By Shari Hartford
As I’ve stated time and time again, New York City is chock full of hotels: big ones, small ones, luxurious ones, budget ones and practically one of every chain that there is. And, contrary to the wishes of a certain former mayor, there are still those that rent rooms by the hour, no questions asked.
While I enjoy quirky and hip as much as the next person, sometimes I crave old-school formality where guests are “ladies and gentlemen” rather than “you guys.” So, with that in mind, off I once-again went to the 298 room Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park…that bastion of elegance and class in lower Manhattan on the banks of the Hudson River.
When I visited the Ritz several years ago for this column, downtown was in transition. The September 11th Memorial and subsequent museum, as well as WTC1 were not open and the flood of tourists had yet to arrive. Not so anymore. The tourists have arrived and are happily mingling with the masters (and mistresses) of the universe who go about their business in the financial district. But, happily, the Ritz has not caved to the masses and remains a force to be reckoned with.
Entering the Ritz I encountered not one or two lone doormen, but several, each seeking the opportunity, no, the pleasure, of helping me with my tiny overnight bag. On that bitterly cold and windy day, they were bundled up and waiting outside, rather than peering at arrivals from the warm inside.
I took a moment to peel off hat, gloves and scarf and feast my eyes on the magnificent floral arrangements and decorative blown glass objects that grace the lobby area. In fact, fresh flowers abound in just about every nook and cranny of the hotel…and not a dropped petal to be found.
My king room on the Club floor produced an instant ahhh. The traditional furnishings – renovated to perfection a few years ago – and glorious view of the Statue of Liberty made this hotel room an oasis amidst the ice and snow littering the sidewalks. All river view rooms come complete with a telescope for snooping on the Staten Island Ferry riders or just getting up close and personal with Lady Liberty. If possible, spring for a room on the Club Floor. The choices in the Club Lounge (continental breakfast, snacks, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and cordials and desserts) are a cut above and the chocolate buffet in the evening was spectacular.
I can go on and on and wax poetic about the comfort of my bed, linens and pillows. You get the idea. I snuggled and watched my huge television while the outside temperature kept dipping lower and lower. The temptation to just stay put until the daffodils bloomed seemed like a perfectly logical idea.
But I would have to eat, right? Room service at the Ritz comes from the excellent 2West Restaurant in the lobby. My dinner was promptly delivered on a wheeled cart that was placed just so. I could certainly get used to this.
The Ritz is damn near perfect, except that there was no bedside electrical outlet for my phone. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in this age of being connected, I really didn’t want to walk across the room every time I hear a beep. Come on Ritz, this is a very easy fix!
My reality check came in the morning when my fantasy evening came to an end. I regret not visiting the small but luxurious spa or splurging for an in-room massage. Nor did I use the fitness center with its sweeping views of the Hudson. I’ll save those experiences for next time. But it was now time to bundle up again, wave good bye to the smiling doormen (how can you actually smile in this weather?) and head on out. I’ll be back Ritz…I’ll always come back.