As a native New Yorker, I always find it curious that so many visitors prefer to overnight in the often cacophonous Time Square area. If I were to choose a hotel, I'd rather pick a neighborhood that didn't come with all the blaring bells and whistles, that had the low-key feel of a real neighborhood, and I'd pick a hotel where the rooms are saturated with natural light and, most importantly, offer remarkable views.
This is what I found at ONE UN New York that literally faces the United Nations. This luxe accommodation with its newly renovated West Tower is the hotel of choice for many heads of state who often choose the ultra spacious duplex suites. (And these these picky guests can't all be wrong.) It's nice to know that even in the toilet in one duplex suite, you're far removed from astounding views that includes Grand Central Terminal and other signature sights.
As someone who craves expansive views, during my stay I couldn't get enough of my face-to-face with the Chrysler and Empire State buildings as well as the multiple bridges that span across New York City's East River and even the still-under-construction Freedom Tower. (These views from my guest room, the health club, the pool and the 30th-floor Sky Lounge where I had breakfast and evening snacks can't be beat. Times Square? Forget about it.) Who could tire of this first image (below) which I shot from my guest room?
This photo (below) is my view from the health club. It definitely kept me motivated as I worked out.
I found that the health club with its sauna and 40-foot-long pool (on the 27th floor) was perfect for unwinding after a day of meetings or shopping as the case may be. I snuggled into a lounge chair at pool side and caught up with the New York Times. Oh, and then there's the rooftop tennis courts, with an option to reserve tennis lessons with a pro. With all these distracting activities, who needs to leave the hotel?
Happy Hour in the Sky Lounge was a not-to-be-missed activity. In fact, after sampling the well-crafted appetizers, such as steamed chicken lemongrass dumplings, rissotto arancini with truffle essence, rustico cheese impregnated with peppers, and potato latka served with apple sauce, sour cream and caviar, I didn't think I even needed to book a dinner reservation.
The next morning at breakfast, I nibbled on almond croissants and a mini quiche while gazing at one of the water taxis gliding across the East River. I think I might have to stay just one more night.