I was raised to believe that favours should always be performed without thought of repayment. But it’s lovely when someone you’ve helped wants to give back. And when it involves one of the hottest boutique hotels in New York City... Well, let’s just say, this young lady knew what she was doing.

I’ve come to meet Gabrielle Swan, whose mother had asked me for a favour— to deliver a dress to her daughter in New York. My travel schedule was hectic, jam-packed with meetings and appointments, but of course I agreed. After a few quick twitter exchanges, we decided that I would leave the dress at the front desk of my hotel. I was too booked to be able to meet. 

But wanting to do something nice for me, Gabrielle made another suggestion. She suggested that if my schedule changed, perhaps we could meet for breakfast, at one of her favourite places, the rooftop pool terrace at the Sixty LES. 

Lucky for me, my schedule did change, and on Saturday morning I find myself walking through this crowded, creative neighbourhood and into the lobby of the Sixty LES. I’m greeted with glamour. Some of the biggest design names in town—architects, interior designers and artists—have collaborated on this hotel. The result...A kind of edgy luxury, a fabulous mixture of gritty and glam.

I soon realize that as cool as it is, the Sixty is also serving up warmth, as smiling staff members welcome me into the lobby. Even after I explain that I’m not a guest, the bellman kindly offers to check my bag so I can relax. I sink into a leather chair, lean back and just close my eyes for a moment. I’ve been running all over town for the last four days, and it’s only now that I realize how much I’ve needed this. Then... music. Lyrics I recognize. “Dance me to the end of love.” Leonard Cohen’s voice over the sound system in the lobby. I’m really not sure how the service can be this good—somehow they’ve picked my favourite song. I sit back with my eyes closed... hearing every word... a perfect moment.

The door opens and Gabrielle walks in, excited to see me. Kiss, kiss. She tells me how much she adores this hotel, especially the rooftop pool. Grabbing chocolate croissants and espresso, we head up. She chats about her love for her adopted city while she snaps my picture. “Behind-the-scenes photos are my specialty,” she tells me, as she art-directs, colour-corrects and sends the image to my inbox, all in a New York minute.

Sure enough, the Sixty’s rooftop is everything she promised, from the bright orange loungers to the photolithograph images of Andy Warhol’s face on the pool’s floor... along with spectacular views of the neighbourhood and the city. It’s a breakfast to remember.

I leave the Sixty LES, thinking I’ll definitely be back. I am also reminded of the etiquette of favours, in the asking and the granting and the thanking. The next time someone asks for a favour, who knows where it might take you? Gabrielle’s appreciation for her dress delivery became an unforgettable moment of my trip.

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