AKA Central Park, New York City
Just one street back from New York's famous green centre, the AKA Central Park is a short walk from some of the city's most famous icons, such as Times Square, the Rockefeller Centre, Broadway and the Museum of Modern Art. Tiffany and Co. is right around the corner, while the Plaza is across the street.
In an area dominated by giant hotels, the AKA offers a more boutique feel. Designed for guests looking to stay for an extended period, the hotel offers many of the comforts of having your own apartment.
The small lobby feeds into a private bar for guests, while there is also a gym and a cafe on the ground floor. Level 2 offers a business centre, complimentary laundry and a small cinema. There are 16 floors and a total of 134 rooms.
Perhaps responding to the challenge from Airbnb, the AKA chain unveiled its penthouse suites – huge spaces that are larger than many of the apartments people live in around here. Mine features a full kitchen, four-seater dining table, a living area with two armchairs an L-shaped couch large enough for two adults to comfortably lie supine on.
The stylish decor, dark wooden floorboards, grey upholstery and black table tops, gives it a modern, if somewhat business-like feel. The room also offers a large private terrace, offering views down 57th street. The bedroom is completely separate and equally impressive in its size, with a second large flatscreen TV and a walk-in robe.
Given the size of the rest of the space, it's a surprise to find how small the bathroom is. A sink and a shower with a deep, but short, bathtub and a toilet are tightly fit into the small room. The toiletries are from Bvlgari.
There's no restaurant, perhaps given the kitchen facilities those who wish to eat in the hotel can cook for themselves. The a.café on the ground floor serves breakfast and lunch and offers your typical New York breakfast fare – bacon and eggs, pancakes, bagels and oatmeal. For lunch there's a selection of hot burgers and sandwiches.
Beyond the hotel for dinner or lunch, take a short walk to Robert, located at the top of the Museum of Arts and Design (make a reservation – see robertnyc.com), offering modern cuisine with terrific views over Central Park.
The big question from this location is: where do you begin? Central Park is about one-minute's walk away, with its vast green spaces. Just around the corner from the hotel is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We head here on a wet morning to find it packed with visitors escaping the rain. It's the perfect place to do so – MoMA is home to one of the greatest modern art collections in the world.
Give yourself at least a few hours to explore the museum and be sure to get a close up look at some of the most famous works from Van Gough, Picasso, Pollock and Warhol.
It might not be the Plaza, but it's doubtful you could find a room as spacious and well-appointed as AKA's for the price in that iconic hotel. The kitchen and laundry make this perfect for those looking to stay in New York for a week or more (if you can afford it), and in this location a week will not be long enough.
One-bedroom suites at AKA Central Park start at $US445 a night, with penthouse suites from $US785 a night. See http://www.stayaka.com
The writer stayed as a guest of AKA Central Park.