Guest Author - Julia Reed Zaic
Everybody has an opinion of where to stay in New York. I was just asked by a friend recently where she should to stay on her first trip to the city. I was temporarily speechless. Me, the travel editor, was speechless. My recommendations began to flow from my brain to my mouth, only to be stopped with my lips pursing with a “mmm?” as I thought about another option. The recommendations come in ranks from “tremendous” to “terrific” to “really good” to “alright”, with “alright” meaning “still pretty good”. The Sofitel NYC would fall right between “tremendous” and “terrific”. Winner: The Sofitel.
Of course, I am a bit biased. The Sofitel chain, as I have made very clear in my column here, is one of my favorite chains of hotels. The European classiness suits me when I travel to big cities and want to feel pampered and comfortable while traveling for business. It’s difficult enough to be away from the comfort of your own home and essentially spending your time pleasing others. Service and the way you are greeted are of the utmost importance.
You will not be disappointed when you walk through the doors of the Sofitel. The space, albeit smaller than its grand atmosphere deserves, causes your nerves to begin repairing from the fray of travel. The atmosphere is one that does not change whether it is night or day, the lighting is dim and calming, and candles and mood lighting take over. Massage? Table for one? No, you are not in a spa despite the tricks played upon your eyes, skin and brain. Upon arriving at this 45 West 44th Street location, after riding in a bustling bumpy cab, please resist assuming the lotus position and meditating in the lobby. People will stare, and as pleasant as the staff is, you will be asked to move.
So, move through the lobby to the check-in desk and don’t get dizzy staring up that circular staircase you will pass. It looks like a stairway to the upper echelons of a mansion. Past the lobby you will see a set of more modest stairs down to the resident restaurant, Gaby’s, with traditional French dishes and some Asian inspired cuisine. Fusion, at its finest, even if you are not a fan of “fusion” in your mouth.
The rooms at the Sofitel NYC are sizeable for New York, approximately 325-400 square feet of comfort for the standard room. That is one of the absolute best features of the Sofitel chain that has drawn me back over and over. The bathrobes, the slippers, the toiletries…the luxury…the class.
Once you’ve unpacked, and if you have some time to yourself, spend a few moments with the concierge. He/she will lead you in the right direction no matter what your needs or desires require. Forget to get a manicure or not time to have your hair cut before you left? Ask them where to go to remedy the situation. They are there to offer more than a good restaurant recommendation. However, let me pass on one of the best tips offered by the concierge that I’ve ever received. Dinner at Vento. It’s wonderful for casual business dinners.
However, the location of the Sofitel is another one of the advantages and joys of staying there. It is within walking distance of Times Square, or running distance to Central Park, if that is more your cup of tea. It is also reasonably close to the subways and buses if you prefer public transportation to cabs.
As wonderful as Gaby’s is, if you would like to venture out for dinner, you can walk across the street to Saju. Saju is a lovely French bistro that serves champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass, and has rounds of hard-boiled eggs to snack on at the bar. It also offers the type of French food that may be a bit adventurous to those to whom eating traditionally French food may not be that appealing, but for those of you who do , or for European travelers visiting New York, enjoy! The bar/seating area at the front of the restaurant is especially comfortable in the spring and fall with the open doors/windows onto the street.
Of course the prices for the Sofitel are always based on your level of flexibility. If your business travel plans can change at a moment’s notice, opt for the Flex+ nightly rate, which will allow the most flexibility with changes and cancellations. The Flex (not Flex+) nightly rate allows for less opportunity to change or cancel, but is a cheaper option and still allows some flexibility. When your plans are firm and you know there will be no changes, there are significantly discounted rates available with no changes or cancelations permitted.
For more information on the background of the Sofitel chain, including loyalty program, please visit Sofitel Philadelphia.
For your convenience, rooms at the Sofitel NYC can be booked here: