The Empire Hotel
In December, my husband and I took a long deserved vacation to the Big Apple, albeit with our three-year-old son in tow. And while traveling with a child is not always easy, it certainly was easier this time around.
There’s no place more beautiful than New York City in the wintertime, full of holiday cheer and merriment around ever corner. We were lucky enough to stay at The Empire Hotel, which is centrally located and close to lots of cool, family friendly things to do, including Lincoln Center, Times Square, Central Park, Time Warner Center, Fifth Avenue and more.
Upon our arrival, the doorman eagerly greeted us, took our bags to the front desk and pointed us towards some comfy lounge chairs in the Lobby Lounge with two nice glasses of red wine to sip while we waited for our turn to check in. We kicked back in style.
The hotel’s décor is definitely upscale, but the site of other children running around the foyer assured us that we were in the right place – the perfect mix of class and creature comforts. Warm, rich earth tones and splashes of animal print mixed with modern décor to create an elegant but cozy hub.
Like most hotels in NYC, the rooms at The Empire Hotel are definitely small. Unlike other hotels, the rooms make a big impression. The beds were outfitted in European-inspired duvets from Frette.
A sumptuous lounge chair and throw pillows were perfect for unwinding, or for our three-year old to sit and play a few games on Daddy’s iPhone.
The view from our room was exceptional, a postcard-worthy look at the Broadway/Columbus Avenue Corridor, which is known as the gateway to the Upper Westside.
While there were no specific amenities for small children, such as welcome bags or activities, there were items suited specifically for younger palettes on both the in-room dining menu and on the menu of Ed’s Chowder House, which is attached to the hotel. We found the later to be the perfect location for a great breakfast or leisurely lunch, with dinnertime being a bit too much for a child. But other nearby options, including PJ Clarke’s Steakhouse, did work well for dining with a little one.
It’s a short walk from The Empire Hotel to Central Park, where we explored the John Lennon-inspired Strawberry Fields and the Trump Wollman Skating Rink for ice skating and hot chocolate. A short subway ride later, we were visiting storefronts on Fifth Avenue, exploring all three floors of FAO Schwartz and sightseeing at Rockefeller Center. Only mom seemed to be interested in the five-story Tiffany & Co. What woman wouldn’t be?
The hands down, best feature of The Empire Hotel is their one-of-a-kind New York City Rooftop Pool Deck. (Obvs, not in December!) It is open Memorial Day through Labor Day and is spectacular. Hotel guest can refresh themselves in the plunge pool or just bask in the warmth of the sun.
The hotel also offer private cabana rentals featuring flat screen TVs, mini refrigerators, iPod docking stations with speakers, ceiling fans and daybeds. (Uh, yes please!) The Pool Deck menu offers refreshing food and beverage options for guests. This is a compelling reason for us to return in the summer for another visit.
We owed a lot of our fun to our helpful concierge, who was instrumental in directing us towards kid-friendly entertainment all week long. The hotel’s close proximity to some of the City’s biggest attractions was a definitive plus. We were never at a loss for what to do next. In fact, the concierge had us dining and exploring like locals.
Pricing varies by season. But nightly rates can start as low as $229 a night. Amenities include access to the hotel gym and rooftop pool. While there is no on-site spa, your concierge will offer an amazing list of local spas that offer hotel guest discounts. Babysitting services can also be scheduled via the concierge desk.