NYC LUXE

Ev­ery­thing is big­ger and bet­ter in New York City, and that’s good news for those who seek the lux­ury life, writes Kristie Kel­la­han.

Travel Bulletin - - LUXURY -

It might come as a sur­prise that the prici­est part of the Golden Cristal Donut, sold for a hun­dred dol­lars at Brook­lyn's Manila So­cial Club, is not in fact the 24-karat pure gold dust it is cov­ered in. What jacks up the price, says the Club's ex­ec­u­tive chef and co-owner, Bjorn de la Cruz, is the Cristal cham­pagne used to glaze and fill the donut. (A bot­tle of the 2005 vin­tage goes for US$675, plus tax and tip, at Jean-ge­orges, an up­scale Colum­bus Cir­cle NYC res­tau­rant). De la Cruz works hard to fill or­ders for the donuts, hand­made in his Wil­liams­burg res­tau­rant, which he says are the ul­ti­mate cel­e­bra­tion of love for peo­ple with ex­pen­sive taste. Peo­ple with money to spend on lux­ury items and ex­pe­ri­ences are no rar­ity in New York City. In the city that never sleeps, it might seem an ex­trav­a­gance to spend US$25,000 per night on the Cham­pagne Suite at the Lotte New York Palace Ho­tel, and yet most of the time it is oc­cu­pied. Com­pared to the pent­house at The Mark Ho­tel, which rents for US$75,000 per night, it al­most seems a steal. Spa-go­ers at Man­darin Ori­en­tal New York hap­pily splurge close to US$600 on a two-hour mas­sage, while a Cou­ples Es­cape in the Spa Suite will set you back US$1,760 (plus tax and tip) for four hours of pam­per­ing; drinks are not in­cluded. Man­hat­tan was made for those who love toast­ing the good life. From the glit­ter­ing bar at the Bac­carat Ho­tel, where lus­cious cocktails are served in Bac­carat crys­tal glasses, to the fab­u­lous views from Six­ty­five at Rain­bow Room, where ar­ti­sanal small plates and fine wines are served Mon­day through Fri­day, and Sun­day brunch is an epic af­fair, NYC is the place to cel­e­brate any­thing in fab­u­lous style. Rooftop bars are stocked with ex­pen­sive wines and serve caviar and lob­ster slid­ers along with the neon-lit views. Prix fixe menus can run to many hun­dreds of dol­lars at New York's finest restau­rants, so take this tip from those in the know: lunchtime is when you'll bag a bar­gain. Same chef, same kitchen, same white table­cloths, at a frac­tion of the price. From Nouga­tine at Colum­bus Cir­cle, to Mario Batali's Del Posto and the his­toric 21 Club, three-course lunch menus can be savoured for less than fifty bucks. If you're plan­ning to im­press your crush with the hottest Broad­way tick­ets - read, Hamil­ton - be pre­pared to fork out many hun­dreds of dol­lars per ticket. That is, if you can find a ticket for sale. For ju­nior lux­ury lovers, the greater thrill might come from go­ing back­stage at the New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Dis­ney shows like Aladdin and The Lion King. On this ex­clu­sive tour, par­tic­i­pants en­joy a hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence of

dress­ing up in of­fi­cial Dis­ney cos­tumes and play­ing in the props stu­dio. When Four Sea­sons New York Down­town opened last month, it joined a grow­ing list of lux­ury prop­er­ties rein­vent­ing the high-end ap­peal of lower Man­hat­tan. Conrad New York, a down­town luxe ho­tel with a pop­u­lar rooftop wa­ter­ing hole, the Loopy Doopy Bar, al­ready at­tracts su­per-wealthy clien­tele from nearby Wall Street firms and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness head­quar­ters. Brook­field Place is the lux­ury shop­ping and din­ing des­ti­na­tion the down­town crowd had been wait­ing for: a new Saks Fifth Av­enue store will open there later this month, draw­ing even more shop­pers to a buzzy precinct that boasts stores by Bot­tega Veneta, Burberry, Gucci and Her­mes. Brook­field's Le District, a mouth­wa­ter­ing Gal­lic mar­ket­place filled with boulan­geries, fro­mageries, wine and din­ner pro­vi­sions, has been called the French Eataly. That em­po­rium of Ital­ian del­i­ca­cies has also opened a down­town lo­ca­tion, af­ter its phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess sell­ing US$45 bal­samic vine­gar and US$100 sum­mer truf­fles at its Flat­iron District store. Per­haps the ul­ti­mate lux­ury isn't sig­ni­fied by price, but ex­clu­siv­ity. In other words, when you have ev­ery­thing that money can buy, what you most want is to en­joy ex­pe­ri­ences pri­vately, far from the madding crowd. At the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art, pri­vate be­fore- and af­ter-hours tours are led by pro­fes­sional art his­to­ri­ans, so you can en­joy the world's largest col­lec­tion of mod­ern art and sculp­ture with­out the need to el­bow a dozen self­i­e­stick-wield­ing tourists out of the way. If you'd pre­fer to be out­doors, Clas­sic Har­bor Line's yachts are avail­able for pri­vate char­ter through the wa­ters sur­round­ing NYC. A pri­vate sun­set sail by the Statue of Lib­erty aboard the Twen­ties-style teak-decked yacht, Man­hat­tan, is the kind of cham­pagne lux­ury that fea­tures heav­ily in wish-lists and day­dreams from Mel­bourne to Mi­lan.

Man­hat­tan was made for those who love toast­ing the good life. From the glit­ter­ing bar at the Bac­carat Ho­tel... to the fab­u­lous views from Six­ty­five at Rain­bow Room... NYC is the place to cel­e­brate style’ any­thing in fab­u­lous

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