The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.Photo: Courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel

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First, lie: “I wouldn’t think of letting you sleep on the pullout. You and Sarah can share our bed; I’ll go to a hotel.” There, you’ve just convinced your dear old mother-in-law that your absence is in her interest.

Now make the most of your opportunity and check into the Mandarin Oriental, the stylish 251-room luxury hotel that opened in December at the Time Warner Center and instantly replaced the Hudson and its boutique brethren as Manhattan’s “It” place to lay one’s head.

Don’t be fooled by the small entrance at West 60th Street. The real front desk is in the sky lobby on the 35th floor, a nod to the many Asian hotels that start on high floors so guests can enjoy soaring views from their rooms. The first thing you’ll notice, besides the massive Dale Chihuly sculpture, is the back wall of glass—to be more precise, you’ll notice the panoramic views of Central Park. You’ll also note the minimalist, Asian-influenced décor—an oval-shaped marble-and-granite floor, Lalique-inspired ceiling detail, and pale-gold tasseled pillows.

While rooms are decked out with rich Oriental rugs, airy marble bathrooms with drenching deluge showers and soaking tubs, and silky bed linens that seem too delicate to sleep on, the design team wisely let the views take center stage. Some rooms overlook Central Park, others the Hudson river, and still others—the corner suites—feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look west to the river, north to the GWB, and east to Central Park South.

Shortly after you check in, a member of the staff will appear at your door with a pot of steaming house-blend tea. Feeling refreshed? Good. Try a dip in the hotel’s 75-foot glass-enclosed pool (more views of the Hudson), get a massage on one of the heated beds at the bi-level spa, have a trendy mojito at the even trendier MObar, or pop into Asiate, chef Noriyuki Sugie’s much-buzzed-about French-Japanese restaurant, for a gourmet snack—a terrine of foie gras and venison, perhaps. All this and points for accommodating her mom? Hard to believe it wasn’t your idea in the first place.

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Mandarin Oriental, New York (212-805-8800;; from $595).