New York

City break in New York | skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty

New York is the archetypal concrete jungle that’s every inch as awe-inspiring as the movies make out. Here’s how to make the most of its screen-worthy charms....

The glowing Manhattan skyline grew as we soared along the expressway from JFK and it hit me — I was finally fulfilling a travel dream I’d harboured for well over a decade. And New York City was just as exciting and atmospheric as I’d hoped: from zipping up the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and admiring the dreamy painted ceiling in Grand Central Station, to strolling along streets where rustic brownstones sit side-by-side with futuristic skyscrapers.

In a city this huge, there’s almost an obscene amount to see. Whether you want Hollywood romance in the Empire State like An Affair to Remember or to explore the cool Upper East Side à la Gossip Girl, here’s just a glimpse of the classic and contemporary experiences you cannot miss on your big city break in the Big Apple.

SEE | Art Deco architecture and spectacular viewpoints in New York

From the beautiful Beaux Arts design of Grand Central Station to the glitzy window displays of high-end department stores, there’s ample sights in NYC that showcase its ever-changing history and culture.

Hotels in New York

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STAY | grand Victorian hotels and modern pod style rooms in New York

Whether you’re after a chic chain complete with rooftop bar or prefer something with a little more character, you’ll be spoilt for choice by the hundreds of hotels in New York.

Classic | grandeur and gastronomy at the historic Beekman

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If you’re keen for a little old-school glamour when it comes to your accommodation, the gorgeous Beekman is a great choice. Located opposite City Hall Park, it’s housed inside one of the city’s first skyscrapers — built in 1881 — and was used as office space for decades before being transformed into a hotel in 2016.

The Beekman’s interiors are undeniably elegant, and has stylishly infused doses of period charm into all its rooms thanks to high ceilings, oak flooring and bespoke wooden furnishings. Its spectacular nine-storey atrium reception is also dripping in vintage-style velvet furnishings and antique lamps. Head to one of The Beekman’s two fabulous restaurants — run by two of the city’s best chefs, Tom Colicchio and Keith McNally — for sumptuous American and European fare.

The Beekman, A Thompson

New York, 0.5 km to 911 Memorial
9.1 Excellent (574 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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The Beekman, A Thompson

New York
9.1 Excellent (574 reviews)

Classic | vintage warehouse styling in Williamsburg at the Wythe Hotel

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Located across the water in trendy Williamsburg, the Wythe Hotel manages to be chic and rustic, simultaneously. It’s housed inside a former factory building that dates back to 1901, meaning it boasts the authentic industrial interiors that have become synonymous with trendy Brooklyn loft apartments.

Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the city’s famous skyline, and funky wallpaper and furnishings (largely made from reclaimed materials) are sourced from local artists and craftsmen. On the 6th floor you’ll find The Ides, the Wythe’s rooftop bar that serves unique cocktails – like the Diplomat’s Club that’s made with honey-infused gin – and regularly hosts cool DJ sets.

Hotel Wythe

Brooklyn, 10.9 km to Bay Ridge
8.7 Excellent (77 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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Hotel Wythe

Brooklyn
8.7 Excellent (77 reviews)

Contemporary | affordable pod hotel with rooftop bar

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For those visiting NYC on a smaller budget, you can’t go wrong with the slick design and well-thought out amenities at Pod 39. Located just minutes from Grand Central Station, it offers a mix of compact yet contemporary singles, bunks or double rooms with ensuites fitted with rain showers.

Perhaps Pod 39’s best feature is its cool rooftop bar complete with metallic furnishings, exposed red brick walls and views across Midtown. For the more playful traveller, there’s even a games room with a ping pong table, plus a vibrant taco restaurant.

Pod 39

New York, 5.2 km to 911 Memorial
8.4 Very good (23012 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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Pod 39

New York
8.4 Very good (23012 reviews)

Contemporary | modern hotel suites and a rooftop pool downtown

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Another contemporary option is the five-star Conrad located in Downtown Manhattan. Spacious suites sport huge beds and luxuries like espresso machines and complimentary slippers. Many rooms feature brilliant views of Battery Park, while all are decorated with some of the hotel’s 2000 pieces of fascinating modern artwork.

The roof of the Conrad plays host to a stunning infinity pool as well as Loopy Doopy, one of New York’s most popular alfresco bars. It’s a sublime spot to watch the sunset in the summer and keep cool with a specialty (although quite pricey) popsicle prosecco cocktail — the strawberry and lemongrass one is divine but flavour selection changes regularly.

Conrad New York Downtown

Top rated
New York, 0.5 km to 911 Memorial
9.4 Excellent (8451 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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Conrad New York Downtown

Top rated
New York
9.4 Excellent (8451 reviews)

EAT | classic bagels, tasty street food and new eats in New York

From classic New York bites to brand new restaurants with globally-inspired menus, the city’s culinary scene is as eclectic as its history.

DRINK | underground drinking establishments and amazing coffee shops

In the city that supposedly never sleeps, there’s no shortage of great drinking venues with endless stream of coffee shops, speakeasies and rooftops bars.

DO | bridge walks and park jaunts in New York

There’s so many ways to spend your time when in New York. Here are a few things you simply cannot miss…