Only in New York can a five-star hotel be as much a celebrity magnet as it is a neighborhood hangout.
The Mark in Manhattan has been a favorite among the city’s affluent since it opened 95 years ago.
With a prestigious address on the corner of 77th Street and Madison Avenue and just steps from Central Park, the property was redesigned in 2009 for the 21st century.
An unparalleled level of privacy means the contemporary hotel is a firm favorite with celebrities, and each May it transforms into the Met Gala’s “other red carpet” when models, celebrities and the who’s who of fashion arrive and after The Mark, plucking, cleaning and mingling after the performance.
But this contemporary abode isn’t just about celebrity residents.
It’s also the go-to destination for Upper East Siders, many of whom drop by with their pets in tow, as well as New York visitors wanting a stay away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan.
The National checked in anticipating a challenging stay.
A sleek black Mercedes picks us up at JFK Airport, which is about 30 kilometers from the hotel, and the journey takes us through a good portion of New York’s snail-like traffic before the driver meets us right in front of the Renaissance-style building, The Mark , settles .
Upon entering the lobby, we get our first glimpse of the interiors of renowned French designer Jacques Grange, who has also designed homes for Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and the Princess of Monaco.
The blackest black and the purest white marble floor lead to the reception desk which is snugly located on the left.
Check-in is straightforward and staff easily converse with guests. The concierge greets us as we walk to the elevator, introduces himself and lets us know that the team is here to help with any queries, big or small.
Up on the fourth floor, our luggage is already waiting in our room alongside a beautiful welcome set of fresh roses, refreshments and cookies in the shape of a New York yellow cab.
The hotel is discreetly tucked away on 77th Street between boutique-lined Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The hotel avoids the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan but is entirely walkable if you want a night on the town.
It is just one block from Central Park and an easy walk to New York’s Museum Mile.
The security measures
Nothing special, in line with the city’s Covid-19 measures during our stay.
There are 106 rooms, 46 suites and a 1,000-square-foot penthouse where Serena Williams hosted Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’s baby shower.
We stay in a 77 king room, so named for its sash windows framing views of East 77th Street. With an entrance hall, bedroom with king-size bed and spacious bathroom, the room spreads over 46 elegant square meters.
Expect polished marble floors in the bathroom, large-scale modern art on the walls, and a single device to control lights, temperature, drapes, and more, all dripping in high-end understated luxury.
The space manages to maintain a sense of home thanks to thick plush carpets, a soothing color palette of rich creams, whites and browns [we soon discover] a cloud-like king-size bed.
Playful touches like cheeky illustrations on La Botega toiletries and coasters, and a dream minibar stocked with American sweets show that The Mark doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The hotel’s personalized service and privacy draw celebrities, while its Upper East Side location attracts well-heeled locals.
Fashion-conscious vacationers flock here too, perhaps drawn in by the hotel’s partnership with the extravagant Bergdorf Goodman, which allows guests to shop 24 hours a day in the elegant shop, or in the on-site salon to shop from famed stylist to stars Frederic Fekkai.
But in true New York style, anything goes at The Mark, and we don’t feel out of place, even as we stroll through the hotel in our gym gear to scale one of Manhattan’s tallest skyscrapers.
Children are more than welcome and there are custom Maclaren strollers for the smallest guests and slumber parties for families staying in suites.
Dogs aren’t forgotten either, and every furry visitor gets an in-room dog bed and bowl, as well as an amenity kit with trash bags, a leash and collar.
Bar Mark, with its skin-printed stools and glittering ceiling, comes alive nightly for after-work, before-dinner, and after-theater drinks.
There’s a large fitness center on the second floor, and guests can reserve a session with one of New York’s top personal trainers, Dan Flores.
Branded bicycles are lined up in front of the hotel and can be borrowed for free. If you want to take them to Central Park, let the staff know and they can prepare a take-home picnic designed by Jean-George Vongerichte.
There are also orange and black pedicabs for rent, an eco-friendly way to pedal around Manhattan.
Led by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of the world’s most renowned chefs, the Mark Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Our dining experience revolves around breakfast, which we enjoy first in the main restaurant, discreetly located at the back of the hotel, and then on the sidewalk side under monochromatic striped umbrellas.
The menu includes classics and modern favorites like buttermilk pancakes, avocado toast, pastries, granola, eggs, and granola.
The Mark Breakfast ($46) is a full platter of organic eggs, seasonal vegetables, Applewood smoked ham and a bagel, served with freshly squeezed juice and specialty coffee, all prepared to perfection by chef Pierre Schutz.
Also highly recommend Russ and Daughters’ Norwegian smoked salmon platter ($36), served with a toasted bagel, cream cheese and red onion.
A highlight of any stay at The Mark is the service. It’s personal, welcoming, and completely down-to-earth with staff who are consistently polite but completely unfazed by the hotel’s celebrity clientele.
Little touches like a Laduree macaron on your pillow, a complimentary John Lobb shoe shine, and fresh flowers in your room every day make your stay even better.
And playful elements, like the TV tuned to a jazz channel when you return from a night on the town, match the hotel’s spirited personality.
The concierge staff are a fountain of knowledge. Visit them for recommendations and suggestions you won’t find in any travel guide.
ups and downs
Without the pomp and ceremony often associated with luxurious five-star hotels, The Mark offers contemporary luxury in an excellent location, and there’s something utterly refreshing about staying at a hotel that’s as popular with locals as it is with foreigners. townspeople.
Everything seems well thought out and nothing is too much trouble.
The only downside is that there is no swimming pool or saunas in the hotel.
The insider tip
Get your New York street food with a touch of style at Jean-Georges’ Haute Dog Stand.
Just outside the hotel, the black-and-white striped cart is adorned with orange bunting and serves organic chicken and grass-fed beef hot dogs with kimchi relish and classic seasonings for $6 each
It’s the cheapest Michelin-acclaimed meal you’ll find in town.
Every now and then you come across a hotel that hits just the right note. The Mark on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is one such place.
Blending sophisticated elegance with a penchant for fun, it’s easy to see why it retains an almost cult-like status in one of the world’s busiest upscale hotel markets, and is entirely refreshing when you realize that its status as a celebrity magnet hasn’t faded is to his head.
The final result
Stays start at $1,075 per night excluding tax. Check-in is from 3 p.m. and check-out is at 12 p.m.; www.themarkhotel.com
This review was conducted at the hotel’s invitation during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during the time. Services may change in the future
Updated September 23, 2022 at 6:02 p.m