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Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park - New York, NY

Surpassing all other five-star hotels in New York


Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York - New York, NY: Located in the up market Midtown Manhattan neighborhood, Ritz-Carlton is a multiple award winning luxury five-star Hotel, overlooking the Central Park. Easily accessible to the suburb’s shopping vanguard and cultural attractions, the property features an opulent private residence ambiance and top notch service and amenities in a highly cosmopolitan environment. Ritz-Carlton New York’s penchant for high-end luxury and indulgent service has earned them a spot in Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels 2010 and the Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List 2010.

On this trip, in addition to the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, we took the opportunity to visit and review the Peninsula Hotel New York and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York.

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First Impression/Lobby: The lobby was compact but from the several impeccably dressed bellman and doorman surrounding it, it oozed high-end style, luxury and panache.

Reception: The receptionist was speaking into a microphone in the cuff of her jacket, arranging for the bellman to get our bags to our room. Amazing! I almost felt like a movie star or an international diplomat. Their level of professionalism was worth applauding but at the same time, they surely made us feel welcome. It was proficient, business-like service with a human touch all the same.

The Suite: We stayed at the Premier Suite, which sported extremely well appointed, sophisticated and luxurious interiors. The spacious one-bedroom suite separated from the over-sized living room and full sized dining room, offered a spectacular view of Central Park. It was equipped with most home entertainment options from a plasma screen television to a DVD player, a stereo system with CD player.

The opulent Etro bath fittings and 400-count fine linen added to the lavishness of the suite. There were plush cream-upholstered couches and chic table lamps resting on fine dark wood furniture. The dark furniture complemented the light upholstery perfectly. The windows were large and allowed plenty of natural light along with a spectacular view of the city. There were nice flower vases accessorizing the room and giving it a warm, homely feel without playing down the luxurious appeal.

One complaint though, the couch was a bit worn out, you really sunk into it when you sat on it.

Room Service: Room service was perfect, completely in tandem with five-star standards. The food was good and the prices as you would expect in a five-star hotel in New York were on the higher end.

Similarly, the room service at the Peninsula Hotel New York was also professional and top notch, the man from room service promptly rolled a trolley into the suite asking where we wanted lunch set up, on the large dining room table or in the living room. And then of course, he set it up perfectly.

(In contrast, the room service at Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York was a complete let down; over-charging us, failing to set up our meals most of the days we ordered, and sending incomplete or inaccurate orders.)

Housekeeping: The Ritz-Carlton offers unpacking and packing service, which was absent in the other two hotels I visited on this visit, namely the Peninsula Hotel New York and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York. There is nothing better than arriving at the hotel, making a quick call and almost like magic, all your bags are unpacked, clothes hanging in the large closet, or folded neatly, what a super time saver! And when it’s time to go, another quick call to housekeeping and again miraculously, all your bags are packed and you are ready to go. This is an amazing service that all five-star luxury hotels should offer.

The housekeeping at the Peninsula was perfect but invisible compared to Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York housekeeping staff was slightly intrusive, calling several times despite the ‘Do Not Disturb’. They also did a half baked job on one occasion, leaving a breakfast plates on the table without calling Room Service to clear it. The Peninsula was consistently on par with the Ritz, sans the unpacking/packing service.

Concierge: Ritz-Carlton has a professional Concierge desk. They knew what they were talking about and followed up like pros. No complaints at all. Similarly the Concierge at the Peninsula Hotel was also prompt in their responses and spot on with their recommendations.

Though the overall Concierge service at the Mandarin was top notch, their list of recommendations and descriptions was not as elaborate as the Peninsula’s list. Peninsula had better recommendations with more fleshed out descriptions.

Restaurant: Ritz-Carlton New York’s BLT Market restaurant is celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel’s fine dining offering, primarily using local farmers’ markets products and home-grown ingredients to give them an expert twist. The setting is extremely elegant with the option of enjoying your meal at the taste fully done up indoor dining room or sprawling outdoor patio.

The Star Lounge is a stand-up bar with aesthetically and stylishly done up interiors, replete with high ceilings, comfortable seating and a striking wine display. The place is great for late afternoon tea, creative cocktails and quick late night bites.

Pool/Spa/Activities: Apart from the regular luxury five-star hotel amenities, Ritz-Carlton has a state of the art spa, La Prairie, which features six treatment rooms, steam rooms, expert body treatments and jet lag facials, no less. The five-star property also has a well-equipped 24 hour fitness center with a training room, sauna and private instructors.

Overall Impression Compared to the Peninsula Hotel New Yorkand even more so, Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York, the Ritz-Carlton by far offered the most professional and welcoming service. The suite exuded sophistication and class (and was maybe a bit stuffy) along with being extremely comfortable and spacious. If I had to pick between these three hotels (and even the Four Seasons Hotel New York) the Ritz would undoubtedly be my first preference. Our rating for the Ritz-Carlton Central Park New York is Fantastic Bombastic.

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