The summer months draw the most tourists to New York City, but we're all about visiting the Big Apple in the wintertime. Not only are prices lower and crowds fewer (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving), but the city's twinkling lights, winter festivals, and holiday trimmings make a visit even more appealing. Temperatures in NYC haven't dropped below freezing quite yet, but there will be a frosty nip in the air and flurries on the city sidewalks soon enough. To keep you entertained and toasty while visiting the Big Apple in the winter, we came up with a list of five fun ways to stay warm in New York City hotels -- but you should still pack a hat and mittens.
The Standard, East Village has a year-round outdoor garden that goes all out for the winter season. Fashionistas don their (faux) fur coats and gather in the fairytale-like garden set with twinkling lights strung from trees. Heated alpine yurts keep the cold out while guests order gruyere fondue and seasonal spiked drinks, like hot toddies. Reservations are helpful (and maybe even mandatory) on the weekends. December hosts a Christmas tree market and there are rumors of a curling rink to come in January.
WestHouse Hotel New York is well-known for providing upscale, homey experiences to guests. And what better way to spend a snowy evening than tucked into an Art Deco bar to watch an iconic movie paired with a flight of film-inspired drinks? The Den, a speakeasy-style bar, offers just that. Upcoming theme nights include Bette Davis paired with sparkling wine and Champagne, a British flick alongside Queen Elizabeth’s favorite gins, and Ava Gardner with a flight of whiskey and bourbon. Reservations are required, and the evening costs $35 per person.
Okay, so ice-skating doesn’t sound like the best way to stay warm, but you’ll work up a sweat on the street-side plaza rink emblazoned with a huge red snowflake at The Standard, High Line. The hotel’s rink is serious, with a Zamboni for smoothing the ice and a chilling machine that hardens the ice when the weather is warm. For the less athletically inclined, there’s an extended roof enclosure with heaters and spaces to hang out. Seasonal items at the beer garden include Swedish meatballs, schnitzel, and a bread and cheese volcano. Hot toddies, rum hot chocolate, and mulled wine keep things extra warm. The ice rink hosts a hockey tournament on Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m. from January through February. Keep in mind that the ice-skating rink won’t open until December 20 this year, due to warmer than expected temperatures. The rink is open to the public (for a fee, and skate rentals cost extra), but skating is free after 8 p.m. for hotel guests.
Lots of New York City hotels have fireplaces, but we especially like the hunting lodge-meets-Jazz Age glam ambience in front of the fire at The Bowery Hotel. Not only is it large enough to accommodate several guests directly in front of the roaring flames, but the lounge has an eclectic cocktail menu. Try the namesake Bowery cocktail, a floral and festive drink that combines Bulldog gin with Dubonnet and a splash of Champagne. Note that hotel guests are supposed to get the best seats (closest to the fire), so booking a room is a good idea. You’ll want to anyway, since loft-like rooms are bright, beautiful, and comfortable — plus offer New York City views through their floor-to-ceiling windows.
When the temperatures really drop and the snow is blowing, your best bet is to hide out in a spa until the blizzard passes. At the luxury ESPA Spa in The Peninsula New York, guests get free access to the aromatherapy steam room, Finnish sauna, and “experience shower.” Treatments are guided by Asian, European, and Ayurvedic philosophies, and visitors are encouraged to arrive an hour before their treatments to enjoy organic teas in the comfortable Asian tea lounge. The facility also includes a beautiful glass-enclosed heated pool overlooking the city, perfect for watching the snow come down.
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