When it comes to events in midtown Manhattan, cocktails by the outdoor pool or sunset barbecues may not immediately come to mind. However, as I discovered during a recent visit to New York City, the trend for urban hotels to offer resort-like function areas and amenities is happening even in the bustling heart of the Big Apple.
Among them is the Gansevoort Park Avenue, where a cool rooftop bar draws throngs of Millennials on weekend nights and corporate groups during the week. The stylish 249-room hotel’s tri-level penthouse complex has event spaces that include the greenery-clad Ivy Lounge, which has custom-made furnishings and an adjoining terrace with an outdoor fireplace, and the Park Lounge, which offers floor-to-ceiling windows framing skyline views, flexible lounge seating and plasma screens. Adjoining an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, the Pool Bar, with its wraparound terraces, accommodates receptions for up to 100 people.
“People are surprised that you can get a resort feel in the middle of New York City, but you can—and it’s a big attraction for meetings,” said Alison Pecci, the hotel’s corporate director of sales. “Planners love the natural light, the flexible seating and the outdoor space. The resort feel is extended to our spa, where we can offer morning yoga sessions for groups.”
A few blocks up Park Avenue, The Kitano New York, an art-filled boutique property with a Japanese vibe, is also known for its outdoor event spaces, including an expansive rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Empire State, MetLife and Chrysler buildings. Among its signature offerings for corporate groups are summertime barbecues with customized grill menus accommodating up to 150 guests.
“The barbecues are a great break during the middle of a meeting or at the end of the day,” said Melissa Paston, the hotel’s catering sales manager. “It’s really fun to juxtapose the elegance of Park Avenue with a chef grilling burgers and hot dogs.”
Both the Kitano’s Murray Hill and Park Avenue meeting rooms, each accommodating up to 50 people, offer large terraces with dazzling views. Other options include Jazz at Kitano, a jazz club available for private events, and Hakubai, an atmospheric Japanese restaurant with private tatami rooms serving multicourse Kaiseki meals.
A new addition to midtown, the 364-room Hyatt Centric Times Square opened last fall with bold modern artwork, spacious outdoor function areas and a full-service Marilyn Monroe Spa. Overlooking the lights of Broadway, the rooftop Bar 54 serves craft cocktails and pub grub, and has indoor and outdoor areas for semi-private events or full buyouts. The Centric’s second-floor meeting rooms open out onto a long, sunny terrace that accommodates up to 270 guests for a reception.