The Luxury Chain Reimagines Its Flagship Hotel

By Bailey Beckett

When The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park opened in 2002, housed in the former St. Moritz, it marked the return of the vaunted brand to New York’s most famous location. While its sister property in Battery Park opened downtown in 2001 (and closed 17 years later), it was the Central Park hotel that truly reclaimed the company’s hold on five-star luxury. Marble lobby, floor-to-ceiling wood paneling and dramatic, moody art hung on its walls, helping attract New York’s elite to the clubby vintage ambiance. Flash forward to 2019: out with the old, and in with the new. The renovated and refurbished Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a sight for starry eyes.

Contour Bar Room to Salon Room

Its lobby lounge is the most dramatic change. Though still featuring its iconic oak-wood walls, the space, rebranded Contour, transitions the ambiance from classic to contemporary with surprising ease. Spread over three rooms—the original lounge, bar and restaurant—the newly christened Contour effortlessly connects it all with an unmistakable electricity that is at the same time relaxing, exciting and luxurious. The bar takes its name from the fluid Matisse-like forms that appear throughout as a decorative motif and is the perfect cursor for a new concept in dining: the all-day gastro lounge. Craft-cocktails inspired small plates utilizing locally-sourced ingredients, and intimate seating for conversation makes Contour the new “it” place for anytime gathering.

Premiere Park View Suite Living Room

The hotel was always known for its impeccable suites, and the new The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park doesn’t disappoint. True to its residentially inspired style, the 47 suites welcome guests with their very own pied-à-terre like setting. While the Avenue View Suite category showcases the bustle of the Manhattan streets down below, the Premiere Park View Suites provides a bird’s eye view of the park’s treetops. The pièce de résistance is the Artists' Gate Suite—bold, new additions adorned with specially commissioned photography from highly regarded artists, many from New York and tomes of fashion houses that provide townhouse-inspired tranquility.

The guest rooms are also worthy of your rest: designed with Beaux Arts classicism and contemporary flair, they create the feel of NYC’s chicest penthouses. Creamy ecru hues, custom carpeting inlaid with a Matisse sketch and wallpaper of cloud formations can be found throughout the rooms, and elegantly paired with framed photographs from many of the world’s best-known artists. Even the in-room honor bars have been reimagined, including a new private single selection single barrel bourbon developed in partnership by the city’s oldest whiskey distillery—Kings County Distillery.

La Prairie Facial

Serving as the spa at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is La Prairie, one of the world’s most esteemed wellness brands whose development of skin care treatments starts at the most basic level. Its founder, Dr. Paul Niehans, created the brand on the shore of Switzerland’s Lake Leman with a single purpose: unlocking the secrets of eternal youth, which he believed started with science. After years of research, he made a breakthrough in 1931 by developing techniques based on cellular therapy. His Clinique La Prairie thus became a sanctuary of rejuvenation, just as it exists today. Its spa is the only of its kind in the Northeast, and includes everything from caviar-infused facials and massages to micro-dermabrasion and the “Diamond Perfection” treatment: 90 minutes of exfoliation with diamond and tourmaline powders, topped off with a Skin Caviar Luxe Soufflé Body Cream. Also offered are collagen face masks, micro-current lifts, hair and scalp treatments, soothing foot exfoliation, cellular-hydrating hand techniques and muscle and joint relief with warm stones, among many other treatments. The spa’s six rooms are thoughtfully renamed based on the words of the iconic Swiss brand and include walls covered in neutral tones, fleur-de-lis carpeting, and chandelier lighting, while its relaxation room treats guests to serenity and champers.

The Artists’ Gate Suite Living Room

“The unified vision throughout the hotel allows guests to feel as if they are visiting their very own townhouse in the heart of New York City,” said Winfred van Workum, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. “The creative reimagining of Contour, our guest rooms, suites, Club Lounge, and spa creates a heightened sense of place and serves as a gateway for travelers to experience the destination with ease and luxury.”

We couldn’t have said it, err, written it better ourselves.

For more information on The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, visit ritzcarlton.com.

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