September 02 2010
It is usually in September that I first feel Christmas breathing down my neck. Even in these straitened times, there is only one thing that makes Christmas shopping palatable – head for New York in late November or early December (which means booking now). Frankly, they do the whole festive vibe just so much better than London. Here we approach Christmas with a sparkly veneer of cynicism – but there they really throw themselves into the seasonal party spirit.
And if you want a hotel that does its best to keep the tradition and joyousness of Christmas alive, look no further than The New York Palace hotel. I love this place. For one thing, it is on Madison Avenue, within a pixie throw of St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Rockefeller Centre (now, that’s how to do a Christmas tree). For another, the hotel itself is like being inside a huge and glittering Christmas bauble – all red and gold and shining. What’s more, the staff are delightful – when everyone is so nice to you all the time, it’s easy to become a happier and nicer person in return. Even at Christmas. Finally, where else would you find Truffle Fries – crispy potatoes with shaved truffles? Taken with a glass of chilled Chablis, they are the perfect pick-me-up after a hard day’s slog along 5th Avenue.
The New York Palace, the latest branch of the Dorchester Collection, will soon be undergoing something of a facelift. As long as they don’t touch its spirit, that’s fine with me.
Standard rooms from $1,000 per night rising to a Triplex suite at $16,500 per night.