Hotel living is the norm at wealthy NYC apartments

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 28, 2013 at 1:52 am •  Published: March 28, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — There was the resident who wanted a private jet commissioned for his new puppy, flown like a CEO to its new home in Manhattan. There was also a frantic search for a specific type of crystal vase whose presence was required at a dinner party.

For the well-trained concierge at exclusive Manhattan apartment buildings, no request is too extravagant.

"Sometimes it's finding the perfect gift for your wife's 40th birthday," said Jenene Ronick, the founder of Luxury Attache, a lifestyle management company that employs concierges at about 30 Manhattan residential buildings. "Sometimes it's finding a rare bottle of wine or an autographed first copy of a book."

A penthouse with a view of Central Park is no longer enough for well-to-do New Yorkers. What they want now is five-star hotel amenities in their own apartments. That means room service delivered from world-renowned restaurants, a private health spa with trainers at the ready and, most importantly, a smiling concierge on call at all hours to accommodate every aspect of their lives.

The luxury craze has been partly fueled by the influx of deep-pocketed foreigners from places like Russia and China, who are streaming into New York City in search of "trophy apartments" that can serve as pied-a-terres.

But the amenities are considered a requirement at every level of luxury living, from $5,000-per-month rentals to $60 million penthouse condominiums.

"The global market has forced a lot of people to travel extensively around the world, and by doing so, they are being exposed to really some exquisite hotel living," said Leonard Steinberg, a sales broker with Douglas Elliman. "When they come home, they do not want a lesser experience."

Business is booming at Abigail Michaels Concierge, which provides concierge service to 200 Manhattan buildings and has added about a dozen new properties to its clientele in the past year alone.

The concierge service is generally included in condominium or maintenance fees, but some buildings charge extra for amenities.

Developers are less wary of the word "luxury" than they were at the height of the recession, said Michael Fazio, the company's co-founder and author of the service-industry memoir "Concierge Confidential."

"What happened is, people are getting back to feeling more confident about what they're entitled to," Fazio said.

As the on-site concierge at Mercedes House, a high-end rental apartment complex in the west 50s near the Hudson River, 34-year-old Zayna Abdul juggles requests for nearly 1,000 apartments, the priciest of which rents for $15,000 a month.

In one particularly memorable demand, a male resident preparing for a big date asked Abdul to help him re-enact a scene from the movie "Hitch" where a couple rides jet skis under the Brooklyn Bridge and around the harbor.



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