The Benjamin is a beloved Midtown Manhattan landmark — designed in 1927 by famed architect Emery Roth, the Beaux Arts facade inspired artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “New York Night.” Thanks to recent room renovations, excellent kids’ amenities and unbelievable value, this icon has become a go-to escape for families seeking a boutique hotel home base in the heart of the city.
More than half of the 209 rooms at the property can accommodate families. Most notably, it offers 95 one-bedroom suites that each include a pullout sofa. Some accommodations feature spectacular skyline views. The design is fresh and contemporary, yet comfortable and well thought-out.
We stayed in a one-bedroom suite with a kitchenette, perfect for having breakfast and snacks in the room. My kids like to play musical beds, so one night I slept with my daughter on the sofa bed — it was amazingly comfortable. This shouldn’t have been a surprise; The Benjamin takes sleep very seriously. They even have a sleep concierge with a menu of pillow types. Warning: Ordering the 5-foot body pillow will likely induce a pillow fight.
Special kids’ amenities at the hotel make young guests feel right at home. Winks Kidzzz Club is not a physical kids’ club, but rather a program offering just-for-kids niceties such as a lending library of books, pint-sized robes and a Winks stuffed owl.
Parents should try to get in a little “me” time at the Federico Salon and Spa, run by celebrity stylist Federico Calce. I booked a blowout for the afternoon of our arrival — what a treat! They’ll do in-room services too.
Families with American Girl fans will love the American Girl package. It includes a doll-size travel bed, blanket and pillow to use in the room, plus the ultimate indulgence: access to a personal shopper at American Girl Place nearby.
The Benjamin is home to celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant, The National, a James Beard Award winner. The restaurant has the atmosphere of a European cafe; families will feel right at home. The signature Ugly Burger — piled high with onion, cucumber, jalapenos, cheese and more — is one of the best in the city, and the bacon omelette is a hit with kids as well. The concierge can arrange babysitting so that parents can enjoy the live music by up-and-coming jazz and blues artists on Sunday nights.
There’s an array of kid-friendly dining options nearby as well. Alice’s Tea Cup, a whimsical, tea-obsessed restaurant, is a family favorite. A visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar, a three-story candy emporium with oldies like candy buttons, is not to be missed.
In this area, the challenge for families is not what to do; it’s what to do first. The Benjamin offers quick access to a wide range of sights and amenities. Central Park Zoo is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours. Be sure to see the Tisch Children’s Zoo and the polar bears.
The concierge has discount coupons for Madame Tussauds, the incredible wax museum. A short walk away is the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, a free technology and entertainment experience for all ages. Radio City Music Hall is nearby as well. And from the luxury stores on Madison Avenue to the boutiques of the West Village, shopping options are limitless.
Editor’s Note: The Benjamin hosted Sandy for her stay. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Sandy Pappas except where noted.
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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.