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Review: The Carlyle, New York

General Info and Location

The Carlyle New York has been a constant in Manhattan’s Upper East Side skyline ever since November 1930 when the hotel first opened. Designed by Bien & Prince and named after British essayist Thomas Carlyle, it has 193 rooms and suites. One of its unique features is the private apartments on each floor, giving you the feeling of living – if only temporary – in a true Upper East Side co-op.

Its location on Madison and 76th means Central Park and its greenery is only a few blocks away. The rest of Manhattan is within easy reach, while at the same time allowing you to retreat from the madness of midtown and the narrow, hotel-packed streets around Times Square.

While many of the rooms and suites are very individually designed, and will remain so, there are going to be some changes at The Carlyle. A redesign of the accommodations, overseen by Tony Chi (also responsible for Rosewood London), is in the works – but what that will bring is still unknown.

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The Room

I stayed in a Deluxe Tower Room, which had magnificent views over Manhattan. Down towards Central Park South, across to Central Park West and further north, from sunrise to sunset, it was a highlight of my stay. The views alone would make me try and stay in a west-facing Tower Room.

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My room featured the signature Champalimaud wallpaper with the dark flowers, combined with mostly creams and whites and classic furniture. The bed was very comfortable, with lovely white sheets – frequent guests will find monogrammed pillow cases waiting for them. It was also astonishingly quiet for a Manhattan hotel.

The bathroom – which is one of the things I was told would be redone as part of the Tony Chi renovations – was quite petite and showing its age. Toiletries were by Kiehl’s.

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Eating and Drinking

As much as The Carlyle is a (residential) hotel, it is equally known for its restaurants and bars. I had breakfast at The Carlyle Restaurant in the mornings, which had a range of a la carte options and consistently attentive service. There is Bemelmans Bar, but perhaps a draw most of all is Café Carlyle – known for its cabaret and (impromptu) performances by numerous artists.

One of my favourite parts of the hotel is the lobby with its gorgeous black marble floor, contrasting unusually but very successfully with mustard yellow sofas.

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Other Facilities

The hotel has a gym on one of the lower floors, which is permanently staffed. It had a decent selection of weights and cardio equipment, though rather than using the latter I took advantage of Central Park being near and the running maps the concierge can provide. The concierge also had some helpful suggestions for restaurants nearby, including an excellent suggestion for takeaway sushi when jetlag hit me and I needed an early light meal.

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Internet Connection

WiFi was free and worked without issue across multiple devices throughout my stay.

Service and Status Benefits

Service was very polished. The fact that permanent residents – and returning guests – clearly know the staff well means you hear fond hellos and how are you around you constantly, making it feel very personal. Elevators are operated by white-gloved attendants, a classic touch.

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Verdict

For a true New York experience, you cannot go wrong with The Carlyle. I loved coming back to the hotel over the long weekend I was here, it felt very much like home. The west-facing rooms in the tower have phenomenal views, service is impeccable. I can’t wait what Tony Chi has in mind for the rooms and would go back in a heartbeat.

 

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  1. cameron paul on

    The Carlyle is one of only a handful of classic hotels still retaining the atmosphere of the city's legendary past. With the messing up of the Plaza and the Barclay and now the closure of the W=A for part conversion to condos there's not many left that offer the classic look without trendy so-called "designer" incursions or ostentation. I stayed at the Carlyle some years ago and found it a great experience and it would appear that it has retained it's status as one of NYC's best hotels.

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