What service can you provide to groups that they normally might not receive?
As for any individual guest reservations, pre-arrival planning is of the essence in order to make the group's stay a memorable and successful one. At the Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park the Concierge is very involved in any pre-con the Sales department might have for groups and reach out to the group contact prior to arrival in order to assist with any arrangement needed, be it transportation, theatre tickets etc. Depending on the group needs the Concierge will prepare shopping maps and information, activities in the city or even a complete binder containing restaurants, Broadway shows and/or museums, all tailored to the group needs and requests, which will be placed in the guest room. The Concierge will meet the group contact upon arrival and offer assistance throughout their stay.
Can you recommend a good place to take a stroll?
There are a number of “off the beaten path” places to stroll in NYC, however, being located right on Central Park I cannot help but recommend one of the many hidden gems of Central Park, the Shakespeare Garden which is nestled between Belvedere Castle and The Swedish Cottage on the West Side between 79th and 80th Streets. Originally known as the Garden of the Heart, it was rechristened in 1916 to celebrate the tercentennial of Shakespeare’s death and only plants mentioned in his plays were planted.
Are there any quirky places we should check out?
If our guests are the adventurous type we can set up a kayak paddling tour on the Hudson, certainly an unusual way to see New York. Tours are offered during the day as well as by night. There are also “Fundamentals” classes for beginners.
What is an unusual request from a group you’ve had?
A group planner once asked us to arrange 50 Harleys, drivers included, for our group to take them to their downtown event. After contacting several Harley dealerships who were very surprised about this request we were able to convince 50 Harley Drivers to commit to such an unusual but great Sunday afternoon ride in the city.
What’s a unique event that has taken place at your property?
On their first stay one of our now regular group contacts asked to have a true New York welcome reception for her group arriving the same night and she wanted to see if we could make it happen. When the group arrived we welcomed them with NY egg creams and a live soda station as well as pretzels and hot dogs served by a New York street cart. After the warm welcome the guests were split up in groups of four to take a traditional carriage ride in Central Park which leaves in front of the hotel. Ever since the same group stays with us every year and still talks about this very special first visit.
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