One of the wonderful attributes of visiting New York City is the array of hotel options in different neighborhoods with distinctive personalities. Big Apple fans have timeless go-to favorites, and the iconic Upper East Side is certainly one of them. The Carlyle, operated by Rosewood Hotels, has been attracting politicians, celebrities and more — anyone who appreciates the finer things in life — since 1930.
Walking into The Carlyle feels more like walking into an exclusive New York City residence than a hotel; the staff greets you like long-lost friends and New York elegance is palpable in every intimate space. Although the hotel has been meticulously restored, the design has stayed true to its roots. So many hotels in New York are a different flavor of hip — it’s refreshing to stay at hotel that isn’t trying so hard to be something new.
It just is … The Carlyle. Precious, but not ostentatious. Sophisticated, but not stuffy, with service that doesn’t just cater to, but anticipates every need.
We introduced our 13-year-old to New York City at The Carlyle and fell hopelessly in love with this classic luxury grand dame. Here’s a look at the highlights for families:
It’s not often that we stay up until 1a talking in a hotel bar as a family, but this is exactly what Bemelmans Bar inspired. This magical ‘only in New York’ space is decorated with original Ludwig Bemelmans murals depicting playful scenes from Central Park. The detail in his work is absolutely mesmerizing and fun. The adjacent lounge with plush sofa seating became our home for the night. It’s the kind of intimate space that inspires deep conversations and loitering.
Bemelmans Bar offers nightly live jazz . It’s not so loud that conversation is impossible, but just lively enough to hum along and smile.
Suites at The Carlyle feel like apartments (minus the kitchen). Ours was spacious, wonderfully decorated in a classic and elegant style, with a piano and panoramic terrace. An expansive bedroom off the living room and a second bathroom (half) is ideal for families who want to spread out.
The Carlyle takes personalization to new heights with monogrammed pillows at bedtime. There’s something about arriving in a hotel room that has a bed with initials on it that makes one feel quite spoiled!
Rosewood runs a kids’ program called Rose Buds across their portfolio. It’s hard to have too many amenities going at a city hotel with finite space, but The Carlyle goes the extra mile. A ready list of NYC kid-friendly activities was in our room, as was an age-appropriate welcome gift. We rarely experience relevant welcome gifts with our teen, but we did here!
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The next time I want a spectacular romantic dinner in New York, I’m heading straight for The Carlyle Restaurant. This lavish dining room is nothing short of magnificent, with opulent flowers and cozy booth seating for snuggling.
Families can enjoy this exquisite space for breakfast and appreciate the same connection The Carlyle inspires throughout the property.
Rosewood competitors should visit The Carlyle, as the service is the epitome of luxury hotel personalization. We were wowed from the moment we arrived. The staff isn’t just attentive, they are present and are truly invested in their guests’ happiness. Although the perception is that this hotel is imposing, any concerns around pretentious staff behavior evaporate after walking through the doors. Hotel personnel we never met knew our names — including my son’s first name — and every time we re-entered the lobby we felt as if we were coming back to our New York home.
The hotel offers a salon and fitness center that we didn’t use. There is quite simply too much to do in New York … Located just blocks from Central Park, the strolling opportunities from here are endless. We also enjoyed walking out to the wonderful array of the boutique restaurants and shops of the Upper East Side.
Rooms that sleep four at The Carlyle start at $595 per night.
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Editor’s Note: Amie received a media package at The Carlyle. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy.
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