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