New York’s finest, with top tips from the Baccarat Hotel

The Bar at Baccarat Hotel in NewYork

There’s always something fun to do in New York – trendy new restaurants to try, interesting places to visit, great shops to browse, and moments to capture and share.

Sleeping All the Way to New York

I’ve always boasted that I could sleep all the way from take-off to landing on long-haul flights. My daughter’s boyfriend, Cody, who studies in Chicago, had briefed me about the all-new United Polaris business class and I was very excited to try out the sleep-focused, direct 16-hour flight experience from Hong Kong to Newark Airport.

Following more than 12,000 hours of research, United identified sleep as a priority for its business-class passengers. On boarding the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, I was happy to see the 1-2-1 configuration in business class was laid out with maximum privacy in mind.

The comfy seats were laden with Saks Fifth Avenue custom duvets, day blankets, mattress pads and pillows.  We also get gel-cooled pillows,  pajamas and bedroom slippers. The cherry on the cake was the amazing Spider-Man: Far From Home amenity kit.  It wasn’t difficult for me to fall asleep immediately. I did wake up after 12 hours for a delicious tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches to dip in and a made-to-order ice cream sundae. The best part of the on-demand, mid-flight meal was the opportunity to chat with Betty, the friendly flight attendant who has worked for United for 30 years.  She has such an amazing story to tell and the next four hours just went by so quickly.

At the United Polaris Lounge in Hong Kong, they served siu mai (every important airline lounge must have siu mai) and avocado smoothie in their bistro-like buffet.  On the way back to Hong Kong, I stopped at the well-appointed United Polaris Lounge at Newark for a drink, as it was lunchtime. The bar is the standout gem of this United Polaris lounge, both in terms of size and the array of cocktails offered. There is also a private dining area with table service featuring staples such as the United Polaris Burger. It’s not all drinks and food at the lounge, though; there are luxurious private daybeds and shower suites, as well as personal valet services, including garment-steaming.

The Sparkling Elegance of the Baccarat Hotel

In New York City, we laid our heads down at the Baccarat Hotel, the first and global flagship of the renowned French crystal brand, managed by SH Hotels & Resorts.  Stunningly beautiful, enchanting and comfortable all at once, it was quite a stay.  You can’t ask for a better location, as the hotel is directly across the street from MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art – the Asia flagship recently opened in Hong Kong at K11 Musea) and steps away from Fifth Avenue.

I woke up the next morning with a rainbow spanning across my bed, a result of the natural daylight and the glistening of Baccarat chandeliers in the room.  I walked by the Baccarat Boutique at Prince’s Building in Hong Kong last week and, having stayed at the Baccarat Hotel in New York, it made me stop to admire the craftsmanship and perfection of the crystals.

The hotel’s culinary director is esteemed chef Gabriel Kreuther, who received two Michelin stars for his eponymous restaurant on 42nd Street. The breakfast is among the best in the world and the famed tea-time scones are not to be missed.  

The attention to details in the guest room is astounding.  I was tempted to press the “champagne” button on the telephone handset several times during my stay, as it allows me to order my favourite champagne to my room, accompanied by signature Bacarrat fluted glasses.

Although the hotel is truly a retreat within the city with its calm and beautiful guest rooms, complete with a luxurious spa and a private collection of museum-quality art, this is New York City, after all – so we asked Team Baccarat for a personalised itinerary for some of the best places to visit in town.

Here are some top recommendations of things to see and do in the city, from Baccarat Hotel’s chief concierge, Francisco Andeliz.

A Baccarat butterfly crystal
  • The Metropolitan Opera 2019-2020 season – Don’t miss five compelling new productions, 20 classic revivals and, for the first time, 16 Sunday matinee performances.  I strongly suggest Macbeth with renowned soprano Anna Netrebko, who created a sensation when she made her Met role debut as Lady Macbeth in 2014. Now, she and the famed Plácido Domingo make history when they join forces for the first time on the stage of the Met, in Verdi’s gripping Shakespeare adaptation.
  • Luxury helicopter experience – When it comes to luxury travel, a helicopter charter service is ready to take you to all the best attractions and locations in style. Whether you’re planning a vacation, a day trip, a corporate outing, or a special occasion or surprise, we are ready to fulfil your unique travel needs. We offer quick and convenient air charter throughout the Northeast with direct access to popular entertainment venues, casinos, resorts, beaches, golf courses, and more.
  • Vineyard tours – Take an exciting wine tasting tour of the North Fork of Long Island. All our packages include luxury transportation and wine tastings at select Long Island wineries, and there are many options available. Gourmet food and VIP options are also available.
  • Bouley at Home: Culinary Experience – “More than the experience of a restaurant, it’s an immersive and educational community of health and nutrition, ‘Living Pantry’ and ‘Building Blocks’ that define taste and happiness.”  —Chef David Bouley

In the art world, one of the must-dos would be to visit the new Modern Art Museum (MoMA), across the street from our Baccarat Hotel. The October reopening is nearing, and it will showcase stunning new galleries and spaces for performance and events that will transform the museum. Along with these physical changes, it will show the collection in new and unprecedented ways to bring more voices and perspectives to the galleries. Every visit will be an opportunity to discover something new and to connect to art and ideas that spark curiosity, debate, and inspiration. 

A guest room at Baccarat Hotel
The Bar at Baccarat Hotel

For those interested in the arts, MoMA is certainly not the only option. Here are some other elevated exhibitions worth a visit:

  • “Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at the Frick Collection” -Through November 17; The Frick Collection. After successful installations at famous English sites like Chatsworth House and Waddesdon Manor, ceramic artist Edmund de Waal has created his first such display in the United States. Inspired by the history of the locale and minimalist structures, this showcase features pieces made from porcelain, gold and marble, as well as glass and steel. (frick.org)
  • “Artistic License: Six Takes on The Guggenheim Collection” – Through January 12, 2020; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Six artists who have previously displayed modern works at the museum came together to curate the showcase by selecting pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. Spanning the turn of the 20th century to the 1980s, this show enforces the museum’s focus on maintaining an artist-centric atmosphere. (guggenheim.org)
  • “Home is a Foreign Place” – Through June 21, 2020; The Met Breuer. With a focus on the global atmosphere, this showcase presents artwork that explores the meaning of “home.” Featuring pieces crafted by artists from Latin America, Southeast Asia, northern Africa, the Middle East and more, these works examine the likes of language, space and politics relating to wars, social injustices and mass migration. (metmuseum.org)
  • “The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I” – October 7 – January 5, 2020; The Met Fifth Avenue. To honour the 500th anniversary of Maximilian I’s death, guests at The Met can view 180 different pieces, including the holy Roman emperor’s armour along with manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, tapestries, toys and more. (metmuseum.org)

If you haven’t visited New York City in a while, here are some new arrivals in Manhattan:

  • Hudson Yards – The newest Manhattan neighbourhood debuted in March and includes a 1-million-square-foot retail centre filled with luxury shopping destinations and numerous restaurants.
  • Neiman Marcus – opened its first Manhattan location earlier this year.  This multilevel store is located at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards. It features an art collection, unique services and three eateries.
  • Floravere New York – Floravere is a collection for the modern bride, an experience for the modern woman. It upends yesterday’s idea of the bridal shop and gives a new breed of woman access to luxury, style and personalisation that’s otherwise unattainable.
  • Cynthia Rowley – This global lifestyle brand is built on the philosophy that fashion should be an adventure and a commitment to creativity and community. The brand’s signature pretty-meets-sporty assortment features ready-to-wear, surf and swim, fitness, accessories, and home decor as well as exclusive collaborations with like-minded brands. Deemed the pioneer of “surf-leisure” by Vogue, Cynthia Rowley exudes a spontaneous spirit and fearlessly redefines the boundaries of fashion.
  • Pastis – The famed New York City eatery recently returned to the Meatpacking District, offering a reinvigorated approach to traditional French favourites like steak frites and escargot. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends.
  • Le Jardinier – Rooted in classic French techniques, chef Alain Verzeroli has created a menu where plants play a prominent role. Local seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and greens are complemented by wild and sustainable fish, meat and poultry.  Designed by renowned French architect Joseph Dirand, Le Jardinier’s modern, light-filled space is a journey into a serene lush indoor garden.

#legend’s quick picks of the coolest places in NYC:

  • Do @cookiedonyc – Gourmet edible and bakeable cookie dough confectionery near NYU.
  • Luke’s Lobster @lukelobster  – Delicious lobster, crab and shrimp roll, clam chowder, lobster bisque, all seafood sustainably sourced. 
  • Everlane @everlane – Great clothes with an emphasis on ethical factories and radical transparency.
  • Jams at eco-friendly 1 Hotel Central Park @1hotels – Nothing beats Sunday brunch at farm-to-fork Jams, followed by a walk at Central Park.
  • Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge at nature-inspired 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge @1hotels – Amazing snacks and cocktails with an unbeatable view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Customers will be able to enjoy Polaris services on United Airlines’ direct flight (Boeing 777-300ER) from Hong Kong to Newark Airport from 2020

This feature originally appeared on the Sep/Oct 2019 print issue of #legend

In this Story: #travel / destinations / hotels & resorts