Easy Escapes: New York in Style

Andrea Thompson bags a luxury break to New York

Andrea Thompson bags a luxury break to the Big Apple

Why go? New York is one international destination that needs no introduction, the city that never sleeps where you can eat, shop, party and pamper yourself silly. But it’s also the big city with an even bigger heart. Go now and you can bask in the warm, fuzzy feeling bonding its citizens in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Everywhere you go you’ll hear heart-warming stories of courage and generosity…

When? Just a seven-and-a-half-hour flight away, NYC is so welcoming to Brits it should be an annual pilgrimage. Go now for some Christmas shopping and to soak up the film-style scenes as big yellow taxis weave through snow-covered streets, or book ahead for a Valentine’s Day treat when many hotels and restaurants offer special deals for lovers.

One-stop wonder: the new-look Macy’s

You really must… If shopping’s your thing, make straight for legendary Macy’s (visitmacysnewyork.com) in Herald Square (Broadway at 34th St), which is the world’s largest department store. This 110-year-old institution is home to many favourite brands from Nine West and Michael Kors to Gucci and Burberry. Its latest £250m renovation now features a sleek new Champagne lounge, the Herald Square Café, plus the biggest shoe floor in the world with over 300,000 pairs for women… To speed things up book your own free personal shopper − international visitors can also pick up a 10% discount card from the store’s Welcome Center (take ID). For sightseeing, make things easy by getting a New York Pass (newyorkpass.com) which offers fast track entry to many attractions including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Ellis Island.

Stay at: The four-star Soho Grand Hotel (sohogrand.com, doubles from £237) in SoHo, which is in the heart of the hippest, coolest part of town. A favourite stop for Sarah Jessica Parker, its 353 cossetting rooms rise up to the 17th floor and come with Egyptian cotton linen, Frette bathrobes and complimentary wifi. Down a Manhattan (what else?) in the Grand Bar then hit the surrounding streets, which are full of fabulous boutiques, galleries and restaurants – the hotel even supplies you with a daily round-up of the best designer sample sales in the neighbourhood. 

Suite dreams at the Soho Grand Hotel

Dine at: Check out new-kid-on-the-block Sotto 13 (sotto13.com), an über-cool Italian tapas bar in the West Village that mixes rustic ingredients with top-end cocktails from an award-winning mixologist. If you like peoplewatching, head for Olives by Todd English at W Hotel Union Square (whotels.com/unionsquare) which has a buzzy scene and a new open kitchen. Another hot place-to-be-seen is Jezebel (jezebelnyc.com), which buys into the current Jewish food trend with a sumptuous and totally kosher menu that includes lamb agnoletti, arctic char and other exquisite fresh fish dishes. 

Bring home: Anything electrical, which you can snap up at huge discount – the latest iPad, for example, comes in at £70 cheaper than here. Head straight for the imposing Apple store on Fifth Avenue (apple.com/retail/fifthavenue).

And so to bed… the classy way to fly to New York

Book now: Get there in style on the all-business class flights from London City airport to JFK with British Airways (ba.com/newyork). It’s a pioneering service where you can send emails, texts and use the internet while in the air, and feels very exclusive. There are just 32 seats that convert into totally flat beds, plus you’ll get an in-flight menu by award-winning chefs, Elemis toiletries, Champagne on tap and a whopping 32kg baggage allowance so you can bring back lots of NYC goodies. Another bonus on some flights is speedy immigration clearance on arrival in the US. Perfect for a special occasion, fares start at £2,520 return or book a three-night package staying at the Soho Grand from £2,739 per person, based on two sharing and travelling in January or February 2013.

Info: When you arrive, take one of the famous NYC yellow taxis into the city centre (£37), and don’t forget you’ll need a visa-style authorisation (esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta). For comprehensive information visit the rather cool website of NYC & Company, which is updated by the hour (nycgo.com).

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