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LUXURY HOTELS: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York, USA

We are seated at surely one of the best tables in the house (Mandarin Oriental Hotel, NY) alongside a 16 foot top-to-toe window. Day is beginning to turn to dusk bringing with it a progressive chain of twinkling lights all along Central Park West (and the to-die-for apartment addresses) which line the Park and beyond, creating a magical fairyland. Now the moon has risen and here we sit "somewhere between the moon and New York City." Remember the Christopher Cross hit some years back? we are on top of the world, dining in the hotel's signature restaurant Asiate, 280 feet above the ground. And yes, there really is a man in the moon. We are on nodding acquaintance with him. So high he is smiling at us, and we are smiling back, so happy are we to be in this fabulous hotel.

manadrin executive suite
manadrin executive suite
hudson river room
vip spa suite
views over central park
restaurant asiate

Below stretches the wonderful expanse of Central Park, Manhattan's distinctive skyline and the Hudson River. You simply couldn't ask for a more spectacular setting - which is pretty much true of just about every Mandarin Oriental  luxury hotel in their global portfolio of 41 properties.
If you are looking for a Wow factor, such as the perfect backdrop for a marriage proposal or to clinch a megabucks deal, the Mandarin Oriental is hard to beat. Even Forbes magazine agrees. Six of Mandarin Oriental's properties have achieved Five Star certifications in both the hotel and spa category, including the Mandarin Oriental New York
Entry at ground level gives little indication of the elegant oriental chic that awaits guests 35 floors above. Yes, there is the tell-tale fan and flowers but not much more. Once you exit the elevator you enter a coolly elegant oasis of urban of chic. Evidence of the luxury hotel's pedigree can be seen in the careful choice and placement of fine art, flowers, and other tiny touches.

Whatever time of day or night, the amazing city carpet always memserises.

At the entrance of Asiate, a 'wall of wine' - rather like a gigantic wine rack signifies fine food and wine awaits. Above, a large shimmering sculpture of a tree branch hangs from the ceiling - an echo of Central Park's trees in winter. And on the plate? You can opt for a seven course Tasting Menu ($US125pp) or an elegant three course prix fixe for ($US85pp). Go the whole hog.
You might want to start or finish in the stylish MOBar. Sh-sh-sh. You never know who you might see. There are frequent covert sightings of movers and shakers.
Down below another world awaits: Broadway's theatres, the Lincoln Centre, 5th Avenue shopping, New York's magnificent museums and a host of stylish eateries such as Thomas Keller's Per Se  and Masa which takes its name from sushi master, chef Masa Takayama.
The Mandarin Oriental has 248 sophisticated guest rooms and 46 sumptuous suites - the latter strategically positioned at the corners of the hotel in order to maximise the dramatic floor-to-ceiling views. Whatever time of day or night, the amazing city carpet always memserises.
But of course there is that spa appointment. What shall it be? A Himalayan Salt, Sea and Chakra Therapy - the three-hour full body treatment aimed at restoring the body's balance and releasing toxins using oxygen infused boosters. Or will I opt for an Opulent Rejuvenescence - an anti-aging facial using products developed by the world-renowned Brazilian cosmetic surgeon, Ivo Pitanguy? The list goes on.
Time to chill out. If you book The Town & Country Package, you have three full-on NYC days and nights, then head out (40 min by luxury car) to Bedford Post - a delightful country house owned by Richard Gere - where you gave two nights to revive and revitalise in the Westchester countryside.
Check in:  Mandarin Oriental, New York, 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, New York, New York 10023
Ultimate Luxury:  Dining with one's beloved at Asiate overlooking THAT view .
Most Indulgent Moment: The Opulent Rejuvenessence intensive anti-aging facial in the gorgeous environs of the hotel's sumptous spa.
Insider Secrets: Keeping a watchful eye for just 'who' might drop in to MObar for a Manhattan.  
The Little Things: The little courtesies extended by the hotel staff - even calling the elevator for you. You wouldn't want to walk the full 35 floors would you.
Junior Luxies: Not really. Of course they won't be turned away. They would love the view, and perhaps a treat you can eat.
Dent in the platinum:
Maggy Oehlbeck, 10/1/12
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