I am taking my wife to New York in December for our first time there ever. I wanted to know what hotel would be the absolute best hotel to be as close to enjoy as much as possible in 5 nights. We were looking at the Ritz at Central Park, but wanted some to know from people that have actually been there is the Ritz is worth it, or should we stay somewhere else? We really want to do as much touristy stuff as possible so being in a central location would be nice. But comfort is very important to us as well. I really want this trip to be special for her, this has been a dream of hers for a long time.
Are you paying cash, or doing a points redemption?
I stayed at the essex house last year (right next door to the ritz) and the location is really one of the best in the city (in my opinion). There's some great restaurants right on central park south right outside the hotels (I HIGHLY suggest Sarabeth's), you have easy access to central park if you wanna go on walks, check out the central park zoo, etc, and there is 2 subway stations right nearby (5th av/59th st, and columbus circle).
As far as touristy stuff, you can take the 1 train right to battery park from columbus circle for the statue of liberty, and you can take 6th ave straight down and pass the MoMA, radio city, top of the rock, and bryant park/NY Public Library, and then swing over for the empire state building all in a relatively easy walking distance.
I'd definitely vote for staying in that area (Central park south) at either the ritz or essex house.
Well as a plat you'll get lounge access at the essex house, you won't get anything at the ritz. Essex house does breakfast, evening offerings, and desserts, as well as an honor bar. They also had snacks as long as the lounge was open (popcorn, chips, stuff like that) and fridges with soda and water.
I would vote for Essex House as well. At the time of our stay, the CL was open on the weekends as well which was a bonus. We stayed on points and were treated to a lovely bottle of champagne and desserts on our arrival. Our room was not the biggest but w well appointed and large enough to have a table set up for lovely room service meal. Being across the street from Central Park was also a treat. Hope you enjoy your visit, New York certainly has a lot to offer.
OK, some here I am, 4th generation native New Yorker, live 30 miles from midtown (where I work), and yes, we stay at hotels in NYC when we take in shows and the like. JW Essex is really great, stayed there on points, try to get the suite (junior is fine) upgrade if you can, its worth it. I personally really like the Algonquin, its right in the middle of the action, near the Broadway theaters, the subway (6th av line (orange color on MTA subway map), 7th ave line (red), Broadway line (Yellow)). There are so many great restaurants on 45th street where the hotel is and then there are also great ones on 44, 46, on 6th Ave and the like. The Ren 57 is also really great, subway friendly, good location at north midtown and lots of good restaurants in the area, just not as lux as the JW or Algonquin.. The JW is right across from central park (to me, as a native, not that big a deal), but it is a quick walk to Carnegie Hall (old joke, tourist asks the doorman at JW, how do you get to Carnegie Hall and he deadpans back, practice, practice, practice). JW is also close to Lincoln Center - NY Phil, Met Opera, etc (West Side) or the Museum Mile - Metropolitan Museum, Guggenheim, etc. (East Side) of the Park. For restaurants, try Zagat's NY, it a great tool even natives use. JW is great if you want to do the horse drawn carriage ride. It's also close to Bergdorf Goodman, Van Cleef & Arpels, La Vie Russe, Tiffany, Harry Winston, Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel (alas, not a Marriott, but breakfast in the Palm Court is a true experience), the apple store at the GM building, etc.
If you plan to use NYC transit (Subway, bus) be sure to buy a metrocard- one card is good for up to 8 people, providing you have sufficient fare). These can be bought online in advance for the NYC MTA or at an subway station and at certain variety/drug stores, like Walgreens. Fare is $2.75 per person per swipe, and the cards are refillable. Taxi's can get expensive fast. I don't know which airport you are flying into (assuming you are flying), but think about a black car (like Big apple, Dial 7, etc) they have nicer cars than the typical NYC taxi.
Please let me know if you have any questions, always glad to try to help
I'll throw out another option which is to split your stay between two locations - say the Essex House and the New York Marriott Downtown. Those two locations are maybe 5 miles apart and maybe 30 minutes by subway - I wouldn't recommend this for most places but if you like walking around and exploring and want to see everything there is no perfect central place for NYC in my opinion.
If you were thinking about places on the south end of Manhattan like the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, the 9/11 Museum, Wall Street/Federal Hall/Trinity Church, the Brooklyn Bridge area and the Williamsburg area (Tenement Museum, Katz's Deli), then the Downtown is a great location - I've stayed there a couple of times when I wanted to focus on the places mentioned. You can get rooms that have views of the river or the World Trade Center.
The Essex House is good for the museums, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and is close enough to spots like the Empire State Building, the UN on the East side, and the Intrepid Air and Space on the West side to serve as a hub. I also liked the new Renaissance New York Midtown which is very close to Penn Station and is a good hub for the above as well - I'll stay there again, but it isn't as special as the Essex for your trip maybe and the area around it isn't quite as interesting.
So depending on your plans, maybe 2 days at the Downtown and 3 days at the Essex?
I can't speak for the Ritz, but I have stayed at Essex House many years ago, which is quite near Central Park.
However, for more centralized - and less busy (in my opinion) - I prefer the Marriott on Lexington (mid town) & 3rd. You're only a couple of blocks from Rockefeller Center, 5th Ave. shops, Times Square, and other popular tourist places,and generally not as expensive as other Marriott properties. I've also stayed at the nearby Courtyard, but if I'm going to use 60-100K points, I'd go for full service, Marriott hotel.