Our Favorite Oasis in New York

We have always loved staying at The Benjamin Hotel in New York. There are many reasons why we love the hotel.  Let me count the ways.

We love the location – 50th Street and Lexington Avenue – which is perfect for shopping, museums, and theatre.  If taxis aren’t available, simply buy a Metro card at the subway station on 51st and Lexington and take busses or subways everywhere.  One night we got stuck at theatre in the pouring rain, walked up to 50th Street, and the Cross-town M50 bus took us right to the door of the hotel.  I went to Soho to shop at my favorite store, Uniqlo and took the subway in minutes.  BTW, Uniqlo opened the largest superstore in the world on 53rd and Fifth Avenue which is not to be missed.  The cashmeres are awesome and so well-priced.

We love the service at The Benjamin.  Anything you need or want is available with a single phone call.  I am a pillow freak and the hotel offers a 12-choice pillow menu including cloud, lullaby, buckwheat and hypo-allergenic.  The bed is a dream with lovely soft sheets and heavenly down comforter.

We love the suites.  The hotel has 48 superior guestrooms, 64 deluxe studio suites, 79 one-bedroom suites, 17 one-bedroom suites with terraces, and one two-bedroom suite with terrace. We love the room in the closets and drawers.  No living out of suitcases here.  Even though I am a foodie, I don’t generally eat breakfast out.  I am from LA and early morning to me in New York is REALLY early morning.  If I want to have breakfast, I love going to The National, a fabulous Geoffrey Zakarian restaurant which is located right off the lobby.  When we arrived late at night, we just popped in for the most delicious butternut squash soup, delightfully served in a saucepan, juicy hamburger, and beet salad beautifully flavored with truffle cream.  In addition, the National caters 24 hour room service at The Benjamin.

We love the Wellness Spa for de-stressing plus the 24-hour fitness center.  We love having a secure safe, we love the comfy bathrobes, we love the aromatherapy amenities from Elemis, and we love having a complimentary New York Times delivered to our door.  We love having tons and tons of electrical outlets so we can plug in iPads, computers, and cell phone chargers.  We love the lighted magnifying mirror which we use as a night light.  We love the quiet despite city noise due to the double-glazed windows.

Prices are good at The Benjamin and you can find many discounts on travel sites on the web. The Benjamin is truly our favorite place to stay in the city.  We feel totally at home and well-taken care of at this perfectly located Manhattan hotel.

The Benjamin Hotel
125 East 50th St.
New York, NY 10022
1-800-4-BENAMIN
www.thebenjamin.com

This trip was chocked full of eating and theatre.  We finally scored two tickets to The “The Book of Mormon” which was funny and worth the wait.  We also saw “Relatively Speaking,” three one act plays by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen.  The first two seemed unfinished and were totally unfunny.  Woody’s play is a Jewish farce with lots of laughs.  Caroline Aaron and Julie Kavner are comic timing geniuses.

I had lunch at the Museum of Modern Art in Danny Meyer’s wonderful café.  The food is very good and the prices are reasonable particularly if you are a member.  I was overwhelmed by the Willem De Kooning show.  His body of work is beautifully displayed.

We ate dinner at the new E&E Grill (233 West 49th Street) right across from “The Book of Mormon.”  The convenience is great since there is a 7:00 during the week curtain for this show.  But the food was mediocre and the menu is limited.

Lunch in Soho was at my favorite Delicatessen (54 Prince St.).  It has an indoor outdoor vibe and I think the best tuna tartare I have ever eaten.  Dinner was in the Meatpacking district at Macelleria (48 Gansevoort St).  It’s a wonderful Italian/steakhouse-type place and we sat in the cozy downstairs area.  Favorites include arugula, pear and pecorino Toscana salad; grilled calamaretti, ravioli, butternut squash, amaretto crumbs, butter, and sage; prime dry aged T- bone; and bone-in pork chop with sautéed apples and bacon.

Another lunch was at Fred’s restaurant at Barney’s upstairs. Fred’s is always fun and delicious.  It’s so great to sit by the window and see the city while having a glass of wine and crab salad before shopping.  We met a whole bunch of old friends at the Bridge Café down under the Brooklyn Bridge at 279 Water Street.  We liked the old city vibe but the food was just ordinary.

We revisited Joe Allen’s (326 W. 46th St.) for burgers.  The service was ok but the food was not good this time.  How can you screw up a burger?  No matter how we ordered it, the meat just didn’t have good flavor.  Dinner was at a favorite bistro Quatorze (323 East 79th St).  Their roast chicken and crispy fries are true bistro food and reminiscent of Paris.

We will be back in May for spring dining and theatre.  In the mean time, my next travel piece will be from New Orleans in January.

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