Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Our guest blogger Sonja Catani looks at a lovely hotel well placed for a busy art weekend in New York. Then from The Carlyle she takes us on an art spree in the Big Apple...

New York over a long weekend is very popular and a great way to get a lot of city-buzz in a short time. I’ve found that putting a theme to a weekend trip makes it easier to plan and get the most out of three-four days.  Popular themes are hotel-hopping, shopping-hopping, NY marathon-weekend or food-weekend. 

This time we chose art weekend.** 

We left Stockholm on the morning plane and arrived by lunchtime in New York and went directly to our favorite New York hotel: The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel.

Nothing beats The Carlyle in my opinion, its understated luxury, great service, perfect location, and of course the fabulous rooms. These are the most important features in a hotel for me, but I also value The Carlyle for the spa and the amazing breakfast – funnily enough since I’m not a breakfast person at all, but when staying in a hotel I always wake up hungry and end up eating massive breakfast meals.

Corner suite at The Carlyle on the 17th floor of the Carlyle tower

A greeting from Select Collection in my room

In the middle of it all - Our view from the Carlyle

More about The Carlyle here.

Here we enjoyed a wonderful spa treatment, were well placed for our art lovers weekend in NewYork, and for dining in the neighbourhood. We didn't miss the New York MUST - a jazz experience at the famous Bemelmans in The Carlyle. More below...

Art or play?

Art a few blocks away

Just a few blocks away from The Carlyle, on the corner of Madison and 75th Street we enjoyed the Jeff Koons exhibition at the Whitney ( However, when you read this, both the incredible exhibition that covered four stories of the museum, and the Whitney are closed and have moved! The Whitney will reopen in May 2015 between the Highline and Hudson river down in Meatpacking district in a building designed by Renzo Piano. I’m sure it will be fabulous. But Upper East Side lovers don’t have to fear, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's contemporary collection ( will move in to the bulky but cool 60’s building that housed the Whitney for decades.

Jeff Koons, Jeff Koons, Jeff Koons and me

Walking distance from The Carlyle are also lots of other museums and galleries. My favorites are the Guggenheim museum (, the Neue Gallery ( and the Frick Collection ( Visiting all three in one day gives you a perspective from classic art (Frick), to modern (Neue) and contemporary art (Guggenheim). Current exhibitions are listed on their web sites.

Art by subway

Then take the subway down town from just two streets down from The Carlyle on Lexington, and head to the Gallery district where the best galleries are all clustered under the Highline between 10th and 11th avenue and on 19th to 25th street. It’s a perfect afternoon excursion. The galleries off course feature new artists all the time, but if you’re not into surprises, check out the detailed shows on

Jet-lagged evening

 Round up the afternoon with a stroll on the Highline, and then head for an early casual dinner at Eataly /, next to Flatiron building. It’s perfect for that first slightly jet-lagged evening and you feel that you are in busy New York, without having to part-take too much in the activities. Download the Uber-app before you go to New York, to avoid all possible taxi problems, because by early evening you’re just longing for that huge comfortable bed in the tower of The Carlyle.


Lunch and dinner

The next day we arranged to meet young Swedish artist Anders Krisár and his lovely wife Jeanette for lunch at Balthazar ( on 80 Spring Street. Balthazar is always fun for people spotting, but make sure to ask the great concierge in The Carlyle to book a table, as many other people also like Balthazar and hence its extremely popular every day of the week, all hours.

Anders and Jeanette Krisår next to a model for the new brass work

Anders and Jeanette Krisár ( moved to New York not too long ago and rented a whole house in China town just on the border to Soho. They sublet each of the floors to different Swedish artists. First floor you will meet Cajsa von Seipel ( most famous for her giant sculptures of mutated teenagers. Second floor is Matthias van Arkel ( who’s exhibiting soon at Margaret Thatcher’s gallery in Chelsea Gallery district. Charlotte Gyllenhammar (, who’s left New York and is back in Sweden, still keeps a room in the “Swedish art building” and the of course you have Anders’ own studio. To Swedes I say try and contact the artists and go and meet them, it’s a great way to promote Swedish contemporary art in New York. We should all be very proud of them.

Dining around The Carlyle

Back on Upper East Side in the evening, we had drinks with some friends who live on 5th avenue. Once again I can’t stress the importance of a hotel’s location, the neighborhood of The Carlyle is lovely and there are great small bistros and restaurants to choose from if you want a good meal with local Upper East Siders.

We rounded up the evening with a drink in the Bemelmans art deco style bar in the hotel. The bar is famous for it’s unique drawings on the walls, deciphering the daily lives of New Yorker’s, a heritage from child book author Ludwig Bemelmans himself. Every night there’s a jazz band  and it’s a total must-must to visit the Bemelmans. Another must is Cafe Carlyle where Woody Allen plays the clarinet with a New Orleans jazz band on Mondays..

Jazz at Bemelmans at The Carlyle

On our last morning I visited he beautiful spa on the third floor of The Carlyle. I’d booked the jet-lag facial treatment with the Spa’s signature Intraceuticals oxygen treatment. It’s advertised as an all-natural alternative to surgical procedures. I say, go for it! Wish it would be available in Sweden as well.

The MoMa

Looking like a new person and fresh from sleep and a great breakfast, we went for a final art experience – The MoMa. Both my husband and I love the MoMa and this time we got to see the Matisse Paper Cuttings exhibition. If you don’t have time to catch it in New York, try to see it when it comes to Europe next time. For MoMa, ask the concierge at The Carlyle to book tickets in advance for specific time entry – otherwise you might have accept tickets for whichever time they have an opening next, might be hours away.

The MoMa
After three fantastic days we headed onwards on to our next adventure, a road trip to Rhode Island and Newport. The adventure started after Bronx bridge when we immediately got lost…. And it wasn’t my fault. But that’s whole another story!

My suggestions

  1. If you want to do an art-weekend the easy way, you choose to go in when it’s time for Frieze Art Fair (in 2015 it will be on the 14th to 17th at Randall island)
  2. Subscribe to former General Counsel Olle Wästberg’s news letter about New York – great restaurant tips and up to date info on political and cultural news.
  3. Follow Instagram and Twitter accounts to get in the mood before the trip.

  • The Carlyle Hotel @thecarlylehotel
  • Humans of New York @humansofny
  •  New York Times @nytimesphoto
  • New York Academy of Art @nyacademyofart
  • MoMA The Museum of Modern Art @themuseumofmodernart
  • Best Food New York @BestFoodNY, 
and of course
  • Select Collection @selectcollection

About Sonja Catani
First of all, I love to travel and people in my network want to read my stories. Select Collection are kind enough to publish them and they are free to use my travelling ambassador stories as a marketing tool. You can follow my travels at Instagram and twitter user @weekendshoppers hash-tag #weekendhoppers or #selectcollection.

** Regarding our choice of art weekend: Seriously, we would never choose the marathon-weekend… The furthest my husband and I have ever run is to the local gallery opening or last minute spa treatment.

Not ready to run...
Secret entrance to the Swedish Artists' Building in between market stalls in China Town

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