Conde Nast Travelers

Conde Nast Travelers

Lauren Berger has been named one of Conde Nast Traveler's Experts for 2013

Conde Nast is home to some of the worlds most celebrated media brands. In the United States, Conde Nast publishes 18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites, and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories. The company also owns Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose portfolio of brands serves as the leading source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Conde Nast has won more National Magazine Awards over the past ten years than all of its competitors combined.


Juan Acuna

United Nations staff

I’ve arrived in NYC in 2009 as an United Nations staff. As this was my first time in NY, I really needed to solve the problem of accomodation as soon as possible.

In this order, I met Ms. Lauren Berger who immediately helped me with this issue, renting me one of her beautiful properties in Lake Isle, Eastchester.

I can say that I have never experienced a beautiful environment like that, not only because that was exactly the kind of neighbourhood I was looking for, but also because Ms. Lauren was a real friend, immediately helping me to move into the house, furnishing it with a great style and making me feel like at home.

During my four years renting her house, I have received her support every time I have requested her assistance. And you know, for someone coming from a foreign country, that is priceless.

I have finished my tour of duty two weeks ago. Fortunately, the United Nations has considered me for a new contract effective middle of December. No doubt that I will be requesting Ms. Laurens assistance once again because with her support, Im pretty sure that I will feel like at home again. As Ive said, I feel that she is my friend now.

I strongly recommend Ms. Lauren to my colleagues in the United Nations and for diplomats coming to NY.

Thanks a lot Lauren. In my opinion, you are a real Queen.

Respectfully, Juan Acuna
Uruguay


Robert Pullen

By Robert and Antonio

Robert Pullen & Antonio Sanchez-Subirana

“Our ten-day stay was, in a single word, blissful.”

Robert Pullen, 20 Claverdale Road, London, SW2 2DP, England

Dear Lauren,

Our New York Vacation – April/May 2011

We were promised a vacation to remember – and my goodness that is what we got! New York is one of those places where we have always struck lucky on previous visits, so we had high expectations and wonderful memories to live up to. Yet our stay this Easter in the 2-bed room LBC apartment on the 11th floor of Essex House eclipsed not just anything we have previously experienced in NYC but all other hotels or apartments we’ve stayed in anywhere else in the world.

As you know, it was important that we were close to Lincoln Center as our holiday was to be built around several trips to the opera and visiting friends near to Carnegie Hall and in the Upper West Side. The Essex House hotel already held a special place in our affections as it was the hotel we stayed in the first time we came to NYC. Even before contacting you, we therefore had set our hearts on the Essex House apartment after coming across pictures and details of it on the Internet. Initially, however, it seemed we were to be disappointed as the apartment was already booked for the dates we needed. But, in what turned out to be the extraordinary knack of the Lauren Berger team to pull rabbits out of hats, you somehow managed to secure the apartment for exactly the dates we were looking for.

Our ten-day stay was, in a single word, blissful. Though some of the opera performances turned out to be extraordinary, the most vivid memories we brought home with us are of the joy we felt each night we came back to the apartmentt, and the wonderful friendship we feel we’ve made with both of you. The aesthetic sense Lauren has for creating a beautiful and calming interior helped make that the place we were living in the absolute highlight of our holiday. And the support services provided by Jeffrey – personally arranging to pick us up at JFK, ensuring that any item we requested was sourced and speedily delivered by one of the LBC ambassadors – contributed to a real sense that our enjoyment and welfare mattered to you.

Before we began our holiday, we simply thought of ourselves as your customers or clients, and thought of you as our agents or hosts. But on returning home to London, we now think of you as friends, and count ourselves as among your most dedicated fans. There’s no praise higher than that!

With best wishes,
Robert and Antonio


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” If you have a surreal life like I do, youve got to have fun along the way.” -Victoria Beckham

Lead Travel Guide, Luxury Villas Primosten, Primosten, Croatia

I love the word “surreal.” What word could be more fascinating? Definitions include having the quality of a dream, unreal, and fantastic. The literal interpretation is “above real.” What could be better than being above reality? Surreal is the one word that comes to mind when I think of Primosten, Croatia.

Signs

“Primosten” -pronounced primoften -rolls of my tongue with ease now. Not long ago, I knew nothing of this dreamlike seaside town.

While visiting a property in Split, my host and new found friend, Gordon, informed me that the next property I would be visiting was in Primosten. My poor short term memory combined with the foreign pronunciation caused the word to slip from my mind. This is a common problem for me. Fifteen seconds after being introduced to someone, I have already forgotten their name. So I was having the same problem with the name “Primosten”. I must have asked Gordon the name of the town five times. By the fifth time, he looked at me as if perhaps I was a little slow. I explained that I am a visual learner and that I need to see foreign words spelled in order for my mind to hold on to them. We both laughed at my difficulty.

Shortly, thereafter we arrived at the property, an ultra -modern vacation rental complex centered perfectly between two town boundary signs, one for entering and one for leaving Primosten. Seeing the name clearly written, it was now engraved in my mind. The fact that the vacation property is located between the two signs . . . not actually located within or outside of the town, made the paradox even more poignant!

Sci-Fi Living

“Its so surreal being here.” -Scotty McCreery

Science fiction is the epitome of surreal. The futuristic notions and ideas create an unreal and fantastic quality. All the best aspects of sci-fi living are combined in the Primosten vacation rental property. This property combines the finest ideas and technology of futuristic living, creating a luxurious multi-home seaside masterpiece.

A warm welcome was awaiting me by Architect Zoran Popovic and developer Ante Mioc. Their professionalism mixed with good humor put me at ease and made me feel at home. As construction of the homes had just been completed, the finishing touches were still underway. After getting settled in one of the apartments, Zoran and Ante escorted me on a tour of the complex.

Strategically situated on a sloped seaside lot, this ultra-modern complex is comprised of nine buildings, seven private homes and two condominium style buildings. Zoran showed me photos of the construction process and explained the challenges they encountered building on the steep seaside lot. The multi-unit design makes it perfect for small or large groups providing privacy for the guests within a unified complex. In fact, the complex can accommodate up to seventy-two people!

Ante explained that each home and apartment was designed to have breathtaking sea views. The ancient town of Primosten, with its medieval architecture, sits majestically in the distance on a peninsula that protrudes into the sea.

Zoran explained further that each residence was designed for a feeling of privacy and seclusion with windows and doors opening only toward the sea and the mountains. Skylights and floor to ceiling windows provide extensive natural lighting. In fact, no lights are needed during the daylight hours. Each of the seven homes has a private pool and patio. “Floating staircases”, spacious state-of-the art kitchens, and atrium style courtyards are just a few of the space-age details that make this property unique.

Built in harmony with the landscape, trees and exposed rocks are incorporated into the design. The flat roofs are covered with pebble rocks and small bushes which accentuate the futuristic sustainable design. Along the seashore the harmony with the landscape is maintained with a slate rock terrace, the perfect spot from which to take a morning swim or dock a small boat. Zoran and Ante stated that plans are underway to add a community pool and restaurant on the north side of the property in the same modern sci-fi design.

Dinner in an Ancient Village

“The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects making it possible . . . to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.” Susan Sontag

Back in one of the luxurious apartments, I watched the sunset over the Adriatic Sea as I gazed at the small medieval town. I had learned that Primosten is located on an islet close to the mainland. The islet and town had once been protected by high walls and towers. A draw bridge connected the town to the mainland. The towns people had sought to guard itself from an invasion by the Turks in 1542. Their efforts were successful. In 1564 the draw bridge was replaced by a causeway and the settlement was named Primosten after the Croatian verb primostiti, to span.

The following evening, a dinner in my honor was arranged by Ante and Zoran at the towns best restaurant, Mediteran. Proprietor Davor Perkov warmly greeted us with a large smile. He introduced me to some additional guests, a couple who are both doctors in a nearby town. The ambiance of the restaurant was something out of a dream. Framed by ancient stone walls the charm and history ran through my blood. The front portion is open to the sky providing an amazing view of the night sky. The back section has a wine cellar appeal.

While sitting under the stars, we were served a tasteful selection of Croatian wines, fish and vegetables, truly a food and wine connoisseurs dream! As I savored the wine and cuisine, the history lover in me steered the conversation back in time. I learned that Josip Broz Tito, who was the chief architect of the socialist federation of Yugoslavia that lasted from 1943 to 1992, was much loved and admired by the Croatian people. The socialist federation was unique in that Yugoslavia was able to maintain its independence during the Cold War, not aligning itself with either the western or eastern bloc countries. The war in the 1990s which divided the county into six independent states destroyed much of Croatians industry that had thrived prior to that time. However, there was much hope on the horizon. Zoran explained that in just two months Croatia would be accepted into the European Union and that tourism in the Country held great promise. I agreed wholeheartedly. Croatia is truly a vacation lovers paradise!

As we finished our dinner with a delectable desert known as Paradizot, discussions of international politics led to local politics. The municipal elections results had just come in. The small sleepy town was growing lively as groups gathered throughout the town to celebrate their candidates victories.

Thanking Davor for being a kind and generous host, we strolled through town stopping at a local establishment where a live band was playing typical Croatian music in honor of the election. We toasted with a glass of Grappa, a favorite Croatian liqueur. I smiled relishing the experience, the jovial people, the ancient city, the lively music, surreal!

Day Dreaming

“Surreal can be exciting and good, and it can be like living inside an alien landscape, and it can be completely interesting, or you can be alienated from your own life, inside your own life, it doesnt feel familiar anymore.” Feist

I love finding myself in a surreal place or situation. Life feels more alive, more interesting. As the lines of reality blur, the mind is given the opportunity to experience a dreamlike existence in a conscious state of mind. Perhaps, this is the reason I avoid the ordinary, the normal, and the comfortable to seek out new destinations. This small seaside town, Primosten, felt more surreal than any place I have visited before. I was curious as to the aspects that aroused such a feeling.

A winding, picturesque road leads from the Primosten vacation rental to the town center. Each day I walked along this road that passes through high canyon walls and open sea views into the center of town . There was a tranquility and flavor to the surroundings that I could not quite place, like walking through a dream.

One day, I discovered a stone staircase alongside the road which appeared to lead nowhere, so dreamlike. In fact the night before, I had dreamt I was climbing a staircase that had neither a top nor a bottom. I crossed the street to get a closer look of what at first seemed like a mirage. I climbed the stairs. As I ascended the view of the sea and town below came into view, spectacular! When I reached the top, I discovered that the staircase had a hidden turn which directed me into a clearing. In light of my strange dream, I was glad to see that the staircase did lead somewhere!

Another day, I discovered a trail that led from the main road down to the sea. There I found a pathway that runs through the woods, parallel with the sea shore. As I wondered along the path, I admired the vegetation and landscape. Cacti, wild flowers and towering trees framed the view ahead. The hill side was scattered with vacation homes. Along the shore occasional tourists were basking in the sun on the rocky shore and children were cooling themselves in the clear blue water.

Arriving each day into town, I would pass through the Rudina, the main square, and meander my way through the narrow passageways. St. George, the parish church built in 1485, sits regally at the top of the hill as if guarding the village below. I would stop at one of the quaint cafes for an espresso or return to Mediteran for an outstanding lunch.

The crystal clear water, history and charm easily explain why Primosten is one of the most popular tourist areas in Dalmatia. Since its beginnings as a small fishing village, Primosten has developed into a tourists paradise. The main beach, Raduca, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Croatia. Primosten is also known for its vineyards which are currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Krka, one of Croatias national parks, is located less than an hour to the north near the City of Sibenik. This 109 square kilometer park is a nature lovers paradise. The park is a profusion of rich flora and fauna, river, waterfalls, and animal life. In fact, over eight hundred and sixty plant species, eighteen fish species, and two hundred and twenty-two bird species have been identified within the park. Extraordinary!

Surreality

“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.” Andre Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism

My stay in Primosten passed by like a dream, a dream of beauty, tranquility and wonder. I awoke the morning of my departure and looked one last time at the breathtaking view of the sea and the ancient town from the apartments window.

I had come to Primosten knowing nothing of this peaceful place, not even its name. What I found was a vacation rental complex so modern and luxurious that I felt transported into the future; an ancient quiet town that made me feel transported to the past; kind and hospitable hosts who made me feel like a member of the community rather than a tourist; and a magical landscape filled with wonder and tranquility, a “surreality” where reality and a dream combine for a fantastic mingling.

For reservations, please call Lauren Berger at (888) 522-1099, (239) 671-2920 or (646) 629-9669


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Upon entry into the apartment, the ambiance of the fine details, cream colored furnishings and exceptional style of the 1930s architecture roused a feeling that momentarily swept me back to an earlier era.”

Lead Travel Guide, Two Elegant Eras Thriving at Essex House 1101-62; Dec. 16th 2012

I arrived in the evening after dark. The doorman, finely dressed in a long black coat trimmed in gold, held the heavy door open as I entered this historic landmark: The Essex House. An icon of Central Park South since its construction in 1931, this luxurious residence-hotel has been home to the most elite, including royalty, celebrities, and diplomats. The feeling of elegance and sophistication immediately enveloped me as I traversed the grand lobby, stylishly decorated in a tasteful mix of traditional and modern accents. Stunningly beautiful marble floors lit by grandiose crystal chandeliers lead the way to the elevators. “THIS CAR AVAILABLE” scrolled above ornate gold elevator doors beaconed me inside, and the “car” carried me up to my floor.

Warm Elegance

Upon entry into the apartment, the ambiance of the fine details, cream colored furnishings and exceptional style of the 1930s architecture roused a feeling that momentarily swept me back to an earlier era. From the spacious foyer, my eyes were drawn to the large living room windows to the left, graced by cream satin curtains. Dramatically large and orange, the moon hung heavy over the silhouette of tall buildings with squarely lit windows to the east. Small bright lights of many colors dotted the expanse to the north like a reflection of the night sky: Central Park. A horse and buggy passed by, clipping and clopping on the street below, offering people rides through this magical landscape.

Sophistication, comfort and warmth are elegantly blended in this spacious two bedroom two bath apartment. The living room and dining room are large enough to comfortably hold a dinner or cocktail party for eight of your dearest friends or colleagues. Each bedroom has two walk-in closets and private bathrooms.

As I walk from room to room, my eyes are awe-struck by the fine details of the hardwood floors, wide crown molding and panel doors with antique hardware that were in vogue in the 1930s. The fine quality furnishings, soft colors and natural light of this elegant apartment instantly bid me to feel at ease. The large cozy sofas are perfect for snuggling on in the evening with a favorite book. The dining room table invite leisurely dinners meant for sharing the highlights of your day with friends or family.

The master suite is an oasis in its own right. The gray marble of the bathroom, the antique bathroom and door fixtures, mirror ornamented bureaus and night stands, cream colored panel doors and woodwork combine to create a feeling of 1931 meets 21st Century luxury. Like a soft white cloud, the large king size bed wraps around me each night. I sleep like I have not slept in years: it is a deep sleep without sound, movement, or dreams.

The View: Central Park

Each morning I am drawn to the living room windows to gaze upon Central Park in the light of the new day. I marvel at the size of this expansive beauty that stretches for miles to the north set in the center of one of the worlds largest cities. The landscape of Central Park is unique: soft hills, ponds, lakes, rocky outcrops, and mature trees make for a magical setting. From the window, I see children and adults climb and play on the rocky outcrops that serve as a natural playground for the young and young at heart. People pass by on the street below on their way to work. The horse drawn carriages and yellow taxis line up side by side on the street below: two eras melting into one.

The grandeur and beauty of Central Park can be felt and seen in all 4 seasons. This 843-acre wonder was established in 1857 and remains today one of the most important focal points of Manhattan. Springtime in the Park is a fairytale land with blooming flowers and melting snow feeding the creeks that run throughout the park. The summertime brings festivities from open-air band concerts to lazy day boat rides in the lake. In autumn, the park is a medley of oranges, reds and yellows. The snow of winter turns the park into winter wonderland. Children build snowmen and start snowball fights.

Beyond Five Star Service

“Five-star service” takes a back seat to the impeccable service provided by the hostess and property manager, Lauren Berger. Lauren is a vibrant, smiling, beautiful woman who makes certain that all her guests will be treated like her most treasured family members. She takes special care to be sure all the small details are perfectly attended to before guests arrive. No aspect is left forgotten, including such fine points as the guests preferred pillow type, favorite foods, and flower choices. She is known to add special decor items to meet the tastes of each particular client, and personally caters to the care of each and every one of her cherished guests.

Upon arrival after a long travel day, I was immediately put at ease by Laurens warm smile and great sense of humor. Throughout the week, I am fortunate to spend time with Lauren and learn what a remarkable woman she is. I am mesmerized by the stories she shares about growing up in the Big Apple with her ten brothers and sisters. I laugh and cry, as I hear the details of this familys journey from Turkey to New York and a half-century of experiences lived in this amazing city. Within a few days, I feel as all her guests must do, like I have known Lauren my whole life and that she will always be my treasured friend. Without a doubt, she the master in the field of hospitality and is truly, as she has become known, the Angel of Manhattan.

Luxury Location

Each day I venture out into the City to explore its wonders. This luxurious home is perfectly situated in the center of the City. A few blocks to the west, I find the Time Warner Building. This pair of interconnected skyscrapers located in Columbus Circle on the southwestern corner of Central Park is home to upscale shops, fine restaurants, offices and condominiums. The large Whole Foods Market in the basement of the building is a food lovers paradise. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, the fish market, wine section and bakery blended with smells and sounds creating a rich lively medley that could almost be mistaken for a story shown in an impressionistic painting.

The Plaza Hotel is just a couple blocks to the east. This chateau-style building which opened in 1907 marks the southeast corner of Central Park and the beginning of the fine shops of Fifth Avenue. Prestigious shops such as Cartier, Gucci, Chanel and Armani line this major thoroughfare between 49th Street and 60th Street. Forbes magazine ranked Fifth Avenue as being the most expensive street in the world in 2008.

Nearby fine restaurants are a delight for the culinary connoisseur and choices of cuisine are truly endless. Continuing my journey back in time, one evening, I visited the Russian Tea Room for dinner. This historic restaurant opened in 1927, just four years before the Essex House, and soon became the gathering place for those in the entertainment industry. The decor of this restaurant maintains the ambiance of this earlier time with the finely chosen interior design: red covered booths, green lavishly decorated walls, and gold accents. In the spirit of the restaurants name, I ordered the Russian dish, Chicken Kiev: delectable!

Entertainment choices are almost as vast as the number of restaurants in the area. Carnegie Hall is just two blocks to the south. Built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1892, it is one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical music and popular music. Just a few blocks further to the south is Radio City Music Hall located in Rockefeller Center. Radio City presentations include such impressive events as the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, the Cirque du Soleil, and television and sports events.

Invigorated to the End

Staying fit in the Big Apple has never been easier. Some mornings I get up early to attend a yoga class at Exhale, an extraordinary yoga studio/spa just two doors to the east of the Essex House. Other mornings, I take the elevator down to the third floor which has a well equipped gym with weight and elliptical machines. Afternoons, I enjoy a stroll through Central Park where I see the more physically ambitious passing by me at full jogging speed and on bicycles.

The day before I leave, I walked down to the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park, and rented skates. I sit on the bench outside the rink as the ice resurfacing machine finishes making the ice smooth as glass. Looking south, through the trees is the Essex House standing tall and grand: the opposite reflection of what I have seen from the living room windows each day. I put my skates on and glide, not so effortlessly, around the rink a few times. Children speed by me and couples stroll hand in hand by at my equally slow pace.

As I prepare to leave, I take one last long look out the living room window to gaze at Central Park. I feel like I am leaving my new home a place which has brought me so much warmth, comfort and good memories. I call to say goodbye to my new friend, Lauren. Her kindness, smile, and immaculate service have been instrumental in making my stay at this beautiful property one of true comfort and luxury. For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646)-629-9669.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. “-Vincent Van Gogh

Lead Travel Guide, Westhampton Beach, NY; Feb. 13th 2013

The small details in all aspects of our lives are what lead to greatness and success: from relationships, to art, to cooking, to business, there is nothing more important than the “small things.” This rule also holds true for the aspects that make a house a home. This Westhampton Beach house brings all the small details together in perfect harmony to create an enchanting, warm, welcoming, comfortable home ideal for family gatherings, reunions, or weddings.

The Setting

This waterfront New England style home is set on a large oversized lot directly on the waterway inlet that leads to the Atlantic Ocean. The quaint Long Island town, Westhampton Beach, and the public beach are just a short stroll away. Westhampton Beach is one of several upscale beach communities on the southeastern side of Long Island, New York. Collectively, these beach towns are known as the Hamptons. Award winning novels and movies, such as The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Somethings Gotta Give, by Nancy Meyers with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are filmed here. The Hampton arouses images in my mind of such great characters as Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Erica Barry, and Harry Sanborn. Many of Manhattans wealthiest and well-known residents own weekend homes in the area that offer a great escape from the fast paced lifestyle of the City.

Main Street in Westhampton Beach is lined with quaint shops and restaurants with original themes and names including: Wetter or Not, O Suzanna, and Post Stop Cafe. The people I passed on the street and encountered in the shops were warm and welcoming. Some mornings, I strolled into town for an espresso at The Beach Bakery Cafe. The cafe was bustling with people enjoying their morning coffee while reading the paper or tapping on their computers.

Beach Lane, not surprisingly, leads to the entrance of the main beach. A pathway took me past the public beach house down to a sandy beach. The beach is wide: bordered by the sparkling blue ocean water on one side and tall beachgrass on the other side. Seagulls fly over the water diving for food in the cool Atlantic water. Miles of secluded sandy beach stretch in both directions beckon me to explore the sandy coastline. As I sat in the sand, I took a deep breath to fill my lungs with the clean fresh ocean air and took in the beauty of my surrounding: Breathtaking

Some evenings, I strolled into town for dinner at one of the fine restaurant choices. The silhouette of the trees and houses against the star lit sky was stunning. My favorite dining choice, The Patio, exudes soft tasteful lighting and is furnished with dark wood furniture, and stylish decor creating a warm and comfortable ambiance. The cuisine is fresh and light and includes such favorites as Butternut Squash Soup and Pan Roasted Salmon. The easy flowing conversation throughout the restaurant and bar between guests, staff and owner creates a nostalgic air that made me feel as if I was a local in this quaint town.

The Gardens

A white picket fence fittingly lines the road side of the property. The u-shaped driveway leads past the finely landscaped front yard and garden to the front entrance. Built in 1897, this immaculate New England style home sits majestically between mature trees and flowering bushes. To the right of the front entrance is a gate that leads to the backyard. I opened the gate and passed under a trellis archway to the finely landscaped and designed outdoor recreational area. At the center is a large alluring swimming pool great for cooling down or playing water games with the family on hot summer days. To the right, is a state-of-the-art barbeque grill that is every chefs dream. Behind the pool is a hot tub large enough for eight to ten guests: perfect for relaxing and chatting with your friends on cool evenings.

Past the pool terrace is an open green expanse that leads to the boat dock and inlet. This radiant waterway is home to many types of bird species that make this setting a nature lovers paradise. The wide-open lawn is perfect for a family game of touch football, croquet, or volleyball and is equally suitable for a large wedding ceremony and reception. In fact, many couples have taken their vows in this magnificent setting.

Family Allure

Entering the home, I immediately felt the airiness, style and comfort associated with upscale beach community homes. Windows line the back and side walls providing a dazzling array of light that illuminates the stunning decor. Pastel colors, wood floors, antique furniture and accent pieces, and plush floral and plaid furniture unite to create a very welcoming feeling.

The view from the entry foyer is stunning. The yellow painted walls offer warmth and sunshine even on cloudy days. Four ivory colored columns frame a den which is perfectly adorned with two large floral print plush chaise lounges. A long antique buffet table along the side window is adorned with a perfectly placed antique-style sailboat model. This is a great spot to relax and cuddle up with a book after lunch.

Beyond the columns is a long pine wood table with plaid colored chairs and stylish floral arrangement at its center. The table is large enough to comfortably seat fourteen of your dearest friends, colleagues or family members. Just past the table is a large picture window that frames incredible gardens and inlet views. On warm summer days, dinner can be taken at the tables outside on the spacious deck.

To the right of the dining room is a spacious living room with two plush floral sofas and chairs. A fireplace framed in an ivory colored mantel with red brick is set at the far wall. A large square cushion style coffee table is centrally placed in the room providing an inviting centerpiece. The sage-colored rattan style end tables, yellow lamps, bay window, sailboat model and ivory colored entertainment center frame the room with unexpected symmetry. Each evening, I lit a fire in the alluring fireplace. The light of the fire dances against the decor in the evening light creating a calming and peaceful ambiance that is a perfect prelude for family members before retiring to bed.

To the left of the entry foyer is a cozy breakfast nook. The round table and four floral fabric wicker chairs is the perfect spot for a leisurely breakfast and coffee while reading the morning paper. Just to the left is the spacious kitchen with walk-in pantry. The ivory colored cabinets with glass doors and large cutting board island unite to create elegance and functionality. Cooking for your family, colleagues or wedding party has never been more convenient.

Each Bedroom a Retreat

Seven inviting bedrooms, each unique and diverse, await your family or guests to meet all tastes and personalities.

Slumber Party

To the right of the entry foyer is a bedroom and bathroom perfectly suited for two to four sisters or girlfriends regardless of their age: ten, forty, or seventy five! This spacious rectangle room has two luxurious queen beds. The pale green and light pink colors combine with the floral patterned curtains and chairs to elicit a very feminine appeal. Each morning the sunrise brings a stunning light through the windows that accent the colors and decor. The exterior door that leads out to the gardens and swimming pool invites an impromptu midnight swim.

The Love Nest

Just across the den, a stairway leads to the spacious second floor foyer. The master suite, to the right, is an elegantly designed architectural work of art. A wall of windows facing the waterway inlet brings in a warm and welcoming natural light. A fireplace on the far right is a welcoming feature on cool winter nights. The centerpiece of this masterpiece is the large king bed placed at an angle in the center of the room. Elegant cream colored curtains frame the four corners of the plush bed giving a feeling that the bed is floating in space between the glow of the fire and the view of the water.

The master bathroom is a wonderful compliment. The deep soaking tub, twin sinks, and separate shower make for a functional and comfortable setting. Each evening before retiring to bed, I relaxed in the hot bath water softened by ammonias salts and oils.

Each morning, I was gently awakened by the dazzling sunrise. The hot pick glow in the dark sky creates silhouettes of the trees and vegetation along the inlet. As the sun rises higher and the sky is illuminated, the birds chatter and dive for food in the cool morning water. One morning, after a cold night, the inlet has a thin layer of ice. I watched as the wild geese and seagulls paddled along the thin layer of the ice.

The Chameleon

Next to the master suite is a bright, airy and stylish bedroom. The beautifully etched glass entry door, gabled ceiling and skylight exude light and openness. The breathtaking view of the water from the comfy bed is a welcoming way to start each day. The spacious sitting area with two love seats and large cushioned ottoman is a perfect place to take your morning coffee or afternoon tea. French doors lead to the roomy second story deck which is the perfect romantic spot for stargazing at night. The cream colored furnishings and bedding provide for a diversity of accent pieces allowing this room to be suitably customized for a couple, a man or a woman.

Two Brothers

Just past the spacious nicely ornamented bathroom and large armoire of the second floor foyer is room well suited for two brothers or friends. The two twin beds with checkered blue and white bedding flawlessly match the floor tile of the en-suite bathroom and lamp shade. The antique wooden desk is a wonderful compliment to provide the ideal spot where the boys can set up computers for video games or catch up on homework.

The Hideout

A narrow stairway leads from the second floor foyer to the third floor. This large open space with four trundle beds make for an ideal “hideout” for four to eight children to play video games, race toy cars, tell ghost stories, built blanket tents and talk about their newest crush. Be aware, they may post a sign “no adults allowed.” The natural light from the eight skylights enhances the bright blue decor. On the far end of the room is a feature the health-conscious adults in the family will enjoy a dry sauna. This is also a great way to warm up after a day boating in the inlet or fishing in the open water.

The Cove

A small hallway off the first floor kitchen leads to a quiet and serene section of the home. This cozy first floor bedroom is perfect for the chef in the family or group. The twin bed next to the shelf full of cookbooks is the ideal location to relax after an afternoon swim or to leaf through recipe ideas for dinner.

A Quite Haven

A staircase, to a separate second level, leads to a quiet, secluded bedroom with en-suite bathroom. The rosebud print carpet and bedding combine strikingly with the plush blue and white striped loveseat, chaise lounge and ottoman. The matching wallpaper theme, antique dresser, night stand and bureau mingle with these patterns and colors to create a stunning effect.

Like a Family Member

Just as the “small things” make this beautiful house a masterpiece of a home, the impeccable service provided by your hostess, Lauren Berger, will make every guest feel like a family member. Laurens warm and welcoming smile, great sense of humor, and kindness will brighten the day of any weary traveler. Laurens greeting felt like the warmth I feel when seeing my sister after a long interlude. We shared stories of our holiday festivities while she gave me a tour of the Hampton area and pointed out some of the restaurants in town. The small details such as the fire lit in the fireplace, the finely made plush bedding, and bath salt and oils next to the tub immediately put me at ease and made me feel that I had arrived home. The genuine heartfelt care she gives to all her guest will make anyone feel like they have arrived at home and will want to stay forever. She has a fine selection of properties in New York, the Caribbean and Europe. For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646)-629-9669.

Category Placement

This property was chosen for the Family Friendly Category due to the spacious size, numerous bedrooms and in home entertainment areas. This property would also be well suited for the categories of Luxury, Outstanding Location, Romantic, Unique, Wine Connoisseur and Sports Enthusiast.

The Westhampton House, located just a couple miles away, can be rented in conjunction with this home to accommodate additional family members or guests.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Fit in the City “

Lead Travel Guide, Mercedes House 966, Manhattan NY; May 19th 2013

As an author, when I think of New York City, the first thing that comes to mind is the writer-character, Kerry Bradshaw in the TV series ” Sex in the City. ” Images of her in $500 designer heels strutting down the streets of NYC had me wondering. Does she have some kind of shoe secret? Or, maybe she knows of a 100-year old shoe shop she keeps on retainer, hidden in some dark alleyway off 5th Avenue. I wondered, do the stiletto heels jar her spinal cord on those hard, concrete surfaces? Or, was she just born with super-feet?

Silly me! I wanted to know her shoe secrets. I also wanted to know, ” How does one get fit in the City?” So armed (or footed) with my new Danscos and Tommy Hilfiger boots, my feet dragged me off in search of comfort and ways to stay fit in this concrete jungle.

Shades of White

My apartment at The Mercedes House #966, located in midtown Manhattan over viewing the Hudson River, was the ultimate in clean, sleek and functional design. Taking its namesake from the automobile, Mercedes Benz, the apartment is detailed with high-quality metallic trim, quiet elegance, a high level of function, and crafted excellence. The walls, counters, and white glass cupboard doors bring together stunning shades of white with silver trimmings. The soft white leather, fold-out couch promises a smooth ride when sitting or sleeping. The only contrast to the elegant shades of white and silver is the super-light oak flooring and doors which bring a lovely tone of golden warmth to the entire home.

From white as a stunning decorator color, a new color scheme emerges. With one entire wall of windows, the scene shifts from white to transparent. At once, I was struck by the impact of a great glass home, suspended in the clouds, high above a neighborhood sports arena in the foreground with the Hudson River in the background!

The View

The cloudy winter skies, punctuated with weather-worn New York City high-rise buildings, provide a stark contrast to the clean white elements inside the Mercedes House. Shades of white with silver trim become a visual symphony next to austere monotones of grays and browns framed by the living room’s picture window. The clean color scene offers peace and serenity from the chaos, clamor, and clutter of the concrete jungle below.

The terrace is a stunning addendum to this apartment and adds a feeling of spaciousness in a crowded skyline—a luxury where space is at a premium. From here, the view behind the playing field below gives rise to a spectacular sea of life—that of the Hudson River, brimming with activity. On the other side of the river is New Jersey. My daughter’s home across the Hudson is only 6 miles away as the crow flies, but 1.5 hours by subway. The river itself is teaming with movement and sound. A cruise ship sat at the dock. Ferries were scurrying back and forth, ship’s horns warning each other of their presence from time to time. The whole scene reminded me of a Where’s Waldo painting! However, at evening time, as the sun sets, all grows quiet. The sky, silently and suddenly, bursts into an array of effervescent color, saturating the horizon for a few precious moments.

The Best or Nothing

The Mercedes showroom on the ground floor proudly displays a slogan that reads, ” The Best or Nothing. ” Apartment 966 is comparable in function, elegance, and spaciousness to the sleek, white SUV Mercedes that sits on the showroom floor below. Both this Mercedes SUV and Apartment 966 are meant for the type of family who appreciates the meaning of ” The Best or Nothing. ”

The 966’s master bedroom includes its own separate bathroom, a widescreen TV, and a partial view of a of the unit’s massive terrace. A second bedroom afforded my daughter the opportunity to stay a few days for some shoe and boot shopping. It felt like such a luxury to enjoy separate bathrooms. A family of five or six could stay comfortably in this apartment.

Both of us enjoyed the lovely design lines and fixtures, including the delicate whitish glass tiles on the bathroom floors. The bathtub faucet ejects a smooth tube of water, which looks stationary—a magic trick of well-crafted faucets. My daughter, a fashion and beauty photographer for both national and international magazines has a highly trained eye for such things. She clearly appreciated the design and décor of 966. The minimalist contemporary design, function, and elegance of 966 won a hearty approval from her. Local Food Stores

Often I get on a roll when I am writing, and do not want to take the time and effort to go out to eat. Therefore, I found that cooking in the kitchen here was an absolute joy. Since my goal is to be healthy and stay “Fit in the City,” I often like to buy organic, fresh food and cook my own meals. That’s why I recommend D’Agostino at 815 10th Ave New York, NY 10019. Open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, it is located just 2.5 blocks from The Mercedes House. D’Agostino offers many nutritious food options including good, organic produce. Don’t miss this store for its high quality food. If you are walking, you’ll need to go every few days because it might be too much to carry all at once. The Whole Food Store, at 59th and 10th Avenue, is a bit further away, but also great if you like their food bar or deli.

Restaurants Delis & Pubs

Staying and getting “Fit in the City” has a lot to do with the food you eat. A great little deli, called Westside Market, is just one block over on 11th Avenue on the ground floor of the Clinton Building. Run by a local family, who are warm and welcoming, their breakfast is a bargain. Alphie’s is an authentic Irish Pub complete with waitresses fresh from Ireland. This is a real neighborhood pub hang out with all the good games on big screen TVs. After trekking one day from 33rd and Broadway to 77th street, then back to 53rd street, all the while being soaked in rain, I felt I couldn’t go one more block. I stopped at Alphie’s on the corner of 53rd Street and 9th Avenue. It was warm and cozy inside as I drank a glass of wine. They have a pretty good fish and chips dinner as well. I met an off-duty New York Police officer who stopped in to have a drink, before going home. His wife teaches at a local Yoga studio which I was able to track down right there in the neighborhood.

View for Sports and Fitness
I looked out my picture window on this cold, February day to the field below and witnessed many teams as they came and went all afternoon and all evening long. There was laughter and cheers, and sometimes, honest disagreements, that often come with a healthy game of competition. It brought to mind that New York City has a history of sports teams, the Yankees being the most famous. New Yorkers love their sports. If you lived in “the concrete jungle,” playing a team sport would be one fun way to get “Fit in the City.”

Mercedes House Gym

Staying fit in the city was easier than I thought. On the 4th floor is the Mercedes Gym! With ample space, plus an indoor and outdoor pool, staying fit in the winter is a breeze. This club includes a beautiful outdoor rooftop area with a swimming pool and sunny outdoor patio. The gym has plenty of windows which allow an abundance of sunlight throughout the club. Even in winter the outdoor pool is functioning, however, if you strictly want to do laps there is an indoor lap pool. I love the rows of running tracks, Stairmasters, and other equipment that may often involve a waiting line. That is certainly not the case in this gym. There is a putter’s green and a few other AstroTurf courts outside for anyone who wants to hone in on their skills. You just have to put on your tennis shoes and head on over to the Mercedes gym to stay active and fit in the Big Apple during winter time.

Not to be Missed

Speaking of shoes; I put on my dance-style, baby doll Danjos, (certainly not the designer heels Kerry Bradshaw would wear to a NYC event) and ambled over to Broadway to see “Motown” just before ending my stay in the Mercedes House. Unlike the Kerry Bradshaw character, I have not seen one Broadway Play. I imagine that she had seen hundreds of them; and been invited to fashion shows, art events, and exclusive parties with celebrities in attendance, to boot!

However, to see just one Broadway Play in New York City was on my “bucket list” (things to do before I kick the bucket). If you have good shoes, and you want to get “Fit in the City,” the Broadway area is within walking distance from the Mercedes House. My date and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk to 46th Street to the little boutique theatre. We were impressed with its rich decor and antique chandeliers, and our seats were great. The walk on the way over was entertainment of its own brand. We stopped to ask a fresh-flower vendor to snap a photo of us in our Broadway attire. It was an extra treat when my date bought me flowers as a thank you to the guy who shot our photo—just $10 for a dozen fresh, white roses!

If you do not want to walk, hop into a cab for about 8-10 blocks to Broadway. Shop for tickets online to make it easy–my date purchased and printed our tickets from online and we were all set in advance. This is an experience of a lifetime and one not to be missed. The play was spectacular in every way, a dream come true to see American entertainment at its best.

My Hostess

Lauren Berger, who heads up the Lauren Berger Collection, is the probably the most hospitable person on the planet. She is there when you need her, yet keeps a polite distance when you do not. There is a fine art to hospitality; she lives and breathes it. Her properties are elegant, tasteful, and top-notch. If you think for a second that you might feel a tad uncomfortable, forget about it! Lauren always makes my daughter and I feel loved and right at home. I suppose that is the true art of hospitality. Lauren exudes these qualities. When you stay with The Lauren Berger Collection you will experience this level of comfort also. The slogan for the Lauren Berger Collection is “Never leave home.” It is absolutely true. With Lauren, you never leave home.

Category Placement

Mercedes House 966 is placed in Vacation Rentals for the Sports Enthusiast. It is also suitable for Ultra Luxurious Vacation Rentals and Outstandingly Located Vacation Rentals. If you are a sports enthusiast in New York City at the right time, you will want to see a Yankees Game. Or, if you simply love to walk, the Mercedes House is within walking distance from many sites, such as Time Square, Broadway, or even Central Park if you are an enthusiastic power walker. Lastly, though, the Mercedes House has its own spectacular gym and no matter what the weather, you can get and stay “fit in the city” at the Mercedes House.

For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646)-629-9669.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Perched atop a Mercedes Benz dealership, the Mercedes House propels 21st Century Manhattan to 22nd Century innovation “

Lead Travel Guide, Mercedes House 1646, Manhattan, NY; Feb. 24th 2013

Flash Forward in Time

Perched atop a Mercedes Benz dealership, the Mercedes House propels 21st Century Manhattan to 22nd Century innovation. This 32-story residential building features a unique zig-zagging design creating courtyards and large terraces. Mexican Architect Enrique Norten designed the residence with 28,000 square feet interior, contiguous space which includes a state-of-the-art fitness area. This spacious design encompasses 60,000 square feet of outdoor space providing a South Beach like oasis. This spiraling luxury residential development has transported the landscape of New York into the future: an ultramodern spaceship has arrived in Manhattan.

An Ocean Liners View

In traditional 21st Century Manhattan style, the New York Yellow Cab left me at the entrance of the Mercedes House. Passing through the front lobby doors, I felt as if I passed through a time warp into the future. Tall glass windows, stainless steel accents, brightly red swirled designer flooring, red runway style lighting, and extended flat screen with multiple moving colors combine to create a striking futuristic expression.

Encapsulated in the stainless steel elevator, I continued my journey into the future: Beam me up Scotty! Landing on the 16th Floor, I entered this luxury apartment. A light ahead drew me along the lightly colored oak flooring to the kitchen and living room. The view from the floor-to-ceiling windows on two full walls left me awestruck. To the south is a postcard view of the Midtown skyline: tall buildings of various sizes, heights and shapes. Looking to the west, I was captivated by the view of the infamous Hudson River that defines the western border of Manhattan. A glass door, led me to the spacious terrace with glass panel railing shaped like a ships bow. I felt as if I was on a large ocean liner navigating through the calm Hudson waters heading toward the New Jersey shore. Ship Ahoy.

Living in the Sky

Staying at the Mercedes House was like living in the sky. The kitchen with spacious island and airy living room provide all the conveniences and comforts of home. The white leather sofas and stainless steel kitchen offer the perfect complement to the striking view. Two bedrooms, each with king size beds and spacious closets connect to the main living area: one room with a view of the Hudson and the other with a view of the New York skyline.

Each evening while sitting outside on the terrace, the view of the sunset over the Hudson captivated me: hot pink hues with shades of gray. Falling asleep at night, the silhouette of the New York skyline lulled me to sleep: various rectangular shapes with squarely lit windows. Waking in the morning, the view of skyline in the daylight revitalized me with the energy of this amazing City. The natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the day supplied me with a soft positive energy: a feeling of floating in the sky!

Hells Kitchen Transformed

The Mercedes House is located in Midtown West in an area that is better known as Hells Kitchen. “Hells Kitchen” generally refers to the area of Manhattan between 34th and 59th Street, west of 8th Street and bordering the Hudson River. This section of Midtown was once troubled with congestion from an influx of immigrants who found work on the docks nearby. Ethnic conflict escalated when Puerto Ricans moved into the neighborhood in the 1950s. The well known Broadway Musical, West Side Story, depicts this conflict between the Irish, Italians and Puerto Ricans.This rich and colorful history is what earned the neighborhood the name “Hells Kitchen”.

Development in this area lagged for more than 30 years due to strict zoning rules called the Special Clinton District designed to protect the neighborhoods low-rise character. However, progress in this area started to boom after the September 11 attacks, when zoning all over the city was relaxed.

Today, Hells Kitchen has been transformed to an increasingly upscale neighborhood popular with actors and young professionals. James Dean, Jerry Seinfield, Alicia Keys and Sylvester Stallone are just a few of the famous actors and entertainers who have resided here. CBS Broadcast Center, Sony Music Studios and other broadcast and music-recording studios have also made their home at this juncture. Hells Kitchen has made a colossal leap into the future since the troubled earlier years: a future with innovative architecture and celebrity appeal!

Distinctive Restaurants

The restaurants choices in the area were a fantastic complement to my futuristic experience at the Mercedes House. Midtown West is well known for a diverse array of ethnic restaurants including Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Irish, Mexican, Thai, Afghan, Argentine, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Turkish, Indian, Pakistani and Vietnamese restaurants. Each May, the Ninth Avenue Associations International Food Festival is held here stretching from 37th Street to 57th Street. This street fair has been an annual tradition since 1974 and attracts residents from all over the City.

While some days I enjoyed cooking in the apartments modern kitchen, other days, I ventured out in search of some of these distinctive choices. Print soon became a favorite destination. Located at 48th and 11th, this farm-to-table dining experience was developed by Executive Chef Charles Rodriguez and Executive Pastry Chef Geoff Koo who create dishes inspired by food products grown in the region. Health inspired combination of ingredients unite to create such unique wonders as the Wild Hive Polenta with sauteed mushrooms, pea leaves, shaved parmesan and veal jus; Stuffed Carnival Squash with roasted sunchokes, chestnuts, bok choy, mushrooms, seasonal vegetables and truffle sauce; and the Pear Almond Tart with cinnamon ice cream and cranberry sauce.

One morning, I stumbled upon one of the best kept secrets of the neighborhood: Il Baretto. This Italian Caffe Wine Bar has so much more to offer than just wine and at unbeatable prices for Midtown Manhattan. Located just across the street on the corner of 11th, this quaint cafe has health conscious quality cuisine including such favorites as imported cheeses served with crostini and figs marmalade; a nice selection of large salads all for less than ten dollars; and, main dishes such as Filet Mignon for only twelve dollars. These prices felt like a flash back to the past!

Multicultural City

One unique aspect of New York City is the mix of cultures and people living together on this small island called Manhattan. Whether you are Irish or Chinese, rich or poor, straight or gay, a Jew or an atheist, black or white, this City welcomes you with open arms. One Saturday evening a good friend and I visited Japas 55 Karaoke Bar where this futurist type of acceptance was seen in the brightest light. This Japanese run establishment was full of a happy mix of New Yorkers sitting around the bar. The microphone was passed from one person to the next each taking turns singing a selected song. Everyone joined in and cheered the one singing regardless of how out of tune their voice may be. I felt like I had been transported into the future where all barriers between people were erased and everyone lived in harmony with one another.

Automotives of the Future

An abundance of unique experiences can be found in New York City. One interesting choice I found was to test-drive a car from the near future. Eleventh Street between 57th Street and 47th Street is lined with a diverse selection of automotive dealerships. The newest car designs can be seen and test driven from worlds top car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Nissan, Lexus, Audi and Cadillac. The Smart Car dealership is located just outside the lobby entrance to the right. This small fuel efficient “toy like” car is the perfect choice for a City dweller. Lease rates are as low as just $99 per month and the electric version of the car gets 122 miles per gallon. Now that is a flash to the future!

Inimitable Service

The inimitable service provided by owner and host, Lauren Berger, was as unique as my stay in this futurist home. Lauren extends impeccable service that one would think was something from the past before technology and automated devices took the place of quality service. Her beautiful smile and great sense of humor immediately puts her guests at ease. She personally caters to them to assure they feel at home the moment they arrive at one of her outstanding properties. Orchestrating the small details from the flower arrangements, to the fine bedding, to arranging catered dinner parties on the spacious terrace, she makes the guest feel as if they have arrived home. She makes each guest feel like a treasured family member. Nothing could be more unique than that!

Back to Present Time

My stay at the Mercedes House flew by like a spaceship at warp speed. Encapsulated in the stainless steel elevator, I was transported back to the ground floor, passed through the lobby and back out into 21st Century Manhattan. Having had a glimpse of what the future brings for this beautiful City, I continued on my way with a smile on my face.

Category Placement

This property was chosen for the Unique Category due to the modern zig-zagging design of the building combined with the exceptional views. This property would also be suitable for the categories of Luxury, Outstanding Location, Romantic, and Sports Enthusiast.

For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646) 629-9669.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Wonderful Central Park South Location “

Lead Travel Guide, Essex House 560, Manhattan NY; May 15th 2013

The Essex House opened its warm and inviting arms to me at the height of the Christmas festivities. A brightly lit Christmas tree and strands of garland accented the already elegant lobby adorned with marble floors, crystal chandeliers and rich colored woodwork. The Essex House is a prestigious landmark of Central Park South. Construction of this luxurious residence-hotel began in 1929 following the stock market crash and the arrival of the Great Depression. Despite the economic hardships, the Essex House was completed and opened its doors in 1931.

The Fifth Floor

The bellman led me down the wide, stylish hallway on the fifth floor to my nicely situated one bedroom apartment. Entering the apartment, I was struck by the beauty of the crystal chandelier hanging gracefully in the center of the living room between two plush, gray sofas creating a feeling of elegance combined with comfort. The spacious, full-sized kitchen has beautiful gray, granite countertops that blend well with the cream-colored cabinets, black appliances and the gray sofas.

To the right of the living room is the bedroom — spacious and inviting with a lush and alluring king-sized bed. Even travelers who have “more suitcases than scarves” will have difficulty filling the full wall of closet space. The en-suite bathroom is elegantly decorated combining cream colored marble wall tiles with modern stainless steel fixtures.

The apartment is warm, comfortable and quiet — not what one would expect given its location in the center of the largest city in the United States. Not a single taxi horn or police siren can be heard from the rear of the Essex House — a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of this magnificent city.

Heart of the City

The Essex House is ideal for the travelers who want to be in the heart of the city to experience everything Manhattan has to offer. Just across the street is Central Park. This vast natural haven is a striking contrast to the flurry of the rest of the city. The landscape is like something out of a fairy tale: rocky outcrops, creeks, ponds, lakes, mature trees, open fields, gardens, zoo, and even a castle.

Belvedere’s Castle was built in 1869 as a Victorian folly on Vista Rock, the park’s second-highest natural elevation. This centerpiece was built of Manhattan “schist” quarried in the park and accented with gray granite. Belvedere means ” beautiful view” in Italian – a well -suited name as the view from the Castle is impressive. From the Castle’s turret there are dramatic views of not only Central Park, but also the New York skyline.

One morning after a heavy snow, I bundled myself in winter attire and crossed the street to explore the winter wonderland. The park was full of people young and old. Children with sleds laughed with joy as they slid through the powdery snow. Men and women with cameras in hand captured the beauty of the landscape. The elderly walked gingerly along the slippery paths with smiles on their faces.

Crossing the various paths and trudging through areas of deep snow, I made my way to Belvedere’s Castle. The view from a distance was striking – the white dusted gray stone shone in the brilliant day light. The view from the castle was equally impressive – crystallized tree branches framing the banks of the glass-like lake below.

Restaurants Abound

Restaurants and cafes are too numerous to count in this amazing location. Each morning, I started my day with the wholesome and delicious selections offered at Le Pain Quotedien, located just one block to the west. The philosophy of this bakery and communal table style cafe is to use organic ingredients of the highest quality thereby establishing lasting and meaningful partnerships with local organic farmers. Friends and strangers alike come together for breakfast and lunch around their communal tables to linger while enjoying some of the delicious breads. Some of Le Pain Quotidien’s specialties include such items as Organic Riz ou Lait, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Omelet, and Toasted Paris Ham & Gruyere Croissant.

The Time Warner Building is located just a couple blocks to the west in Columbus Circle and has several restaurant choices. One of my favorite lunch spots, the Bouchon Bakery and Cafe, brings back memories of the delectable boulangeries of Paris. Bouchon is located on the third floor of the building and looks across the open lobby of the building through the full wall of windows that faces views of Central Park South. While enjoying my lunch, I watched as yellow taxi cabs lined up next to horse drawn carriages and cycle rickshaws: so many ways for people to explore the city! The menu at Bouchon is fresh and healthy. Their Chicken Soup with Herb Dumplings and Salade d’Endives et de Pommes are exceptional.

Each evening, I enjoyed strolling through the streets in the area where there are many fine shops and restaurants. One evening, I stumbled across what became one of my favorite dinner spots: Rue 57. Located just two blocks south of the Essex House, this Brasserie Parisienne and Sushi Bar has a great combination of fine food and bistro style atmosphere. The clientele are friendly and are at ease with striking up a conversation with those at a neighboring table. One evening, I had a nice conversation with a couple who are Manhattan natives. They had moved to Florida several years ago, but moved back to New York because they missed this great City. The food is equally as friendly and ranges from such extraordinary creations as Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, and Crunchy Lobster Roll.

One day I decided to venture a bit farther to the south to Soho. Soho is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, notable for being the location of many artists’ lofts, art galleries and one of my favorite restaurants: Balthazar. Balthazar serves traditional bistro fare and is renowned for is exception design. The feeling is so authentic that I felt like I had been teleported to fine bistro in the center of Paris. Balthazar’s menu includes many unique choices such as Homemade Pumpkin Agnolotti, Grilled Brook Trout and Duck Shepherd’s Pie. However, their best item and the reason I went to Balthazar that day is the Warm Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart: delicious!

Shopping at its Best

Afterward, I strolled north along Broadway passing by the shops along the way. As I approached Union Square, I was delighted to see a Christmas Market in a style inspired by the markets in Germany. Meandering along the pathways, I admired the fine jewelry, cashmere scarves, hats, and candle shops. As I was walking, I was thinking about the Christmas Markets in Germany that a good friend had told me about and the traditional German Christmas drink Gluhvine. Gluhvine is a beverage usually made with red wine, spices and raisins which is served hot. Just as these thoughts passed through my mind, I looked up and saw a small stand selling Gluhvine, a non-alcoholic version, which was tasty and warming on such a cool December day.

Walking up to 34th Street, I stopped at Macy’s for some Christmas shopping. Macy’s is the largest department store in the world which was made famous by the Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street. The store was stylishly decorated with Christmas decor and was crowded with shoppers, all in a festive holiday mood.

Shopping bags in hand, my journey took me up town past Time Square. This area of Midtown Manhattan has come to be known as “The Crossroads of the World” and the “The Great White Way.” This brightly illuminated hub is one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections and a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. Most of the Broadway theatres are located here, as well as other entertainment organizations. The area lived up to its image and was crowded with tourists enjoying theatrical performances and the holiday atmosphere.

Fifth Avenue led me toward Central Park South. Prestigious shops such as Cartier, Gucci, Chanel and Armani line this famous thoroughfare between 49th Street and 60th Street. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked this as the most expensive street in the world. Each store was stylishly decorated with jovial holiday decorations and dynamic window displays. Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall were bustling with people waiting in line to see the Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes.

Home Sweet Home

Back at Essex House 560, I relaxed on one of the plush sofas cuddling up with a good book until dinner time. As much as I enjoyed the vibrant activity of the city, I equally enjoyed the warmth and comfort of this stunning apartment—my haven at the end of an adventure-filled day.

My stay at the Essex House 560 was exceptional, not only because of the amazing location and luxuriousness of the apartment, but also due to the fine service provided by my host, Lauren Berger. Lauren is known as providing exceptional properties with extraordinary service that far exceeds what is provided by the finest hotels. She sees to every detail before guests arrive assuring that each property is stylishly decorated, comfortable, spotless and feeling truly like a fine home. Her policy is to treat all her guests as if they are royalty, of which, many are. Once you have stayed at a Lauren Berger property, you will not want to stay anywhere else. She has a fine selection of properties in New York, the Caribbean and Europe. For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (888) 522-1099, (239) 671-2920 or (646) 629-9669.

Category Placements

This property was selected for the Outstanding Location category due to its prime location in the heart of Manhattan. This property is also suitable for the categories of Luxury, Sport’s Enthusiast, and Romantic.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” It is better to live rich than to die rich”-Samuel Johnson

Lead Travel Guide, Greenwich House, Greenwich, CT; March, 7th 2013

Living rich, what a fantastic concept! Everyone dreams of such a privilege. In Greenwich “living rich” is the way of life. In 2005, Money magazine named Greenwich number one of the 100 Best Places to Live and ranked it in the “Biggest Earner” category. In fact, according to Forbes 2011 list of the worlds billionaires, eight live in Greenwich. Moreover, Greenwich is home to many other high profile people such as actor/director Mel Gibson, TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford, NBA player Rolando Blackman, and US Senator Richard Blumenthal. Having become a trendy vacation destination, Greenwichs reputation continues to grow.

Intrigued about what sets this historic city apart from other wealthy communities, I set out on my journey for an answer.

Easy Commute to NYC

Grand Central Station is where my journey to Greenwich began. I arrived on the 150th anniversary of this historic New York City rail station. Grand Central is still today a major arriving and departing spot for travelers and commuters alike. Elegant marble walls and floors with an arched sky blue ceiling emanate a feeling of grandeur in the Main Concourse. Wide grand staircases on opposite sides lead to raised balconies: one with an Apple store and one with two restaurants, each a perfect location to watch for an arriving friend.

Cipriani Dolci, an Italian restaurant on the west balcony, is where I waited that day for my boyfriends arrival. A diverse mix of people passed by in the crowded concourse below, some waiting at ticket counters while others crossed quickly to platforms to catch a departing train. In my minds-eye, I imaged what this scene would have been 150 years prior, women in long dresses wearing elaborate hats and men in tightly tailored suites with top hats. My mind fast forwarded to the 1960s to think about how opposite this panorama would have looked, women with mini dresses and bouffant hairdos and men with long hair wearing wide lapel coats. How this image has changed through the years!

Coming back to present day reality, I paid my bill and strolled through the various shops located within the stations passage ways. Finding a quaint wine shop, I browsed through the broad selections and chose a bottle of Spanish wine. When I returned to the Main Concourse, my boyfriend was standing by the information booth looking through the crowd for me. As I approached, he only noticed me when I was right in front of him. The location and greeting was like something out of an old romantic movie.

We grabbed our suitcases and boarded the train to Greenwich, Connecticut. The rhythm of the train was a soothing complement to our conversation during the short forty minute ride. The proximity of Greenwich to New York City makes Greenwich the perfect destination for families or couples seeking a sophisticated small town feel with the convenience of Manhattan at the doorstep.

Picturesque Setting

Arriving at the Greenwich Station, a taxi was waiting to escort us to our vacation home. Driving through this well-known town, we immediately observed that Greenwichs reputation as one of the wealthiest communities was justified. Every street is lined with large lavish homes and estates, architectural wonders with finely manicured gardens.

This charming New England style home came into view shortly after passing the Greenwich County Club. Set on over an acre of land, large mature trees, flowering bushes, and a babbling brook create a magical fairytale feeling.

Entering this luxury home, we were mesmerized at how the charming early 20th Century interior design united with modern day elegance. Following the antique style black and white checkered entry floor, we were drawn by the soft natural lighting to the main living area to the right. All the fine details one would expect given the homes prestigious location are combined in artistic symmetry. Large white leather sofas and chaise lounge grace the center of the living room. A double-sided marble fireplace enhances the elegance and provides a warm glow on cool winter evenings. French doors on the far wall lead to park-like backyard with rolling hills, mature trees, and the alluring brook.

French doors on the opposite wall lead to a cozy stylish den with a plush white leather sectional and a flat screen television. Just past the den, we spotted the large country kitchen with black granite countertops. Soft natural light from the large picture windows provides a calming ambiance and magnificent views of the gardens. A spacious dining table at the center invites memorable family dinners.

Returning to the opposite side of the main entry, we discovered the spacious sleeping quarters: two bathrooms and three spacious bedrooms. The master suite is an oasis with a luxurious king-size bed and large his and her closets. On the far wall, French Doors open up to the back patio and gardens, a picture perfect view! Equally elegant is the en-suite bathroom with antique style appeal and bay window. Across the hall, the two guest bedrooms provide spacious elegant retreats, each with two queen size beds and generous closet space.

A feeling of “living rich” reverberated through each day of our stay. The fine details such as the soft fine bedding, aromatic flower arrangements and amply stocked kitchen made us feel as if we had arrived home. Each morning we lingered over a breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs in the soft natural light illuminated through the large kitchen windows. Afternoons, we snuggled up on the plush living room sofas in the glow of the fire to converse about our days exploration in Greenwich. Each night we slept like a dream in the cloud-like bed.

Finest Amenities

As one would expect in a community of the rich and famous, the available amenities are as numerous and appealing as the beautiful homes. The Countrys most prestigious golf course, the Greenwich Country Club is located just a short stroll down the road. Founded in 1892, this first-class, family-oriented club offers a full range of services including an 18-hole golf course, driving range, racquet courts, swimming pool and dining/social facilities. Visitors may play on the course, but new memberships are allowed to a select few. Seven additional courses within Greenwich and many more in the surrounding towns, make this location truly a golf lovers dream.

Bordering Greenwich on the eastside is the infamous Long Island Sound. This serene shoreline with small inlets and coves makes for a nature lovers haven. Immaculately maintained parks, trails and public beaches offer several ways to enjoy the seaside beauty. Massive oceanfront estates and yacht clubs dot the remaining areas of the coastline. Greenwich Harbor is located near the center of town providing ample docking for majestic yachts of Greenwichs elite. The harbor-side restaurants are a trendy meeting place for the rich and famous during the warm summer months.

Often we enjoyed strolling down Greenwich Avenue, the main shopping thoroughfare. Lined with an abundance of fine restaurants and shops, each day brought new discoveries. One bright and sunny afternoon, we stumbled across Meli-Melo. This bright and lively creperie style cafe has more kinds of crepes that one can eat in a year, fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and a variety of health hardy lunch choices.

One day, friends from New Cannan drove down to meet us for lunch at Terra on Greenwich Avenue. In the ambiance of the afternoon light, we spent the afternoon reminiscing about times spent together the previous years in the Caribbean.

While strolling past the shops along Greenwich Avenue one evening, we got caught in the rain and took cover under an awning of a nearby building. A woman with her children who had also taken cover heard us discussing restaurant choices for dinner. Kindly, she recommended Mediterraneo, which was just across the street. Dashing through the rain and through the door, we arrived a bit wet. The soft lighting and stylish chic furnishings provided the perfect ambiance for a romantic dinner. Finding a cozy table for two, we ordered two glasses of red wine and toasted to the beauty and splendor of this amazing town.

Royal service

The service provided by owner and host Lauren Berger makes her guest feel like they are living the life of a billionaire. In fact, the impeccable service she provides to her guests far exceeds the service provided by even the finest hotels. She personally caters to her guests to assure they feel at home the moment they arrive at one of her properties. Orchestrating the small details from the flower arrangements, to the fine bedding, to helping her guests become familiar with the area, makes the guest feel as if they have arrived home. Her stunning yacht is offered for rent in conjunction with this luxurious home providing the full seaside experience.

She has plans to enlarge the home by adding an indoor lap pool, outdoor pool and second story making this home even more inviting for large families and sports enthusiasts.

Sunset Over Greenwich Cove

The day before we left, we took the scenic winding road past Old Greenwich to Greenwich Point Park. Driving past the stately beachfront homes the sun lowered in the sky. We arrived just as the sun was setting over the calm waters of Greenwich Cove.

As we sat in the cool evening air taking in the beauty and serenity of the pink sky over the calm gray water my mind wondered back to the idea of “living rich.” I had discovered what sets Greenwich apart from other wealthy communities. The tranquil landscape, family neighborhoods, small town setting, proximity to NYC, fine amenities and welcoming residents unite to create a “living rich” feeling unmatched by any other town. The rich and famous of Greenwich understand that “richness” goes beyond material wealth to encompass the characteristics that bring true happiness and fulfillment to life.

Category

This property was selected for the family friendly category due to the size and comfort of this luxurious home and the family friendly activities and atmosphere of Greenwich. This property is suitable for the categories of Luxury, Sports Enthusiast, Outstanding Location, Romantic, Beach Area and Unique.

For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646) 629-9669.


Renee Fontaine

by Renee Fontaine

Renee Fontaine, Lead Travel Writer

” Built by one of Wall Streets tycoons in the early 1900s, this home has served as a haven from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for more than a century “

Lead Travel Guide, New Rochelle House, NY; Feb. 21st 2013

A Yachtsmans Haven on Seaview Avenue

Early 20th Century elegance meets 21st Century luxury in this historic waterfront New Rochelle home. Built by one of Wall Streets tycoons in the early 1900s, this home has served as a haven from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for more than a century. Just a thirty minute drive from New York City, New Rochelle, has become the preferred place to live for beach lovers and yachtsman alike.

Elegance with a View

Perfectly positioned to face directly toward a small bay to the east, this graceful home is set against the backdrop of an epoch neighborhood. Tall mature trees and flowering bushes line the slate stone pathway that led me to the front entry. The rock and stucco exterior framed by sage green shutters and door unite with traditional elegance. Entering the home, I was captivated by the three sets of artfully designed lead glass doors. The French doors to the left led to a gracious modern living room with white leather sofas. An intricately carved white marble fireplace with a red marble base on the side wall is reminiscent of the Greek statues found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Just beyond, tall columns lead to the sunroom with large picture windows exuding soft natural light and breathtaking views of the bay. White Rose and Hydrangeceae flower arrangements make for the perfect complement to this contemporary decor.

Through the second and third set of lead glass doors, I spotted the spacious dining room on the right and the kitchen straight ahead. The white marble countertops, cream colored wooden cabinetry and antique style fixtures combine to create a feeling of old world charm meets 21st Century sophistication. The six-burner Viking stove, Sub-zero refrigerator, and ample cupboard and counter space make for a chefs dream come true. The nook to the left creates the ambiance of an Italian Cafe with the built-in Miele espresso maker and cozy table with white leather bench: a perfect spot to linger over an espresso and the Wall Street Journal! A stunning antique green pearl chandelier hangs gracefully above the dining table, located to the right of the kitchen. While dining, beautiful views of mature trees and flowering bushes can be seen through the windows.

Just past the living room, I found the suitably located spacious first floor master suite. An ornate leaded stained glass window, in the design of a family crest, adorns the wall above the plush king size bed. An outsized intricately carved antique armoire in the corner complements the room with artistic symmetry. Sliding glass doors lead to back gardens inviting an impromptu stroll through the aromatic landscape upon rising in the morning.

An elegant winding staircase leads from the main entry foyer to the second floor. Ascending the stairs, I noticed the beautiful hardwood wood floors that expand throughout the home and admired the nice contrast with the elegant cream colored spindles of the railing. Arriving at the second floor foyer, I felt the warmth of the sun radiating through the large picture window facing the front gardens. Three inviting rooms awaited my exploration: one with two queen size beds, one with two twin beds and another master bedroom with en-suite bathroom.

A breathtaking view of the bay is the showpiece of the roomy second floor master suite. Through the full wall of windows, the epitome of beauty and tranquility exude from the soft light. Each morning from the plush king bed, I was gently awakened by the sunrise over the water. The light pink hues contrasted by the bluish gray clouds make for a striking combination. The sky comes alive as birds dart through the early morning air. Each night, I marveled at the beauty of the silhouettes of the tall mature trees lit by the starry sky. Far off planes pass behind the silhouettes like fireflies flickering in the night air. Sliding doors lead to a second floor deck: the perfect location to star gaze at night or enjoy a morning coffee!

Like a secret passageway, a staircase from the second story foyer led me to the third floor. Arriving at the top of the stairs, I spotted a quaint private haven with gabled ceiling and four trundle beds: the perfect hideaway for a group of children during a family reunion. To the right, a spacious bathroom with wood wainscoting and antique claw foot tub invites a long and relaxing hot bath.

Back on the first floor, the kitchen door led me outside to the back gardens and waterway. The terrace- style landscaping with two separate patios create an enchanting oasis to relax among the flowering gardens while breathing in the fresh ocean air. Following the winding large rock boulder stairway lined with majestic trees, I discovered the serene waterfront and dock: the ideal convenience for the boating enthusiast to port a yacht after a day out on the Long Island Sound!

Rich History of Yachting and Beach Clubs

First established in 1688 by Huguenots (French Protestants) fleeing persecution in France, New Rochelle remained a modest village until a large influx of immigrants into the New York area during the 19th Century. Thereafter, this seaside city became a haven for the many Manhattanites seeking a quiet escape.

Each day, the serene shoreline of the Long Island Sound captivated my attention. Five small islands separate the bay from the Long Island Sound making an ideal natural habitat for a variety of birds and water fowl. Five Islands Park, located on the largest of the five islands, Oakwood Island, and has a large grassy area, sunbathers beach, picnic areas, pavilion, large childrens play area with equipment, and outdoor amphitheater. A pedestrian bridge links Big and Little Harrison Island to the main Oakwood Island.

Due to irregularities and off-shore islands, the coastline of New Rochelle measures 9.3 miles. Over the years, these unusual coastal features have given New Rochelle the nickname “The Queen City of the Sound.” This Royal Queen has endowed 300 slips and 150 mooring spaces at the city-owned marina ensuing yacht, sailing, rowing, and beach clubs to thrive. Well known shore clubs such as, the Davenport Neck, Beckwithe Point, and Greentree Country Club, offer waterfront recreation to members during the summer months. Echo Bay Yacht Club and Huguenot Yacht Club are two prestigious private yacht clubs frequented by Wall Street tycoons for decades. The New York Sailing School and New Rochelle Rowing Club have a rich history having been in operation for more than 100 years.

Other styles of sports enthusiasm also thrive in the area. The nations first amateur athletic clubs, the New York Athlete Club (NYAC), is majestically set on Travers Island on thirty acres of flawlessly landscaped grounds. Serving as the summer facility for the NYAC located on Central Park South in Manhattan, the Olympic-sized salt water pool is just one of the impressive features of this historic club. Other activities include sports such as tennis, rowing, yachting, outdoor swimming and diving.

Continuing as a Rising Star

Strolling along the downtown streets, the grandeur of this community is felt around every corner. Located in prestigious Westchester County, some of the country’s most expensive real estate is found in New Rochelle. Over the past fifteen years, New Rochelle has undergone some extensive modernization. The Trump Plaza, a 40-story luxury residence, is part of a massive downtown redevelopment project that began in 1999. Built on a two acre parcel, the Trump Plaza offers retail space and luxury condominiums. There are plans to redevelop Le Count Square, located opposite of the Trump Plaza for hotel, office, retail and residential space. These types of improvements continue to support New Rochelles reputation as the “The Queen City of the Sound.”.

Fine Restaurants

While some evenings I enjoyed cooking at home in the state-of-the-art kitchen, often I ventured out to enjoy some of the diverse restaurant choices in the area. One evening I stumbled across Cienega: an upscale Latin Restaurant that offers cuisine from throughout Latin American including such favorites such as Arepitas de Queso, Pulpo Encendido and Empanadas. However, the most outstanding choices are the Ceviche and Mexican Sorpresa: exceptional!

Another evening I discovered, Alvins and Friends: a Caribbean style restaurant with great ambiance and island cuisine. Live piano music, colorful paintings and Caribbean entrees with a southern flare created an overall uplifting island ambiance: a perfect complement to this yachting community!

Superior Service

Property owner and host, Lauren Berger, warmly welcomed me to this elegant home with the attention and kindness of a dear friend. Lauren is well known in the area for providing impeccable service to her guests that far exceeds the service provided by even the finest hotels. She personally caters to her guests to assure they feel at home the moment they arrive at one of her properties. Orchestrating the small details from the flower arrangements, to the fine bedding, to helping her guests become familiar with the area, she makes the guest feel as if they have arrived home. Her stunning yacht is offered for rent in conjunction with this luxurious home providing the full seaside experience of this historic yachting community.

Revitalizing to the End

The day before I left, I took the short stroll to Five Islands Park. This small group of islands has mature trees and rocky outcrops along portions the islands edges creating a serene picturesque setting. As I approached the side of the large island close to the Long Island Sound, a cool breeze picked up reminding me how these small islands provide the perfect refuge from the open water. Looking to the west, I saw the New Rochelle House peeking through the trees, the opposite view that I had seen each day during my stay. In my minds-eye, I saw the original home owner, the Wall Street Tycoon, securing his yacht to the dock dressed in early 20th Century clothing and wearing a sailors cap. Turning to leave, I appreciated what a beautiful contrast this peaceful area must have been to his busy days in the City and how this elegant home continues to provide a sanctuary to its guests.

Category Placement

This property was chosen for the Beach Area Category due to the numerous beach and boating opportunities in the area. This property would also be well suited for the categories of Family Friendly, Luxury, Outstanding Location, Romantic, Unique, and Sports Enthusiast.

For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (646) 629-9669


Lieven Cooreman

By Lieven Cooreman

Experience at the Jumeirah Essex House Suite 1101

“Wonderful and unique experience – feels like Heaven on Earth”

We never had an equal experience in our frequent travels all over the world, including the ones provided by other luxury Manhattan hotels!!

First the view from the 2 large windows of the spacious living room (decorated by Lauren in a contemporary style with a great sense and feel for interiors) which was a highlight during our whole holiday: every single day, we made a point of waking up at 6am and taking glorious pictures of Central Park and its surroundings. It really can’t get better than this…

Then the intimate dining table supported by a fully equipped kitchen which, when you travel with kids, is the ultimate comfort to have. Instead of going out for dinner or taking the usual NYC hotel breakfasts, the Suite was so inviting that we chose to have there our morning and evening food while relaxing from a day of shopping, visiting museums or skating at Central Park or Rockefeller Center.
The 2 large bedrooms with ample in-room closets and charming individual bathrooms made us feel at home right away. Free Wi-Fi, HD television sets and all the Suite’s amenities made us enjoy a holiday week just as we would be at home, so we were definitely very sad we had to leave so soon (but, as we told Lauren and Jeffrey, we will for sure be back at our earliest convenience!!).

Also truly unforgettable was the dinner experience you especially and gracefully prepared for us mid-week: from the Bentley in which Jeffrey picked us up to the delightful and never ending Italian family food at Carmine’s.

Finally, the support services provided by LBC, arranging transfers from and to the airport, ensuring during our whole stay that any item we needed was speedily delivered and providing us great hints for buying our ski clothes and apparel downtown at Paragon, fully convinced us that exceeding customer expectations and enchanting their clients truly matter to the whole Lauren Berger Collection organization!!


The Cochrane Family

By The Cochrane Family

“What an amazing experience!”

By The Cochrane Family, Mercedes House Suite 1541

My family recently enjoyed 5 nights in this lovely apartment. There is no comparison between that & a hotel room! Two double beds, two kids ages 10 & 12, & two parents does not make for a well rested & happy vacation for our family! The extra space, kitchen & laundry facilities were invaluable!

I will admit, being dropped off in front of a building in NYC with your family in the hopes that you will find a suitable apartment waiting for you, that you have only seen online & discussed with total strangers, & paid for in full, is a touch rattling. However, all that dissipated when we were met in the lobby by Lauren Berger. To say this is a gracious, vivacious, passionate woman would be doing her a disservice. Her energy & positive spirit are contagious. Caught in her aura, we were whisked upstairs to our upgraded apartment, given a tour of the unit & then the building, including one of her other apartments, which was under renovation, so my children could experience the view of the Hudson River from the gorgeous terrace. She offered suggestions, gave us her cell number & invited us to call anytime with questions or concerns.

As a designer, as silly as it sounds, I cannot enjoy myself in an ugly place. Well, no problem there… The apartment was a vision of city-chic in white leather, chrome & wood. Two very easy to operate convertible double sleeper sofas eliminated the need for my kids to share a bed (a God-send!). We enjoyed a comfortable king-sized bed in the separate bedroom, with 2 closets & another big TV. A sleek, modern, stocked kitchen plus a high-end bathroom & full-sized washer-dryer rounded out the perfect dwelling place for us.

We got all of this without compromising convenience or value for dollars spent. Lauren Berger & her associates earned our trust and business & we highly recommend The Lauren Berger Collection!


William F. Foran

By William F. Foran, M.D.

William F. Foran

“The Manor is truly remarkable”

William F. Foran, 2423 Hill Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Dear Lauren,

Westhampton Beach Manor

We wanted to share our gratitude and thanks for your generosity in making our family reunion possible at your West Hampton Manor. Vivien has always dreamed of having a vacation home that could accommodate both the families from Missouri and the Tri-State Area. The Missouri family was able to get flights right into MacArthur Airport. It couldn’t have been easier.

The Manor is truly remarkable. There seem to be rooms and bathrooms everywhere. Vivien and I stayed in the beautiful master suite with a remarkable view and the various relations, families, couples, and the children were placed throughout the house. We shared our meals on the incredible dining table that could just about accommodate all of us. We shared the meal duties and used the kitchen facilities as well as the outdoor grill for a wonderful Kansas City Rib night. The spa and pool were favorite spot after hours.

We ventured to Connecticut on the ferry that was so close. Vivien and I sponsored a trip to New York City to see a matinee of Phantom and Spider Man. We stayed behind and babysat 2 toddlers and 2 babies with the help of my brother, his wife and their 11 year old. They had stayed behind to catch a ride on a glider at the local airport. Afterward, we ventured into town with strollers and front packs during the lobster festival. What fun!!

It was really a delight meeting you in the flesh after our numerous phone calls. Lauren, you are a treasure and one of a kind.

The entire Ferrara, Stanley, and Foran families will remember our time at West Hampton Manor for years to come. We thank you.

We wish you a prosperous, health and fulfilling New Year.

I remain Most gratefully yours,
William F. Foran, M.D.


Jim Smith

By Jim Smith – Hamptons Magazine

“Beyond 5 star with this view and service!”

I have been meaning to write this note ...

I just want to express the personal touch we experienced at the Essex House apartment. It was like walking into an apartment that was our own. The vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit and a fridge with drink, coffee and Cheese and crackers.

Our family has enjoyed suites around the world but this was a special experience the bedrooms and bath were very spacious and comfortable the living room and dining area was perfect for relaxing and entertaining our friends who came to visit as we insisted they must … to experience the foliage at it’s peak this time of year from this Central Park South location.
We immediately opened the champagne and enjoyed the view from the huge windows that exceeded our greatest expectations. To look out at … the foliage from the 11th floor, at October was incredible … we just sat there speechless as we enjoyed this unforgettable view. Lauren and her beautiful assistant were there when we checked in, to assure us that our every need was satisfied. the attention to detail was an experience no Bell Hop could offer. We look forward to our next stay.

This was a special stay that I would recommend for that special weekend!truly 5 star in every way! when booking ask Lauren and your needs will be accommodated from limo to champagne my family was treated like royalty … and my wife who has allergies had no issues with this super clean stay!For that special weekend you can do no better!

Jim Smith – Hamptons Magazine


Ron Kalifa

By Ron Kalifa

“Outstanding, remarkable, fashionable a home away from home!”

"Outstanding, remarkable, fashionable a home away from home!"

The apartment is located in the heart of New York, with access to the very best the city has to offer. It overlooks the majesty of Central Park and has far reaching views that are astounding.

The apartment itself is beautifully furnished it is more like living in our home than a rental/hotel!

We were searching for somewhere that was not roof the mill. We didn’t want a hotel, we wanted something different and yet homely. This apartment is that and more.

Lauren Berger is a delight, from the first interaction she treated us like family, catered for our needs even before we had defined them, she anticipated amazingly.

Lauren is clearly experienced and thorough and enabled a stay which was spectacular, a stay with no flaws, a stay that was simply marvellous and elegant.

It’s the place to stay in New York.

-Ron Kalifa – Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 1101


VQ London

By VQ London

“The stay of a lifetime”

I stayed at this apartment in 2010 and had the experience of a lifetime from the moment I touched down at JFK until my return to the UK. Every need was catered for and the apartment was spacious and comfortable with fabulous views of New York. I am an extremely bad sleeper but had unbroken sleep during my stay. Centrally located in the plush surroundings of Essex House, I would heartily recommend this apartment to those who are seeking to stay in New York. I was treated like a queen and my stay concluded with the Halloween Parade which made for a memorable experience.

-VQ London Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 1101


Judy Sweetland

By Judy Sweetland

“Exquisite Views of Central Park”

The only way to experience New York is in a Lauren Berger apartment, and this particular villa is beyond compare. The bed linens were crisp and clean, as was the entire apartment, in typical Lauren Berger fashion. The refrigerator was stocked and we were gifted with a hansom cab ride through Central Park for a true New York experience.

No one knows New York like Mrs. Berger and she recommended the best Italian restaurant I have ever been in. She manages to make each person feel like her only client – something I haven’t experienced since I lost my grandmother (each grandchild felt like the favorite!). Delicious meals were suggested nightly and show tickets were delivered to our door. Every convenience was attended to. I will be back!

By Judy Sweetland Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 1101


Constant Traveler

By Constant Traveler

“A fabulous stay on Central Park”

My husband and I come to New York for a week or two every year to see friends, go to the theater and generally have a wonderful New York experience. In the past we have been very disappointed in the apartments we have rented through the various on-line sources. This time we were determined to have a beautiful, comfortable apartment in a central location. We contacted Lauren, and I must say that our expectations were topped from the moment we arrived.

Lauren personally met us in the lobby of the Essex House at 10:30 Saturday night upon our arrival from the West Coast. She took us to the apartment, which is gorgeous, and made certain we were well-oriented. Lauren is so enthusiastic in making certain her guests experience no inconvenience that she insisted we take down her mobile number, her husband’s number and her sister’s phone number in case we needed anything over the weekend before her office opened on Monday. It is obvious that Lauren takes great pride in her apartments and homes and it certainly shows in myriad details, from the beautiful linens to the espresso maker in the kitchen.

Now about the apartment. It is elegant,very spacious and has most everything you could need. The views out over Central Park are simply breathtaking. You could sit by the window all day and watch the world go by, except there is so much to do in New York. The apartment has more than enough room for two couples or a family since it has two large bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Step outside and you are in Central Park or just a block from Fifth avenue or Carnegie Hall. There are several subway lines within a block’s walk, but we walked to most everything during our stay.

Obviously, it goes without saying that we were delighted with our experience and would rent from Lauren again without hesitation.


M & C Meyer

By M & C Meyer

“Bliss in NYC”

We were promised a vacation to remember – and my goodness that is what we got! Our stay this January in the 1-bed room LBC apartment on at the Essex House eclipsed not just anything we have previously experienced in NYC but all other hotels or apartments we’ve stayed in anywhere else in the world.

The location is outstanding, facing Central Park and near all the best shopping and theaters of NYC. I can’t imagine a more convenient and beautiful place to stay in the Big apple.

Our one week stay was, in a single word, blissful. Coming back to the serene beauty and extreme comfort of the apartment was just incredible. The aesthetic sense Lauren has for creating a beautiful and calming interior helped make that the place we were living in the absolute highlight of our holiday. And the support services provided by the rest of the team – personally arranging to pick us up at JFK, ensuring that any item we requested was sourced and speedily delivered by one of the LBC ambassadors – contributed to a real sense that our enjoyment and welfare mattered.

If you choose to stay in one of the LBC apartments in the Essex House you wont regret it. In fact you will be all set for your best possible NYC stay!

By M & C Meyer Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 560


Digdom

By Digdom

“Awesome”

I have traveled all around this planet and stayed at only the best resorts and villas… I have to say this property is stupendous!

By Digdom Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 3008


Hakan Schedin & Lena Crystal

By Håkan Schedin & Lena Crystal

“Good location and first class”

Dear Lauren,

We would like to thank you for making our stay in New York City in November 2011 such a memoriable time. Manhattan is one of our favourite spot for taking a week off. Staying in one of your Essex House apartments really made this visit unforgetable. Good location and to be on walking distance to many of our favorite spots is important. A walk in the park is also always a pleasure. The apartment is in perfect condition and exellent equipped.
The bedroom, the bathroom and the large sitting room with its kitchen part; all are first class.

All the best

-Håkan Schedin & Lena Crystal Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 560 – Stockholm, Sweden


Phil Holson

By Phil Holson

“A Week in Paradise”

This beautiful large and comfortable home offers all the benefits of a beach vacation in a delightful private setting on the water and with its own swimming pool and dock. The house has been elegantly outfitted and furnished in excellent taste. The outdoor areas are beautifully landscaped, and the views of the water are splendid.

The owner of this marvelous retreat has maintained it with love. The property is immaculate in every way, and there are visual surprises in each area to further add to its interest and welcoming attributes. She is exceedingly generous, meticulous and always true to her word. To stay at this beautiful home is indeed a great treat

-Phil Holson 7 Bedroom / Westhampton Beach Manor


The O'Gradys

By The O’Gradys

“At Home in the West 50s”

Lauren Berger made us feel immediately welcome and at home in our Mercedes House apartment. We were impressed by the floor to ceiling windows, the floor plan and furnishings which maximized the space available and by the state-of-the-art kitchen appliances. We enjoyed getting to know the West 50’s with the very walkable streets (even after midnight), variety of restaurants, Hudson River views and proximity to Lincoln Center. Highly recommended!

By The O’Gradys / Mercedes House Suite 1440


Elizabeth Dixon

By Elizabeth Dixon

“Can’t wait to return!”

This was a truly memorable stay. I stayed here in March and was so comfortable that I didn’t want to leave.

On my arrival I was greeted by the very warm and welcoming proprietor Lauren who showed me around and made me feel right at home, New York style.

Everything about the residence was great. Fantastically comfortable bed, gorgeous crisp linen and the decor was so fresh and clean. The kitchen was fully equipped with quality appliances and it had a beautiful bathroom and spacious living area. The location was just perfect,in a nice area with easy access to central Manhattan. I chose to walk everywhere and soak up the atmosphere but one could easily have a cab called by the friendly staff. Overall this place exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to return. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting New York for pleasure or business.
You will love it.

-Elizabeth Dixon / Essex House Suite 3008


Tom & Silvia

By Tom & Silvia

“Great experience with Lauren!”

We have been to New York so many times but for the first time we decided to stay at an apartment instead of staying at a hotel. At first we were a little concerned about how would this experience be but when we arrived to the building the keys were already there waiting for us.

There was no red tape, no annoying procedure, specially after so many hours flying. The apartment is exactly what is shown in the pictures, with great appliances and everything you need, and it is very quiet too. Lauren was great! She is the sweetest person: caring, reliable, decent, straight, definitely a person you can count on. No matter what, very serious, she handled with everything herself. The building staff, John and Giovani, were really nice too.

By Tom & Silvia / Mercedes House Suite 966


Juan Pablo

By Juan Pablo

“Clean, Comfortable and very good amenities”

The apartment is brand new, just renovated…very good amenities like appliances, bed, air condition…Flat TV…
Fully equipped for your dinner or breakfast. Quiet place for kids
Well located 2/3 blocks for subway (blue-red)

By Juan Pablo / Mercedes House Suite 1249


Peter Hall

By Peter Hall

“Wonderful”

Stayed in this gorgeous apartment in March 2012 – fabulous size, great furniture and decor, with all the facilities of the Essex House – met Lauren Berger the owner – charming, vivacious and very determined to ensure my stay was a success.

By Peter Hall Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 1101-62


Kay Nettleton

By Kay Nettleton

“Best accommodation in Manhattan”

We made a great choice booking with Lauren Berger collection. The apartment was pristine clean and accommodating all amenities we needed. The location couldn’t be better Fifth avenue few blocks away, times square and central park all within minutes away, with an amazing walk of central park. many many restaurants just around the corner.

We were all a bit concerned as this was the first time, we tried staying in accommodations such as these, but I know I will try this again as it worked out well. There were four of us and it did accommodate us. We will definitely recommend this apartment to everyone who wants to visit NYC.

By Kay Nettleton / Jumeirah Essex House Suite 560


Henrietta

By Henrietta

“Incredible..”

I stayed in this apartment when I visited New York a couple of years ago. When I walked through the door I was blown away.

It is pure Manhattan style and grace. I had always imagined NYC apartments to be like this. I was so spoiled. The view over central park south was just incredible and I was like a kid in a sweetie shop when I woke up the next morning to see the most incredible skyline. I felt so at home. Lauren Berger had thought of every detail in the apartment. From the amazing homemade bread and Jam to the Carnegie deli breakfast that had been put in the fridge for me. It was just perfection.

The location is perfect. I could walk to Columbus Circle and get the subway to downtown to see friends and to get to business meetings in Manhattan it was a dream. Everything was in walking distance.

The staff were just wonderful and I really cannot rate this apartment highly enough. It was incredible and Lauren Berger is simply the best. No one looks after their guests like this. She is outstanding in this area and I recommend to my clients to stay here whenever they are in NYC.

Lauren Berger is simply the best.

-Henrietta Jumeirah / Essex House Suite 1101-62


VQ London

By VQ London

“East Coast at its best”

I stayed at this Manor for the weekend and was bowled over by the beauty of the house and grounds. The house looks on to a waterfront and the first thing that strikes you, is how peaceful it all is. Beautifully decorated in colonial style, this is the place for relaxation and a real get away from it all. It is perfect for families who want to spend the summer months near the beach but with the added extra of privacy. West Hampton is a delightful town emanating the particular charm of East Coast america.

By VQ London / 7 Bedroom Westhampton Beach Manor


Charlie

By Charlie

“Five Star Living with New York at your Fingertips”

We couldn’t have wished for a more resplendent welcome to New York than our experience with Lauren Berger apartments. We stayed in Mercedes House, bang in the centre of Mid-Town, The apartment itself was roomy, clean, crisp airy and open plan featuring a floor to ceiling wall running the entire length of the apartment, with breakthtaking views over New York and daily life below by the banks of the East River . The apartment itself looked brand spanking new, with excellent modern kitchen and bathrooms as well as every fixture one could possibly need. Everything was top end, the best in contemporary luxurious living, from the appliances to the quality of the bed linen and towels.

There were even umbrellas in the wardrobe and Lauren Berger staff on hand continually to assist us with our arrangements. We were truly impressed by the allocation of our own Concierge/Ambassador who was available 24 hours a day to assist us with every aspect of our trip. Lbr works hard to ensure that the residences truly feel like a home from home, which they do but with added smoothness and luxury service at every turn. It was so much better value for money spent than even the finest New York Hotels, in fact our block had an excellent gym, pools and even its own boxing ring.

It was wonderful to have the space and amenities of the apartment which made our previous trips to 5* hotels in New York seem cramped and restrictive. There were a plethora of great restaurants and shops nearby who delivered, so once esconced in the apartment we were waited on like royalty. The entire project was managed scrupulously honestly with the kind of care and attention to detail one would expect from old family friends. I would say Lauren Berger is the best kept secret to New York bound travellers and I would not hesitate to recommend the apartments in fact I would expect to win brownie points in so doing!

By Charlie / Mercedes House Suite 1541


J Anderson

By J Anderson

“This home gave me a warm feeling”

I loved the decor and the country furnishings were beautiful. Would definately recommend this home.

By J Anderson / 3 Bedroom Historic Westhampton Home


Michael Bock

By Michael Bock

“Perfect”

Lauren and her organization are terrific. I have stayed in this unit twice. it is brand new, bright and perfectly furnished. The beds are so comfortable. I love the area, very close to some of the newest hot neighborhoods, overlooking the river across from a park and a patio that is larger than most NY apartments.

Lauren Berger is a perfectionist and she never fails to make my stay in NYC the best it can be.

By Michael Bock / Mercedes House Suite 966


Ariel Rosenthal

By Ariel Rosenthal

“An Unforgettable Experience”

I stayed with my wife at one of the Luxury Boutique Residences by the Lauren Berger Collection apartments for an extended period during the months of September and October 2011. We have never had such an amazing experience as we had with the Lauren Berger collection. They have a serious code of ethics and are really trustworthy. They are always there for you, honoring your every request and they treat you just like family. I can honestly say that I would not be able to stay anywhere else when coming to New York City from now on. I would recommend Luxury “Boutique Residences by the Lauren Berger” Collection to anyone without any hesitation.

By Ariel Rosenthal  /Mercedes House Suite 1249