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New York (NY)
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
Premier King Room
- Great location close to Central Park
- Beautiful rooms that have every modern convenience
- Incredible dining experience
- Restaurants fill up quickly
- No pool
- Impeccable interior styling
New York has no shortage of luxury hotels, iconic addresses and marque names. But it has only one The Carlyle, which makes a stay at this elegant property a truly singular experience and a highly memorable part of any visit to the city that never sleeps.
Thankfully, you’ll be in the best place to enjoy a long slumber in The Carlyle’s superbly-appointed 192 rooms and suites.
This is no towering metal-and-glass edifice smacked in the middle of the frantic, frenetic midtown district.
Well, The Carlyle does tower – its home is a striking Art Deco building on the edge of Manhattan’s Upper East Side – but it leaves behind city grit, soaring far above the well-heeled corner of Madison Avenue and 76th Street, with the Guggenheim and Central Park forming parts of its backdrop.
Fittingly, The Carlyle – now part of the Rosewood family – is among New York’s most exclusive (and discreet) hotels.
Staff don’t talk about the time when Marilyn Monroe, after serenading John F. Kennedy with her breathless rendition of Happy Birthday, Mr President, slipped out of Madison Square Garden and into one of The Carlyles’ suites for a rendezvous with JFK.
There must be thousands of stories set at The Carlyle, and we suggest it’s a perfect place to make your own stories too.
Location & Impressions
The residential vibe of The Carlyle’s upper east side neighborhood is completely removed from the hustle and bustle of New York below 59th St.
It’s a short 20-minute drive from La Guardia International Airport, 40 minutes from JFK International Airport and around 45 from Newark Liberty International.
If you’re driving yourself to the hotel, The Carlyle conveniently offers vehicle parking at an adjacent garage.
Although rather unassuming from the outside, the hotel’s interior exudes sophistication; public spaces are decked out with fine antiques, and the views from the higher floors simply breathtaking.
Check-in is quite busy for our 7pm arrival, with a few guests in line ahead of us. Service is warm and efficient and we’re shown to our room in a few minutes.
Among the joys of The Carlyle is its extraordinary variety of guest rooms, ranging from the standard Superior all the way to the stunning 253 sqm Presidential Suite. All of them have been renovated in an ad-hoc fashion throughout the years.
Our key opens the door of one of the recently-enhanced Premier King Rooms – a three-year renovation completed in 2019 saw master of hospitality design Tony Chi wave his magic wand over 80 per cent of the hotel rooms – overlooking Madison Avenue.
A wonderful Central Park mural in the entranceway sets the tone for what’s to come, leading on to an elegant living space filled with custom-made details and simple, yet thought-provoking artworks.
Immediately to the right after entering is a light and bright marble-clad bathroom, housing a spacious vanity, rainfall shower and bathtub, together with ‘The Carlyle’ monogrammed terry cloth bathrobes and a seven-piece Kiehl’s toiletry set.
Underfloor heating is particularly appreciated during our winter visit, warming us right up after whiling the hours away amid the busy streets of New York City.
Venturing deeper into the room, the beautifully-adorned foyer opens up to the main living area. It has a great feeling of space thanks to high ceilings and a sleek, neutral palette that meshes with the classic, yet still noticeably Art Deco aesthetic.
One single artwork hangs in the room, with design statements instead left to the architectural detailing – moulded floor-to-ceiling panels are a commanding presence in all corners of the room – and bold geometric carpet.
The plush king-size bed is laden with comfy pillows and luxurious linens, while the bedside tables either side conveniently include international AC and USB power outlets – a feature that many New York hotels still lack.
Along the opposite wall is a flat-screen Smart TV and tasteful glass-topped sideboard.
Tucked away in the corner closest to the entrance is a fully stocked minibar, which has a Nespresso coffee machine, snacks and a variety of drinks to choose from.
The hotel staff are attentive and responsive, in typical Rosewood style. Some of the services provided include 24 hours laundry service and twice-daily housekeeping with evening turndown service.
Other in-room amenities include a spacious closet containing the safe, individually controlled thermostat, bottled water with daily turndown service and a phone offering free local calls.
It’s worth noting there is some road noise, so light sleepers may need to consider ear plugs. Thankfully there are proper blackout curtains, so sleep-ins are indeed possible.
Work-wise you’ll find an executive desk set up against the far end of the room, which delivers an adequate space with easily accessible power outlets and a padded chair.
Conveniently placed next to two oversized windows, it has plenty of light during the day, and a desk lamp means that you can also take care of business well into the night.
Those needing to collaborate with colleagues or clients will benefit from two onsite meeting rooms. For a more laid-back option, the Café Carlyle is a comfortable setting for a casual business catchup.
Complimentary WiFi is available in all guest rooms and public spaces – you’ll get the password from reception or from your room’s info card. As expected from a high-end property, the speed is lightning-fast.
Just like its varied guest rooms, The Carlyle’s dining options are diverse, though be warned: they’re frequented by not only visitors but by New York locals, meaning reservations are absolutely essential for all of them any night of the week.
Dowling’s at The Carlyle is "New York dining" distilled into a beautifully decorated restaurant, almost like being in an art gallery,
The cocktails boast a perfect blend of sophistication and strength, with the highlights being various takes on the classic martini.
The dining is sensational, as you'd expect. The menu features American classics such as crab cakes and shrimp cocktails, but the real stars are the tableside prepared dishes, such as the Steak Diane flambéed with Cognac, and the Dover Sole with brown butter.
Both were prepared lovingly by our host and transported us back to the days of "old New York."
For a more lively atmosphere, head to The Bemelmans Bar – named after writer and illustrator Ludwig Bemelman, author of the Madeline children’s books, and decorated by his playful murals of Central Park.
Complementing its live music is a menu of light bites and cocktails. Nightly piano performances mean there is a cover of $10 to $35 per person, depending on the artist and table, but this is well worth it for the classy and intimate vibe.
Equally enticing is Café Carlyle – the hotel’s cabaret club – which offers timeless New York favourites in a slightly more formal setting. Prices are more expensive too, with the cover starting at $100 per person for the entire night.
The hotel also offers all-day in-room dining for guests who prefer to dine in the comfort of their own rooms.
We tried the Faroe Island salmon and lobster bisque, and both were delicious.
It wouldn’t be one of the best New York hotels without a serene spa or well-appointed fitness centre. The Carlyle delivers on both, with an acclaimed hair salon to boot.
On the third floor are Valmont Spa at The Carlyle – offering a range of rejuvenating treatments, such as massages, facials, and body treatments – and the hotel’s well-equipped fitness centre, which is decked out in the latest Technogym equipment.
A gym attendant is also available most hours to help you with equipment, which is something that’s often sorely missing at other hotels.
Rounding out the list is the famed Yves Durif Salon at The Carlyle, which attracts a dedicated clientele of celebrities and fashionistas. It’s ideal for a manicure, pedicure or stylish do-up before a fancy night out.
Among the many luxury New York hotels vying for attention, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel more than stands out from the crowd with its inviting service and exquisite interiors.
As expected, service is sensational from beginning to end: the doorman greeting us with a Cheshire grin at the entrance, check-in staff guiding us through the features, or the concierge offering personal recommendations for where to find the best bagel.
If you enjoy the peace and quietness of the Upper East Side – or are maybe a fan of classic piano bars and jazz clubs that transport you to another time – this hotel will fit you like a glove.