Soaring over Central Park, Park Lane New York has shared its ‘Billionaire’s Row’ address with some of the city’s most prestigious hotels since the Seventies. A 2022 top-to-toe makeover by the top design talents at Yabu Pushelberg, however, gave this tired skyscraper a much-needed reboot. Its whimsical look now stands in playful contrast to its stuffier neighbors, and a fresh trio of eating and drinking venues further dial up its contemporary cred. What haven’t changed are the hotel’s showstopper views over the Manhattan skyline. They are best enjoyed while rubbing shoulders with the New York glitterati who frequent its rooftop lounge terrace – a lofty feature unique to Central Park South.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £384.80 ($473), including tax at 14.75 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of $3.50 per room per night prior to arrival and an additional resort fee of $56.22 per room per night prior to arrival.
Most rates don't include breakfast.
If exercising in Central Park doesn’t appeal, the hotel’s high-tech gym comes with a Peloton bike and Lululemon Mirror system with hundreds of guided workout programs on demand.
At the hotel
Concierge, fitness center, business center, free WiFi, charged valet parking. In rooms: 55-inch TV with select free content, bathrobes and slippers, minibar, steamer, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
With somewhere in the region of 20 room types, offering various configurations of views, beds and sizes, you’re sure to find the right one for you. We particularly loved the one bedroom suites thanks to their mix of Central Park and city vistas.
Don’t go to the bother of bringing your own lotions and potions, bathrooms come with wonderfully scented Le Labo toiletries (which might just find their way into your suitcase).
All public areas are wheelchair accessible and several room types have been adapted for guests with mobility issues.
There are lots of rooms with connecting configurations and couches in the studio suites can be outfitted as small beds. Babysitting can also be arranged through the concierge (with a four-hour minimum).
Nothing comes close to a seat on the terrace with Central Park stretching out before you. Tables here are, unsurprisingly, by reservation only.
Evenings at Darling demand some serious New York chic, dahling.
Behind the hotel’s trio of dining concepts was Scott Sartiano, restaurateur and founder of celebrity-magnet Zero Bond members club. The more casual Rose Lane is the lobby bar-restaurant, serving up healthy breakfasts and wood-fired brick-oven pizza in art nouveau-inspired surroundings and outdoor settings. But the stand-out dining spot is rooftop restaurant Darling, with its full-on glitz-tastic interiors and spectacular park and city views – the only of its kind in the neighborhood. And then there's the elegant Park Lane Café.
Each of the three restaurants includes a bar where you can perch and watch while staff whip up your perfectly crafted cocktail. Darling comes alive at night thanks to throbbing DJ sessions and its place-to-be reputation among in-the-know locals.
All three venues close at midnight, with Darling open until 1am on Friday and Saturday.
You can order food in-room from the Park Lane Café's menu during opening hours, there's also a 'caviar hotline' for round-the-clock roe.
The hotel overlooks the southeast corner of Central Park in Manhattan's swanky Upper East Side.
It’s about a 25-minute drive from LaGuardia Airport if you get lucky with the traffic, but clogged roads can easily double that. From JFK Airport, which has more international connections, you’re looking at least 45 minutes.
It’s a 10- to 20-minute drive to Penn Station, the Amtrak hub, which offers rail connections along the East Coast, including to Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.
Even some native New Yorkers balk at the idea of driving around Manhattan, so we recommend leaving it to the professionals i.e. catch a cab. If you insist on your own wheels, the hotel does offer valet parking at $67 a night for standard cars and $77 for larger vehicles.
Worth getting out of bed for
When you’re staying smack dab in the center of the Big Apple, the only problem is deciding how much you can squeeze into your stay. A stroll around Central Park is perfect for clearing your head while you’re choosing, or even better a jet-lag busting jog around the Pond. If splurging is high on your agenda, Midtown Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue shopping is a couple of blocks away, and retail mecca Bloomingdale's just a little further. Two of the city’s top museums are an easy stroll away, too. The Museum of Modern Art displays works by Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol, to name a few. And fans of design would be mad (pun intended) to miss the Museum of Arts and Design, barely half-a-mile from the hotel. Of course you have the Theater District and its numerous Broadway shows within walking distance, too. New York newby or veteran visitor, you never tire of just exploring these quintessential Manhattan streets and staying at Park Lane New York puts you right in among them.
With so much choice on your doorstep, hitting up the concierge for recommendations can cut out a lot of umming and ahhing. One nearby eatery getting a lot of attention is Quality Bistro, a swish French-American brasserie. Top-notch cuts of steak and great seafood sit at the heart of the menu, and its plush booth seating is housed in an airy conservatory-type space. If A-list spotting is your thing, nearby Nobu Fifty Seven is the place for ‘isn’t that so-and-so?’ dining. Plus, their innovative take on Japanese-Peruvian fusion still hits all the right notes. For a more earthy NY experience, locals’ favorite J.G Melon guarantees some of the city’s best burgers in a laid-back old-school Manhattan setting.
Located next door to Carnegie Hall, Inès is an easy-to-stroll-by cafe with understated interiors and great coffee. They source their Brooklyn-roasted beans from Devoción, who claim to be the world's only direct-from-the-farm coffee company. Their almond croissants take some beating, too. There’s a good reason you’ll often find a line snaking out of Bibble & Sip. It’s a coffee-shop-cum-bakery with an emphasis on the latter, serving up a cornucopia of oven-fresh treats. Don’t leave without trying the Earl Grey cream puff.
You’ll find speakeasy-style bars all over the city, but Tanner Smith's is the best in Midtown. Its main bar is styled like an early-20th-century New York drinking house, with twee teapot cocktails alongside a more serious selection of craft beers. Their excellent bottomless brunch is often accompanied by live music, too. With its colorfully creative mish-mash of styles, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more artfully eye-catching drinkery than the Whitby Bar. It’s not the place for a raucous night out, but perfect for cocktails and convos to the strains of live jazz.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this towering hotel in Central Park South and unpacked their ‘I heart NY’ tee and vintage Yankees cap, a full account of their Big Apple break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Park Lane in New York…
Craning your neck to gawp up at the soaring majesty of a Manhattan skyscraper is a cornerstone of the tourist-in-New York experience. And you’ll likely get your first tug skyward on arriving at the towering Park Lane hotel. It was built in 1971 as one of the first of New York City’s ‘skyscraper hotels’. Fast forward 50 years and it was time for a 21st-century reimagining. And acclaimed design firm Yabu Pushelberg were called in to do just that. The result is wonderfully whimsical interiors inspired by their Central Park setting, in which woodland animals and lush greenery are ‘brought inside’. Murals by NYC-based artists En Viu are woven throughout the property, and elegant art nouveau flourishes by Mother Design enliven and elevate public spaces. The result is a refreshingly unstuffy departure from the buttoned-up approach of its peers, though with levels of service and dining that are still reassuringly old-school.