One Night in New York: Peace, Quiet and Cupcakes

By Melanie Nayer

Aerial View of Empire State Building & Lower Manhattan at NightThere’s more to New York than the top of the Empire State Building and Times Square. While both are iconic stops essential to any first trip to the Big Apple, New York is more than bright lights and a big city. New York is a symbol of strength. It represents independence, freedom, sexuality, sensuality and self-exploration so it stands to reason that New York is also the perfect location for a single woman to spend the night.

Every woman has her ‘thing’ – that one gesture or moment that steals your heart. Some swoon for candlelit dinners, some enjoy walks along the beach, some women just need a Sunday morning in bed. For me, the way to my heart is with a red velvet cupcake.

After two days of business meetings, lunch dates, dinner events, cocktail hours and meet-and-greets in New York, I was exhausted. I needed a glass of wine and at least one hour of interrupted silence. And, I needed it at a reasonable cost. I wanted the following things fast:

  • Room service, including a cupcake
  • Hot shower
  • Comfy bed
  • HBO re-runs of “Entourage”

In a city that never sleeps, with a million places to sleep, how does a single woman choose where to lay her head? Safety is the most important thing to consider when choosing a hotel room:

  1. Choose a hotel in a well-traveled area – which is not a problem in New York – and make sure there’s always a concierge on duty. New York hotels combine old world style with modern day decor, but the emphasis is on ‘old’ – many hotels have been around for decades so it’s likely the rooms are small, albeit practical. However, that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your safety.
  2. If the room doesn’t ‘feel’ right, ask to be moved. Don’t be surprised to look out your hotel room window and see another window, but make sure your locks are secure and the windows close.
  3. If you get a room with a balcony, make sure the locks on the balcony door work and that you aren’t sharing a balcony with another room.

There are thousands of hotels in the New York area, but for single women needing a home-away-from-home, allow me to introduce you to the Affinia Shelburne, a boutique hotel in New York’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The location, decor and amenities are perfect options for single women looking for a safe place, but the real beauty of this hotel lies in its staff.

Meet David Sandler, the director of front office operations. I’m not sure if I’d rather date David and keep him to myself, or clone him so that all guests feel as if they are the most special person staying at the hotel. While the jury continues to debate his fate, it’s likely you’ll meet David when you check in at the hotel.

Standard room at the Affinia Shelburne

Standard room at the Affinia Shelburne

The rooms at the hotel are spacious and designed for the working woman. Laptop side tables in the rooms allow you to plug in while watching TV or lounging on the K Studio pillows. Deluxe rooms feature small kitchenettes and pantries. Each room comes with Aveda bath amenities, lounge chairs, and make-up mirrors. The rooms feature enough plugs and ports to connect from any angle. The downside: If you’re planning on working while relaxing, you’ll pay for wireless internet.

I checked in mid-afternoon and walked into my room, which came complete with a red velvet cupcake (I think David is also a mind-reader). Affinia’s “My Affinia” program allows guests to choose certain amenities (some free, some with a fee) to be placed in your room upon your arrival. Individual items  include:

  • Various types of pillows
  • Walking tour kits (which sync with iPods)
  • Eye masks, for those ladies who need a little face therapy after a long night out
  • Rubber duckies – I’m not sure why, but it does add a little bit of fun to your bath, doesn’t it?
  • Fitness packages, which include yoga mats and DVDs
  • Cupcakes – pre-ordered and baked especially for your arrival

Request a room on a high floor and you’ll get a great view of the Empire State Building, but be careful if you’re visiting during the summer time — a room on the top floor means you’re directly below the hotel’s rooftop bar. It’s not loud, but on a busy night you’ll hear the clack of couture heels adorned by New York’s fashionistas.


Cupcakes, courtesy of Affinia Shelburne

Thanks to cable television and room-service, I was about to enjoy a much-needed night in New York. I ordered a Mexican burger (black bean spread, guacamole and chipotle) from RARE Bar & Grill, the hotel’s restaurant located in the lobby, and opened up a bottle of wine. I took a hot shower (sans rubber duckie), put on my comfy clothes (which I hadn’t seen enough of on this trip to New York) and turned on the tube.

In the background were the sirens, alarms and hoots and hollers of the Manhattan streets I grew up with. It was cozy, comforting and the perfect way to spend a night alone in New York City. After all, there’s something to be said for a good burger and a red velvet cupcake.


Melanie Nayer is a travel writer and travel enthusiast who writes about destinations around the world.

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