Whether you think of it as the capital of the world, the Big Apple or that 'concrete jungle where dreams are made', New York has a place in the imagination and hearts of everyone. This is GTW's guide to the best of the city
LE PARKER MERIDIEN - GTW choice
This exceptional luxurious hotel has a fantastic midtown location, 731 spacious rooms and suites and breathtaking views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. A real cut above most chain hotels, all areas have been inventively developed to provide guests with something out of the ordinary. The spa is a mysterious maze of corridors and relaxing, darkened rooms with a cocoon-like feel and Moroccan-inspired decoration. The gym is a spacious area packed with dozens and dozens of all the latest equipment and machines, while the basement has a chic hairdressing salon and modern coffee shop. The soaring ceilings and vast mirrors of the lobby create an aweinspiring entrance, and contrast delightfully with the cosy reds, leather seating and wood panels of the ground floor bar. Guests wanting to see even more of the views can travel up to the top floor, where the elegant swimming pool looks out over the vista.
THE LIBRARY HOTEL
As the name suggests, books feature heavily here. The Library Hotel offers an amazing array of complimentary extras, including newspapers, internet and a 'Reading Room' with drinks, cookies and fruit.
LANGHAM PLACE, FIFTH AVENUE
newyork.langhamplacehotels.com Exceptional luxury in the very heart of the Big Apple, including a Michelin-starred restaurant.
World-famous hotel with personalised service, as starry and high-class as it gets.
THE GREENWICH HOTEL
For a more intimate atmosphere and experience, Robert de Niro's hotel in trendy TriBeCa feels serene and a real escape from the frenetic pace outside.
NEW YORK PASS
Created by locals, this is a card which can save tourists big bucks when used correctly. It gets users entry to more than 80 attractions, so the more you visit, the more you save.
A booklet of tickets that saves 42% on admission to six key New York City attractions.
NEW YORK EXPLORER PASS
This saves up to 45% off combined gate prices and has flexibility, so users can choose the sights they most want to visit.
SAXON + PAROLE
A completely charming, stylish venue with homemade pastries and bread, and a fantastic brunch menu including their 'Big BLAT': bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato, toasted 7-grain bread, smoked paprika mayo with a fried egg. A tempting DIY Bloody Mary bar allows customers to mix bespoke tipples according to preferences.
On the ground floor of Le Parker Meridien hotel, this is something akin to a luxury diner. Vast servings of delights such as 'Chocolate Decadence French Toast' with strawberries, pistachios and Valrhona chocolate sauce are complemented by constant refills of freshly squeezed orange juice and shots of the 'smoothie of the day'.
Hidden away at the back of a wonderful delicatessen selling rare foodie treats from around the world, the café at Gastronomie 491 serves a perfect brunch menu, accompanied by excellent coffee and lovely, friendly service.
GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT
In contrast to New York's many huge, modern restaurants, Good Enough to Eat is a charming neighbourhood café with a country-style interior. Buzzing with locals, GETE offers an extensive menu of typical American brunch favourites, all perfectly cooked and presented.
GRAY LINE BUS TOURS
An open-top double decker service, Gray Line never responded to our enquiries, so we were unable to find out anything more. TripAdvisor reviews suggest that they may be marginally better than CitySights. It is clear that there is a huge opening in NYC for a professional hop on, hop off sightseeing bus, such as most capital cities in the world manage without much trouble.
CIRCLE LINE 42 - GTW choice
Various harbour cruises showing off New York from a different angle. Options include the 'Liberty Cruise', visiting the Statue of Liberty.
And one to avoid…
These open-top bus tours have guides full of character and city knowledge, so it is a real shame to see the extent to which they are let down by their employer. This claims to be a 'hop on, hop off' service, but good luck if you attempt to use it as such. The stops are so poorly signed, and the leaflets (if you were lucky enough to get one, as the buses rarely have any left) so poor at explaining where the stops are, that you will spend frustrating wasted hours wandering round the back streets of Harlem, for example, attempting to find the stop. If you actually manage to find a stop, the chances that buses are running on that loop at that particular hour are slim, since certain areas are only covered at certain times. If you are exceptionally lucky and a bus comes along, there is a high probability that it will be full and will simply speed past leaving you stranded. The one item you'll be clinging to in the hope of it saving you is their precious leaflet, if you've managed to source one; unfortunately, schoolchildren would be able to design it better, since large chunks of information are missing, the same bus loop is called different things in different places, and they have been unable even to properly colour code each bus loop and then use a corresponding colour on the map.
THINGS TO DO
There are just too many to mention … but make sure you don't miss these:
HIGH LINE - GTW choice
A less well-known treasure, the High Line is built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets. An oasis of plants and flowers, this mile long walkway heads right through the city and among the buildings but has an air of peaceful countryside.
GOING TO THE TOP OF THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER
New York's best views, bar none.
You could spend an entire holiday exploring this gem without getting bored. Avoid the horse-drawn carriages and explore on foot.
For an authentic New York experience, rub shoulders with locals at a New York Yankees baseball game in the Yankee Stadium. The fans around you are usually delighted to give you a crash course in what is happening on the field.
The brash, colourful, manic centre of world capitalism is every bit as overwhelming, frantic and amazing as expected. Stand on the steps in the centre, and you really do feel as though you're at the centre of the universe.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
Famous from iconic films, this remains an awe-inspiring space with a stunning galaxy ceiling and old-fashioned charm.
WORLD TRADE CENTER /9/11 MEMORIAL
Don't miss seeing how New York is recovering from 9/11. The twin reflecting pools, sitting on the footprint of where each tower stood, are each nearly an acre in size. The names of everyone who died are inscribed on the bronze panels round the side.
America's answer to London's West End, a Broadway show is an essential New York experience.
You can't leave New York without a trip to Bloomingdale's and Macy's, at the very least. Pop by Tiffany's too, even if only to peer through the windows…
Chef Daniel Boulud's renowned restaurant has no less than three Michelin stars and almost universal praise and admiration in the industry. The dining room is elegant and classy, the service gracious and refined, and the food as good as it gets.
Reminiscent of a Parisian bistro, Artisanal showcases the creativity and passion of Chef- Proprietor Terrance Brennan, who adds modern and inventive twists to classic French bistro food. A cheese cave at the back of the dining room houses some of the world's finest artisanallymade cheeses, where they are aged to optimum ripeness and peak flavour.
THE LEOPARD AT DES ARTISTES
Southern Italian cuisine in a dining room with renovated historical murals and huge paintings on every wall.
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
Founded in 1866, you could quite easily explore the collections here for weeks without seeing everything.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Perhaps the most influential museum of modern art in the world, MoMA has an exceptional collection of modern and contemporary art in many different formats.
As famous for the Frank Lloyd Wright designed building as for the contents, this architectural icon is a cultural and educational centre as well as an art museum.
LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM
An intimate and fascinating exploration of the stories of the immigrants who came from all over the world and ended up comprising the population of New York City.
NEW YORK DISTILLING COMPANY: THE SHANTY - GTW choice
Tucked away in a little street in Brooklyn, with just a small interior and bar, the fact that The Shanty is packed out with customers night after night is testament to the truly exceptional quality of the drinks. With a glass viewing window overlooking the stills and pipes of the distillery itself, the team here prides itself on caring deeply about the quality of the drinks, discarding freshly mixed cocktails unless they are absolutely spot on. The glorious cocktail menu features their own distilled spirits, specially selected favourites from around the world and intriguing bitters. Do not leave New York without heading here and trying 'Up in Smoke': Mezcal, lime, Velvet Falernum, Parfait Amour, Doc's Cider Reduction, Bittermen's Mole Bitters, and Prosecco.
The soaring ceilings and huge walls here are regularly used for various art displays and projections. Customers can enjoy Southeast Asia tapas alongside the cocktails, which include a highly-rated Hanoi Lychee Martini.
BOOKER AND DAX
Available for private parties as well, this bar offers cocktail classes for those who want to learn the secrets behind their delicious drinks.
MILK AND HONEY
With hand-hewn ice cubes and a host of 'World's Best Bar' awards, Milk and Honey has a branch in London as well if you want to try it out closer to home.
The buzzing and busy lounge downstairs has an inventive cocktail menu which is split into world regions and features a fine selection of spirits from around the globe.