I’m not on my honeymoon, but if I were, I’d be very pleased to have just arrived in New York in style, having flown from Luton Airport to Newark with boutique French airline, La Compagnie.
Launched in April 2015, this five-times a week service puts business class transatlantic travel within reach of a wider audience. Perfect for honeymooners looking for a taste of the high life without blowing the budget.
Departing Luton Airport at 5.45pm, there’s a signature cranberry and champagne cocktail to greet you on board, lie-flat seats with comfy pillow and cosy blanket, personal Samsung Galaxy Pro 12 tablets for inflight entertainment and tasty in flight meals care of French chef Christophe Langree. A little cosmetic pack includes products from natural French skincare brand Caudalie, but above all, the flight feels intimate and special and the 2×2 configuration works well for couples who will arrive fresh as a couple of daisies at 9pm New York time. You’ll both certainly get a good night’s sleep on shorter overnight journey home, where the flight number is a slick 007 – founder, Franz Yvelin is a huge James Bond fan.
I’m staying at the Loews Regency on Park Avenue, recently reimagined into a modern classic. Honeymooners should try and bag Signature Suite 2120, otherwise known as ‘Uptown Bohemian’ on the top floor – more the Manhattan apartment you always dreamed of than hotel room – and part of the hotel’s recent US$100million renovation. Its vast living room is adorned with all the art and stylebooks you never get time to read from Chanel to Wes Anderson’s film art. There’s your very own kitchen and breakfast bar which you can pre- order anything you fancy and the chic bedroom has a Prada print above the sexy bed and around the double wardrobe lies a vast bathroom with copper roll top tub.
Loews Regency is renowned for its power breakfasts and the mover and shakers of Manhattan gather here to kick off their working day in style. Honeymooners can relish the luxury of being on holiday as they take a leisurely breakfast of eggs benedict and the like. Or if you’re more a muffin on the go type couple, head next door to Sant Ambroeus coffee shop for a pumpkin muffin and cappuccino.
The bar at Loews is a cool place for a nightcap where you’ll feel like Manhattanites. Order a Perfect Pair (Edinburgh Gin or Grey Goose Pear, Poire Williams, Pear Puree and lemon juice).
And don’t forget to treat yourselves to a ‘power’ hair appointment or couples massage and facial in Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa, where everyone from Raphael Nadal to Ivana Trump has been spotted!
Loews is just a short stroll to Central Park where a horse and carriage ride for two may be schmaltzy, but all part of NYC tradition.
If you want to do the big Manhattan sights, head downtown to One World Observatory beside the imposing and moving 9/11 Memoria & Museum to commemorate the fall of the Twin Towers. The defiant One World Observatory is a staggering 102 floors, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and well worth it for the lift experience alone. A wrap-around film visually charts Manhattans rise from the swamps in pre-historic times to present day skyscrapers.
For a NYC institution that’s recently reopened, head to the Rainbow Room at The Top of the Rock, an exclusive NYC restaurant with crystals hanging in its imposing windows. Catch a sunny day and you’ll be bamboozled by refracted rainbows dancing across the room. There’s an incredible view of the Empire State Building, and expansive, gourmet buffet inspired by cuisines from around the globe to tuck into at US$95 a pop, whilst Sweet Meg and the Wayfarers play old-school ‘40s tunes. I recommend the dim sum, not to mention the Champagne Cosmos – Cointreau, grapefruit, and champagne.
Moving more into 2016 hipster mode, combine dining with retail therapy at ABC Cocina with its seashell encrusted walls, chandeliers and industrial chic. Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up whole food and inventive fare – you only have to look at the mocktail menu such as ginger lime soda sangria pumpkin. After sustenance comes shopping at ABC Homewares, just next door with its cornucopia of beautiful things.
Couples who love must make a beeline for recently opened Whitney Museum Of American Art right by the High Line, featuring permanent iconic American artists from Hopper to Cornell and exciting temporary exhibitions.
Afterwards stroll along the High Line hand in hand. This cool combo of street art, adventurous planting and gritty city and River Hudson views will make you feel like a true Manhattanite, before you board your business class plane back home!
How to do it
Honeymooners booking by 29 February 2016 pay £1,500 all-inclusive for two return flights to New York Newark from London Luton. Passengers of La Compagnie are offered 20% off duty free at Newark Airport.