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When staying in Manhattan, some hotels capture the essence of what it's like to actually live here. Visitors may wonder what drives people to pay a premium for the privilege of forsaking their cars and residing in apartments with square footages approximating walk-in closets. Upon checking into a hotel like the Omni Berkshire Place, you quickly realize that having so many views at every turn each day is one of Manhattan's most alluring characteristics.
At the Omni Berkshire Place, you are situated right on Madison Avenue in East Midtown, putting you within walking distance of the theater district, the grand steps leading to New York Public Library, and iconic architecture like St. Patrick's Cathedral. While it may be true that longtime residents no longer gawk at them, it's simply because their perspective has been fully imbued with the obvious. Dig deeper and you'll see that they have a high probability of living/working multiple stories above street level exposing them to architectural scenes that may not be Empire State Building or Top of the Rock stature but change with the seasons and time of day.
Staying at the Omni Berkshire Place gives you a solid glimpse into these special views from 21 stories that rose in 1926, built of steel and massive granite blocks. Several rooms open onto private balconies girded with thick wrought-iron railings overlooking skyline sunsets, a medley of skyscraper architectural styles, and perhaps humorous views through people's windows like a studio filled with mannequins set in different poses.
Kicking up your skyline experience even more, the Omni Berkshire Place is for a limited time offering a "New York City Skyline View” package which gives you access to two iconic vistas that even the most jaded New Yorkers secretly appreciate, as well as a city-view room upgrade, and two New York City skyline T-shirts.
It's easy to see that Omni Berkshire Place's Classic Revival architectural flair played a role in inspiring Rodgers & Hammerstein in 1942 to collaborate on the landmark American musical Oklahoma! in room 2100 - which to this day remains the hotel's most prominent suite. The historic grandeur of this thousand-square-foot suite still endures, with a walk-out, wrap-around terrace, a desk occupying a full wall, and a fireplace. Also included is a full master bath with luxurious spa tub and a powder room.
The other rooms are just as magnificent, including the 781-square-foot Madison Suites, overlooking 52nd Street and Madison Avenue and featuring a large master bedroom with an oversized bath that includes separate shower and soaking tub and 445-square-foot Berkshire Suite, with glass French doors separating the parlor and work area from the king bedroom.
Although the hotel has experienced major renovations over the years, the solid marble floors, pillars, elaborate trim, and blessedly thick walls of its lobby remain. The onsite Fireside Restaurant's sumptuously appointed bar and dining area is where executive chef Ron Ulczak shakes up the contemporary American menu, focusing on adventurous versions of comfort dishes like New York cheesesteak dumplings served with sriracha ketchup and kimchi and "drunken duck" quesadillas.
Photos: Omni Berkshire Place, Steve Mirsky. Coverage made possible by participating in a partially sponsored trip.