As I exited Grand Central Terminal, on my way to my hotel, I instinctively looked for a cab headed to the west side. After all, on the last two dozen or so times into the city, that is where I was going, whether it was to see a Broadway show with my husband, go to Toys R Us with my kids, or to see friends on the Upper West Wide for brunch. But then I checked myself and remembered that this time my destination was due east, to One UN, a business luxury hotel (formerly Millenium UN Plaza Hotel) directly across the street from the United Nations.
In my many years living in and near Manhattan, I have found little reason to go to this area of the city, and was skeptical about how I could write an article suggesting Westchesterites choose it as a destination. But then I got out of the cab, and experienced something I have never experienced in Times Square on a Saturday night: quiet, and a sense of safety. Just a few blocks from Grand Central and a five-minute cab ride to Broadway, and it felt like I was in a different world. (I have to admit, all of the flags of the nations across the street helped with that vibe.)
Stepping into my room, however, was pure New York. Not in the small room-without-aview kind of way, either, but in a Hollywood kind of way: a spacious, modern and minimalistic room with a spectacular city view. It turns out I wasn’t getting special treatment because I was press: every room in the recently renovated hotel has a city or river view. An even better view could be found at the Skyline Club, located on the 30th floor. Sitting in the lounge, enjoying complimentary wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres, you are at eyelevel, and what feels like literal reach of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. The views of the skyscrapers are so spectacular that the hotel started a skyscraper curator program in the lounge last fall, where children could learn about skyscrapers’ history as they sketched the buildings from their bird’s eye view.
Speaking of children, the hotel is family friendly with mini-fridges in the room, complimentary breakfast in the Skyline Club, an indoor pool (also with a view) and the only indoor tennis court in Manhattan. But make no mistake, the hotel is not over-run with toddlers. In fact, it’s the kind of place where you might walk with kings, or princes, or prime ministers. On my tour of the hotel, I was able to see the rooms where such dignitaries stay: duplexes with floor-to-ceiling windows, entrances on both floors, and multiple bathrooms. A two-bedroom duplex can run you up to nearly $3000 a night, but hey, it does include breakfast!
Summer is the perfect time to check out ONE UN, as it’s before the madness known as the General Assembly comes to town, and booking a room is nearly impossible.
Details: One United Nations Plaza, New York (212) 758-1234 www.millenniumhotels.com/usa/oneunnewyork/ The East Tower was 285 guest rooms. The West Tower has 154 guest rooms and one-bedroom, two-bedroom and duplex suites. Rates are from $392 up to $2825 for June and July.