Above: Illuminated exterior, Aman New York, Midtown Manhattan - COURTESY OF AMAN

New York, Undiminished

Terrace, Aman New York

You may recall, about three years ago, the many cries that New York was over thanks to the pandemic. One major newspaper ran an opinion piece that went viral, titled “New York City Is Dead Forever.” This obituary was a tad premature. Wonderful, maddening, thrilling New York still thrums with energy and vigor despite everything, as our recent stay there confirmed.

Certain responses to the “Dead Forever” piece claimed it wasn’t the pandemic that had ruined New York but gentrification. However, laments on that subject have a long history: “[N]ow the sentimentalist feels a heart pang to see the order, the cleanliness, the wide streets, the playgrounds, the big boulevards, the absence of indigence that have spoiled the most interesting part of New York City.” That’s from my copy of “New Cosmopolis,” by James Huneker, published in 1915. If we dig deep enough, I’m sure we can find some Dutch diary whinge about how New Amsterdam is boring now that the British are in charge.

New York is many things, but boring is never one of them. It’s always changing, and in many ways for the better. Several enticing new luxury hotels have opened recently in various neighborhoods around the city, labor shortages haven’t stopped the exciting restaurant scene, plays and musicals draw sellout crowds, and the nightlife is back in full swing. We spent a sensational week full of art, shopping, cocktails and far too much delicious food.

Aman New York

Spa pool, Aman New York - Robert Rieger / Courtesy of Aman

The hotel opening that everyone is talking about is Aman New York, occupying floors 7 to 14 of the copper-topped Crown Building, an ornate 26-story Midtown tower completed in 1921. The 83 guest rooms are now notorious as the city’s most expensive, as numerous publications have breathlessly pointed out. But let’s unclutch our collective pearls. The price of an entry-level 745-to-775-square-foot Junior Suite on Fifth Avenue at the Aman is comparable to that of similarly sized accommodations at nearby luxury hotels, and sometimes it’s even less. What’s notable is how much it costs to just get in the door of the Aman.

We loved our brown-and-beige 815-square-foot Premier Suite 57th Street, where the extravagant bath took up half the space. Translucent lattice panels concealed an egg-shaped tub big enough for two, a fancy Toto WC and an atmospherically lit shower room we took to calling “the mausoleum.” The bath’s heated marble floor continued into the hall leading to the bedroom, warmed by a glass-enclosed gas fireplace. Emblematic of the wabi-sabi touches throughout the hotel, an accent wall of wrinkly rice paper painted with hazy conifers contrasted with the otherwise sleek décor. It was a Zen oasis amid the clamor of the city. The striking Japanese-inspired design is by Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston, who is also behind the looks of several other properties we highly recommend elsewhere.

Above: Illuminated exterior, Aman New York, Midtown Manhattan - COURTESY OF AMAN

Read More from Our Trip:

Scenes From New Manhattan Hotels An Insider’s Guide to Manhattan Cocktail Bars Avoiding the Crowd at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum La Cuisine Is Back