A Christmas Fairy-tale in New York

In the weeks running up to Christmas, New York becomes a winter wonderland poised to make all your festive dreams come true. It’s fair to say that no place in the world embodies the spirit of the holiday season more-so than New York, just try and count how many films, songs and stories have been inspired by its atmosphere!

With a number of magical events taking place from November till January, here are a few of our favourites from the charmingly quirky to the most famous...

Too many fairy lights to count

Watch this year’s traditional Norway Spruce light up with over 30,000 twinkling lights at the flick of a switch at the popular Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. If you’d rather skip the crowds and take it in another day then they’re lit until 11.30pm at night through Christmas, it’s taken down just after the first week of January.

Parade the streets

Don’t forget Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an institution for over 90 years. Join millions on the street of New York and watch performers, clowns, marching bands, floats and floating balloons including Spiderman and friends. We recommend catching them being inflated along the perimeter of the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side - While you’re at the museum, stop inside to the annual Origami Holiday Tree and it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday, 23 November.

Gifts and nibbles aplenty

Browse one of the city’s best holiday markets as local crafters set up shop at the Union Square Holiday Market to bring you affordable food and gifts aplenty. Over 100 red and white striped huts fill the park providing coupons for surrounding stores to use during the holiday season and warming glasses of hot apple cider.

Shop 'til you drop from window shop along festive Fifth Avenue, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Tiffany & Co, to take in the most extravagant window dressings on the block. Definitely visit Macy’s Santaland for an elaborate scene of Christmas trees, toy trains, elves and mountains of snow. It’s also the home of the ‘one real Santa Claus’ as per the 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street

Where to stay our four favourites

The Standard, East Village New York (Check Availability)

A quirky, cosy hotel located in the hip and artistic East Village
Looming over the Bowery and neighbouring brick buildings surrounding Cooper Square, The Standard, East Village is a cosy hotel with just a touch of the eccentric about it. Entering through the original tenement-style building, you ascend the 21-storey tower to enjoy superb views out over Manhattan, with NYU, Soho and Union Square all nearby.
At street level sits the quiet garden and hotel eateries. Pairing Californian cuisine with new styles of cooking and the finest local produce, Narcissa offers simplicity and sophistication. With two separate dining rooms, one featuring the large open kitchen and the other overlooking the private garden, there is plenty to entertain aside from the delicious food. Also found street-side is Café Standard, a great place to grab a pre-exploration coffee in the morning and a relaxing spot to enjoy a delicious cocktail at the end of a long day. Breakfast is a laid-back affair, and, fitting with the slightly eccentric theme, you can choose to have this on your lap in the lounge area.
Rooms feature comfortable beds and gadgets such as a Bluetooth speaker and range from Standard King to Skyline Studios with their dual-exposure windows, panoramic views, sitting area and heated floors. A look inside your minibar will also reveal unusual treats, with everything from custom-made jewellery to make-up kits and health packs on offer.

Baccarat Hotel & Residences, Midtown New York (Check Availability)

A Parisian-inspired luxury hotel in the heart of Midtown Manhattan
Paris meets New York in this contemporary Manhattan hotel. Oozing luxury, elegance and sophistication, every corner sparkles with artisanal Baccarat crystal elements designed by the Parisian duo of Gilles & Boissier. A private art collection has been curated from Paris to decorate the walls, and specially commissioned pieces inspired by Baccarat Harcourt glasses stand on display in dramatically lit glass cases. Adorned with the dazzling frontage that was originally intended for the One World Trade Center, at the entrance, a fire burns to represent that of the Baccarat factory that has been constantly lit for the past 250 years.
Every inch of this grand hotel has been carefully considered to incorporate the history of Baccarat crystal whilst maintaining a distinctly modern feel. Reminiscent of an aristocratic home, the Grand Salon is hung with glittering chandeliers and serves delicious French pastries for breakfast and hosts an early evening Champagne presentation with small plates to accompany delightful cocktails. Heading through to The Bar designed around the concept of a stable, the chandeliers continue. With an outdoor terrace that affords views out across the Museum of Modern Art, it ties in an American influence with its French design, serving lovingly-crafted cocktails in Baccarat crystal.
The influence of the French capital continues into the cuisine, with the Chevalier restaurant a reinvention of the classic Parisian brasserie. With Michelin-starred Executive Chef Shea Gallante at the helm, the menu offers a unique modern tasting menu complemented by perfectly paired wines. For an extra special experience, opt to dine at La Cour, the Chef’s Table. Continuing with the theme of indulgent luxury, the Spa offers one of the only pools in Midtown Manhattan. Heading down into the steamy surrounds, the 24-hour gym is larger than the standard in New York. Using the exclusive La Mer products, the separate treatment rooms offer an expansive menu.  Spacious, refined and decorated in a neutral palette of champagne, ivory and chocolate brown, the rooms here offer a plush and indulgent stay, from the Classic King Room to the Prestige Suite with its separate living and dining area. Comfort and luxury defines this chic hotel, with the Spa de La Mer the perfect retreat after a long day of exploration.

The Peninsula  Midtown New York (Check Availability)

Stylish Fifth Avenue hotel defined by luxury and just moments from Manhattan’s finest shops.
Stepping off Fifth Avenue with shopping bags in hand, The Peninsula New York offers a luxurious retreat from the bustle of Midtown Manhattan. A landmark of New York’s most iconic street for the past 25 years, a stay in this stylish US flagship hotel offers a quintessentially New York experience.
Elegant and sophisticated, the dining options available combine the best of New York tradition with a modern twist. Clement serves delicious regionally-sourced contemporary American cuisine, while the Gotham Lounge, reminiscent of a chic townhouse, is a stylish and comfortable spot to indulge in the hotel’s renowned Afternoon Tea. As evening draws in, head to Salon de Ning for delicious cocktails and dramatic views out across Fifth Avenue. With two outdoor terraces, an intimate interior and a style based on ‘East meets West’, this is a great place to take in the buzz of New York City from above.
One of the most iconic shopping destinations in the world, the exciting streets of New York City are likely to leave you with tired feet. Offering a range of treatments, The Peninsula Spa is a great place to recuperate before heading out to enjoy the famous nightlife. On warm summer days, you can relax on the Sun Terrace before cooling off at the glass-enclosed swimming pool.
Apartment-style rooms and suites are designed for maximum comfort and are more spacious than many other New York offerings, making them a great haven after a day of exploration. Each featuring a soft neutral palette, rooms range from the Superior Room with their interior courtyard view, to stylish and spacious Junior Suites which offer views over Fifth Avenue and a cosy sitting area.

Warwick New York, Midtown (Check Availability)

A timeless historic hotel in Midtown Manhattan with an enviable location
From the shimmering gold chandeliers of the lobby, to the signs above the lifts that flash ‘this car up’, the authentic gold mail chute and the soft leather furnishings of the bar, the Warwick New York hotel exudes a sense of old Hollywood glamour in Midtown Manhattan. Having played host to celebrities including Elvis Presley, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and The Beatles, this iconic hotel is also among Manhattan’s most historic. Its fantastic location puts you just a few blocks from Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and the famous shops of Fifth Avenue. Greeted by the friendly doormen, as you step into the lobby through the revolving doors, the nostalgic atmosphere of classic New York follows you in from the street.
Commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his mistress, the famous actress Marion Davies, a touch of classic luxury is evident throughout the hotel, with an homage to the star found on each level opposite the lifts. Combining a sense of the vintage with a contemporary twist, the hotel’s breakfast restaurant, Murals on 54th, serves delicious modern American cuisine. Named for the patron, Randolph’s Bar & Lounge is the place to be as night falls. With leather furnishings and rich wooden panelling, the inspired American fare served here is complemented by the timeless and sophisticated atmosphere, making it a great place to relax after a day of exploration. Be sure not to miss out on the restaurant’s  great range of appetisers, with the delicious lobster rolls and calamari a couple of favourites. Once you’ve indulged on the hotel’s offerings, you won’t have to go far to savour some spectacular local cuisine, with nearby highlights including the Asian/American fare served at Rue 57 and superb Italian at bistro milano.

If a quiet retreat is what you’re seeking, the sound of the city streets can’t be heard from the hotel’s comfortable rooms and suites, while the neutral palette of champagne and pistachio adds to the sense of tranquillity. For a little more indulgence, the suites offer a comfortable living area that epitomises classic American luxury. If you’re after a room with a view, opt for one of the 6 Avenue Premier Plus Rooms that boast superb views of the Thanksgiving Day parade.
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