A Review Of The Lotte New York Palace Hotel In Midtown Manhattan, A Surprise Bonus Budget Hotel, And Four Exemplary Restaurants


I lived in Manhattan from 1979 until 1984. I’ve visited as often as possible since I left. But to this day I can’t say I have a favorite place to stay in the city. Or a favorite restaurant. Every trip is new.

However, I do have some recommendations, and photos of where I stayed for Fashion Week, and what we ate. For a city so big, and so open to growth, sometimes that which we have experienced most recently is the best On to the details.

The New York Palace Hotel (now prefixed with “Lotte,” was “Helmsley” back in the day)

Last week I stayed at the New York Palace. The room was what I’d call medium-fancy. Incredibly comfortable beds.

new-york-palace-bedroom

Bathroom, again, medium-fancy. Well-done; nice magnifying mirror which I absolutely require to ward off all kinds of horrors, good water pressure, lighting, towels, etc. No separate show separate from tub, but let’s not be princesses, OK?

bathroom-at-the-new-york-palace-hotel

The view was better than good. In New York I’d rather have a teeny room with a view of the city than a large room lacking city reminders. I love that feeling, “I’m in NEW YORK, baby!”

view-from-the-new-york-palace-hotel

The hotel doesn’t have full-day food service, which is a little inconvenient, but they do serve a good breakfast. I recommend the French toast. Up these stairs, on the mezzanine. The old Villard mansion part of the hotel is ornate gilt heaven.

staircase-to-mezzanine-at-new-york-palace

Service can be slow. But friendly. In fact, the service throughout the hotel was nicer than usual in a big hotel – the people were very warm.

breakfast-at-the-new-york-palace

However, the best part of the Palace, if you are looking for a true East Side stay, is probably its location. Central to UES window-shopping and people-watching, at East 51st and Madison.

(Note that the hotel’s rates can very widely, and are far cheaper over the weekend. I advise you look at a range of dates, and investigate any corporate or group discount offers that apply.)

The Lotte New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City, NY

Bonus: One Very Affordable Hotel I Have Enjoyed And One I’d Like To Try

Sometimes we might want to go to New York but we might want to spend smaller amounts of money. About 10 years ago I traveled to New York on business for a startup, on a budget. I stayed in the Best Western Bowery Hanbee Hotel, in Chinatown. Rates have risen in the last decade, but they’re still under $300. And don’t undervalue the salutary budget and mood effect of being able to step right out into Chinatown for soup noodles and buns.

Finally, next time I go to New York City I would actually like to stay in Brooklyn. Inspired by an article on Architectural Digest about boutique hotels in the borough, I’m intrigued by the Wythe. And this one.

Four Exemplary Manhattan Restaurants From High-End To Down Home

On to food.

Le Bernardin – 155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

Sue and I had one night during Fashion Week to eat dinner together. I’d just found out that my LDL cholesterol is high, I had a deep desire to act in a financially unrestrained manner, Le Bernardin, New York’s temple of fish, was right down the street. If you go before 6pm it appears you are highly likely to find a seat at the bar, no reservations required.

I had a Manhattan. I mean, one must, right?

a-manhattan-at-le-bernadin-in-manhattan

On to the amuse-bouche. One of those dishes which make your eyes roll back into your head. A rectangle of watermelon, something replete with umami, and a spicy mélange of I know not what. Oh man. So good.

amuse-buche-at-le-bernadin

Tuna carpaccio, with crispy Parma ham. Do not think you know everything there is to know about raw tuna, because you may not.

tuna-carpaccio-with-parma-ham-at-le-bernadin

Striped bass. In a broth. By the end of the evening the broth and several pieces of very happy bread were history.

I ate the fish too.

le-bernardin-main-course

We had dessert but I was hallucinating from food glory so I don’t remember it. Chocolate?

Three Affordable And Still Delicious Places to Eat

Milk and Hops: 779 Broadway. A West Side beer and cheese place. That happens to make delicious sandwiches which often use cheese but also a lot of vegetables. A San Francisco vibe.

Westville: Several locations. Modern inexpensive comfort food with all kinds of vegetable side dishes, served by cheery millenials. Feels a bit like the food co-op in college? But better food? Very familial.

Cocoran: 61 Delancey St. Excellent soba, served from a small visible kitchen, to diners at long family-style tables. The real deal. The night we were there it was 90 degrees outside and 98 degrees inside when the AC broke. I had my soba cold. Vibe: New York City or somewhere in Asia, on a summer night, when the food rescues you.

And now all I can think is, what new best things will the next trip bring?

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11 Comments

  • Lisa, I’m surprised you don’t stay at the Princeton Club, which we (Columbia) share with you. It’s so proximate to everything, from shopping to Broadway, and central from all directions of art and culture, whether the Met, Met Breuer and Guggenheim uptown, Whitney and Chelsea on the western part of downtown, New Museum and the LES scene on the eastern side. May I also suggest going to the Grenouille for the bar, if you don’t feel like the splurge, and to my absolute favourite, old-world, shabby-genteel (leitmotif of my life, so, you, gotta love it) Le Veau d’Or, within spitting distance of Bloomindale’s (not that you would ever!) on East 60th. If you Google it my fawning Yelp review comes up! See you next time!

    09/23/16
    8:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @Theodore Bouloukos, I will make a point of going to the Veu d’Or. Maybe you and and my son and I can meet there for a drink next trip. As for the Princeton Club, it used to be so spartan and dorm like – is it better now? I should give it a try, but was put off by photos in the old days.

  • Lisa,I love posts about travels,hotels and restaurants-it is always interesting,with great tips sometimes, but I even like the descriptions of places where I’ve been,too :-)
    So,although I have no plans to visit NY for now,I enjoyed your post and NY experience
    Dottoressa

    09/23/16
    8:39 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, I like to read about places I’ve been too! And I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Great reviews! It must be 20 years since we dined at Le Bernardin. Glad to hear it is as good as ever.

    09/23/16
    8:40 am
    Lisa said...

    @Linda Pakravan, Thank you! And 20 years, my how time, well, you know.

  • We can always count on you for great reviews.

    Brooklyn has nice places to stay, also good food with a lower sticker shock. Joya is a favorite for Thai food.

    09/23/16
    8:41 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mary anne, Ah, right, you’ve mentioned Joya. I’ll try to remember it for next visit. Thank you.

  • Thanks for the recommendation of Cocoran. I passed by the Kenmare street branch on Sunday but didn’t have enough cash so, I will check it out next time.

    For your future Manhattan visit, I recommend Morgenstern’s ice cream, especially for their Tonka Bean ice cream, which brings to mind old school Guerlain scents and Graham Greene novels. Also, you might like the Thai food at Uncle Boon’s.

    09/23/16
    8:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @Christine, It would be hard to beat that description of ice cream. I would kind of want to kiss it, I think. Hope you like Cocoran, if you have the chance to stop in.

  • huge thanks for best western rec! we will be there to take older boy for college interviews next month so it’s perfect. (just finished looking at airbnb – disappointing!).

    09/23/16
    8:45 am
    Lisa said...

    @y.k., My pleasure! Small, teeny lobby area, but clean, comfortable, fantastic fun location. Have fun with your boy. College tours are such an amazing time.

  • How fun! Sounds like you had a great trip :) I love your descriptions, especially of the food. Makes me hungry!

    09/23/16
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Danielle, It was so fun. And if I think about that food I get hungry too;).

  • How fun! I always love your reviews.

    09/23/16
    8:46 am
    Lisa said...

    @Mardel, Thank you!

  • Very helpful post — thank you. You just can’t beat that view of St. Patrick’s!

    My latest Midtown find was 1 Hotel Central Park at 58th and 6th. Not a grand house, but sleek and comfy with good in-house food and kind hoteliers. Best, it’s only a block from the Park where I spend as much time as possible when in Manhattan and much closer than the 1,200 miles it lies from my front door.

    P.S. BTW, great food porn. :)

    09/23/16
    8:47 am
    Lisa said...

    @Ann, My pleasure! Thanks in return for the 1 Hotel Central Park recommendation. And the Park was glorious on this visit. Opera singers performing under the bridge by the fountain. And the food, well, doesn’t take too much when it looks like that on the plate;). But thank you:).

  • What a lovely hotel and yes, the view is so important. That food looked to die for…eyes rolled back here!

  • Reading this on the train coming back to DC after three days in NY and my third visit since June. I have started playing with dates at the New York Palace and the price varies a great deal but I will find something suitable. Our children will fly over to stay with us during December when they are on summer holidays from university and we have booked a hotel in New York for Christmas. I am looking for any recommendations for Christmas lunch and will also ring Le Bernardin. Lisa, such a timely post for me.

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