Tucked way on the Lower East Side, The Ludlow is my go-to whenever I’m in New York. It’s a small boutique hotel with a cool 70s vibe, where the rooms are small but perfectly formed. They have an excellent bistro called Dirty French which serves delicious food and cocktails day and night. It’s in a great – if somewhat gritty – location for exploring the small local cafés and bars nearby, too.
Crosby Street Hotel
Another great place to stay is Crosby Street Hotel. As a Firmdale property, it has all the usual hallmarks of designer Kit Kemp – amazing textured walls and colourful art, but one of my favourite things about it is the hotel’s bar-restaurant. The Crosby Bar is the social hub of the hotel and opens out onto a lovely courtyard garden. It’s one of my favourites places to enjoy food and drinks in the summer, and the afternoon tea is pretty special, too.
One of my favourite things about The Mark is its proximity to Central Park and it’s the perfect hotel for a luxury stay. When you walk through the doors onto the lobby’s incredible black and white striped marble floor, it feels like stepping back in time – like you’re getting a real lesson in old-world glamour. The hotel is also home to a wonderful French-American restaurant, The Mark by Jean-George Vongerichten.
The Marlton Hotel
The Marlton is supposedly where Jack Kerouac wrote some of his most famous books – it’s the kind of place that oozes a sense of history. In winter, it’s one my favourite places to stay, as the lobby has been made to feel like an old-fashioned living room, complete with a cosy fireplace, tufted couches and big leather chairs, perfect for snuggling up in during some downtime. There’s a great espresso bar and if the weather is good, the hotel’s French-Mediterranean restaurant has a lovely garden area.
After soaking up some of the city’s culture, I often need time to recharge – my favourite place to do this is The Dutchess in upstate New York. Located in the Hudson Valley town of Rhineback, on a biodynamic farm, it’s the ultimate rustic retreat. There are over 200 acres of land and the food is made using their own organic produce. The hotel is a well-kept secret and after the buzz of New York, it feels like such a treat to unwind in the spa or hike through the Catskill Mountains nearby. If you’re in the area, Beekman Antiques Market in Rhinebeck is also worth a visit.
Located just down the road from the Ludlow, Katz’s is a no-frills kosher deli which is something of an NYC institution. I like to balance an afternoon spent at Bergdorf’s with one of their famous pastrami sandwiches.
For authentic French bistro cuisine, Lucien is a must. Opened by the legendary Lucien Bahaj, it serves all the traditional favourites you could ask for like escargots and buttery mussels. It’s such a unique old school establishment.
New York is full of great Italian American restaurants but one of my favourites has to be Don Angie in the West Village. It’s best to reserve a table well in advance as it’s so popular, but the hassle is always worth it. Make sure you go with an empty stomach because you’ll want to order everything on the menu.
For a special occasion, there’s no better place than the Waverly Inn. Owned by the former editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, it’s notoriously hard to get a table here, and once you’re seated in the beautifully renovated 19th-century townhouse, you can understand why. The food here never disappoints, and the ornate fireplaces and ivy-covered atrium give it a worldly charm.
If you love oyster bars, Sel Rrose is a must visit. Located on the Bowery, the bar offers amazing botanically infused cocktails alongside fresh oysters. The interiors look like an art studio, making it a great place to sit back and enjoy early evening drinks with friends. I have great memories getting up to mischief here with my girlfriend Nicky.
Bar Pisellino is an all-day Italian café – a perfect spot for morning coffee or evening cocktails. It has a great neighbourhood feel and the attention to detail inside makes drinking here feel an authentic Italian experience. From the carefully chosen napkins and glassware, to the wooden bar with brass details and marble tops, it’s a real treat.
Vin Sur Vingt
Vin Sur Vingt is another great spot if you’re looking for a bar with a neighbourhood feel to it. It has a great selection of wine and a charming ambiance normally frequented by in-the-know locals in the backstreets of Paris. After a busy day in New York, it’s a great place to relax with friends.
When in Brooklyn, Sauced is my go-to bar. There are so many great wine bars in Williamsburg but Sauced has the kind of charm that makes it stand out. It’s full of quirks, like the disco ball hanging in the back room. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable and will suss out your interests and offer you samples to ensure you find your perfect drink. In the summer, they open up the backyard for ping pong, backgammon and other games.
Creel and Gow
Located on the Upper East Side, this store is a must-visit for interiors fans on the lookout for unusual curios, taxidermy, and other exotic accessories sourced from around the world. I always like to pick up a few interesting pieces for projects or my own home.
Amarcord Vintage in Brooklyn is one of my favourite vintage clothing stores in NYC – they have one of the best selections of unusual designer pieces. It’s not cheap, but it’s expertly curated and I tend to find the most outrageous things here.
One of my favourite spots in Soho is Clic, an amazing space curated by the former stylist Christiane Celle. It used to be a bookstore and gallery, but it’s expanded to stock great homeware and clothing, too. Clic merges the fashion and art world together so brilliantly, and their selection of unique items is brilliant.
Roman And Williams Guild
I’m yet to visit this store in Soho, but it’s top of my list for my next trip. Roman And Williams are one of my favourite design firms and their New York emporium includes an art studio, flower shop, gallery, boutique, and a restaurant called La Mercerie. I’ve been told it’s a hugely inspirational treasure trove of craft.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
There’s a reason why The Met is classed as one of the world’s finest art museums – its collection is one of the most extensive in the world. With over two million pieces, there’s so much to see, you could easily spend a whole week looking around. When in New York, I always find myself gravitating towards the museum – a safe haven from the outside world where you can happily lose yourself for a few hours.
Prospect Park is one of New York’s best kept secrets. From the same designers who built Central Park, it has everything you could imagine – a zoo, boathouse, ice rink, area for outdoor concerts, and a sports field.
Gallery Hopping In Chelsea
On a Thursday night, gallery hopping in Chelsea is a must. From 6-8pm, the Chelsea galleries host opening receptions for their new exhibitions or artists of the moment. There are various websites which publish listings of the openings, but in my experience, the best way to get involved is to just wander between the Chelsea galleries. It’s a great way to get a feel for New York’s art scene and with a drink in hand, it’s a fantastic way to spend a Thursday night in the city.
Fotografiska New York
Fotografiska, the renowned destination for photography, was originally founded in Stockholm, but it now has its very own home in New York. It’s known for showcasing the very best talent of both emerging and well-established photographers. Located in the Flatiron District, in a beautiful historic landmark building, it doesn’t have a permanent collection so there’s always something new to see. When I’m not browsing the Met, this is where you’ll find me.
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.