I feel like I’m stepping into a New York fantasy as I walk into the cool monochromatic marble lobby of The Surrey Hotel. Suddenly I’m no longer that city girl schelpping bags from the subway (the bellmen already took care of those), I’m a more refined lady as I stand a little taller and move a little slower among my new immaculate surroundings. Located on the prettiest stretch of East 76th St between Madison and Fifth Avenues, The Surrey is every bit as elegant as its address would suggest: a 1920′s Beaux Art townhouse with a soothing muted color palette, luxurious furnishings, and Lauren Rottet designed interiors. But it’s Upper East Side posh with a decidedly modern attitude–and one that I love as I spot Chuck Close’s enormous tapestry of Kate Moss welcoming me in the hallway.
I’m not checking into The Surrey just for any ol’ occasion, however–I’m here to get ready for my wedding, and as with anything wedding related, there was a lot of thought put into this decision. First and foremost, I wanted a hotel that is photogenic, and every square inch of the Surrey certainly was. There’s not a bland corner to found on property–from the plush Bar Pleiades (described by my friend as the architectural interpretation of a Chanel bag) to the peaceful and artfully designed rooftop garden. The public and private areas of the hotel also house an impressive modern art collection, which adds interesting variety to the space. Rooms at the property are split into salons and suites with each one graciously appointed in neutral palette of creams, beiges, and greys lending a sophisticated and soothing feel to the space. Salons, which range from 330 to 570 square feet are single rooms outfitted with hand-painted wardrobe armoires, oversized desks, spacious sitting areas, and Duxiana beds complete with custom Sferra bedding. Suites, which can go up to 660 square feet, contain separate living areas, small kitchens, dining tables, soaking tubs, and private terraces. As a bride though, I’m going all out and zip up the elevator to the very top floor–The Penthouse Suite.
The Penthouse Suite is every bit the Upper East Side home of my dreams: a 2,800 square feet unit featuring residential details such as a fireplace, a formal dining room, built in bookcases, full kitchen and bar, walk in closets, Central Park views, two bathrooms, a claw foot bathtub, sauna, and a 160 square foot private patio. Just the living space was more than large enough to host my entire family and friends for brunch mimosas before the festivities started, yet so tranquil that it soothed everyone’s nerves. As the only unit on the floor, the Penthouse Suite also offers the utmost in privacy–I’m the type of bride that only likes being shot by the professional photographer, so not having other guests on the same floor was an incredibly welcomed perk. Early morning on the day of my wedding, I walked out onto the suite terrace in my robe to watch the sun rise–it was one of those peaceful yet substantial moments that I captured with my mind’s camera to remember forever. I also snapped it for Instagram (I mean…come on).
The other wonderful perk of being housed in the Penthouse Suite is the proximity to The Surrey’s gorgeous Roof Garden. Located directly across from the suite is a seasonal private rooftop garden reserved exclusively for hotel guests. At night, the garden comes to life with a full bar where guests can enjoy signature cocktails but during the day, it serves as a peaceful and beautiful oasis to lounge or unwind. Like many Surrey brides before me, I picked the Roof Garden as a first look location and for taking our portraits. The gorgeous decor combined with the city background made it the classic New York City shot.
What I am most grateful to The Surrey for (aside from providing the most stunning backdrop for all my photos) is the staff’s ability to provide incredible service without ever being intrusive. From setting out fresh flowers in all the rooms (and bathrooms) before my arrival, to early morning room cleanings, to helping direct friends and vendors around the property, to saving the day by retrieving left-behind wedding rings after we set off for the venue–every step of the way, I knew that the staff was looking after me, and for an overwhelmed bride, that was the ultimate luxury.
For more information on The Surrey Hotel, visit their website.