New Years in New York couldn't have been more fun

New Years in New York couldn't have been more fun

New Years in #NewYork has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Follow me as I explore the city's amazing #culture through the art #galleries, from the sky before relaxing in some luxury hotels!


For New Years 2015, we decided to do something special. New Years in New York has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 

New Years in New York has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it

And friends of ours were already going so we couldn’t resist joining.

We decided to splurge (for us, anyway) and check into two double rooms at the Ace Hotel. Ace says of itself in typewriter font on their website that ‘however bustling the lobby gets, the hotel is a respite from New York’s mayhem – full of local art, thoughtful details and the best beds in the universe’ and I couldn’t agree more. The rooms felt like our own very cool apartments for the week and were so welcoming to ‘come home to’ after a bustling day in the city - our own little sanctuary in the middle of New York.

full of local art, thoughtful details and the best beds in the universe’ and I couldn’t agree more

The comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in (hypoallergenic too) and unspeakably soft grey robes meant I never wanted to leave the hotel room, and the full Smeg fridge meant I never had to. You can even buy one of the beds if you miss it too much after you leave, if that’s not an indicator of how good these are I don’t know what is - and you can buy one of these too (robe). I left with a wings+horn robe, only because I couldn’t quite afford the bed and now I have a little piece of my time in New York with me at home in Cape Town. Our room was home to things like a turntable, guitar, great sofa, giant tub for two and toiletries from Ruby’s Barber Shop next door. 

Our room was home to things like a turntable, guitar, great sofa, giant tub for two and toiletries from Ruby’s Barber Shop

And it was spacious for New York too, at 450 square feet. The rooms range from bunks to mini to small to medium to large to double to loft suite and each is unique so there really is a room to suit many different budgets.

We chose The Ace predominantly for its location and its vibe. The address is perfect for all NYC has to offer; you’re right in Manhattan, right near the Empire State Building, a few minutes walk from Times Square, right next to the subway. We walked to Broadway for a play and shopped 5th Avenue on foot.

from  $319.46

Ace Hotel New York

 20 West 29Th Street, New York City, NY, United States
You may also like

NYC Brewery Tour

Liberty Helicopter NYC

The Ace is best personified by its lively lobby, a public living room of sorts for New York local creatives. Think taxidermy, mosaic tiles, wooden bookcases, antique sofas, complete with a cute photo booth to snap snaps and staff in custom Levi's, Converse sneakers, and collared shirts. The place buzzes with young hipsters huddled over MacBooks and chatting over drinks. The Wi-Fi and drinks flow freely and the vibe is cool yet inclusive.

A mini Opening Ceremony is their own version of what a hotel gift shop should be just off the lobby stocking trendy brands like Hickey Freeman, Band of Outsiders and Acne, as well as everything from Japanese toothpaste to a wide array of Haribo candy.

The Ace really is a hot spot in town so New York effectively comes to you rather than you having to go out and find it. The ultimate gastro pub, Michelin-starred British chef April Bloomfield’s Breslin Bar and Restaurant is one of the hottest foodie spots in town and it also happens to be the hotel restaurant. 

The ultimate gastro pub, Michelin-starred British chef April Bloomfield’s Breslin Bar and Restaurant is one of the hottest foodie spots

The food is delicious and the service superb. Stumptown coffee roasters downstairs is equally scrumptious and makes some of the best coffee in the city. The oyster bar is right through a side door from the hotel if you’re looking for a surreal experience and don’t mind the extra expense. You’re also near Koreatown so there are some great, cheap options just a few blocks away.

New York has a thriving Speakeasy culture and having a bit of a penchant for the concept of Speakeasy’s I wanted to check out a few. 

New York has a thriving Speakeasy culture

The hard part is finding these hidden hotspots but we were lucky enough to have some local friends to show us around and I can pass the locations of these secrets haunts on to you. Trust me, they’re well worth a visit (if you can find them).

First up, the aptly named Please Don’t Tell. If you head down to St Mark’s place and go into a little diner called Crif Dogs, you may notice a few people go into an old phone booth in the corner and never come back out again. That’s because this phone booth is the secret entrance of Please Don’t Tell. If you want to get in on the action, enter the booth and dial 1. Someone will answer and if they approve of you, the wall will open to reveal a concealed happy hour haven.

Next up, Back Room in the Lower East side. Obscured behind a toy store is the entrance to this 20s-style speakeasy that claims to be in the same spot as an actual speakeasy from the actual 20s and serves you your preferred poison in teacups.

After a week we checked out of The Ace Hotel and into the Gramery Park hotel for our hit of culture. 

into the Gramery Park hotel for our hit of culture

Experiencing New York’s art and culture scene doesn’t leave much time to sleep but this hotel is at the epicenter of it all. Not to mention that its walls are dripping with masterpieces from Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst.

its walls are dripping with masterpieces from Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst
from  $479.36

Gramercy Park Hotel

 2 Lexington Avenue, New York City, NY, United States
You may also like

NYC Brewery Tour

Liberty Helicopter NYC

The next morning we hit the ground running. 

First MoMa in Midtown Manhattan for one of the world’s best and most comprehensive collections of modern art and design. 

Then off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The best tip I can give you here is to not even think about trying to see everything in one visit. Rather choose a specific section and see it properly. Being as into fashion as I am, I really enjoyed the Costume Institute.

The best way to explore New York City, we found, is from the sky. It's the easiest way to see all of New York’s biggest landmarks, and in only 20 minutes and from a birds-eye view too. 

The best way to explore New York City, we found, is from the sky

We decided to take a helicopter tour over the city and flew over the Statue of Liberty, World Financial District, the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building and Central Park to name a few.

from  $150

Liberty Helicopter NYC

Culture
 424 West 33rd Street, New York, NY, United States
You may also like

NYC Brewery Tour

Body by Simone

We also managed to explore lower Manhattan’s most noteworthy buildings (namely the Tweed courthouse and City Hall) on a (free) Design Commission tour. Afterwards we strolled the highline, which stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking district to West 34th street, allowing for a bird’s eye views of new architectural landmarks by everyone from Neil Denari to Frank Gehry.

allowing for a bird’s eye views of new architectural landmarks by everyone from Neil Denari to Frank Gehry

New Years was spent at a massive party with leis hanging around our necks, each flower bartered for our choice of oysters and champagne, among other drinks and treats, finally retiring in the early hours of the morning to our plush room at Gramery Park hotel (which we didn’t see nearly enough of).

Loved this story?

Subscribe to our newsletter

to receive new story and activity ideas in your inbox.

Keep inspired By other stories