The first thing you see when you enter the soaring, 40-foot lobby with its two-story waterfall and crystal chandeliers is a vintage photograph of the Beaux Arts-style hotel from 1924, when it was known as The Seville Hotel. It is an apt metaphor for The Carlton today, a brilliant fusion of Old-World elegance with a cool, modern aesthetic. During the recent multi-year transformation by architect David Rockwell, the public areas were updated and upgraded, an original Tiffany-style skylight was discovered and restored, and all the rooms spiffed up and outfitted with Frette linens and down comforters, marble bathrooms with lighted makeup mirrors, and Molton Brown bath amenities.
“Signature concept suites” were also created to transport guests to specific New York states of mind. Boardwalk Empire fans can ring in the new season with a stay in the Speakeasy Suite, an unnumbered hideaway with its own bar and poker table accessed through a secret door, camouflaged as a bookcase. (We think the tommy gun is a fitting design accessory.) Theater buffs can play a starring role in their weekend getaway in the Broadway Diva Suite, with over-the- top décor including custom velvet furnishings, faux fur throws, and lots of mirrors. The Terrace Suite features a private terrace with hanging plantings, overhead string lighting, and a killer view of the Empire State Building. There are two additional penthouse suites. The centerpiece of the Carlton’s Corner Pocket Suite is a restored 1950s Brunswick Centennial billiards table; Carlton’s New Yorker, decorated with framed New Yorker magazine covers from the 1920s through today, has a private office complete with a well-stocked bar that would do Don Draper proud.
Dine: Esquire magazine voted Millesime, The Carlton’s signature seafood restaurant, the best restaurant of 2011; New York magazine was equally impressed with its Caesar salad, a delightful concoction of grilled romaine, smoked cod, Parmesan, and lime. We agree with both assessments. There is something to please everyone from raw-bar offerings to Scottish salmon with ricotta gnocchi to classic steak frites in a stunning room with that Tiffany skylight, a 100-year-old mosaic floor, comfy red banquettes, and a view into the open kitchen. Outside the restaurant is the clubby reservations-only Bar Millie, reminiscent of an old French parlor. On the first level is the original Lobby Bar, open for coffee in the morning, wine and small plates throughout the evening.
Explore: The hotel is located in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park district, so you’re just steps from Madison Square Park, Herald Square, and the Empire State Building, and within walking distance of Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and Grand Central Station.
Insider’s Tip: The non-smoking facility allows pets (with a $50 non-refundable cleaning fee).
The Carlton Hotel
88 Madison Ave
New York, NY
Details: Rates start at $329. Indulge in one of these suite deals: two nights in the Speakeasy Suite includes a tour of authentic New York speakeasys, poker lesson, in-room mixologist, and a bootlegger’s dinner at Millesime, starting at $3,200; two nights in the Broadway Diva Suite includes two theater tickets, a pole-dancing workout class (!), in-room couples’ massage and hair and makeup session, and luxury car service, starting at $2,750.
» For more Fantastic Fall Getaways, click here.