The Peninsula Hotel New York - New York, NY: A 5th Avenue landmark, Peninsula Hotel New York is a majestic and stately looking hotel located just a short distance from landmarks like Central Park, the Museum of Modern History and Rockefeller Center. Sporting a grand Victorian opulence, the hotel is popular with both, business clients and leisure travelers. The atmosphere is sophisticated and old world charming yet cozy, warm and comfortable. A classic Midtown gem, the Peninsula rules for its timeless elegance.
We arrived late in the day from a flight from Arizona, so it was nice to be met and greeted so warmly and professionally at the entrance. I could instantly tell that we were at a premier five-star hotel. The bellman arranged for our bags to be sent to the room and we were promptly escorted to the stately but extremely beautiful luxury five-star property, the Peninsula Hotel New York.
First Impression/Lobby: The view from the front door exuded beauty, class and an uncontrived elegant look. Decked out for Christmas, the hotel had striking Christmas decorations running along the mammoth stairway and four stately Christmas trees standing guard over the entrance. A grand chandelier in the middle of the lobby became the focal point of the lobby’s interior.
Reception: Though the reception area was sparse, minimalist and unadorned, it looked neat in a classy sort of way. It really didn’t matter too much because we were quickly registered and escorted to our suite.
The Suite: We were put up in a Corner Executive Suite located on the 20th floor. The bedroom featured an enormous king sized bed, conveniently designed closets, a side chair along with a large flat screen television. The room was stylishly decorated and sported exquisite artwork along with an attractive beige patterned carpet. Though the room had a stately aura to it, the view outside was far from impressive.
The bathroom had marble floors, a bathtub and a single basin sink in addition to a standalone shower zone and a private toilet stall.
Split away from the bedroom was a separate living room complete with a light beighe couch, medium brown leather side chair and built in shelves with beautiful artwork (and embellishments like paintings, vases and plates) to lend the suite an intimate, warm and homey feel. The walls were painted in classy off-white and there was a nicely sized work desk and free internet access in the suite. Overall, the suite was comfortable, plush, gorgeous and tastefully designed.
Similarly the Premier Suite at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park was also very well-appointed with a library, slick Etro bath fittings, fine linen, plush couches and dark wood furniture. The suite at Ritz-Carlton offered a much better view than the Peninsula though; it had a spectacular backdrop of the Central Park.
The corner Central Park view suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York was also gorgeous, warm, comforting and ingeniously designed to create a bright and spacious look. There were large windows with lots of natural light streaming in through it. Again the Central Park view was superlative.
Room Service: As you would expect from a five star luxury hotel in New York, the room service was top of the line. Though we didn’t have a dining room table in the suite, the man from room service, quickly turned the trolley into a makeshift dining table, while perfectly presenting our breakfast. We ordered room service just once; however judging from that experience, I am confident the hotel knows what top notch room service is all about. The order was taken quickly and efficiently, it was delivered accurately, on time and was set up in alignment with true five star standards. Perfect.
On the other hand, Room Service at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York was a complete let down. Not only did they charge us $8.50 for delivery (when the menu said $6, the extra $2.50 was apparently to set the table), but they didn’t even set the table properly thrice out of the seven times that we ordered from Room Service. They also got the breakfast order completely wrong three times and delayed it majorly on one occasion. Comparing room service at all three properties, the Peninsula and the Ritz-Carlton get it, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York doesn’t.
Housekeeping: The Housekeeping at the Peninsula Hotel New York was invisible but perfect.
The staff at Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York bordered slightly on intrusion and kept calling several times despite the ‘Do Not Disturb’. They also left behind a few plates once without calling Room Service to clean it up.
Concierge: We contacted the Concierge prior to our arrival for a few recommendations and then to book our tables. From the very beginning and all through our stay, their response time and recommendations hit the nail on the head. A few suggestions that I loved; Marea Italian Restaurant and Bond Street Sushi and a not so great spot for breakfast, Sarabeth’s Central Park.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York's list of recommendations on the other hand was comparatively smaller, with less detailed descriptions. They were prompt and efficient though, and even made last minute changes in reservations for us.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park had a very professional and resourceful Concierge desk. They followed up very well and knew what they were talking about when it came to suggestions and recommendations.
Restaurant:Peninsula Hotel New York has a bouquet of dining options including upscale fine dining restaurants, trendy bars and chic lounges. Fives is a swanky fine dining destination frequented mostly by businessmen cracking deals over breakfast and lunch. The setting in keeping with its majority clientele is stately, formal and minimalist. The menu at Fives mainly emphasizes on contemporary American cuisine.
The Bar at Fives features a comfortable high-chair counter top seating zone, which is great for a relaxed evening complete with live piano entertainment and an array of stylish cocktails.
The fashionable yet intimate Gotham Lounge is great for a cup of traditional afternoon Earl Grey tea, peppered by interesting conversation and some delicious cream scones. The ambiance is neat, chic and very classy with off-white furnishings and walls along with a bunch of other frills like beautiful flower vases, chandeliers and eye-catching paintings.
We did try their lounge Salon De Ning, nestled prettily on the rooftop of the hotel, however since we there in the winter, the outdoor seating area was not open. The inside was gorgeous though with a setting that was a stylish montage of Shanghai meets Paris. There were comfortable couches (with beautifully upholstered pillows) and lots of artful embellishments like candles, colored glass stands and decorative brass pots.
Pool/Spa/Activities: They have a luxurious roof top spa by ESPA, which offers a range of Asian, European and Ayurvedic wellness treatments and therapies. There is also a bright and advanced fitness center complete with a yoga center, a glass enclosed pool and customized workout programs.
Overall Impression The overall impression can be summarized as perfect. The property is classy, consistent, safe and completely in sync with what one would expect from the Peninsula New York. It is light years ahead of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York in terms of service, however the latter features a far better view from its suites compared to the Peninsula. Peninsula is at par with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park (and even the Four Seasons Hotel New York) where service and atmosphere is concerned. This property is easily bombastic; the only thing missing is the view.