Along with spring, there’s a buzz in the air in New York City, as evolving restrictions have allowed for the (albeit still limited) reopening of some bars, indoor dining venues, gyms, movie theaters and more. That hopeful feeling can be found in the hospitality industry, as well, as many hotels—most closed since March 2020—have reopened or announced plans for their eventual comebacks. In a city where residents regularly patronize local hotels—whether for the restaurants and bars or for staycations—and for an industry that has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, it’s been a welcome sight to see these old friends open their doors again. (And there’s more good news on the horizon, with brand-new hotels like the Aman New York set to open later this year.)
While not all of the city’s top hotels have reemerged quite yet (the iconic Four Seasons Hotel New York in midtown, for example, does not yet have a date in place), those that are opening are doing so with a host of upgraded cleaning and safety protocols in place, from temperature checks and mask requirements to making mini-bars and nightly turndown available upon request. With some personalized services on hold because of social distancing, and indoor dining and drinking still restricted, the luxury experience may feel a little different now, but some fun new things have been added, too, including new suites, wellness offerings and city activities. Here is the latest on 12 luxury favorites that are or will soon be ready to check you in.
Mandarin Oriental New York
Reopened: April 1
Closed for about a year, this Columbus Circle skyscraper hotel is now once again treating guests to its spectacular Central Park and skyline views. You can take them in from the 244 rooms and suites—the latter including spacious corner real estate with wraparound vistas—as well as from the 35th-floor lobby level MO Lounge, which is currently serving a light all-day menu. Even the spa treatment rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, so you’ll feel like you’re floating above the city while getting pampered; try the 80-minute Inner Strength massage which, with its focus on easing physical and emotional stress, is particularly well suited to this time. Guests can also relax in the 75-foot lap pool and work out in the gym.
What’s Available: In-room dining is available until 9pm or 9:30pm daily, as is service in the MO Lounge; menus can be accessed by QR code to limit the need for paper. The fitness center, pool and spa are available by appointment. Housekeeping and turndown are done daily, or based on the guest’s preference.
Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown
Reopened: November 2020
Closed for eight months in 2020, this Financial District-area Four Seasons—younger sister to the classic Four Seasons farther uptown—started welcoming guests back on November 30. Both during the closure and since reopening, the hotel has made several enhancements and introduced new programs, including launching a membership-based health and wellness club designed for locals and frequent guests (separate from the gym and spa), offering a street art and graffiti photography tour and creating an experience in conjunction with the Princeton Longevity Center. (An infrared sauna was also added to the spa but is currently closed because of Covid regulations.) The Royal Suite was redone by British interior designer Tara Bernerd and relaunched as the Empire Suite, complete with a $25,000-per-night Empire Suite Experience that includes helicopter airport transfers, custom Duke + Dexter loafers, designer pajamas and more.
What’s Available: In-room dining is available 24 hours a day, while Cut by Wolfgang Puck is open for dinner five days a week. The spa is taking appointments, and reservations are required to use the fitness center and pool. Housekeeping will service rooms daily (when the guest is out of the room), while turndown and mini-bar refills are upon request.
Baccarat Hotel New York
Reopened: October 2020
Among the first of New York’s luxury hotels to reopen last year, Baccarat Hotel New York has been operating in an adapted manner since October, offering things like in-room afternoon tea (including a special kid’s version) and access to the gym and pool by appointment. The Spa de La Mer is open to both hotel and outside guests; anyone who books a service enjoys access to one of the pool’s private cabanas for one hour. Holiday packages—including one for Mother’s Day—are also available, and come June, the much-loved Grand Salon is set to make its return.
What’s Available: In-room dining is available all day, while mini-bar items can be brought to the room upon request. The Grand Salon is slated to reopen in June for all-day dining and signature afternoon tea service. The spa, gym and pool are available by appointment. Housekeeping times can be arranged based on the guest’s preference.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
Reopening: June (exact date to be announced)
This elegant midtown hotel is set to reopen this summer, just in time for guests to take advantage of the prime location across the street from Central Park. Details are still light on what will be available when the doors open—no word yet on whether the La Prairie Spa will be back then, for example, or what kind of in-door dining might be offered—but we do know that guests will be able to enjoy room service. The hotel had just revealed the last phase of its redesign before Covid struck, so those that check in now will find fresh, vibrant spaces filled with New York City-inspired artwork.
What’s Available: Room service; details about the reopening of the lounge, bar, spa and gym are still to come.
The Langham, New York
Reopened: The hotel has not closed during the pandemic.
Unusual among the New York City’s luxury hotel landscape, the Langham never closed—not even for a day—after Covid hit and instead operated at a reduced capacity throughout 2020. Maybe because of that strategy, the hotel also has some stringent protocols in place (such as noting an arriving guest’s travel history), as well as some generous rebooking policies. Things are starting to feel a bit more normal now, however, particularly with the Michelin-starred Ai Fiori restaurant opening for limited indoor dining. Room service is also available, and several of the rooms have kitchens for those who would like to cook or order-in. The hotel also took advantage of the slower months to refresh its Terrace Suites, each of which has a large, furnished outdoor space bordered by lush greenery. To appeal to the new reality of people traveling with their social “bubbles,” the just-launched Terrace Trio on Fifth package allows you to connect three terrace suites on the fifth floor to make one large outdoor space on which the hotel will organize activities such as yoga, a dance workout and cocktail-making classes. The package, which accommodates up to eight guests, also includes a guided architecture tour and a harbor tour on a private yacht.
What’s Available: In-room dining is available daily until 4pm, and the Ai Fiori restaurant is open for indoor dining from Wednesday to Sunday. The guest services team is on-hand to organize customized experiences both in the city and at the hotel (such as private yoga on your room’s terrace). The fitness center is currently closed because of city restrictions but is expected to reopen soon; until then, a few rooms have been set up as private gyms and are available to book or as part of a package. No plans have been announced regarding the fate of the spa, which is also currently closed. Housekeeping and turndown are available upon request.
The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel
Reopened: November 2020
Since making its debut in 1930, the Carlyle has seen a lot of things—and now a pandemic can be added to that list. Thankfully, the Upper East Side grande dame has emerged unscathed and began welcoming overnight guests back in November. Room renovations that had been ongoing since 2018 were put on hold for a bit last year, right after the hotel closed in March, but recommenced over the summer and are set to be completed by this fall—though original designer Dorothy Draper’s Art Deco style, the individual décor of the specialty suites and other signature elements aren’t going anywhere. Most exciting of all is this week’s announcement that the legendary Bemelmans Bar will re-open on May 11, complete with a schedule of live music; for the first time in the bar’s 75-year history, reservations can be made online and are strongly encouraged, as seating capacity has been decreased. The Gallery lounge, serving a limited menu, and in-room dining will also resume in May; dates are still to be set for the reopening of the Carlyle Restaurant, Café Carlyle and the spa, though the third-floor hair salon is taking appointments.
What’s Available: At the moment, guests can order a boxed continental breakfast in the mornings, but a full room service menu will be available starting in May, along with dining at the Gallery and drinks, snacks and entertainment at Bememlans Bar. The small gym is available by appointment; space is limited to two guests at a time, and half an hour is blocked off between guests to ensure proper cleaning. The Yves Durif hair salon is open to both hotel and outside guests.
The Peninsula New York
Reopening: June 1
Art will abound when this Fifth Avenue favorite reopens in June, including 20 pieces—ranging from photographs to textiles—selected for the public spaces, in addition to new works by Dutch artist in residence Peter Riezebos created for some of the rooms and suites. (One suite will become Riezebos’s studio.) The hotel is also planning a host of fun programming, such as a female DJ series at the Salon de Ning bar (happening every Thursday night in June and July) and offering traditional Chinese moon cakes for sale in August and September. Also new is the range of sustainable and 99.9-percent plastic-free guest room amenities, while services like Peninsula Time—which allows guests to check in and out at any time of the day or night—and flexible cancellation policies are particularly welcome at this time.
What’s Available: Room service will be available until 9pm until September 7, then for 24 hours a day after that. Salon da Ning will be open Wednesday to Saturday, from 5pm to midnight. Guests have 24-hour access to the gym (social distancing measures are in place), and reservations are required to use the pool, which is open daily. The spa—considered one of the best in the city—will reopen this fall.
Andaz 5th Avenue
Reopened: September 2020
Bryant Park, Grand Central Station and the main branch of the New York Public Library—where the iconic lion statues are currently sporting masks—are all just steps away from this minimalist retreat on Fifth Avenue, which reopened in September. Views of the library and the Empire State Building can be enjoyed from many of the rooms, including the seven Wellness Suites launched in March. Each of those new suites comes with an oversize bathtub, healthy complimentary mini-bar, the Mirror on-demand virtual gym, workout equipment, a specially crafted AirWeave mattress and other wellness-focused amenities, as well as the services of a wellness concierge. The restaurant may be closed, and the hotel’s usual roster of in-house events is on hold, but you’ll still find fun elements like seasonal installations by local artists.
What’s Available: Room service is available all day (and is delivered take-out-style, keeping social distancing in mind), and a selection of complimentary mini-bar items—as well as masks and hand sanitizer—is available in the lobby. The fitness center is also open. No date has been set yet for the reopening of the restaurant.
Park Hyatt New York
Reopened: April 1
Following its closure last March, this gleaming tower on West 57th Street is now welcoming guests back to its sleek and serene rooms, all of which have views for days. While notable facilities like the Spa Nalai and Living Room restaurant and lounge are not yet back (the plans is to reopen them in the coming months), the hotel has introduced new perks like two hours of complimentary bike rentals for each guest; the concierge team is on hand to help organize that and other city adventures. Locals can take advantage of the new Office for the Day program, which gives you access to a guest room—as well as the gym and pool—from 7am to 7pm.
What’s Available: While the restaurant is currently closed, room service is available until 9:30pm daily. The fitness center—known for its great views—is open 24 hours a day, and the heated indoor saltwater pool is open daily until 9:30pm (reservations are required and swims are limited to 45 minutes.) All rooms and suites are equipped with masks and hand sanitizer, and no-contact check-in is available upon request.
The Pierre, a Taj Hotel
Reopened: September 2020
In addition to serving as a hotel for 90 years, this Fifth Avenue landmark has been home to a number of co-op residents since the 1960s. So even though it closed to outside guests for six months in 2020, it kept a team of 80 staffers on hand to attend to those homeowners and implement new safety protocols. The rest of us have been able to go back since September to enjoy the elegant, light-filled rooms and suites, as well as new programming, such as concierge-crafted city itineraries and access to complimentary e-books and audio books curated by literary consulting company Bedside Reading. A renovation of the historic Grand Ballroom will be unveiled this fall, and other plans are in the works to celebrate the hotel’s 90th birthday this year. Room service came back on April 2, and the Perrine restaurant is aiming to reopen soon with outdoor seating overlooking Central Park.
What’s Available: Room service is currently available for breakfast and lunch. The Perrine restaurant is slated to reopen soon (no official date has been announced).
The St. Regis New York
Reopening: June (exact date to be announced)
Opened by John Jacob Astor in 1904, and declared an official city landmark in 1988, this St. Regis was the birthplace of the now-global brand and has set the standard for many of its signature offerings and services, such as St. Regis’s dedication to the Bloody Mary, which was created at this location’s King Cole Bar. It’s unclear at the moment how many of those services (or the King Cole Bar itself) will be available when the hotel reopens in June, as decisions have yet to be made regarding the restaurants and other public facilities. What is known is that guests will be able to enjoy all 171 rooms and 67 suites—including the designer suites crafted by such names as Dior, Tiffany and Bentley—and that touch-free services such as mobile check-in and check-out will be available through the Marriott Bonvoy app.
What’s Available: In-room dining—and that’s all we know for now.
The Plaza Hotel
Reopening: May 20
Some may say that it’s not New York City without the Plaza Hotel—so it’s surely a sign of better days ahead that the landmark will be back on the scene in May. A thorough deep cleaning and regular maintenance has kept the “castle on Central Park” in good shape during the 14-month closure, so returning guests should expect the same level of elegance in the 282 rooms and suites, which include a number of bi-level Legacy Suites and apartment-style One-of-a-Kind Suites with park views. The signature Palm Court—site of many an afternoon tea and after-work drink—will also reopen at the same time, as will the Guerlain Spa. There’s no word yet on when the Champagne Bar, Rose Club lounge, gourmet food hall or other dining venues will return to truly make this icon complete.
What’s Available: Meals can be enjoyed at the Palm Court or via room service. The fitness center will be operating under social distancing protocols, and the Guerlain Spa will be open by appointment.