Roof Top Pools, Famous Food and Designer Sample Sales…5 Star Weddings discovers why NYC is the perfect place for stylish hens! (…or as they say, Bachelorettes)
As a first-timer in New York City, simply stepping out of JFK airport and into a yellow cab was enough to have me squealing inside. As the cab driver whisked us en route through Queens to Manhattan, I realised I was here, at last, to experience gritty and hopefully, also stylish, cool New York. My mission to find the best of the best for our discerning hens was underway…
Our home for three nights was The Gansevoort in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking district. The hotel promises a luxury urban resort with rooftop pool parties and views over the Hudson…and it didn’t disappoint. Our corner suite on the 10th floor provided ample space for two sharing, with pretty riverside vistas on one side and views of the Meatpacking district on the other.
All rooms are contemporary in design with warm soft furnishings and orchid plants to make you feel relaxed and at home. A cosy lounge area with a flat screen tv, iPod dock and a selection of Gansevoort CDs had me settled sooner than I thought but what I really, really loved (and am missing) about this hotel…was its luxurious beds. These plush feather beds with goose down pillows and 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linens almost meant I missed out on New York for sleeping! They are a definite hangover cure for hen’s that might have partied too hard at the hotel’s glamorous rooftop pool and loft! Combine this with super friendly staff plus a chic spa and The Gansevoort will soon feel like a luxurious version of home.
The Gansevoort is perfectly located for some of Manhattan’s most highly regarded restaurants. I’d recommend Pastis (opposite the hotel) for an amazing brunch and The Standard Grill for a truly mouth-watering menu including the best dry-aged rib-eye steak I have tried in a long time.
These restaurants are buzzing with atmosphere and should be included in any hen party’s itinerary. The piece de resistance in the neighbourhood, however, is the awe-inspiring, Buddakan. This Asian influenced eatery certainly has the wow factor for stylish hen parties and has also featured in Sex and the City during Carrie and Big’s rehearsal dinner, it has no shortage of sophisticated fans. Buddakan is a wedding planner’s dream with several different sized rooms, including The Golden Library, which is able to cater for various sized private parties.
It is, without a doubt, the Chinoiserie, that is at the heart of this exhilarating restaurant – the opulent dining room is reminiscent of a medieval era with its grand centrepiece table seating up to thirty-six and offering the perfect arrangement for a special hen celebration. Food is made for sharing so everyone can try a bit of everything. We had Lobster Egg Rolls and Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly dim sums, followed by delicious classics such as Singapore Chilli King Crab and Roast Duck Noodles. The Pastry chef’s latest addition of pretty cupcakes makes an ideal and very girly end to the meal. Buddakan is located a stone’s throw from The Gansevoort, so once you have exhausted both the food and cocktail menu here, you can stumble back to party or sleep, depending on how the mood takes you.
New York, like London, is a city that doesn’t rest much. If you are a chief bridesmaid trying to organise a hen weekend with a difference, then make sure you put some of the following on your ‘must-do list.
A night out at a jazz club such as Blue Note in Greenwich Village will get you into an all American mood and is perfect for late-night drinking that’s not in a hectic nightclub. If a hearty and uplifting chorus of gospel singers is what you’re after, then book into BB King Blues Club and Grill for Sunday Brunch with its world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir. These energetic singers are infectious with their happy harmonies and will have you on your feet (if not the stage!) in between servings of an authentic southern buffet lunch.
The easiest way for a group to see all of NY’s famous sites including Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, Top of The Rock and more, is to get on one of the many Hop on Hop off Buses that tour the city and allow you to spend time in each place at your leisure. And of course, a weekend with the girls in New York wouldn’t even be worth taking if you weren’t going to head for the shops.
Bloomingdales and Barney’s still need a visit, if not just to say you’ve been, while Lord and Taylor on Fifth Avenue is a must for its massive shoe floor. For more village-style spending, head to Soho where independent boutiques sit next to big designer labels and back at the Meatpacking district be sure to browse around Chelsea Market where foodies can try the deli-style eateries or even a food tour in between shopping at the weekly designer sample sales.
A hen do in New York is certainly a special hen treat that requires a bit more budget than your usual (especially for all that shopping!) but if you and your closest friends are looking for a sophisticated ‘do’ to remember, then the Big Apple won’t fail to deliver.
Most airlines fly daily from London to New York. We booked Delta Airlines for under £400 return. You must have an ESTA visa to travel to the USA which can be applied for online within 10 minutes. Visit delta.com
A night at the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC starts at $425 (approx £262) with suites starting at $675 (£416) per night. The Penthouse starts at $5,500 (£3,390). For more information call 877-426-7386. Visit hotelgansevoort.com
Buddakan Private events require a total minimum spend which will be organised on an individual basis. However, non-private events at the communal table and other non-private areas offer four delectable fixed price menus per person starting from $75 (approx £46). Visit buddakannyc.com