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For nearly 10 minutes, no words were exchanged between my friend and me. In fact we hadn't even looked at each other. All around us was Manhattan. In front of me, the tree tops of Central Park formed a bouquet of the shades of green before an eclectic arrangement of gray, geometric shapes scraping the skyline. To his right, and already captured in the screen of his iPhone, was an urban scene of rooftop gardens and narrow, north-bound streets sprouting forth from Midtown.
We were at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, discovering why our corner Tower Room on the 33rd floor was the favorite of the front-desk staffer who personally escorted us to it. She, I imagine, is not the first to be enamored by the room's views, which are among the best in the city and perfectly framed by its picture windows. The antique furniture, black and white floral patterned wallpaper and gold accents further escalated any delusions of grandeur we were already feeling.
I wasn't surprised to learn then, weeks later while flipping through a style magazine, that the feature celebrity interview was done at one of the eateries at the Carlyle, where the elegant British actress was staying. Nor was I surprised to hear that a new friend had held her wedding reception, an elegant tea party, at one of the hotel's beautiful Art Deco event spaces. If you are lucky enough, or have an important enough occasion, The Carlyle is the type of place that you'll find yourself.
Woody Allen and the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band, for example, have an on-and- off again residency at Cafe Carlyle, which regularly attracts a high caliber of talent. Woody Allen is an especially hot ticket, but if the booking for Allen or other Cafe Carlyle performances is made early enough, the property's on-site reservations team can help travel agents obtain access for their clients.
The sophistication of The Carlyle does not make it off limits to young folks. In my grand New York room, sharing a plate of chocolate covered strawberries with my friends, I felt like a city princess - an Eloise or a Madeline. Though Eloise's legacy belongs to another fancy New York property, Madeline actually does have close ties to The Carlyle. The man who drew and created the Madeline series, Ludwig Bemelmans, is the namesake of Bemelmans Bar. The artist's only surviving commission - the venue's whimsical large-scale murals of Central Park and its human and animal inhabitants - complement the room's chocolate-brown leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, gold walls and 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling. Children will delight in the playful charm of the room, but it is certainly the type of place a writer and an actor, or even a group of politicians, could settle in for an inspired conversation. Kids, and kids at heart, will enjoy The Carlyle's current Madeline Tea series, an afternoon tea and children's buffet complemented by a sing-a-long of pieces from the Madeline Song Book with Tina de Varon. The winter series ends on Dec. 22 but begins again in spring, from April 6 through May 11.
Also of note for traveling families is the upcoming "The Sophie Experience" and "The Super Sophie Experience" packages, beginning in February 2013. The packages are a partnership with children's author Kelly Florio Kasouf and her book series The Super Adventures of Sophie and the City. The Sophie Experience includes signed copies of three Kasouf books, a specially designed Sophie amenity and a specially designed Sophie pillow, as well as accommodations, starting at $540. The Super Sophie Experience, however, is the way to go - thrown into the mix is a specially designed Oscar de La Renta Sophie dress and a visit to the newly renovated Madison Avenue boutique for a dressing. Also included are a cameo necklace and a charm suite by Lulu Frost. Rates begin at $835.
The Carlyle, which has been a Rosewood property since 2002, is also offering the "More Rosewood" promotion - a free third night, which is available to book starting in January through March and then again from July through August.
Travel agents in the west can maximize their clients' stays at The Carlyle with the help of Adrian Norbury, the Carlyle's new director of sales and marketing.
"We have recognized how important the West Coast market is and now have a dedicated director of sales based in LA to specifically handle that market," said Jennifer Cooke, area director of public relations for The Carlyle.