Review: The Carlyle New York, A Rosewood Hotel

Review: The Carlyle New York, A Rosewood Hotel

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NAME: The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
LOCATION: New York, United States
DATE: May 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Carlyle is an iconic Upper East Side hotel with renovated and luxurious rooms and famous old world food & beverage outlets. If you like this kind of vibe, this is the hotel for you.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Rosewood Elite benefits, including a space available room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

Prior to starting our trip to Europe, we decided to spend one night in New York. That’s because we were flying from New York to Milan, and with how unreliable air travel is right now, we wanted to leave a bit of a buffer, without just sitting at JFK all day

So we decided to fly to New York a day early, and stay at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel. This iconic Upper East Side property has a lot going for it, including recently renovated rooms and famous food & beverage outlets. Let’s get into the review.

Booking The Carlyle New York

Rates at The Carlyle fluctuate significantly throughout the year, and also depend on what promotions are available at a given time. In general you can expect entry level rooms here to start at anywhere from $600 to $1,500 per night (give or take), depending on the season, day of week, etc.

Since The Carlyle belongs to luxury hotel group Rosewood, the best way to book a stay here is through the Rosewood Elite program. This is Rosewood’s program for select travel agents, and is also the best way to book virtually any Rosewood stay. Those booking through Rosewood Elite receive a room upgrade subject to availability, a $100 food & beverage credit, complimentary breakfast for two, etc.

In general you’re better off booking through Rosewood Elite than through programs like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, as upgrades and prioritized for those booking through Rosewood’s own program. Ford is happy to help with these requests, and can be reached at [email protected]

Entry level rates for our one night stay were around $800. For what it’s worth, Ford books quite a few clients here, and we got a travel agent rate, which was around half that. However, it didn’t include breakfast or a hotel credit, so for our one night stay the difference wouldn’t have been that big.

The Carlyle New York location

The Carlyle is located on the Upper East Seat, on 76th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue.

The Carlyle New York exterior

The property has 35 floors, so it towers over most nearby buildings (the hotel has both 189 rooms plus 60 private residences, so all 35 floors aren’t hotel rooms).

The Carlyle New York exterior

As far as location goes, personally my preference is to be anywhere but Midtown, since it’s too chaotic for me. So I’m happy to stay on the Upper East Side, for the quiet area, nice walking opportunities, and proximity to Central Park (you’re less than two blocks away). I’m also happy staying Downtown, though. Of course everyone has different preferences there.

The Carlyle New York check-in & lobby

The Carlyle New York has a pretty basic lobby. There’s an entrance with the concierge and bell desk to the right, and then down a couple of stairs is the main lobby area. The lobby has a couple of loveseats and then the reception desk.

The Carlyle New York entrance
The Carlyle New York lobby
The Carlyle New York lobby

Just down the hall is a small sitting area by the elevators with a fireplace. In the evenings they even had candles here, which was a cute touch.

The Carlyle New York lobby
The Carlyle New York lobby

Our check-in experience was quick and efficient, and the front desk agent checking us in was friendly. We were each given a small card, and were told to show this at the property’s food & beverage outlets for priority seating.

The Carlyle New York guest card

The elevators were right near reception, and were quite fun and old school, and even had seats in them.

The Carlyle New York elevators
The Carlyle New York elevators

The Carlyle New York premier room

We were assigned a premier king room on the 12th floor. This is two categories above the entry level room, as rooms here go from superior (360 square feet), to deluxe (375 square feet), to premier (450 square feet). All rooms have been renovated as of 2021, after a three year transformation.

The Carlyle New York room exterior

The room was lovely — it was spacious and modern, while still having lots of touches that reminded you where you were. The room had a long entryway with the bathroom to the right, a closet to the left, and the rest of the room straight ahead.

The Carlyle New York premier room entryway

Our premier room had a comfortable king size bed with great pillows, and a desk with a chair over by the window. There was also a stool there, so that two people could potentially dine together if you order room service.

The Carlyle New York premier room
The Carlyle New York premier room
The Carlyle New York premier room desk

Along the wall opposite the bed a TV plus a table with some drawers.

The Carlyle New York premier room

Along the wall closest to the entrance was the minibar, which had a coffee machine, plus a variety of drinks and snacks for purchase.

The Carlyle New York premier room minibar
The Carlyle New York premier room minibar
The Carlyle New York premier room minibar
The Carlyle New York premier room minibar
The Carlyle New York premier room minibar

The room had a pretty nice view — especially in Midtown you often get stuck in a room where your only view is into another building 30 feet away, so it was nice to have such a sprawling view.

The Carlyle New York premier room view

The Carlyle really did a thoughtful job with the renovations. For example, the bedsides had both AC and USB power outlets, which so many hotels don’t have.

The Carlyle New York premier room outlets

I also loved all the little touches with the design.

The Carlyle New York premier room design

Back near the entrance was the bathroom, which had a walk-in shower, a bathtub, a sink, and a toilet. As someone who is a non-bathtub fan I’d rather they had double sinks and more counter space, but I realize a lot of people have a strong preference for rooms with bathtubs.

The Carlyle New York premier room bathroom
The Carlyle New York premier room bathroom
The Carlyle New York premier room shower

Toiletries were from both Diptyque and Kiehl’s, and were lovely.

The Carlyle New York Diptyque toiletries
The Carlyle New York Kiehl’s toiletries

As mentioned above, there was a closet back near the entrance, which was a good place to store our luggage.

The Carlyle New York premier room closet

A couple of hours after checking in we were brought a welcome amenity, consisting of a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and black and white cookies. Yum. I may have eaten all of those cookies. Don’t tell Ford, though.

The Carlyle New York welcome amenity

The Carlyle New York Bemelmans Bar

The Carlyle is hands down most famous for its food & beverage outlets, and one of those is Bemelmans Bar. When I told my dad we were staying at The Carlyle, the first thing he brought up was this bar, so clearly it has quite a reputation.

The bar opened in 1947, and features murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, who created the Madeline children’s books. The murals are supposed to depict Central Park across four seasons, and include Madeline. Bemelman allegedly lived at The Carlyle for 18 months rent free with his family while painting the mural.

Anyway, the bar has a pianist nightly at 5:30PM, so as someone who loves live music, we went around that time. We had no issues getting a table, and while there’s usually a $10 per person cover charge when there’s a piano player, we weren’t charged (presumably because we were hotel guests?).

The Carlyle New York Bemelmans Bar
The Carlyle New York Bemelmans Bar

Anyway, you can find the Bemelmans Bar menu here. Ford and I each had one of their martinis. While they’re not cheap (~$21-35), they were excellent, and were quite large, given that they each came with a carafe that had more to drink. The snacks were excellent as well.

The Carlyle New York Bemelmans Bar drinks

The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle

Dowling’s at The Carlyle is the property’s all-day dining restaurant. The restaurant’s executive chef is Sylvain Delpique (formerly from 21 Club), and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s a lounge area just outside the restaurant, and then the restaurant itself is mainly one large room.

The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle
The Carlyle New York Dowling’s at The Carlyle

It’s a beautifully appointed restaurant, though I’d note that it has zero natural light (which is true of all the outlets at the property). So be aware if you’re solar powered. 😉

We had breakfast at the restaurant, and you can find the breakfast menu here. Ford had an iced latte, while I had hot filter coffee.

The Carlyle New York breakfast

To eat, I had the Upper East Side bagel, with smoked salmon, whipped cream cheese, dill, caper, and pickled onion.

The Carlyle New York breakfast

Ford had the avocado toast with poached eggs.

The Carlyle New York breakfast

Both dishes and the coffee were excellent. While we didn’t have any other meals here, you can find the lunch menu here and find the dinner menu here.

The Carlyle New York Cafe Carlyle

Cafe Carlyle is The Carlyle’s cabaret club, and it has quite an impressive list of performers. For example, during our stay David Foster and Katharine McPhee were performing, but the club gets all kinds of other famous talent, and you can find the full list of performances here.

You do generally have to buy tickets in advance, and there’s also a dress code, so we didn’t go here. But it seems to be popular with hotel and non-hotel guests alike. For what it’s worth, you can find the dinner menu here.

The Carlyle New York Cafe Carlyle shows
The Carlyle New York Cafe Carlyle shows

The Carlyle New York spa & gym

The Carlyle has a spa and 24/7 fitness center on the third floor. The gym itself was sufficient but rather basic.

The Carlyle New York gym
The Carlyle New York gym
The Carlyle New York gym
The Carlyle New York gym

The Carlyle also has a Valmont Spa. While we didn’t get any treatments, you can find the spa menu here. The spa seems to be pretty popular with locals, based on the people I saw checking in and out at the spa while going to the gym.

Bottom line

The Carlyle is an iconic Upper East Side hotel with renovated and luxurious rooms, friendly service, and some killer food & beverage outlets. If you like staying on the Upper East Side, and if you’re a fan of “old world” piano bars and jazz clubs, then this property is for you. The only downsides are the gym, the small lobby, and the general lack of natural light in the food & beverage outlets (though that fits with the vibe).

It’s interesting to me how this compares to the Park Hyatt New York, one of the most popular points hotels in New York, as the hotels are basically exactly the opposite in terms of their pros and cons. The Park Hyatt has an amazing gym and pool, which are the two things this hotel lacks. Meanwhile the Park Hyatt can’t even get a restaurant to open in it, so it’s totally dead as a “social hub.”

What do you make of The Carlyle, and what’s your favorite luxury hotel in NYC?

Conversations (25)
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  1. Mallthus Gold

    I've stayed at the Carlyle a couple of times and I'm not a fan. For better or worse, the Carlyle's calling cards are their F&B program and their low-key security. If I attracted paparazzi or didn't revel in the joy of hunting down great food, I might like the property more, as the location is fantastic. But I put more value on space, technology, and design, all things other hotels in Manhattan do better for...

    I've stayed at the Carlyle a couple of times and I'm not a fan. For better or worse, the Carlyle's calling cards are their F&B program and their low-key security. If I attracted paparazzi or didn't revel in the joy of hunting down great food, I might like the property more, as the location is fantastic. But I put more value on space, technology, and design, all things other hotels in Manhattan do better for the same money.

    That said, those commenters that are shocked at the prices, sizes, amenities, etc are pretty clearly out of touch with what things, in general, cost in Manhattan. $21 for a large top shelf martini in an iconic bar is good value for the Upper East Side. Similarly, $800/night might be Presidential Suite money in Indianapolis, but it's pretty average for Manhattan.

    More importantly, I'd say that Manhattan hotels are better VALUE today than they were 20 years ago. 25 years ago, on my first visit to NYC as an adult, I stayed at the Park Lane Hotel, right on Central Park South. My room (in 1997 dollars) was $400/night and it was truly god-awful...small, weirdly shaped, slightly shabby, and, worst of all, HOT, with insufficient air-conditioning to match the oppressive summer heat. When I complained about my room, the desk staff was too happy to rudely point out that I was paying a significantly discounted corporate rate and should be happy to even have a room. To pay double that for a fully updated room in a premier location just a mile away with top notch service in 2022 is pretty damned good by my math.

  2. Steve Diamond

    The Surrey hotel across the street is my favorite nyc hotel, amazing rooftop patio, cant wait for it to reopen next year.

  3. iamhere Guest

    Nobody goes to the hotel for the gym and for the size of the lobby. The gym seemed adequate as hotel gyms go.

    1. Tortuga Diamond

      Yeah, I was going to say that Carlyle clientele aren't really going to care too much about the gym offering. Even if they are fitness fiends, they are more likely to book out to a studio or trainer or to have a reciprocal gym group membership.

  4. Hans Guest

    My best hotel in NYC is the Mandarin Oriental at Columbus Circle with best views to the Park. Unfortunately they cannot get the restaurant „Asiate“ to reopen, but it closed pre-pandemic.

  5. Claude Guest

    I love this place - so far the best art collections in the rooms and suites in town. During my last stay, my Premier Suite (two levels above entry-level suites but still on the lower-end of the spectrum as there are six more levels above) had two pieces of Henri Matisse, two Paul Klee and one Picasso...

  6. Reno Joe Guest

    My wife and I are in NYC four-plus times each year. We're there right now. While the upper east side might be a bit quieter, it comes with significant trade-offs. If you want to walk in the park, great. If you want to walk to most attractions, it's a lllooonnnggg walk. So, you take a cab and (depending on the time of day) you have to allow for extra time. Except cabs don't regularly pass...

    My wife and I are in NYC four-plus times each year. We're there right now. While the upper east side might be a bit quieter, it comes with significant trade-offs. If you want to walk in the park, great. If you want to walk to most attractions, it's a lllooonnnggg walk. So, you take a cab and (depending on the time of day) you have to allow for extra time. Except cabs don't regularly pass by the property . . . so you need the Curb app or Uber or Lyft. And, if you want walking distance to an ATM . . . or a CVS or Walgreens . . . or anything . . . nope, it's too removed. And, if you want a view, well . . .

  7. Daniel from Finland Guest

    While this hotel obviously has a reputation to rely on, I for one have never heard of it and would never pay 800 USD for what seems like a very average, outright bland hotel. Yes, nice, four stars and the room is not closet-size like many in NYC are. But there's definitely nothing out of the ordinary.

    Also, I feel this review is written in an unusually neutral style, without much praise, so between the...

    While this hotel obviously has a reputation to rely on, I for one have never heard of it and would never pay 800 USD for what seems like a very average, outright bland hotel. Yes, nice, four stars and the room is not closet-size like many in NYC are. But there's definitely nothing out of the ordinary.

    Also, I feel this review is written in an unusually neutral style, without much praise, so between the lines I'm reading that Ben wasn't thrilled or amazed by the place, but found it average. These travel agent rates are always a bad thing because naturally, despite all the "opinions are mine" disclaimers, it will feel awkward to write negative things after getting a 50 % discount.

    However, based on this review, I'd definitely not stay here. Sorry.

    1. Colin Guest

      Why are you sorry? Who are you apologising to?

    2. Daniel from Finland Guest

      I guess it's just my way of saying, "I realise you did your best in trying to write a non-negative review about a property that gave you 50 % off, but unfortunately you kind of failed because of all the stuff that you left out this time and include in all other reviews."

    3. Hepworth Guest

      The lack of discussion of service elements is telling.

  8. ME Guest

    They obviously don’t value your patronage because they did not provide their signature monogrammed pillowcases.

    1. Matt Guest

      Those are a nice touch. Stayed there with a wedding party and only the grooms got monogrammed pillowcases.

  9. Matt Guest

    It looks like covid axed the elevator attendant.

  10. JetSetFly Guest

    Carlyle brought back great memories for me. When I graduated from college and before I moved to LA, Amex Plat ran a deal for their one bedroom suite which I decided to book to celebrate my last night in NYC! Glad to see it has been refreshed although from the looks of things, they did a better job at Turtle Creek property.

  11. Super Gold

    $21 for 2 martinis (considering they give you a carafe to pour another one) is actually a very good bargain.

    Maybe it's just the pics but the room and general decor doesn't look terribly nice. Could be a Grand Hyatt anywhere mid-Atlantic. Maybe you have to be there?

    1. Endre Guest

      Looking at the menu, it’s $21 per martini

    2. shza Member

      I think Super means you are essentially getting two for that price since it comes with an "overage carafe."

  12. Lou Guest

    Bemelmens bar is featured in “A rainy day in New York” and “On the rocks” and was a Bourdain favorite. Just about the best value $25 martini you can find.

  13. DLPTATL Guest

    Have never stayed on any of our trips to NYC, but have visited the restaurant (amazing people watching at lunchtime) and Bemelmans countless times. Tempted to stay now that the rooms have been renovated. Pre-pandemic I could never justify the cost and no points earning when there are so many great points hotels to earn or burn points with fresher rooms. Now I feel like I have to check it out on our next trip.

  14. James Guest

    We sadly have never stayed there, but seeing Bobby Short's show at the Cafe Carlyle was an only-in-New-York moment that we'll never forget.

  15. Santos Guest

    The absolute best part of Central Park, IMO—the Conservatory Water—is just a couple blocks away. Great place to relax and spend an afternoon; it’s basically my backyard. My only caveat with this location would be that the majority of restaurants in this immediate area are absolutely abysmal and serve reheated garbage at absurd prices to rich elderly people who couldn’t care less. Otherwise it’s a good hotel choice for Manhattan if you don’t need to be near Midtown.

  16. GBOAC Diamond

    For those of us with a lot more gray hair than you, the Cafe Carlyle was synonymous with the legendary Bobby Short. He was a featured performer there for more than 35 years.

  17. CoLi Guest

    What a silly little gym with that toy 80s trampoline.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Daniel from Finland Guest

While this hotel obviously has a reputation to rely on, I for one have never heard of it and would never pay 800 USD for what seems like a very average, outright bland hotel. Yes, nice, four stars and the room is not closet-size like many in NYC are. But there's definitely nothing out of the ordinary. Also, I feel this review is written in an unusually neutral style, without much praise, so between the lines I'm reading that Ben wasn't thrilled or amazed by the place, but found it average. These travel agent rates are always a bad thing because naturally, despite all the "opinions are mine" disclaimers, it will feel awkward to write negative things after getting a 50 % discount. However, based on this review, I'd definitely not stay here. Sorry.

3
iamhere Guest

Nobody goes to the hotel for the gym and for the size of the lobby. The gym seemed adequate as hotel gyms go.

2
Colin Guest

Why are you sorry? Who are you apologising to?

2
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