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Fifth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols gets a revamp

This is excellent news. This bar on the top floor of the famous Knightsbridge department store has always looked great on paper, perfect for a cocktail or two after flexing the plastic at Harrods and Harvey Nichols on a Saturday afternoon. My experience in years passed, however, was often less than spot on, usually fuelled by the trashy clientele of cash-rich car dealers and ‘professional’ Russsian women clad in fur and bad leopard print.

Recently revamped, the place is looking great, with a cocktail list heavy on vodka based drinks and a Baltic-influenced menu in the adjoining restaurant. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Knightsbridge and licensed now till 3am. We’ll be visiting very soon.

See press release at Harvey Nichols.


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Filed under London Hotspots, London recommendations, Other interesting stuff, Restaurants we love

Gramercy Park Hotel, New York – if it’s good enough for Jessica Alba…

The Gramercy Park Hotel, New York

The Gramercy Park Hotel, New York

Stylish, cool, opulent, lavish; just a few words to describe the super-trendy Gramercy Park Hotel, located on Lexington Avenue in the Gramercy District of New York.

So no surprise to find that two of the hottest (in every sense) US celebs Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel spotted hanging out there in the hotel’s 18th floor private roof club and garden over the weekend. Also no surprise that I didn’t make it on to the invite list to the private celebrity soiree whilst I was fortunate enough to be staying at the hotel to celebrate my Dad’s 60th that same weekend.
When you walk into the lobby of the hotel, the Ian Schrager design, synonymous with hotels like the Royalton, Morgans, Delano and Mondrian, hits you immediately. Dark and moody, lit with a huge chandelier hanging down as the centrepiece, Louis XV chairs sit beneath works by Cy Twombly and Damien Hirst amongst other notable artists.

The hotel staff are friendly and the news that my parents and I are to be upgraded to a deluxe double suite in recognition of our family celebration is music to our ears. As we make our way to our respective rooms, we realise the lifts only work if you insert your room card before pressing your floor button. Operating this in a light that was described by a fellow lift passenger as ‘unnecessarily dark’ is somewhat difficult, a difficulty that is significantly heightened after a few cocktails in the bar later on.

Kingsized bedding at the Gramercy Park Hotel
Kingsized bedding at the Gramercy Park Hotel

The rooms are luxurious with distinctive burgundy rugs laid on mahogany flooring and velvet drapery on show, together with a mixture of interesting art pieces and photographs scattered around. The bed is huge (note: I am only 5 ft 6” so it may be average to most) and is without doubt one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. My room was street facing and it has to be said that you do occasionally catch the sound of a car horn once in a while, a sound that you grow accustomed to, given the number of taxis that drive around the city.

One of the Gramercy Park's many bars
One of the Gramercy Park’s many bars

As a guest you can enjoy drinks at any of the hotels three bars; the Rose and Jade bars downstairs, as well as the private Roof Club and Garden. Being one of the more popular spots for cocktails and private parties, reservations are an absolute must at weekends and drinks are at the higher price end (approx $18 -$20 for a spirit and mixer). The Roof Terrace bar has a retractable roof, and guarantees great views of Manhattan whilst you enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or just cocktails.

We were lucky to enjoy great weather so decided to take advantage of the sunshine in the private Gramercy Park over the road, available to local residents and hotel guests. The park has only ever been opened to the general public on 9/11 so this really is a great place to come and relax in a rather unique location. The hotel concierge is the only person with a key so he escorts you through and locks the gate. Don’t forget to take a mobile phone with you to ring the hotel unless you want to spend the evening sleeping on a park bench.

So that’s the Gramercy Park Hotel in a nutshell. A great hotel by all accounts, and with a lovely cake brought to my parents’ room to celebrate the birthday, we couldn’t have asked for more. Well, perhaps for me to have got stuck in a dark lift with one of the Jessicas…

Find the best rate and book a room at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Gekko
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