Gulf Insider’s Travel & Lifestyle Editor Christine Warren-White experiences a fashion frenzy made in Manhattan

New York—the epicenter of cutting edge cool, cuisine, creativity and of course fashion. A melting pot of cultures, New York’s fast-paced, frenetic energy always makes me feel alive from the moment I step off the plane.

Landing at Newark airport to that famous NYC skyline, my heart beats that little bit faster as I’m whisked off to one of New York’s most desirable and luxury addresses—The Surrey Hotel.  I feel like SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw, as staying at The Surrey is like having my own private residence in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper Eastside. Only, this has a fabulous roof terrace overlooking Central Park; stylish rooms with Diptyque amenities, a serene spa and Daniel Boulud’s eponymous, one Michelin starred Café Boulud.


Once home to Bette Davis and JFK, The Surrey is now home to celebrities, socialites, the fashion crowd and me for a fabulously fashion filled few days. In fact, fashion icon Kate Moss greets you as you step into the lobby in the form of a huge, and uber cool, tapestry!


Steps away from the Surrey are some of the world’s finest art galleries and museums. Turn left for Central Park, and Museum Mile including Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim, or turn right for every fashionista’s dream with designer boutiques and couture creations in every direction. If you want to turn left please read Gulf Insider, as my Jimmy Choos are turning right.


Mad about Madison

My Choos didn’t have far to step before being positively dazzled by an array of designer luxury boutiques. Chloe, Lanvin, Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Elie Saab are all, along with another 150 of the world’s most coveted couturiers, elegantly ensconcing Madison’s mile and a half avenue.  If like me your designer boots weren’t made for walking, or you just don’t have time for all these stunning ateliers, you can always call in your very own fashion fixer, Joan Kaufman.  Personal shopper to the stars, Kaufman can either arrange private previews ahead of the new collections, a private tour of showrooms or even better select designers delectable creations and bring them to The Surrey for you to peruse at your pleasure. And if you want to hang out with Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckham at the runway shows, tickets for New York’s Fashion Week can be procured. See, I told you I was turning right!


My credit card’s positively melting at the mere thought of Madison Avenue so I kicked off the heels, pull on Prada pumps and head Downtown.


21st Century Kicks



I love fashion however I love my bank balance more, so whenever I’m in New York I head for Century 21. The mecca of designer discounts, their flagship store is in the Financial District and lucky for you, you won’t need a Wall Street wallet to feed your fashion habit.  With 220,000 square feet, over seven floors you can literally shop till you drop. And I did! Everything from designer jeans—think Armani, Diesel, Dolce & Gabanna; delectable dresses from Kate Spade, Max Studio and Scotch & Soda (think I might need one of those later!) and the shoes, oh my the shoes.  All I can say is it’s a good job they sell designer luggage, as I needed another suitcase for my unabashed buying.  Well with up to 65% off I had more to spend! Luckily, or not if you’re my bank manager (sorry Kevin), you can shop Century 21 from Bahrain as they ship internationally. Genius! I now fear there maybe a few unhappy Kevin’s as being able to shop in Manhattan from Manama might catch on!


Bar Pleiades

Armed with new bags, shoes, jeans and dresses, artfully arranged in my new suitcase, I head back to celebrate, and commiserate on behalf of Kevin, with cocktails at the Coco Chanel inspired Bar Pleiades at my townhouse, AKA The Surrey. I marvel how the bar, framed by a black lacquered wood box with white lacquer inlay, is reminiscent of my newly purchased Chanel compact.

My L-shaped banquette, surrounded by beige quilting a la Chanel handbag style, induces a sartorial smile as I check out the cocktail list. And what a list! All the classics are inspired by a bygone era with inventive modern twists can be enjoyed in the intimate setting or experienced in your Salon or Suite. One of the incredible in-house mixologists will arrive with the accoutrements to mix and pour your preferred, perfect concoction. Having perused the list, my eyes settle on, well it could only be one thing couldn’t it? I know what you’re thinking and it’s not a Carrie Bradshaw Cosmopolitan; it is, of course, that much needed Manhattan. Cheers!



The Surrey Hotel

20 East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021


Century 21
22 Cortlandt Street
New York, NY 10007


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