Right around Christmastime, New York City turns into a sparkly winter wonderland, and the energy is magical!
It also happens to be the perfect time and place to celebrate with your boo. And over Thanksgiving weekend, that's exactly what I did. My husband and I spent a few days at two of the bougiest hotels in the city...and it was worth it.
Here's exactly how to do it big in the Big Apple this holiday season.
1. Stay in Fabulous Hotels
The Lowell hotel, located near Central Park, has to be one of the best in NYC. The moment I entered, the staff handed me a cold glass of champagne and treated me like the true queen that I am.
The hotel effortlessly captures the timeless elegance and fashionable vibe of Manhattan's Upper East Side with a level of hospitality that made me feel right at home. Another major draw is that they are one of the few NYC hotels that has wood burning fireplaces:
Our suite at @thelowellhotel came with a fireplace butler who infused our fire with the essential oil of our choosing!🔥We picked lavender and never felt more relaxed enjoying a glass of wine and a charcuterie plate 🤗 see room tour in stories! 🍷 #lowellloves
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Our fabulous suite came with a fireplace butler who came to light things up on demand. (What, you’ve never had one of those before?) The butler comes bearing essential oils to drop onto the fireplace wood, and makes the whole room smell like lavender (or whatever scent you choose).
Cue the bottle of wine paired with the most delicious charcuterie plate.
Bath time Christmas movie marathon 🛁 🍷 🍰 Starting with my favorite: Home Alone 2: Lost in NY. There’s something so cool about watching a movie that takes place in the city that you’re staying! 🌃@thelowellhotel #lowellloves
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Our room also had the most insane bathroom! I spoiled myself with a bubble bath and used luxe products from ddc28, which was founded by the hotel's own creative director and co-owner, Dina De Luca Chartouni. The bubbles were so soft, I felt like I was cuddled in a warm cloud. The best part is that there was a flat screen TV built into the marble bathroom. So of course, I had to watch Christmas movies while relaxing with yet another glass of vino and some sweets.
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If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, try The Knickerbocker Hotel, or The Knick, as locals call it. It’s beautiful and nestled in the heart of Times Square, close to all the action NYC has to offer. The rooms are spacious for the area but more basic than The Lowell in terms of decor.
I was so surprised at how quiet and dark the rooms were at night. I had a great night's sleep and my hair never looked better after that luxe 2 a.m. shampooing, compliments of Diptyque amenities. Their rooftop, St. Cloud, is spectacular. It has the most amazing city view and you can even peep the New Year's Eve ball! They give you warm furry blankets and have heat lamps, so you won't get too cold. Plus, I was nestled up with my mans and nothing can beat that body heat. The perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink.
2. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
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There are a few really great NYC holiday markets this time of year, including Columbus Circle, Union Square, and Grand Central. My favorite: Bryant Park. Thanks to the Urban Space Lodge, you can sample food from the city's best restaurants.
First up was traditional Polish pierogis and kielbasa from Pierogi Boys. The crunchy bacon made this whole plate phenomenal—trust me! Next, a mouth-watering short rib plate from Mayhem Sandwiches. If you’re feeling a sweet treat after, and you will be, we stopped by S'mores N'more for the most extra hot chocolate with flame-broiled marshmallows and candies of your choosing. And for the most extra dessert of all, visit The Stackery. Their chimney cake is filled with Nutella, graham cracker cheesecake whip, brûléed marshmallow, graham cracker, and Hershey's chocolate. And look how pretty it is!
First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle🥰 Having dinner inside a Christmas explosion at @rolfsny!! ✨♥️✨
A post shared by Jenna Andrews (@jennaeandrews) on Nov 27, 2019 at 1:32pm PST
Then, we headed to Rolf’s German restaurant, which is probably the most festive restaurant in the city. Pro tip: Go between lunch and dinner because the lines get long. I recommend coming here for a pre-dinner mulled wine (so yummy!) and the cheerful display that makes it feel like a Christmas destination. The bar line is shorter and the food isn't as amazing as the decor.
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If you're in the mood for Italian, make a rez ASAP for Sierra by Bierra, located on the rooftop of Eataly. Not only do they have incredible charcuterie and the most amazing calamari ya girl has ever had, but the drinks are wonderful. After I told the beverage director that I’m a rosé-in-the-afternoon kind of gal, he whipped up a drink called "La Mela," which has apple cider, apple brandy, honey and lemon juice. So refreshing! My husband got the old fashioned Affumicato, which has rye, Grand Marnier, chocolate, and angostura bitters. He said this was the best cocktail he’s ever had!
Ok who’s shopped out from some amazing Black Friday deals!? This gal 🙋🏼♀️The perfect remedy is an ice cold glass of @veuveclicquot on an igloo on the rooftop of @mrpurplenyc 🥂✨🍾✨ Shop my look: http://liketk.it/2HAQ4 @liketoknow.it
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For the most extravagant holiday experience, we visited Clicquot Chalet at Mr. Purple’s rooftop. From the moment we entered the luxe igloo, we felt instantly transported to a glitzy après ski experience. We sprawled out on their luxe furry throws and immediately ordered a bottle of bubbles. When in Rome — er, an igloo on a rooftop!
Last but not least, we checked out The Nomad Hotel Bar. Every Sunday in December, they offer their Holiday Spectacular drink menu, which includes the "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer." That one comes complete with a holiday village built atop the delicious cocktail, and is meant for sharing. CHEERS!
3. Attend a Holiday Tea
Be a Hepburn in a Kardashian World 👑The Royal Holiday Tea at @thelowellhotel is just fabulous!! The tea selection, champagne pairing, finger sandwiches and pastries + scone course (the best course!) were all TDF 💕 A true way to feel like the queen you are this holiday season ✨#lowellloves Shop my look ALL on sale! http://liketk.it/2HJd4 @liketoknow.it
A post shared by Jenna Andrews (@jennaeandrews) on Dec 2, 2019 at 2:16pm PST
This holiday season, the Lowell Hotel is offering holiday tea in their Pembroke room, which includes a champagne pairing. I chose the Brut Rosé to match my pink tweed jacket, obvi. There are three holiday tea flavors to choose from, in addition to their normal menu.
And what is tea without tea sandwiches? While I was double fisting tea and champagne, I noshed on Old Bay lobster salad as well as the traditional mini sandwiches.
4. Go Ice Skating
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There are several rinks in NYC to get your skating fix, including Rink at Rockefeller Center, The Rink at Bryant Park Winter Village, and the year-round Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. My personal favorite is the Wollman Rink in Central Park, which has spectacular views. It’s typically less crowded than nearby rinks, which is a major bonus.
5. See a Holiday Show
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To get into the holiday spirit, we visited Radio City to see the world famous Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular. The 90-minute show never gets old...and I've seen it at least five times. The show is so extra this year, with special lighting on the ceiling and songs that will get stuck in your head (in a good way).
6. Window Shop on 5th Avenue
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The best window shopping displays can be found on 5th avenue. Cartier, Barney's, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., and more go all out in December! Perhaps the most extra of them all is Saks, which every year projects the most magnificent light show onto their building. A free and fun experience for all!
7. See the Trees!
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The most famous is the Rockefeller Center Tree, and I would totally recommend seeing it if you are a first timer in the Big Apple. However, beware of the massive crowds that follow. For a less crowded and equally fabulous tree, check out The Lotte New York Palace. The tree is located at the Palace Courtyard, which you may recognize from Gossip Girl — specifically, the VDW family penthouse and Chuck Bass’s suite. It’s easy to get the perfect picture here. It's the most wonderful time of the year!
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