The Helmsley hotel chain was originally owned and operated by Harry Helmsley, a real estate tycoon who owned more than $5 billion in property by the time he opened what is now The New York Helmsley Hotel in 1981. While 30 hotels once operated under the Helmsley name, today only three remain: two in New York City and one in Sarasota, Florida. The two New York City Helmsleys -- The Helmsley Park Lane and The New York Helmsley -- continue to operate as luxury establishments in Manhattan.
The Helmsley Park Lane is located just off of Central Park South, between 5th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas. It's a prime location for travelers who want to traverse through Central Park or browse the retail shops of 5th Avenue. The original Helmsley hotel, The New York Helmsley, is located near Grand Central Station in Manhattan's Midtown neighborhood. It's within walking distance of the Empire State Building, the Chrystler Building and the shops on 5th Avenue. The New York Helmsley caters to professionals because of its proximity to the many offices in Midtown, including the United Nations building.
As of November 2010, The Helmsley Park Lane was undergoing extensive updates of its guestrooms. The rooms were originally decorated in traditional English fashion, with floral wallpaper and ornate furnishings; the spacious updated guestrooms and suites offer contemporary classic furnishings in airy cream and white tones accented with pops of aqua. The real treat in the rooms at The Helmsley Park Lane are the views overlooking Central Park South. Rooms at The New York Helmsley feature a mix of contemporary and traditional furniture, with clean-lined window treatments and sleek accessories. Like its sister establishment, The New York Helmsley features sweeping views of New York City through large picture windows.
Both hotels offer room service, extensive fitness centers and complimentary wireless Internet access. The hotels each have restaurants from which guests may order room service. The Helmsley hotels allow one dog weighing 20 lb. or less per room for no additional fee; however, guests with pets must sign a waiver that states they are responsible for any damages caused by their pet. Additionally, the concierges at the Helmsley hotels book reservations at exclusive New York restaurants, theater tickets, private Lexus or stretch limo transportation, salon and spa appointments and guided tours of the city.
The Park Room is The Helmsley Park Lane's fine-dining establishment, headed by Chef Anthony Marra. According to New York Magazine's Krista Garcia, the menu is heavily seafood oriented but the meat dishes are more exciting. The Park Room is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. The New York Helmsley is home to Leona's, a restaurant named after Harry Helmsley's wife, formerly president of the Helmsley hotel chain. Time Out New York calls the food "seasonal American cuisine" on a menu prepared by Executive Chef Brian Wieler. The dining room is decorated in Art Deco fashion. Leona's, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is perhaps most famous for adding an automatic 19% gratuity charge to each bill.
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