The thing about staying at more than one hotel in the same destination is that there’s always the worry that the second place won’t live up to the first – in fact, by and large I’ve often found that to be the case. After our wonderful stay at the Hotel Elysée, not to mention our massive suite, it felt a bit of a shame to be leaving to stay elsewhere – that said, I was looking forward to being a bit further downtown, which would make exploring the areas of the city I love most – Greenwich Village, the East Village and the Lower East Side – even easier.
I needn’t have worried at all, however. Hotel Giraffe is run by the same hotel group – HK Hotels – as Hotel Elysée, and while this is evident in many ways, not least in the friendly, helpful staff and comfortable rooms, there’s no sense of this being part of a chain of identikit hotels; in fact, the group pride themselves on each of their hotels having a distinctive style. Hotel Giraffe is very much a younger sibling to Hotel Elysée, with its more downtown location – just a few blocks north of Union Square (which is home to a great Greenmarket that I’d really recommend checking out) and the East Village – reflected in its much more contemporary design.
Once again, we were fortunate enough to be given a suite – specifically, a Terrace One Bedroom Suite, which I immediately loved for its small balcony that looked out over Park Avenue South. Even though I’m no newcomer to visiting the Big Apple, I loved being able to stand out on the balcony and watch the yellow cabs whizzing up from Union Square, especially as the sun began to set over the city – it felt like one of those quintessential New York moments. Though the suite was significantly smaller that our suite in Hotel Elysée (hardly surprising seeing as that one was so huge!), it was still a great size, with a lovely, cosy living room, a decent-sized bathroom and ample space in the bedroom (not to mention plenty of wardrobe room – great for a longer stay).
Like Hotel Elysée, guests at the hotel benefit from complimentary services like wifi, Continental breakfast, and wine and hors d’oeuvres in the evenings from Monday to Saturday. The lounge area isn’t quite as nice as the one at Hotel Elysée, partly due to its position in the lobby, which makes it feel a bit more open and impersonal, but it’s still comfortable and perfectly good as a pit stop before you hit the city.
For me, the selling point of Hotel Giraffe is undoubtedly the location – you’re really little more than a stone’s throw from exploring some of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods, but the area remains quite smart and the accommodation is just as luxurious as you would want on your honeymoon (complete with a chocolate turn-down). I really liked that the hotel had its own distinct style from the Elysée – this is definitely the place to head to if you’re looking for somewhere more contemporary. I also need to give a particular shout out to the staff – in our rush at leaving at 4.45am to catch our flight home, I left my favourite necklace behind. When I called the hotel from JFK, they promised to keep an eye out for me; by the time I reached London, I had a voicemail saying that they’d found it, and the necklace was back with me by the Thursday morning – pretty amazing, considering I’d lost it on Monday, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Now that’s good service.
In a nutshell
We loved: The view from our balcony; being so close to our favourite neighbourhoods; the smart, contemporary design.
We weren’t so keen on: The rather dim lighting (though this was only an issue when we had to leave early in the morning).
Ideal if you want: To be in easy walking distance of many of the city’s attractions and most vibrant neighbourhoods; modern, unfussy luxury.
Need to know:
Hotel Giraffe, 365 Park Avenue South, Manhattan, New York City; nearest subway: 23rd Street.
Rates: From £215–£307 a night, depending on time of year and not including taxes.
Nearest airports: New York JFK and Newark Airport
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