Despite having lived in New York City for nearly a decade, traveling to Manhattan's Upper East Side for a mid-week staycation still felt a little like traveling to a different country.
The well-heeled neighborhood -- with its ornate pre-war buildings, uniformed doormen and elite prep schools -- certainly has a knack for making one of more modest means feel slightly out of place.
I had made the trip via subway from Queens to spend two nights at a private accommodation, courtesy of Onefinestay. The company, founded in 2009 and acquired by Accor in 2016, specializes in luxury vacation rentals, promising travelers "the finest homes and villas in the most desirable destinations" and a high level of personalized, professional hospitality.
Although I had scrolled through a few photos of my rental home prior to my arrival (and was also aware of its roughly $1,700-per-night price tag), I wasn't able to truly grasp just how lavish my accommodations were until I arrived at the address, which, curiously, didn't include an apartment or floor number.
Turns out, no apartment number was necessary.
Set on a particularly tony block on Park Avenue, the home took up the entire stretch of a six-floor 19th century townhouse, comprising a total of five bedrooms and six bathrooms. An in-law suite-style accommodation, complete with bedroom, kitchenette, sitting area and patio, made up the ground floor, while the basement floor just below housed an exercise and yoga space. On the first floor was a beautiful, well-equipped kitchen, which connected to a terrace and grilling area, and an elegant dining room with a table for 10.
The dining room at Onefinestay's Park Avenue Mansion in New York City. Photo Credit: TW photo by Christina Jelski
The upper floors featured a living room and various bedrooms, including an incredibly charming children's room featuring four bunk beds, a basketball hoop and even a built-in rock-climbing wall. The master bedroom, perched atop the uppermost floor, offered creature comforts like a walk-in closet, spacious ensuite bathroom, no fewer than three skylights and access to a rooftop terrace.
While I was able to enlist a few local family members to come fill some of the home's extra bedrooms during my stay, the townhouse had more room than we knew what to do with.
In fact, the sheer amount of space was the most luxurious part of the stay. As a city dweller accustomed to tiny apartments, writing in complete silence on one floor as my family watched a basketball game at full volume three floors below was a novel experience, and one I could certainly get used to.
Out of curiosity, I wondered just how much it would cost to live full-time in the Upper East Side townhouse. It was, according to Onefinestay, currently for sale. Prior to my stay, the company had alerted me that a realtor could potentially show the house during my booking period.
I typed the property's address into StreetEasy, and it instantly popped up. The home's selling price had recently been reduced by $745,000, so really, it was a steal -- a mere $9.25 million.