Story and photography by Melanie Votaw
365 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
The Hotel Giraffe is a small luxury boutique property in New York City located on Park Avenue South at the corner of 26th Street. This is a great location that is within walking distance of Grand Central Station, Pennsylvania Station and Madison Square Garden, Gramercy Park, and Union Square. Opened in 1999, the hotel is one of the four luxury HK Hotels in the city.
The property has 73 guestrooms, of which 21 are suites, and only seven rooms on each floor. All rooms have 10-foot high ceilings and are smoke-free. My suite contained French doors that opened onto a Juliet balcony overlooking Park Avenue South with a shade operated by push button and covered by red sheer curtains. The living area contained a couch, chairs, tables, widescreen LCD television, stereo system with CD player, DVD player, MP3 dock, and cordless dual-line speakerphone with data port and voicemail.
Across from the bathroom was a minibar, and the room had ample closet space containing a safe, bathrobe, slippers, iron, and ironing board. The bedroom included a desk, a very comfortable bed with fine Egyptian cotton linens, and a separate thermostat from the living area. It was a much larger suite than you usually find in Manhattan where space is at a premium, and you can choose between a king sized bed, queen sized bed, or two double beds. Many hotels in New York do not have rooms with two beds, so this is a special advantage at the Hotel Giraffe. There are even a few two-bedroom suites available.
The personnel at the reception desk, who speak a variety of languages, were very friendly and helpful when I arrived. Without my having to ask, they explained WiFi access to me, which is complimentary and hassle-free with no codes to enter. A computer station is available in the lobby, however, if you don’t want to bring a laptop.
Because Hotel Giraffe is small, there is no gym or restaurant on the premises, but the hotel maintains a relationship with the nearby New York Sports Club, offering club passes to guests. The property also maintains a partnership with Park Avenue Bistro, which is two doors down. The bistro provides in-room dining for hotel guests, although there are numerous restaurants just steps from the hotel in all directions. The hotel has a relationship with Oasis Day Spa as well, which is just a few blocks away.
Monday through Saturday, there is a wine and cheese reception in the lobby from 5:00-8:00 p.m. with live piano music. This is complimentary to guests. Refreshments are available 24 hours a day, and a complimentary European style breakfast is served in the lobby in the mornings.
Bottled water and daily newspapers are included with the room rate, and there is evening turndown service. There is a long list of enhancements that you can arrange with the concierge, including airport transportation, valet service, theatre tickets, shopping suggestions, party foods and supplies, roses, liquor, and sweets. Some of these enhancements are available online when you book your room, so you can arrange them easily before your arrival.
One of Hotel Giraffe’s main features is its rooftop garden which contains a large sculpture of a giraffe. The garden is small but lovely and caters to a lot of small weddings for which the hotel offers special packages that also often utilize the adjacent 1,300-square foot Penthouse Piano Suite. This suite, which was featured in the film, Sex and the City, as Mr. Big’s apartment, has 26-foot vaulted barrel ceilings, a working fireplace, a grand piano, a private balcony, and panoramic views of Manhattan. An additional event space, the Park Avenue Den, can accommodate up to 80 attendees.
When wedding parties book ten rooms or more, the newlyweds get some special amenities, such as a suite upgrade, prosecco upon arrival, rose-petal turndown service, continental breakfast in bed, and late checkout.
Room rates are quite reasonable for a luxury property in Manhattan, varying from about $284 to just over $400.
I found the Juliet balcony, spacious suite, lobby breakfast, and rooftop garden to be very special. These are definitely beyond the normal features and amenities at New York City hotels, and my suite was lovely and comfortable. In other words, I would not hesitate for a moment to stay at the Hotel Giraffe again.
© March 2011 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.