The Upper East Side is classic New York City. You have your stately brownstones dotting the streets. Established restaurants and fine boutiques blanket Madison and Park avenues. Residents walk their dogs with nary a care in the world. All of this and you’re not a 10-minute walk from Central Park, the Guggenheim or a Metro station.
When you look carefully along East 76th Street, you’ll spot The Surrey, sitting as unassumingly as possible at the corner of sophistication and seclusion. Yes, there’s signage outside the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, but there’s also an air of exclusivity about the restored 89-year-old building. When a doorman nods at you upon entry, you know that you’ve found the right place.
It’s almost as if this slither of the city knows nothing about traffic jams and crowded sidewalks. And if The Surrey has its way, it’ll remain like that. That’s one of the reasons we love staying here. But it’s far from the only…
A massive Chuck Close tapestry of supermodel Kate Moss staring at you when you cross the main threshold sets an initial tone of elegance. The public space’s generous use of marble and calming blacks and grays help to make it feel as if you’ve walked into a chic friend’s dinner party. That same sensation is felt inside the 189 rooms and suites. Some units are decked out in hand-painted wardrobes, sitting areas and fireplaces. Bigger spaces come with sleeper sofas and private terraces. All of them feature brown leather office chairs, huge mirrors, glass-enclosed showers and Duxiana beds you’ll melt in after a day of sightseeing. But even with these designer touches, nothing ever feels overstated or forced — not even headboards that nearly stretch to the ceiling.
Attention To Detail
We don’t know if The Surrey did its homework on us through LinkedIn or Facebook beforehand, but when we got to our room, the coffee table was covered in this writer’s favorite kind of literature — sports magazines. You could shrug off the spot-on choice in periodicals as a fluke, but that wouldn’t be wise. Too many other instances prove that the Upper East Side hotel is just that intuitive about the modern traveler. When you go to the newly equipped gym, for instance, guests in need of earbuds during their workout are afforded a complimentary pair nice enough to be sold in Best Buy. The Cornelia Spa carries on this theme of attentiveness with a floral-carpeted lobby and five olive- and tan-hued treatment rooms and suites. The serene setting makes for a perfect backdrop for your 90-minute, knot-releasing Elixirs of Life service.
As previously mentioned, The Surrey’s address assures that you never have to want for much of anything, especially when it comes to dining. Even with so many options a short cab ride away, though, the tastiest choice might actually be on property at Café Boulud New York. Those familiar with Daniel Boulud’s French kitchen know exactly what to expect from the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended eatery. Folks new to the renowned chef’s take on saffron mussels velouté or terrine de foie gras will be overjoyed by the experience. Next to the restaurant sits Bar Pleiades, a quaint space that evokes Coco Chanel with its black and white lacquer touches, jazz-filled Friday nights and head bartender Darryl Chan’s classic cocktails. And now that New York is finally getting with the program with its weather, The Surrey will reopen its private roof garden on May 15, giving you a chance to take in the glorious 17th-floor views while sipping on muddled lemonade and noshing on Café Boulud’s light bites.