Photo: Courtesy of Andaz Hotel
Spring is around the corner, and in New York, that means it’s almost the perfect weather for a Central Park picnic.But guests of Andaz Fifth Avenue who want to dine on the Great Lawn or in Sheep’s Meadow can do one better than sandwiches on a park bench, and take advantage of the hotel’s novel “picnic butler” service.
From Memorial Day to labour Day, patrons of the hotel, or anyone who can afford it, can reserve a butler to save them a prime spot in Central Park or a space in Bryant Park for a Monday night movie.
The butler will set up a blanket and lug a hand-woven basket filled with authentic New York treats over from the hotel, and then hold your spot for up to 45 minutes. Once you’ve enjoyed the picnic, give your “host” a call and they will clean up the mess.
“We want to bring authentic New York experiences to our guests,” said Rachel Harrison, the communication director for Andaz New York hotels. “Or give New Yorkers a taste of luxury.”
The butler service, sans picnic basket, is $200 for guests and non-guests. Baskets range from $60 to $2,000, and are filled with snacks and treats from local New York purveyors, such as Sullivan Street Bakery.
A bottle of Château Pétrus or champagne can be included in the basket, but there’s a note inside reminding guests that it’s illegal to drink in most open and public places in New York, so it’s best to keep that treat for the actual hotel room.
It seems that for hotel guests, picnic butlers are more than a convenience factor.
“While the hotel doesn’t ask our guests why they are using the butler service, it seems most of the customers are gentlemen trying to make a romantic gesture,” Harrison said.
And while all the treats in the basket are yours to keep, the basket itself must be returned once your picnic is over.
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