Following our day at the NY Botanical Garden we headed back in to the city to have a proper overnight. We had purchased a stay at the Equinox in Hudson Yards pre-pandemic, and finally felt it was time to take advantage of it. Spring-boarding off their popularity as the ultimate health club, Equinox has ventured into the hotel business. The outpost in NY is the flagship of this burgeoning chain and is a novel combination of luxury and health; with a real emphasis on providing an incomparable nights sleep.
We had paid a visit to Hudson Yards when it first opened (you can read about it here) a little more than two years ago, and at that time it was THE destination to visit in NY. Currently the Pandemic has caused some changes in the Hudson Yards Landscape, but on a gorgeous Spring day, it was pretty buzzy.
Before we had the chance to check in we had some errands to run on the Upper East Side. We needed a pick me up, so we stopped at The East Pole on 65th street where patrons were spread out invitingly along the sidewalk. Being as it was a Saturday late morning, it was officially Brunch time.
Anticipating a big dinner, I settled on the Egg White Frittata. One thing I can say for it- it was a generous portion. Unfortunately it was somewhat tasteless, so there was plenty left over. The atmosphere was upbeat and boisterous though, making me feel like old times in NYC.
We had our car with us, so we drove it down the West Side Highway, somewhat amazed at the lack of traffic. This is most certainly a benefit of the exodus from the city. We had the car parked by the valet, and then headed inside for a temperature check before we were guided up to reception. Check-in was quick and easy, and before long we were given our keys and sent up to the 39th floor to our room. Since we had purchased the stay in a charity auction, we were not really sure what level of room to expect.
We opened our door to find ourselves in a Deluxe King. I believe this is the lowest of their room categories, and even still, it was very nice. One notable aspect was the cleanliness of the room. Everything was brand new, sparkling clean, with no “cleaning solution” odor. It is a rare thing, but I had no complaints!
Equinox Hotel NY is attempting to set itself apart from other luxury brands with it’s proprietary sleep system. They promise a completely darkened, silent room coupled with unparalleled bedding and pillows that will ensure a nights sleep like no other. By nature I was skeptical, but interested to see how I felt in the morning.
One aspect of the bedding that was curious to me was how the King bed was set with two separate twin comforters. I have learned that this is how it is customarily done in Scandinavia, so that each person has their own duvet for maximum comfort. No more fighting over the covers. Spoiler alert- I loved sleeping this way!
There is no denying that the views from the Equinox are outstanding!
The bathroom was laid out thoughtfully with deliciously scented products specifically for morning and evening.
The mini-bar was well stocked with healthy choices ranging from snacks, to skin care.
There was even Rhone wear and exercise props to enable a quick work-out if we desired. As we had logged about 8 miles of walking during the day, I think we were all set, but it was reassuring to know it was available. We did not venture down to the actual gym, but from what I can gather it is quite impressive. We will save it for the next trip.
Included in the weekend package we had purchased at auction last year was dinner for four at the Armani Ristorante on Fifth Avenue. Having had countless dinners in the city over the years, we had actually never been to the Armani Ristorante before. This was one of our first dinners inside a restaurant in over a year, and frankly I was a little tentative, even though we had been double vaccinated for months.
As soon as we were led to our table (a fabulous table I might add), my fears were put to rest. The solicitous, friendly, professional staff put us at ease. The restaurant, while full, was nicely spaced so no one was seated too close by. Waiting for us along with an Ipad (which housed the wine list) were some special chocolates to bring home with us.
Our corner table afforded us a spectacular view of the Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower.
We have purchased many dinner certificates at charity auctions, and as you might expect, sometimes they can succeed, or more often, disappoint. The dinner at Armani though exceeded our expectations. We were treated to a seven course tasting menu with wines. To start us off I was presented with some gluten free bread and outstanding olive oil, while the rest of the table RAVED about the fresh baked loaf they received along with delicious butter and olive oil.
The dishes were presented with artistic flourish, and tasted as good as they looked.
The Risotto Milanese was authentically delicious.
We enjoyed a delicate apple themed dessert that ended the meal on just the right note.
At the conclusion of the meal we were presented with the menu. While extensive, all the courses were light, and no one was over-stuffed.
The bar really made us believe we might have been transported to Milan.
We arrived at the restaurant by elevator, but you can also ascend on the most incredible staircase. An Instagrammers dream! As we left we all agreed the restaurant was an absolute home run. The location couldn’t be better, and it is a place to keep in mind if you need somewhere to fill the hole that has been left by the closure of Fred’s at Barneys. I know we will return!
We Ubered back down to the Equinox, which looks quite formidable in the evening.
The Vessel is currently closed to visitors, but still is attracting it’s share of admirers. It looks very impressive all lit up. We headed up to the room to test out the sleep system.
Even though we didn’t sleep late, we both slept exceptionally well. We cannot definitively attribute it to the Equinox sleep system, but it sure didn’t hurt.
The morning view was a nice way to wake up!
We were set to meet some friends for brunch down in the Village, and since the weather was glorious we decided to walk on the Highline. I had heard about the Highline for years, but had never actually experienced it. It was spectacular, complete with beautiful curated gardens, sculpture and innovative architecture to admire. While entry to the Highline is free, on the weekends you must reserve a time slot so that there is not over-crowding. You can do so here. We weren’t aware of the time slots in advance, but were able to reserve one slot just as we arrived though it may not be so easy to do at peak times.
The views along the way are really something. You can see from this shot that the normal congestion in the city has not yet returned. Take advantage of it!
Our ultimate destination was Caffe Dante , a fixture in the Village since 1915. They had a nice covered outdoor seating area, which was convenient because by the time we got there it had started to drizzle.
I am a sucker for an good bar.
Not sure why I ordered another frittata, but this one was better than yesterdays, and the gluten -free toast wasn’t too bad. Caffe Dante was a pleasant way to spend some time with dear friends, but next time I visit I will have to take advantage of their lengthy Negroni menu. Dante was named the 9th best bar in the world, and the number 1 bar in NY in 2019.
All in all it was a terrific 24 hours getting back to NYC. While there are most certainly areas of the city that are struggling, there are lots of reasons to believe that it will rebound to its prior glory. Hopefully time (and a new Mayor) will help. I would wholeheartedly recommend a stay at The Equinox if you have reason to be in that part of town, and if anyone wants to go shopping and meet for lunch at Armani- I’m in!