New York is a city where it takes an insider to find great value. Here’s a scoop: the Hotel Giraffe. This unassuming hotel, just south of Madison Square Park (aka Norman Foster’s favorite NYC place), offers unparalleled service with spaciously sized, inoffensive furnishings and a whole lot of free nibbles and bites for a very fair price. It has won the Trip Adviser #1 spot...and it's not hard to see why!
There isn’t much variety between room categories, except space—however, the smaller of the rooms are truly roomy. Well-made furniture blends into the beige and street-lit beige walls. Nothing stands out here, but everything is well chosen. That’s partially the point. The beds are comfy (firm, but feathery) and there’s ample space to feel comfortable working, primping or relaxing before dinner.
Granite countertops, a New York-sized bathtub (your knees will never soaked!) and all the cotton balls you’d ever need, these spacious bathrooms are comfortable.
The central pulse of the hotel’s life is the lobby. If it’s not the all-day newspapers and coffee, it’s the complimentary wine & cheese, all offered to the soundtrack of a nightly live pianist. There are tables to nibble, and couches to recline. The grand space is light, airy and open, making the normal transient ethos of a lobby more communal and relaxed. A bit of bustle without the hustle.
While the hotel itself has no gym, complimentary passes are available to New York Sports Club only a few blocks away.
In the subterranean space below the sidewalk is Bread & Tulips, an independently owned Tuscan join serving arancini and classic (yes, those ull romaine stalks) caesar salad in a dark, casual interior. Guests also receive a special dining rate. Bread & Tulips also provides the in-room dining service (that stops at 10:30 and is only Monday-Saturday).
Should that complimentary wine happy hour from 5-8 not be sufficient, there’s the very popular Rooftop Bar, which during the warmer months is quite the post-work and neighborhood hang for well-priced whites and G&Ts.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The rooftop bar is usually open April through November, subject to the wacky weather, of course.
In the mix of Park Avenue South’s finance enclave, with the gorgeous gothic towers of Credit Suisse and Fidelity in plain view, the Hotel Giraffe is two blocks from Madison Square Park (with the original Shake Shack) and right off the 6 train at 23rd street.
Where there are bankers, there is good food. Great food even. Try the sumptuous Upland (1-minute walk), where Tuscany meets California from an Il Buco alum. A mere two blocks down (4-minute walk) is Park Avenue which changes its menu and name entirely for its current season. Don’t forget Marta (6-minute walk), hand-thrown pizzas and snazzy cocktails in the Redbury Hotel. And while this isn’t so much as a recommendation, but an orientation: Eleven Madison Park, the wonderfully oppressive $275 11-course tasting menu that is equally beloved and derided by the critics but remains New York’s premiere restaurant is only a 3-minute walk away.
Much above the standard Irish pub, the area is a bit sparse on drinking-only establishments. A few gems, however, do exist. Though the secret’s very out, 230 Fifth (4-minute walk), the name and location, is quite an expansive rooftop bar. If you’re looking something cultural, kitsch and cheap, the bar at the Museum of Sex (3-minute walk) has drinks at ‘70s prices under the original disco ball from Studio 54. For a more casual situation, try the Churchill Tavern (4-minute walk), a nostalgic homage to the classic British pub that’s quite charming.
WHY WE LIKE IT
New York isn’t a city known for its value or easy breaks—perks are usually reserved for VIPs. But the Hotel Giraffe offers a wide-variety of complimentary amenities often found in the luxury 5-star range for a mid-tier price. There’s an ease and elegance, too, that echoes the club quarters of yesteryear without being too stuffy. Tasteful and gracious.