I was so pleased I went to New York in the end. The new Four Seasons Downtown is an exceptional property with some of the friendliest & most engaged Four Seasons staff I have encountered; seeing my New York friend was incredible and I also got to spend an evening with my brilliant Uruguay friend who let me stay at his Punta del Este place for two months after I ended by 9 1/2 years in Qatar.
The Journey from JFK
Four Seasons arranged for a car to pick me up from JFK. It took over an hour to drive the 13 miles to Four Seasons Downtown in heavy traffic/rain but WiFi, & the chatty driver, meant the journey went quickly. During the drive I booked Wolfgang Puck's CUT New York for dinner that night.
The towering doorman greeted me with with such a warm "welcome back to the Four Seasons family Mr Frew, we have been expecting you".
Inside the lobby Thomas (the Hotel Manager I know from Four Seasons Park Lane) and his Assistant were waiting to welcome me. It is always so good to find such a familar smiling face when you arrive.
This refined contemporary hotel, 450 yards from Ground Zero, remided me of Four Seasons Toronto and I fell in love with it immediately.
Thomas & his Assistant took me up to my room. I had been given an elegant, & spacious, 22nd Floor room with sitting area and great views of the (dove like) Oculus World Trade Center transit hub.
Cookies & milk had been left for Issy & 'gang' and Veuve Clicquot for me and I was touched by the sweet notes.
It was my ideal bathroom with lots of marble and a vast seperate shower. I was unfamilar with the Lorenzo Villoresi bath products but have since learnt he is an independent Florence perfumer with a Middle Eastern influence.
Dinner in Wolfgang Puck's CUT New York
I got a great reception in CUT New York but my aching body meant I was not feeling very social. It is a glamorous & sophisciated room in deep reds by Jacques Garcia and a good place to quietly people watch.
I got a very dry Grey Goose martini and looked at the menu. I have eaten in CUT at the Bahrain Four Seaons & at 45 Park Lane in London and decided to get the Tasting of New York Sirloin, as I had to eat the Japanese Wagyu again. I got fries with black truffle and creamed spinach with an organic fried egg as my side dishes.
The American Wagyu from Snake River Farms and USDA Prime Aged 35 Days were incredible but the Japanese Wagyu was sublime buttery perfection. It was so rich and I had to savour each mouthful of the 2 Oz portion.
A perfect dinner, with excellent service, but the side dishes were far to much for one person and the various sauces (eg Argentinean Chimichurri) redundant when the steaks are this good.
New Year's Eve
The heavenly custom bed, and 'bright white' Four Seasons bed linen, meant I slept surprising well, despite all my aches and pains.
For my first breakfast I got truffled scrambled eggs with grilled asparagus & flaked Parmesan. The combination of the cheesy eggs with the strong taste of truffle was divine. It was an incredible dish devised by Executive Chef Shaun Acosta.
The fresh orange juice was perfect but I was not keen on the coffee being served in a glass cup.
My Texas Friend
Then I rested until a 'phone call from my Texas birthday friend. We talked about his new Maserati four-wheel drive and his own fall on the way to dinner the night before. We could both sympathise about feeling sore. Chats with him always fill me with energy.
I decided to go swimming. The 23 meter lap pool was beautiful but swimming was far from easy. Since returning to the UK I have learnt swimming is likely to delay my recovery. However, the spa staff were so kind and concerned about me that I was glad I visted the spa.
Bar at CUT New York
In the afternoon an Italian friend came to visit me. When we last met we drank champagne at Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and so I took her to the Bar at CUT New York. They do not serve Veuve Clicquot by the glass and so we got their house champagne.
The bar staff wanted to serve it in a white wine glass and tried to argue I was not knowlegeable when I requested flutes instead. When I later ordered a martini there was another 'argument' when I wanted it stired. Not a very Four Seasons attitude but these staff work for Wolfgang Puck instead.
Having said all this, when I got talking to the bar staff, after my friend left, they were interesting New York characters, which means you can forgive a certain amount of 'eccentricity'. Bar Manager David was jovial and charming.
I ended the afternoon talking to one of the customer, who is working on one of the US$30MN Four Seasons residences on the floors above the hotel. We had an interesting, only in New York, conversation about whether Judaism allows for an afterlife, while staff decorated the bar for New Year.
Four Seasons New York - Midtown
Next it was the orginal New York Four Seasons for a martini before dinner. This time it was an 'argument' about the use of Vermouth in dry martinis and, once again, a reticence to stir. However, I quickly bonded with 'Russian' Olga, as we talking about my visit to Russian when Yuri Andropov was in power and Brezhnev.
There was also a fun young Hungarian couple to chat to about my New Year at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest.
Dinner that night was in Angus Club Steakhouse on 55th Street. It was a very different place to CUT New York but seeing my friend, and talking about his illnesss, were the main focus of the rest of the evening. It is always so good to ring in New Year with this special person.
New Year's Day
2017 started with a breakfast of Eggs Royale with smoked salmon, an English muffin and creamy hollandaise sauce. An incredible way way is likely to be a perfect 2017.
I spent the morning exchanging New Year messages.