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The City Staycation: A New Yorker’s Guide

When you walk in the shoes of a tourist, you can experience the city in a whole new way

Every winter, visitors flock to New York City—for the snow, the Rockefeller Center tree or the glittery windows on Fifth Avenue. But it seems people who actually call the city home only further absorb its insane rhythms and demands instead of enjoying the season. So this year, if you, New Yorker, aren’t already flying off to your childhood home or stoking the imaginary fireplace in your studio, might I recommend a staycation (or three) in the city you have the privilege of living in?

Here’s a diary of three recent staycations around Greenwich Village, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. Which suits you best?

 

FOR THE DOWNTOWN ART DECO FANATIC

The Jade Hotel (pictured right) has yet to turn a year old, but the torch-lit entrance and sunken lobby make the throwback location on 13th St. already feel like a neighborhood mainstay. From the library curated with New York titles to the black-and-whites by Village Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah to the C.O. Bigelow bath products, The Jade’s practically a mushy love letter to the city.

Why you’re here…
Inside Llewyn Davis made you long for a peek at the Greenwich Village of a bygone era. Plus, half-off happy hour at the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant and bar Grape & Vine, which caters to those annoying people who can’t decide if they’re hot or cold with a skylight and a fireplace.

Where you’ll be sleeping…
Peacefully, in the Grove Queen, one of the 113 guest rooms and suites with a Greenwich Village view—all those water towers!—next to a retro rotary phone (which will shamefully take you a second to figure out how to twirl).

The Jade

A suite at The Jade

What you’ll be eating…
Although you’ve landed in restaurant mecca, with everything from The Meatball Shop to Kin Shop within a five-minute walk, staycations are for sloths, so go downstairs to Grape & Vine, order the pumpkin ravioli and ask the excellent bartender Cesar to make you his Guilty as Charged cocktail. Created with cognac, Frangelico and Kahlua, it tastes like Christmas and literally sets the bar on fire.

Who you’ll run into…
Probably not the Coen brothers, but plenty of Europeans and some locals: a couple discussing Glenn Greenwald, three blondes ordering mushroom flatbread, maybe a lifelong New Yorker who lives two doors down and wants his Malbec poured “nice and high.”

You’ll leave feeling…
Like you wish you didn’t have to.

The Jade Hotel
52 W. 13th St. (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
Rates start at $269 in the low season and $599 in the high season per night.

 

FOR THE 24/7/365 WORKAHOLIC

Newly renovated this year, the Upper West Side’s NYLO New York City has an urban edge in a corner of the city usually thought as anything but. Located on 77th St. and Broadway, the boutique hotel might be the ideal escape for someone averse to the idea of a staycation: here, an iHome, in-room mini Keurig machine and an array of New York magazines (Manhattan, Gotham, Time Out New York) spread out on the blond wood desk—complete with ergonomic chair—are actually more conducive to a workcation.

NYLO

The NYLO roof; photo courtesy of NYLO New York City

Why you’re here…
You can count the number of times you’ve been to the Upper West Side on one hand. But the alcove library downstairs (pictured below), or the hotel bar LOCL, which provides plenty of tipsy people-watching on a recent Saturday at 1:30 a.m., makes you feel right at home.

NYLO

The library at NYLO; photo courtesy of NYLO New York City

Where you’ll be sleeping…
Next to a cute faux brick wall on a mattress called NYLO NYTE, which is like drifting off into 15.5 inches of cumulus cloud.

What you’ll be eating…
The Italian restaurant Serafina is literally within the hotel—their pizza can even be delivered to your room—or go around the corner to the second outpost of the ridiculously popular Chinese dim sum restaurant RedFarm.  The barn-style tables and mismatched chairs are cute; the real draws are the Katz’s pastrami egg roll, the Pac Man shrimp dumplings and the fact that it seats almost double the over-crowded West Village location.

Who you’ll run into…
A relatively young crowd and plenty of tourists—I overheard conversations in French and Italian in the elevator—who are wise enough to avoid the Times Square trap and smart enough to take in Macbeth at Lincoln Center 10 blocks down.

You’ll leave feeling…
As if you’d one day like to own a nearby brownstone. And that, for starters, you probably shouldn’t have spent $4 on a cookie at the incomparable Levain Bakery.

NYLO New York City
2178 Broadway (at 77th St.)
Rates start at $259 per night.

 

FOR THE TRADITIONALIST

If you’d like to elevate yourself into a stratosphere occupied by celebrities, heads of state or the two lucky winners of this week’s Mega Millions jackpot, then perhaps a staycation at The Pierre  is for you. The Fifth Avenue five-star luxury property reopened in 2009 after a $100 million renovation, which cemented the heritage hotel as one of the jewels of the city. As the New York flagship of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, they’ve decided in the last year and a half to import some of the high-level pampering traditional in their India properties. Enter the Taj Royal Attaché program in the 11 Grand Suites—which involves a personal go-to butler for anything from daily newspapers to your favorite foods stocked in your kitchenette.

The Pierre

Inside a suite at The Pierre

Why you’re here…
Because sometimes, a girl’s just gotta treat herself. You’d like to experience staying in a place four times the size of your New York apartment. Plus, your Taj Royal Attaché, Anupam Guha, is so exceedingly kind and polite and trained to notice everything about the needs of the guest—”I saw that you ate the apples and kiwis,” he tells me, “so if you stayed longer I would make sure there were more”—that you want to see if he’ll know what you’re thinking even before you do.

Where you’ll be sleeping…
In the two-bedroom, 1,750-square-foot Rajput Suite, after soaking in your in-suite Taj Royal Bath, prepared in an elaborate display with rose petals, organic potions and delicate waves of foam. Just like every other Saturday.

Two E bar

Two E Bar at The Pierre

What you’ll be eating…
Scones at afternoon tea at the first floor Two E Bar/Lounge (pictured above), kitted out for Christmas with a huge tree and gingerbread house. Follow it up Tuscan-style with tagliatelle with black truffle and blackened salmon downstairs at the intimate and delicious Sirio Ristorante, the brainchild of famed Le Cirque restauranteur Sirio Maccioni. Then back to Two E for Winter Olympics-themed cocktails. You’ve never been able to drink a bobsledder or a triple salchow…until now.

Who you’ll run into…
Many women swathed in fur, coming from Barneys, Bergdorf, Tiffany and Henri Bendel where they were curating their Christmas lists and others were, more forlornly, snapping photos of the window displays.

You’ll leave feeling…
Absolutely bereft.

The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York
2 East 61st St (at Fifth Ave)
Rates for a Grand suite start at $3,500 per night; rates for a Classic room start at $900 per night.

 

 

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