An insider's guide to Manhattan's chicest additions
Olivier Lordonnois, general manager of iconic New York hotel The Mark, gives us the low-down on the Upper East Side
After you've lived in New York, everywhere else feels a bit provincial. Manhattan is such an extraordinary metropolis and when people say the city never sleeps, it's true. It feels like the epicentre of the world and lots of ambitious, creative people come here to make their dreams come true, making it an inspiring place to be.
I've been living in New York and managing The Mark hotel for six years now and the location of the hotel is very special, as the Upper East Side is a residential yet cultural part of town. While we're close to some amazing museums and galleries - and there are a lot of great shops - we're also surrounded by beautiful townhouses and private residences so you feel like a real New Yorker here, rather than a tourist.
New York is particularly magical at Christmas and many people come once a year just to shop and see the spectacular displays on Fifth Avenue and around the Rockefeller Center. But there's also a fantastic selection of places to shop around the hotel on Madison Avenue, from the Ralph Lauren mansion to small, quintessential New York boutiques selling jewellery, shoes and accessories that make interesting Christmas gifts.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently taken over the Whitney Museum - the Whitney's moved downtown to the Meatpacking District - meaning the new museum, called the Met Breuer, is just one block away from The Mark. Most people don't know about it yet so it's still a well-kept secret, but it's a fascinating place that deserves to be discovered.
In the basement of the Met Breuer there's a new restaurant called Flora, which really complements its unique architecture. The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges used to be something of an oasis in the area, but lots of new venues have opened of late, which makes things interesting. There's an array of art spaces in the neighbourhood too – Mark Hachem, Michael Werner, Yoshii Gallery – most of which you only hear about through word of mouth.
The Mark Hotel Lobby
Art is a focal point at The Mark. Jacques Grange designed our eclectic yet elegant interior following the hotel's renovation, between 2006 and 2009, when everything was completely refurbished except the building's 1927-built facade. He collaborated with Parisian gallerist Pierre Passebon to commission unique furniture and lighting fixtures by artists such as Ron Arad, Vladimir Kagan and Karl Lagerfeld.
We have a long-standing collaboration with luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman and the latest thing we've worked on together is the pedicabs that give guests a chauffeured ride between the hotel and the Bergdorf Goodman store. Pedicabs can also be taken from the hotel to numerous galleries and museums and around Central Park. New York transport doesn't get more stylish than that.
OLIVIER LORDONNOIS began his career at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris in 1992, while studying a degree in law. He did a stint at the Ritz in Paris then moved to the Lanesborough in London, before returning to Paris to work for Hotel Costes and later Hotel de la Tremoille. He joined The Mark as general manager in 2010.