Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. This week is a luxury guide to Manhattan!
A Luxury Guide to Manhattan
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re qualified to write a luxury guide to Manhattan?
Hi, everyone! I’m Natasha, a wandering soul who got the itchy feet years ago and has been traveling ever since. I am not a New York native, but I did live there to experience some of the best the city had to offer while in my twenties.
My boyfriend and I lived in a town called Riverdale in The Bronx. However, we traveled down to the Upper West Side in Manhattan any opportunity we could – which became almost daily! It is easily my favorite neighborhood in all of New York, and that’s saying something!
What makes the Manhattan a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Manhattan has some of the most beautiful, safest, and iconic streets in all of New York City. Most people know the Upper West Side as an affluent, intellectual, and cultural neighborhood. It starts at West 59th street and ends around West 110th Street, so it encompasses a very large portion of Manhattan.
You’d need days to explore it fully! There is always something to do within the large compounds of this neighborhood. In case you didn’t know Jerry from “Seinfeld” lived on the Upper West Side. Other UWS residents include Ted from “How I Met Your Mother” and Miranda and Charlotte from “Sex and The City.”
What 5-star hotel is the best in the Upper West Side?
The Mandarin Oriental New York is one of the most high-end hotels you can get in the whole city. It’s located at the top of the Time Warner Cable Center and is only one block from Central Park. All the rooms have a fantastic view of the New York City skyline. Click here for rates and availability.
What about boutique hotels in the Upper West Side? Which would you, send your friends or family to stay at?
This would have to be the Hotel Lucerne. I have never stayed here, but have always wanted to spend a weekend enjoying the area and stay here with my family and friends. The hotel is steps away from the Natural History Museum, which although touristy, is a must do in New York.
Are there any fun luxury activities for the adventurous traveler in Manhattan?
I wouldn’t say that the UWS is the adventure capital of New York City. For an active day out I suggest renting a paddle boat and cruising in Central Park. For a real adrenaline rush in New York head south about 30 blocks to W. 29th St. and fly high with the Trapeze School New York.
Where are the best hangouts during the day in Manhattan – (café, beach, or park)?
Central Park starts at 59th street and ends at 106th street. Going to Central Park is a must for anyone visiting New York City. I love coming here just to sunbathe, people watch, and do some exercises. However, there are beautiful gardens, a zoo, roller rink, ice skating rink, and, my personal favorite, volleyball courts.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Manhattan and what are their best dishes?
We always took our date nights at Kashkaval Garden on 56th and 9th. It’s a quaint restaurant that doesn’t take reservations. They specialize in tapas and Mediterranean dishes. We loved coming here to get red wine paired with a nice cheese and meat platter.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Hands down it’s Magnolia Bakery. I could eat their banana pudding all day long (and deal with the stomach ache to follow). The bakery specializes in classic American desserts.
You feel so warm and welcomed walking into Magnolia Bakery – and believe me that doesn’t always happen in New York City.
Tell us about the trendy, upscale spots in Manhattan?
Well, it’s New York City, so you can bet there are going to be some trendy spots. I loved walking around Lincoln Center, where you’ll see the world famous Metropolitan Opera. Walk around here for a night to feel like high-class royalty.
What are a couple of the best fitness salons and spas in Manhattan?
Get your sweat on is Physique 57 on Broadway. It’s beautiful and is just so “New York.” You can even see high profile celebs have been seen burning fat and pumping iron. It’s close to Central Park too, so after a workout, you can head right to the park and be one with nature.
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
Riverside Park for fantastic views over the Hudson. I love watching the sun set here. Plus you get great views of New Jersey!
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
The The Empire Hotel Rooftop located at 44 W 63rd St. has great views, a fireplace, and a fabulous bar that is a perfect place to catch up with friends.
If you end the night at a fancy club in The Upper West Side which one do you head towards?
The Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center where you can get the best jazz music all night long accompanied by soul food and drinks all around.
Natasha is a five-foot blonde that believes she was made short so she could fit in air, train, car, and bus seats comfortably while traveling. She lives out of her backpack and documents her travels on The World Pursuit. Her day usually doesn’t start until she has had at least one coffee. She has traveled to over 45 countries across 6 continents. You can find her and her partner gallivanting around the world on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Beyond this Luxury Guide to Manhattan:
- Luxury Guide to Richmond, VA
- Luxury Guide to Philadelphia
- Luxury Guide to Key West
- Luxury Guide to San Francisco
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