Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, New York, Spas & Salons, TravelCity Files: New York: December 2010

ONE. Frederic Fekkai 5th Ave Salon — Located upstairs at New York’s famous Henri Bendel, the Fekkai Fifth Ave salon serves as it’s flagship and offers a wide range of services from glosses to manicures.  With the Fekkai name comes top talent, luxurious hair products, a chic space with top notch service (and the best champagne). My top recommendation?  Book with Brandon who gives one of the most unique haircuts I’ve ever experienced: he’ll ask you to stand while he’s cutting and then move your head into different angles.  Since we don’t go about our day to day lives with our head only in one position, Brandon’s cutting technique allows him to cut a shape that truly moves with you- and thus, super easy to maintain as well. He is also a visionary and can recommend something that shows off your best assets while working within your comfort zone.  Though I just went in thinking I only wanted a trim, I came out with one of the best haircuts of my adult life.  This was three weeks ago- and it still looks fresh!

TWO. The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park South:  Located at the foot of Central Park, this is one of my all time favorite hotels in the world and home to one the most decadent spas I’ve ever visited.  It is truly one of the most extravagant and luxurious properties- even by Ritz Carlton standards!  New Yorkers and visitors alike should stop by The Star Lounge, helmed by world renowned bartender Norman Bukofzer.  He is legendary for  serving up some of the best cocktails you’ll ever have (seriously, just do a Google search on his name).  The signature drink?  A classic, shaken-not stirred, martini.  Another added bonus- hours of people watching fashionable ladies, gentlemen, and maybe even a celebrity stroll by.

THREE. Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur – Grand Central may not come to mind as being a top dining destination in New York- but it is, in fact, home to some of the great restaurants in the city- including Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur, located at the east Mezzanine. It certainly provides a one-of-a-kind fine dining ambiance, situated above the hustle and bustle of the Main Concourse and under the terminal’s extravagant starry ceiling.  The food is delicious and the service top notch- as one would expect from a Charlie Palmer institution.  However, there’s no need to break the bank for this quintessential New York experience- their prix fixe lunch rings in at $27 for two (large) courses and their amazing dinner menul- $49 for three courses plus a bottle of wine, may be the best deal in the city.

FOUR. Paris Baugette – This Korean chain is my new favorite go-to stop when I’m craving a fresh pastry or unique sweets.   Sometimes, I even skip dessert in favor of stopping by Paris to pick up a cream puff or mango pastry.  The well lit store is lined with racks and racks of breads, sweets, fruits, cakes, sandwiches .. you name it!  Pastries are done in traditional Korean style, so you won’t find your typical creme brulee, but might be surprised by how good the red bean bread is. Located at 6 W 32nd St, this store is new to Manhattan so be sure to check it out the next time you’re in midtown!

FIVE. Haven Spa – Haven Soho’s newly launched menu of Mini Escape (M.E.) services are exactly what every time strapped New Yorker needs to feel revived and refreshed. Don’t have 2 hours for a spa ritual? No problem! Haven Soho’s Mini Escape services are all 30 minutes long and is customized to focus exactly on your problem area- whether it’s a knot in your lower back, pesky clogged pores or dry winter skin- all for $50 or under.  Pick from a massage, a body scrub, a facial or a pedicure and the treatment will be tailored to whatever results you want to see.  When was the last time you could fit in a massage and facial into your lunch hour?

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