Just a block from Central Park and the Whitney Museum of American Art
Rooms are luxuriously outfitted with custom Dux by Duxiana mattresses, SFERRA linens, and Diptyque toiletries
Some rooms have fireplaces, kitchenettes, and city views
Celebrated Cafe Boulud restaurant also does 24-hour room service; hotel guests receive priority seating
Bar Pleiades inspired by Coco Chanel and serves excellent cocktails
Private rooftop garden with butler service and bar on the 17th floor (seasonal)
Cornelia Spa offers customized treatments and salon services
Free Bobbin bikes to borrow
Mercedes-Benz S-Series house car for drop-offs in the neighborhood
Pets allowed (for a fee)
Free Wi-Fi is spotty
Standard Rooms don't have tubs
Rooftop garden and bar are seasonal
The Surrey is one of the most understated and luxurious hotels in Manhattan. The unassuming facade on a mostly residential (and very posh) Upper East Side street is just one block from Central Park and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Inside, the sophisticated lobby sports enormous tapestries of celebrities like Kate Moss. Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's Cafe Boulud and Chanel-inspired Bar Pleiades are open to the public, but only guests get access to the seasonal 17th floor rooftop garden and bar. The 190 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated and include ultra-luxe extras like custom mattresses and Diptyque toiletries. The most common gripe is connectivity issues with the free Wi-Fi. As a nearby luxury alternative, The Mark has a slightly more casual vibe beloved by celebrities and a restaurant by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Understated glamour and luxury for jet set tourists and celebrities
The Surrey is housed in an elegant prewar building that underwent a $60 million renovation in 2009. In lieu of the gilded-to-the-gills lobbies and extensive features you'd usually find at this price point -- not to mention the daily battalion of tourists wandering in to snap photos -- The Surrey offers a private, more intimate experience. The glamorous lobby features original art, including a floor-to-ceiling tapestry of fashion icon Kate Moss, by portrait artist Chuck Close. Hanging behind the leather-upholstered are stark black and white images from conceptual artist Jenny Holzer. The tasteful lobby includes a custom chaise lounge, plush gray sofa, and white pillar candles -- but guests tend to gather in the Coco Chanel inspired bar (with black leather quilted walls, black and white lacquer finishes, French doors, and slightly hidden nooks and crannies) or up on the guests-only rooftop garden. Most people who stay here are fashionable couples who are willing to pay for privacy and the quiet location, including celebrities like John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. Padma Lakshmi famously lived here temporarily.
Quiet and gorgeous Upper East Side location near Central Park and Madison Avenue shopping
Located on a posh residential block just one block from Central Park, The Surrey shares the street with multimillion dollar townhouses. The luxury boutiques of Madison Avenue are just around the corner (as is the Whitney Museum of American Art, one block down). While traffic on Madison Avenue and the occasional party at the Whitney can get loud, this by and large remains a quiet, sedate neighborhood in the evenings. New York doesn't get much more exclusive than this.
Two blocks from the 77th Street subway station, served by the 6 train
One block from the Whitney Museum of American Art
Less than a block from Central Park
Seven blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Midtown Manhattan is about a 15-minute walk, or a five-minute cab ride
23-minute drive to Times Square
About a 40-minute ride from LaGuardia
About a 50-minute drive to JFK International Airport
Starting at a spacious 330 square feet, salons (that's rooms in Surrey speak) are bigger than many competitor hotels and feature extraordinarily comfortable custom Dux by Duxiana mattresses topped with SFERRA linens. The occasional unusual design choice (pillows embroidered with corny poetic quotes) take the rooms down a notch, but most of the accents are tasteful and high end. Expect ebony desks with inlaid vanity trays, Bulova alarm clocks, and handsome coffee table fashion books. Deluxe Salons are corner units with windows on either side of the king-size bed. The Grand Deluxe Salons are similar, but slightly larger. Both of these units have showers only, not soaking tubs. Upgrading to a suite can offer a soaking tub, terrace, kitchenette, and/or fireplace. All units come with 37-inch flat-screen TVs, Denon iPod docks, pillow menus, and free (spotty) Wi-Fi. Minibars come stocked with Dean and Deluca snacks and treats from New York specialty purveyors: Mast Brothers chocolate from Brooklyn, Hudson Baby Bourbon, and Ommegang Abbey Ale from upstate. White-marble bathrooms feature Waterworks fixtures, Kohler toilets and sinks, and marble vanities. Glass-enclosed showers have a rainfall showerhead and a separate massaging attachment. Diptyque toiletries are a luxe perk. Evening turndown service is provided.
Most of the time it's great to have a room overlooking the Whitney Museum -- but not when the museum is hosting one of its late-night parties and you can hear the thumping music from your bed.
Mercedes-Benz S-Series, Cornelia Spa, and a fitness center
Features here are luxe. The house car, usually a Mercedes-Benz S-Series, will drop guests off for free (but drop off only, not pick up) within a 20-block radius of the hotel. It's available on a first-come-first-served basis throughout the day. There are also free Bobbin bikes to borrow for cycling through nearby Central Park. Cornelia Spa has five treatment rooms and offers massages, skin treatments, and a salon. The 24-hour free Life-Fitness-equipped has two elliptical machines, two exercise bikes, two treadmills, and three strength training machines. There’s also a full set of weights and a bench. Fitness center accessories include Molton Brown toiletries in the bathroom, thick Mascioni hand towels, and chilled bottled water, but the room overlooks an unappealing air shaft and gets little sunlight. Sessions with personal fitness trainers can be arranged. The free Wi-Fi is spotty, but faster speeds are available for purchase. Pets are allowed for a fee.
Seasonal rooftop garden, Cafe Boulud, and Bar Pleiades
The Surrey has three excellent dining outlets, though the best one is seasonal. Its 2,200-square-foot English rooftop garden with butlers serving food and drinks from the bar, is open only during the warmer months. The garden, which opened in the spring of 2010, is available only to guests and members of the hotel's exclusive patron club. When the hotel restaurant and room service are managed by world-renowned three-Michelin-star chef Daniel Boulud, you have to take advantage. Surrey guests receive priority seating at the restaurant, Cafe Boulud, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For lunch and dinner, Cafe Boulud offers appetizers, entrees, and desserts from four separate menus: classic French ("la tradition"); seasonally inspired ("la saison"); vegetarian ("le potager"); and world cuisine ("le voyage", frequently Asian-inspired). For breakfast, Boulud serves a selection of French egg dishes (eggs en cocotte, saucisson de lyon), French pastries and charcuterie, and American breakfast classics like buttermilk pancakes. Brunch is a more extravagant affair, with a choice of two entrees for a heftier price tag. For those who prefer to dine in their rooms, 24-hour room service is an abbreviated menu from the restaurant. Prices are the same, but there's a steep delivery charge and gratuity. Bar Pleiades is adjacent to the lobby, and is a dimly lit and romantic space with black leather, banquette seating, and intimate nooks and crannies. Custom cocktails are truly a thing of beauty.