good vibes, good food, and something unique to remember when the clock strikes midnight. I rang it in with the perfect hotel and two glorious days in New York.
I enjoyed a spectacular New Years holiday at Hotel Plaza Athenee (click here)! Partnered with three fantastic restaurants, and a half a day viewing The Frick Collection, this New Years celebration will shine out as one of the best in Urban Backpacker’s BEST places to shake it up and ring in the New Year!
I am all about five star and very low star travel. I change up the star experiences for the story collection, budget requirements, time of year, will it inspire me to return, does it have a gym, clean and comfy bed, or whether or not I have remaining Hilton points to qualify for free rooms. This was five star accommodations, definitely not budget travel, and definitely not in the “off the beaten path” section.
I originally declined staying at this beautifully appointed New York Boutique Hotel, when good friends of mine originally asked us to join them. The rack rate prices advertised online are very very high. I did manage to book a random “surprise hotel until you hit the payment button,” 5 star, MUCH better pricing at ($300.00 off the original rack rate)! After perusing many a discount travel New York options, I ended up choosing the quick pick on Hotwire, and guess which hotel came through for me? Hotel Plaza Athenee New York! Great offering to begin my New Years Extravaganza planning!
From the minute we arrived, till the minute we left, the folks at Plaza Athenee were delightful, and on point, offering world famous five star customer service, five star smiley staff, combined with the most “welcoming and refined” front of house exemplary personalities. Upon booking your room, don’t forget to ask for the newly renovated rooms, not the older rooms – they are much nicer. Sipping pre-dinner cocktails in the bar was wonderful, yet the bar food does need help for an establishment of this caliber and pricing structure. It is the only place in the hotel I would offer some re-structuring. Breakfast with the room service option, or the restaurant behind the bar, are both divine. Last but not least – is the bedding. Oh my goodness……..the sheets on the Plaza Athenee beds COMPLETE ME.
The second photo of the couch and city of NY is from the Hotel Plaza Athenee website. I prefer taking my own photos, however this one, as you can see, is quite special.
Three NY Restaurants to Shine Up The New Year
1. Gotham Bar and Grill(click here) – We celebrated New Years Eve here. I did not pick this choice. I will not be returning to this restaurant during a huge celebration. I will be returning to understand if the excellent reviews online live up to all the “hype and awe” during a normal sort of New York evening.
The food on New Years Eve did not measure up to the standards I expected online. The $350.00 per person, with the added $150.00 per person wine pairing option was ridiculous for the quality of food and wine we were served. The truffle risotto was good, however not mouth watering excellent. The meat dishes were good, not superb, and at these prices my friends – there needs needs to be exquisitely prepared, artfully placed, beautiful food delivered to my table at every course. My fish course was returned twice to the kitchen for over cooking.
The celebration was wonderful. If, you do partake in the New Years Party here at Gotham, ask for a seat further back in the restaurant. The band playing in the center of the restaurant was so loud – we could not hear each other at our table while dining. The dancing and the band – fantastic. In retrospect, I would suggest, for future celebrations and food appreciation, they should have hired instrumental music through dinner, then offer up the loud party swing music after the clock struck twelve. The restaurant decor was decadent, and the black and white theme paired nicely with my purple chiffon gown and Happy New Years sparkle crown.
2. Molyvos Greek Restaurant(click here) – Lovely Greek food. Good wine list. The restaurant guy whispered to me how beautiful I looked on the way to the restroom. For that reason alone, I will give this restaurant 4 stars! Will go back if I am ever close by and in the mood, but prefer my favorite chic Greek restaurant in New York – Estiatorio Milos (click here).
3. Bar Italia (click here) – Dine with actress famed Italian beauty – Sophia Loren. Eat good Italian food. Wine selection is just okay. The waiters will share their life stories. Lot’s of local Italians eat here. Good walk after visiting the Frick Collection, but I do prefer………….Sette Mezzo (click here) for a much better Italian food option. Sette Mezzo only takes cash payment, but worth every darn bite of Italian food goodness. It is not as stuffy as the reviews will tout – it is REAL Italian. Yes, it’s expensive, like just about everywhere in NY, and yes there are “regulars” at local restaurants if you eat and trot around the globe. In my opinion, if a person was spending money several times a month in a neighborhood restaurant, they should be treated a bit differently – like family. I have visited four times, never asked to leave my table, and I am always courteous departing when I am finished eating. The only way restaurants make dollars – is the table turnover.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Frick Collection(click here) (a short walk from Plaza Athenee) is FABULOUS! Do not miss this intimate and extravagant art collection. It is a five star museum, that guarantees to pair well with New York vacations. If I hadn’t been so hungry, I would have enjoyed another round of the audio tour. Marvelous works in every room. What a pleasure to ponder upon Vermeer’s, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” so up close and personal. Do yourself a favor and skip the queues wrapped around the block (in below zero weather for the general entrance fee), buy a $60.00 yearly membership, pass the waiting folk, and enter right away. Enjoy the concert series, the Wednesday Sketch Nights or lectures – the venue is magnificent. The clock collection is a fabulous favorite. Can you figure out what makes them tick?
Happy New Year!
Definition of Urban Backpacker:
1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.
2. Backpacker redefined: Artful reviews that lead you from hidden budget gems to five-star destinations helping you find palate pleasing adventure, enjoyment, and story collection.
3. Pack bag. Travel there. See city. Eat food. Respect culture. Take picture. Share story. Be thankful. Repeat.