An Empire State of Mind

by Louise, Community Manager

Now famous for its prominent role as the home of the Bass family on the popular TV show Gossip Girl, the Empire Hotel, and its iconic sign, has actually been a staple of New York City’s Upper West Side for many years. I had occasion to visit the hotel last week for the very first time, and it made me wish I didn’t already live in New York City so that I could spend a weekend at the Empire without it being a rather strange thing to do.

The luxurious lobby of the Empire features a multitude of comfortable couches and armchairs where you can enjoy a drink from the lobby bar and some free wireless internet, or just watch the people come and go. There is balcony level seating that offers more privacy and a view of the entry way: the perfect spot to curl up with a glass of good wine and catch up on your e-mails after a day of New York sightseeing.

The Empire’s guest rooms are well-appointed and comfortable, with divine bedding and an excellent selection of mini bar snacks, and rooms boast an amazing view of the city – especially the King and Double Double rooms on the North side of the building (check out the view in my photo to the right! Also, if you have a large family there is an option to reserve one room with a king bed, one room with two double beds, and a “living room” in the middle with a couch, TV, table and chairs, and an additional bathroom – effectively creating yourself a two bedroom, three bathroom apartment for your trip. And if you’ve ever traveled with a large family, I’m sure you can imagine how much more harmonious a third bathroom can make your trip!

The awesomeness of the Empire doesn’t end at the guest rooms, though. Some of the hotel’s best features are right at the top! The Empire Rooftop Bar is a scene year-round, with bottle service and music every night, and you’ll often find a long line to get in. The views are tremendous and the cocktails delicious. If, like me, you’re not into the serious party scene, check it out during Happy Hour early in the evening when the drinks are cheaper and you can enjoy the view in quieter surroundings.

To be totally honest, the bar is not my favorite part of the Empire rooftop. There is an even higher section of the bi-level roof and here you’ll find the pool and the unbelievably awesome pool deck. The pool is modestly sized (but come on, you’re swimming on a roof! In Manhattan!) but in my opinion, the deck is the real star of this section of the Empire (and possibly the hotel in general). When you’re a guest at the Empire you are welcome to spend an afternoon lounging in a deck chair with a phenomenal view of Manhattan, basking in the sun and sipping a cocktail. Try as I might, I can’t think of many ideas for an afternoon more awesome than that.

Of course, the location of the Empire is amazing as well, with Central Park a few blocks east, Lincoln Center a block or so north, the Time Warner Center and Columbus Circle a short walk south, and all of Manhattan at your fingertips. It’s a fine choice for your New York City trip! Check out our Girlfriend Getaway package featuring the Empire, or e-mail info@newyorkguest.com to get a quote for a customized package!

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