Located in the north tower of the $1.7bn Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental brings Far East hospitality to America’s hottest hotel market. The Asian influence is apparent at a glance, with wood paneling, marble everywhere, and clean Zen-influenced design. And even the hotel's placement, occupying twenty stories near the top of a mixed-use skyscraper, mirrors the situation of Tokyo’s grandest luxury hotels — the Mandarin Oriental New York is directly connected to the Time Warner shopping center, and piggybacks atop office and retail spaces to maximize views of the Hudson and Central Park (though the Trump Tower edges in on the action).
This is one of the only big business hotels in New York with a contemporary look — the guest rooms are sleek, minimal, with stylish modern furniture. But the most remarkable design choice is the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling windows — corner rooms, especially, seem suspended in air high above midtown Manhattan, offering a view that’s hard to match in New York’s more traditional luxury hotels. The fittings are as modern as the furnishings, with high-speed internet, in-room laptop charging safes, and flat-screen TVs in bedrooms and bathrooms. And those bathrooms are an attraction unto themselves, with separate marble baths and enclosed showers, and, in suites, vast picture windows affording bathers views of the Hudson and the park.
The only potential drawback is the price. Upon opening, the Mandarin Oriental made headlines with the most expensive hotel suite in this already expensive city — the Presidential Suite, a palatial plate glass wonder, will set you back by the price of a modest mid-sized automobile for each night. But there’s always room at the top, and if there is a place for such an upscale hotel, New York is it. The facilities are top of the class, and the service, while perhaps less obsequious than that in the Far East Mandarins, is among the city’s best. Don't take our word — travelers vote with their dollars, and have been doing so consistently since its late 2003 opening.