Expert Tips From a Concierge Expert
Nobody knows a city like the local concierge team. With the inside track on all the best places to dine, shows to see, and things to do, they’re a wealth of knowledge for all travelers. We talk with a top local hotel concierge in New York City to get the inside scoop on all their expert tips.
Maggie Gutierrrez, VIP Reservations Manager + Curator of Civilian Culture
What should be on every visitor’s “bucket list” when visiting?
Gutierrrez: Every guest experience is mostly interchangeable based on various needs, but if I had to suggest a few “bucket list” items, I have three: No stay is complete without a fabulous and unforgettable meal at La Masseria, a view that you cannot find anywhere else—Starchild Rooftop delivers, and if you’re in NYC you should always catch a Broadway show, and my favorite to date has to be Wicked.
What are your best tips for exploring NYC like a local?
Gutierrrez: NYC is a melting pot of cultures, experiences, and spontaneity….and your time here should feel like a breath of fresh air. The best tip to truly feel like a New Yorker is an open mind and desire to explore. The possibilities are endless!
What’s an excellent spot to capture a great selfie?
Gutierrrez: There is no selfie that is comparable to the one-of-a-kind backdrops of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt! Please reach out to our amazing Curator Team for discounted tickets and for assistance with booking. We love to see all our Civilian friends’ snapshots, so feel free to send them over, and you may see yourself featured on our social media page!
What is the best suggestion you can give a first-time visitor?
Gutierrrez: Civilian has a curated list of experiences we can offer based on our guests’ various needs. We love to make all the dreams you can conjure up a reality! If I had to choose a great suggestion for a first-time NYC trip… I’d say you cannot skip The Rosevale Cocktail Room Irish Coffee Mixology Experience! It is a decadent and interactive experience and cocktail creation unlike anything else you’ve experienced, and who doesn’t want to have a great drink with a friend, a relative, or a sexy stranger while in the city of endless possibilities and fun?!
If someone only had 24 hours in NYC, where would you send them?
Gutierrrez: There are so many wonderful and unique adventures you can have in NYC in 24 hours - the world is your oyster! I would start the day with a great cup of joe from Frisson Espresso, our hidden gem for the Coffee Connoisseurs. Then I’d make my way over to Lilly’s Craft and Kitchen for Brunch and bottomless cocktails. A great follow-up to that would be a relaxing dip at TMPL Fitness, our local gym, where the indoor saltwater pool and sauna are a simple daily pass away! After enjoying the views from your room, peruse our Cocktail Room (featuring every Broadway lover’s dream of specially curated pieces and costumes from iconic Broadway shows)—you’re ready for a night out on the town! Stop by our second floor for a drink from one of our wonderful bartenders (if you can make it for Jazz Night, it’s an exceptional experience unlike any other) before heading down to dinner on the first floor (please ask about our happy hour, prefix menus and chef specials of the month). End the night with dancing, views, and the best Espresso Martini you’ll find at Starchild Rooftop. Trust an NYC Curator of fun—you will be raving about this memorable day for years to come!
Where’s the best place to take kids of all ages?
Gutierrrez: We love the chance to make your littles feel the Civilian Love, and that starts with a kid-friendly welcome amenity upon arrival. Our snack boxes can be customized to avoid allergies and ensure we tick off your preferences—all you need to do is add it to your stay using our Civilian App, and your kids will be showered with snacks to surprise and delight! For young toddler-age children, a great itinerary of local parks is just the ticket; for the teens, we love to give some interactive experiences based on seasonal pop-ups in the city, and for the almost adult, there is no better place then Restaurant Row on 9th Avenue to expand their palette. Our team is happy to give detailed suggestions based on your family’s needs, and no ask is too big or small!
For a guest looking for a night on the town, what would you recommend?
Gutierrrez: Civilian Hotel is located in Manhattan, more specifically in the Hells Kitchen district, and the possibilities for fun are endless! Do you want to dance to true Latino music and have a cocktail that transports you to Colombia? Then look no further than La Macarena. Maybe you’re in the mood for a sexy and fun wild night for your bestie’s bachelorette; then The Woo Woo NYC Speakeasy is just the ticket. Lastly, if you and your sweetie need a romantic night, then head on over to Dutch Fred’s for sultry drinks, a dark ambiance, and truffle fries that you can share (but you might not want to)!
Any suggestions for the best under-the-radar sites or uncommon things to do?
Gutierrrez: Many Civilians are looking to “party like a local” or to find the true hidden gems our little island has to offer. At Civilian, we don’t gatekeep the goodies! If you are looking to eat a great no-frill Japanese meal, we suggest Totto Ramen, and you can’t skip out on the Miso Garlic Ball add-on. For great pre-night out drinks, our local Mexican restaurant Sombrero has an all-day happy hour that is unmatched in prices, vibes, and welcoming staff (tell ’em we sent you, and you’re sure to get a shot on the house)! Lastly, you’re not experiencing NYC like a local if you don’t take a stroll over to Joe’s Pub for a performance. Be sure to share your experiences and meals—we love to see our Civilians supporting our local businesses!
What is your expert tip?
Gutierrrez: If I could leave you with one tip, it would be to reach out to one of our Civilian Curators or me to help you plan a personalized trip itinerary to get the most out of your time with us. We love the look on our guest’s faces when we connect in person and hear about how we assisted in giving them a vacation they’ll never forget. We would love it if you let Civilian be your home away from home in NYC!