New York-The City Might Never Sleep But I Still Need A Bed!

Courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel

I may want to wake up in a city that never sleeps, but to do that I need to have somewhere to sleep first!

Yellow Taxi As Advertised

So where were we? We had climbed into a yellow taxi outside JFK airport and it took off like a rocket. Yes they are driven in EXACTLY the same way the television portrays. Comfort is not top priority in this vehicle, I am only 5’ 3” and my kneecaps felt like they would implode with the pressure from the division board in front of me. My poor 6’ plus partner Dominic? Well you can imagine…

View from a fast and uncomfortable taxi! (Photo Ann Massey)

My plane terror was long forgotten as we flew round bends and across lanes with the fearlessness of Senna and the precision of Schumacher – for all of 10 minutes, then bumper to bumper traffic.

It may have been early January but the window had to be opened before I suffocated in the compact, cheap air freshener infused space we were trapped in. Advertising is just everywhere, even in my vehicle, from the big sign on top of the taxi to the tiny screen inside showing an entertainment show interview with Rami Malek on repeat, interspersed with advertisments and a reminder you can pay for your taxi by credit card.

I imagine the traffic congestion is a constant headache for those living in New York, but for a newcomer like me it was an opportunity to see real NY life unfold, people watch, look at the buildings and other road users. I was astounded how close houses were to the main roads into the city centre and how in the suburbs outside of Manhattan, life unfolds very much the same as for you and I. Dinner in front of the TV (closing the drapes something to put on the ‘to do’ list) Christmas decorations still to come down and kids being taken in the family car to soccer practice. None of it very Manhattan-esque!

We came into the city through the Holland Tunnel and I just couldn’t contain my excitement as the Manhattan night skyline unfolded before my eyes. Dominic is well used to me so he wasn’t a bit fazed when I screamed and started clapping my hands. The taxi driver was equally unperturbed.

Street to avenue, street to avenue, I was bewildered, my Uncle Richard’s advice on the grid layout of Manhattan long evaporated. FYI, streets run east to west and avenues run south to north, with Fifth Avenue at the centre, but none of that was in my head as I struggled to take in the landmarks, looming high rise buildings and the bustling traffic, as pedestrians darted out in front of our cab – a brave maneuver as our driver had no intention of stopping.

The bright lights of Carnegie Hall (Photo by Ann Massey)

How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?

We knew our hotel was right by Carnegie Hall, well it had to be – it was the Carnegie Hotel. It did get to a point where we switched on Google Maps as even our driver was unsure of the destination but that also was unclear. Unfazed we got out at the side of Carnegie Hall on West 56th Street.

We took our luggage, paid the taxi driver around 80 dollars including tip (decided on in panic as we suddenly realized we were in a tip driven destination and had little cash.) The fare itself was around 60 dollars including tolls and taxes.

We turned around and there it was, the Carnegie Hotel! The entrance is unassuming but elegant and welcoming, and exuded a warmth much needed in the cold winter night. The reception desk is right inside the door, so you are greeted straight away and don’t have to endure that awkward “I have no idea where anything is, where do I check in, everyone is looking at me” phase of larger hotel check ins.

Lobby and Reception (Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel)

There was no “I can’t find you, do you have the booking reference,” they knew who we were. That’s the wonderful thing about a boutique hotel, they have a limited number of rooms and you don’t become lost.

I went for a little snoop beyond reception and found two elevators and then a delightful seating area with tables where complimentary snacks and soft drinks and hot beverages are readily available. It is also where a continental breakfast is served each morning.

Dining Area (Photo Courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel)

The breakfast experience was so delightfully casual. You could either seat yourself in situ or help yourself and return to your room as many of us patrons opted to do. A selection of cereals, fruit, fresh pastries, coffees, teas and juices are all available.

A most charming complimentary cheese and wine hour happens each evening in the same location. Cheeses, biscuits and grapes are laid out and a lovely team member pours wine from the bottle for you into glasses, no self service here! Everyone attending is relaxed and in good spirits, this is what this oasis in the heart of the theatre district gives you. A splendid additional touch which sets this hotel apart from the rest.

Cheese and Wine Hour (Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel)

Check in complete, we went to the elevators and up to our room on the 11th floor. There are only four rooms on each floor so no struggling down endless corridors a la The Shining to find your abode.

Room With A View

On entering the first job is to congratulate the designer. We had opted for the Superior King and they really knew what they were doing with the space and stylish decor. Our room had a feature wall of a trumpet which was a beautiful coincidence as my Dad was a trumpet player in an Irish Showband.

Superior King Room (Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel)

The bed was HUGE! You know what I mean, the kind of bed where you actually don’t know if there is anyone else in it with you. The room was the perfect temperature and had adequate storage, good lighting and a flat screen tv positioned at an optimum level for viewing-something many hotels could learn from!

The bathroom, while compact had brilliant lighting, stylish fittings and decor, which I would describe as contemporary Italian. The shower was magnificent with a rainforest head and tremendous power. And I LOVE the Malin + Goetz toiletries! Rum body wash, peppermint shampoo and Cilantro conditioner. Perfect for reviving the weary tourist.

My biggest surprise was the window. It extended out so you had an all round view. Amazingly even with the window open, the noise was subtle and distant. I should also say there is no interior noise from the hotel or other guests which is an incredible thing. I was so excited to look out at the stage entrance to Carnegie Hall, down the street at the traffic and up at the surrounding skyscrapers, all glowing in the Manhattan night.

Contemporary Bathroom (Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Hotel)

Suitably refreshed and in our finery, we left our home in Manhattan, (and yes home is the right word, that is how you feel here) wrapped up against the winter chill and began our first walk in New York to the Rainbow Rooms for dinner and cocktails. I will tell you more about that in my next post!

Room with a view (Photo by Ann Massey)

In the meantime, for me there is no place I would rather stay and we are booking the Carnegie Hotel for our next visit in early 2020. And the bed? Well despite the jet lag and being in a city that never sleeps, I can assure you I most definitely did!

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