Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Lowell Hotel - An Escape from First World Problems in the UES

Every December since my early teen years I’ve dashed around NYC (in teetering heels and never ideal weather), ducking in and out of black town cars without much of a glance to the cheery Christmas lights and scurrying holiday shoppers. Now that I’m at university here, December in New York has grown even more mental. 
The month commences with a whirlwind of ending classes and reading days. My grandfather rolls into town and with him comes a full agenda of meals and meetings with various people (I wish I could post photos of these, but they include some very private people, so out of respect I won't). I find myself juggling revision groups at uni with fancy dinners in Midtown, deciding last minute whether to sleep in my uni room or in a suite at the top of the Waldorf Astoria Towers. The Towers during this particular time of the year are resplendent in holiday glamour, but are also headache-inducingly busy: host to one diplomatic motorcade after another and swarming with some very serious suit-clad security details. Because holiday season is in full swing, getting from Midtown to my uni is an ordeal in itself (I try to avoid public transport at all costs, which can get pricey). All of this is concluded with sitting final exams in the third week of December and trying to squeeze in Christmas shopping that never seems to get done. By this point my suitcase is a mess, but I need to hastily reorganise and stuff Christmas presents and holiday-wear into bags to depart to wherever I'm spending the holidays that year. 

I know my situation is obnoxiously "First World Problem" worthy, but after 3 weeks, I’m always left frazzled, fighting a cold, and exhausted. Precisely why I was so thankful when my mum whisked me away to The Lowell Hotel for spot of calm away from the cold, hordes of holiday tourists, and my brutal schedule.

The Lowell is a relatively small boutique hotel tucked between stately townhouses off Madison Ave on the Upper East Side. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World group, it's luxe without being stuffy. With a wood-burning fireplace in every suite and hearty comfort food on the menu, it has a very cosy, residential feel. If you ask me, this is the perfect way to recuperate.

The Lowell has been around since the 1920s, but it's newly renovated with more modern furnishings and sparkling bathrooms. It's listed on Travel + Leisure's 10 Best Romantic Hotels in the US, and many of both my local and foreign friends count it as one of their favorite getaway spots in the city. I've been a few times now, sometimes just to satisfy a craving for the Eggs Isabella - fluffy eggs scrambled with truffle and served in-shell with caviar. The Lowell's service is top-notch: attentive without being pushy. Upon check-in, you're greeted with a handwritten note, a bottle of red, and some chocolates. The fireplace comes with a "menu" of different types of wooden logs which you can fill out and leave for a staffer, who will come and stoke the fire for you. There's real books on the shelves that are actually interesting. Pick one up (or five, if you're my professor mother) and curl up by the fire.
We ordered room service and tucked in by the fire when it was too damp and cold to leave. I plumped for pea soup and lobster one night… 

The charm of the hotel, in my opinion, lies in its boutique aspect. The lobby, like the rest of the hotel, is understated and quiet, even during the holiday rush at filled to capacity. This is a much welcome contrast compared to other hotels in the Midtown-East/UES area, like The Palace, Waldorf, and St. Regis, which have large, festively decorated lobbies that draw in bedraggled, non-guest tourists of all sorts who are hankering for a photo-op with zero regard for hotel guests. The breakfast and tea menus are little gems in their own right. In total, The Lowell is definitely worth checking out. Suites usually run around $1000 to $1500 a night, which, for the quality of service and rooms is a good deal in my book for a place in NYC. I know there are loyalty programs (certain American Express perks, for example) that can get you an upgraded room and better access to deals. 

**photos that look like they're from The Lowell website are from The Lowell website

1 comment:

  1. This hotel looks AMAZING, I'd love to just visit NYC one day xx Rebecca - UK style blog