What is it? Park Hyatt's ultra-swanky flagship occupies the first 25 of the 90 floors in a new midtown Manhattan skyscraper. Located across the street from the Russian Tea Room, steps from Carnegie Hall and a skip and a hop from Central Park, the building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc. The hotel interiors are by hospitality gurus Yabu Pushelberg and the women's uniforms by minima-list fashion god Narciso Rodriguez (the men's outfits are immaculately cut custom suits from luxury department store Barneys). This property, decorated with high-calibre art by the likes of Sigmar Polke, Rob Fischer and Richard Serra, screams luxury, refinement and expense accounts from every gleaming surface.
What might I find in the rooms? Geometric patterns everywhere: on the rugs, duvet covers and faceted room screens, even etched on shower and toilet cabinet glass doors. Beds are moreish, the marble bathrooms beautifully appointed and the floor-to-ceiling windows look out over 57th Street and Carnegie Hall or, in some cases, offer midtown panoramas or long vistas into the park. Windows open - even on the 19th floor - which is more liberating than it might sound. Once you've stopped looking at the many things there are to marvel at, you'll notice the bathroom comes with exclusive-to-Park-Hyatt-New-York Le Labo toiletries. Characterful touches in the living areas include an upright leather trunk that doubles as a safe and a personal bar stocked with loads of quirky - not to mention expensive - items, such as truffle-infused crisps from Spain, Krug champagne and licorice and fennel gum.
Is it a good place for foodies? The hotel's American grill, The Back Room at One57, is of the impeccably presented and well-turned out variety, with steak, rib-eyes and Maine lobster featuring high on the menu. Everything ingestible, including the wines and coffee, is of a very high standard but the atmosphere in the restaurant is somewhat bland, despite the professional and affable staff. There's something about the rather sombre room (dark drapery, dark-brown tables, black-leather banquettes and dark wood panelling) and the lack of daylight (or uplighting) that doesn't quite work, and the generic hotel music further detracts from what should be a highly memorable gourmet experience. Things are livelier at The Living Room (above), where glinting, faceted screens create cosy nooks and niches in a bar that seems to draw its cultural cachet from Carnegie Hall, clearly visible through its windows.
What can I do in my downtime? Hang out on the 25th floor, in the pinch-yourself gorgeous Spa Nalai, duh. The pool (above) has triple-height, floor-to-ceiling views that would do wonders for a jet-lagged brain. The complex has a hydrotherapy tub and steam room, and comfortable lounge chairs. The spa proper has a beautifully ethereal vibe in the daytime, courtesy of generous glazing, and six treatment cabins, each with its own outdoor terrace as well as a bathroom and shower area (it's that home-from-home thing again). Treatments range from the innovative (one signature product involves a warm sand quartz bed) to the opulent (a series of experiences are "on loan" for one season from Park Hyatts around the world), although a few are on the pricey side. Once you've been revived to within an inch of your life, head out … this is New York, buddy!
The advance hype was phenomenal. Does Park Hyatt New York live up to expectations? It has nailed the service and friendliness, as well as the glamorous but approachable look and feel of some of the world's best hotels. If the restaurant were a little less sterile - and attracted less of a business clientele - the hotel could be truly great. Oh, and reducing the wattage on the illuminated wavy canopied entrance would be a welcome move. Arriving at night is a bit like walking through an operating theatre. Surely not the intended effect!
What's the damage? Rooms start at US$795 and rise to US$1,495 a night for a suite with a panoramic, West Side view and US$3,000 for a suite with a terrace and view of Central Park. For more information, visit newyork.park.hyatt.com.