If you want a taste of classic, upper crust New York, head to the deliciously understated Mark Hotel.
This historic spot, which boasts 150 Art Deco-influenced rooms and suites, recently swept to international fame after Meghan Markle picked as the place to host her baby shower party.
She booked the hotel’s lofty penthouse, which comes in at an eye-watering $75,000 a night.
As soon as you pull up to The Mark, you’re transported to a world of refined luxury, with suited doormen ready to greet you and well-groomed guests wafting in and out.
The lobby features low ceilings, sparkling monochrome surfaces and zany pieces of contemporary furniture that keep your eyes occupied.
I checked in on a sunny Friday afternoon. I was a little early and the room wasn’t ready but I was offered a free coffee in the front bar while I waited.
This little drinks and food parlour is a top spot, with twinkling Moroccan-esque lights creating a magical glow and swathes of deep red and purple creating a cosy feel.
I plumped for a coffee, but a couple opposite me had already started on the champagne, while a man to my right sipped on a delicious-looking Aperol spritz. That’s the way one should roll at The Mark!
The friendly host came to inform me when my room was ready and I was directed to a Seventy Seven King on the third floor.
These rooms look down on the sedate street (77th east) below, and there was sunlight streaming through the window.
The generously-proportioned space had a slick old-school feel and I felt instantly at home.
The monochrome theme from the lobby continued through, with cream cabinets edged with strips of black and the bathroom floor was set with a snazzy pinstripe.
Other features included USB sockets next to the bed, a flat-screen TV and an awesome minibar, complete with a freezer and drawer stashed full of sweet treats. Talk about being a kid in a sweet shop!
The mini bar cabinet was stocked with an elegant selection of liquor and there were other bits available to purchase, including The Mark-logo playing cards, luxury cologne and for those in need of a pick-me-up, some cucumber eye pads.
On the furniture front, the room was decked out with a sprawling king size bed, a comfy-looking armchair to recline in and a table covered with a mix of glossy magazines.
There was plenty of storage space and in wardrobe I found a selection of knickknacks including an ironing kit, some very smart slippers, an umbrella and a yoga mat embossed with The Mark logo.
In the bathroom, the pink, yellow and green shampoos and shower gel (produced exclusively for the hotel by Italian brand La Bottega) added a sunny splash of colour to the white of the marble.
After having a wash in the powerful corner shower, I had a brief nap before heading down for a drink at the restaurant bar.
This is the perfect place to perch for an afternoon tipple, as it’s got a cosy ambience, it is quiet and the bartender is delightfully helpful.
He sorted me out with a gin and tonic and martini as I had a meeting with an author friend.
THE MARK RESTAURANT BY JEAN-GORGES
To round out a stay at The Mark in true style, be sure to book in for dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant, headed up by famed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
It doesn’t come cheap – a dessert alone comes in at $18 – but I promise it will be a feast to remember.
We settled in to a corner table close to the bar for an 8:30pm reservation and the place had a great buzz with a mix of locals and visitors wining and dining away.
Along with the fine fodder and super comfortable seats, another thing that stands out at this spot is the service.
The white-suited servers will make you feel like a star, with every whim tended to.
To start, they sorted me out with a vodka olive martini – which came served in the biggest coupe glass I’ve ever seen and lasted me all dinner! – while my companion was recommended the perfect pour of red wine.
The Mark has an extensive wine selection and I was told by one member of staff that the cellars are quite a sight to behold!
After unfurling into the place with a drink, we perused the menu.
The food selection at The Mark weighs heavily on the seafood side and if this is your thing, you’ll be in heaven!
To start, looking for something on the light side, I opted for three oysters, while my partner went for the kale salad.
I’d been to The Mark five or so years ago for lunch, and the decadent Seafood Platter is another recommendation and a fun stack to tackle as a duo.
The oysters were creamy, plump and perfectly shucked while the kale salad was well-portioned and dressed.
I chased the oysters with a Boston lettuce, arugula and avocado salad while my companion went for the simply cooked Maine lobster for main.
On the side, we opted for some French fries and roasted Maitake mushrooms.
Everything was spot on. My salad was flavourful, as was the juicy lobster, and the mushrooms were absolutely divine. They almost had a meaty texture and I could have been satisfied with them alone!
The Mark definitely ignites a convivial feeling, as was such, I decided to have dessert back in my room in bed.
I fell asleep dreaming of what I’d just devoured: a large dish of profiteroles, interspersed with vanilla ice cream and doused with a deliciously smooth slick of chocolate sauce.
I slept like a dream cocooned in the large bed, with the peacefulness of the Upper East Side lulling me to the land of nod.
Feeling a little hazy the next morning as the result of my pond-sized martini, I opted for breakfast in bed.
After making a telephone call, a man wheeled in a clothed table before me roughly 30 minutes later.
I love fruit in the morning and The Mark’s fruit platter was one of the best hotel offerings I’d seen in quite a while, with a mix of lychee, melon, pineapple, star fruit, orange, nectarine, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries keeping me excitedly entertained.
I delighted in drizzling honey over the colourful chunks and plunging them into a little pot of yogurt. The large pot of coffee was also on point!
For those who fancy something a little heartier, The Mark breakfast ($44) presents itself as a feast fit for a king, with eggs, seasonal greens, ham, smoked bacon and sausage accompanied by slices of toast and washed down with freshly squeezed orange.
Begrudgingly, I slipped out of my towel robe and bid The Mark a fond farewell.
It had been the dreamiest of stays from start to finish. It might be a little old school for some but this place is the gentleman of the hotel world… not a geezer.
I was informed by a source that the privately-owned hotel could be set to expand.
Its New York outpost has certainly set the standards high.
Even Meghan has given it her royal seal of approval.
The Mark is located at Madison Avenue at 77th Street, New York, NY, 10075
To book a stay or dining experience call 212 744 4300 or visit www.themarkhotel.com