There are two ways to get reservations at Arva and Nama, the in-house restaurants at Aman New York, which opened last fall in Manhattan’s historic Crown Building. The first is to be an owner of one of the property’s 22 condominiums; the second is to be a guest in one of its 83 hotel suites. During a recent getaway to NYC, my significant other and I had an opportunity to be the latter.
Even in a city steeped in history, the Crown Building stands out. The 26-story Beaux Arts tower was among the first skyscrapers built in Manhattan when it opened in 1921; eight years later, it became the original home of New York’s famed Museum of Modern Art.
The non-retail floors of the building were purchased in 2015 by Russian investor Vladislav Doronin, who had acquired Aman Hotel & Resorts the year prior. The property was given a stunning $1.3 billion conversion and renovation as part of a push to expand Aman’s portfolio beyond exotic locales such as Bhutan and Turks & Caicos to include big cities like Tokyo and NYC.
Ultra-luxe accommodations and a location in the heart of Midtown at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue allows Aman New York to charge room rates that start at about $2,000 per night and go much higher. Despite being at one of the busiest intersections in one of the world’s biggest cities, Aman has found a way to achieve impressive soundproofing to create an urban sanctuary. Each oversized room features a fireplace and expansive bathrooms with a soaker tub, huge walk-in rain shower, and Toto toilets.
Our extended Easter weekend getaway began with brunch at Arva. Standouts included the artfully presented French toast with bacon and the light and flavorful spelt pancakes. (Pro tip: Do your best to nab a table in the large outdoor dining area, overlooking Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co.)
Afterward, we headed outside to join throngs of New Yorkers at the city’s annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival—a celebration that dates to the 1870s—where the people-watching was out of this world. We walked south to burn off breakfast and saw many tourist hotspots, such as the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station.
For dinner, we went exploring and stumbled upon PizzArte, a tiny “new old” Italian eatery on 55th street. The flavorful pasta dishes we tried (Maccaronara all’Amatrician with classic beef ragu and Lasagna Napoletana) were so good, we returned the next day to have wood-fired pizza for lunch. We wisely chose the Ragu Napoletano, with smoked buffalo mozzarella, veal, and pork ragu, and saved room for tiramisu.
Once again, we walked off our meal—this time with a tour of Central Park, just two blocks north of the Aman. Unseasonably warm weather made the stroll and a ride on the park’s historic carousel especially enjoyable. Afterward, it was time for some R&R with a massage and swim at the hotel’s three-story spa, which includes cryotherapy chambers and an indoor pool. The fitness center is stocked with top-of-the-line equipment, including a space-age-looking infrared and vacuum treadmill in which you’re enclosed from the waist down. (Spoiler alert: I survived a 20-minute brisk walk on the contraption.)
We saved the best for last and spent our final night at Aman New York with an unforgettable dinner at Nama, the hotel’s Asian-inspired restaurant. Along with delectable sushi treats, our meal featured Lobster Uni (charcoal-grilled lobster with uni miso), A5 Miyazaki Wagyu (with shishito pepper sauce and fresh wasabi), and my favorite, Miso Black Cod.
The only disappointing thing about our stay at the Aman was that our Sunday-to-Tuesday stay didn’t afford us the chance to visit the hotel’s underground jazz club, a speakeasy that’s a nod to the Crown Building’s birth during the Prohibition era.
Nights on Broadway
Sheppard Mullin attorney Gemma Descoteaux often travels to New York for meetings in her firm’s office at 30 Rock and always tries to see a Broadway show while she’s in town. “I’m a huge theater fan,” the M&A attorney says. “I’ve seen Hamilton several times and Dear Evan Hansen is a tear-jerker, but my favorite is probably Wicked. I could see it over and over again.” Descoteaux would mostly stay at the Waldorf Astoria until it closed for renovations; she now typically opts for Essex House, as she likes having easy access to Central Park. She says she’s crazy about authentic New York-style bagels (“Shuggs on Mockingbird has the closest thing here in Dallas,” she says) and recommends Carmine’s Italian Restaurant for its homestyle fare and decadent desserts. “New York has an energy to it that makes business travel not quite as much of a beating,” she says. “It’s brighter and bolder and more everything.”