Haya Maraka

Ambassador, Bergdorf Goodman

| Midtown East

Haya Maraka’s Instagram is filled with quippy bon mots like “a lady knows that desperation is not a good look” and “if love doesn’t work, a glass of champagne will do just fine.” They’re witty, they’re alluring and we’d be lying if we didn’t admit to quoting her on a handful of occasions. Maraka is exactly that though: an upper crust style cognoscente with a knack for writing and cheeky humor. She grew up in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland (read glam), the latter being where she landed her first major fashion gig at 17 years old: running the buying and visual merchandising of a luxury vintage shop near her boarding school (we’re pretty sure we were lip-syncing RiRi at house parties around the same time… Oops). Now, as the Ambassador of Bergdorf Goodman, Maraka regularly pens trend round-ups with must-haves from the store each season, not to mention posts the dreamiest #OOTD’s perhaps ever. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: My go-to neighborhood spot is Le Cirque (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). I go there almost everyday: A. because its conveniently close to me and B. because the food is so good and the staff has almost become like family. My favorite dish is the Caesar salad— it’s easy and filling.

COFFEE OR TEA: Nespresso on Madison Avenue (MAP IT, x). The coffee is strong, tasty and it reminds me of Europe.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I can’t say that I have an all-time favorite because there is such an amazing variety to choose from; it really depends on the night and what I am hungry for. I do love Sushi Seki (MAP IT, x) when I am craving sushi— I always order the omakase.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A Kir Royale at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle (MAP IT, x). My favorite bartender in the city is Billy at Le Cirque— he makes the best drinks and gives the best advice; it’s probably the only place I enjoy sitting at the bar!

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: If I am uptown, I enjoy going to the Plaza (MAP IT, x) or The Grill (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). Downtown, I enjoy the lobby at the Mercer (MAP IT, x) or The Crosby Hotel (MAP ITx).

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: ACME (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is always fun— good food, good music and a good crowd.

LADIES LUNCH: I always enjoy going to Casa Lever (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) or the BG restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

BEST BRUNCH: Sant Ambroeus, either on Madison Avenue (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) or in the West Village (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The staff is always so friendly and the food is delicious: I happen to be addicted to their artichoke salad.

MUSIC PICK: I  love all types of music and always have music playing in the background (usually Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra or Serge Gainsbourg). Café Carlyle (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) has amazing live music. I also enjoy jazz; every Tuesday and Thursday, there is a live jazz band at the Rose Bar (MAP IT, x)— it’s lovely.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x) for a Doctor Green juice and the chia seed pudding.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Definitely any type of pasta or ice cream. I don’t like anything complicated when it comes to pasta— just a simple spaghetti with tomato and basil makes me more than happy (followed by two large scoops of vanilla ice cream). I also love the cupcakes at Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Nolita (MAP IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: For me, I think NY’s best kept secret would be that the Empire State Building (MAP IT) is open until 2 am; I love going there late at night during the summer— it’s a good place to clear your mind.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: My doorman.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: None really. I usually like to leave it up to him; you can tell a lot about a man by where he chooses to take you.

DELIVERY GO-TO: I like to order from Match 65 Brasserie (MAP IT, BOOK IT, ORDER IT, x) — the food is great and they are always efficient with their deliveries.

CLOSET CHECK: I would say my style is really classic and simple. Sometimes I can be very girly, other times I can be very minimal and modern. I do wear a lot of black and white. I enjoy shopping at Bergdorf Goodman as you can find everything you want under one roof. I also love vintage shopping; I find great things at Tokio 7 in the East Village (MAP IT, x) or New York Vintage (MAP IT, x). For anything else, I like to shop online (especially since Net-a-Porter offers same day delivery).

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I love books and I love to gift books as well. I go to the Assouline (x) shop at The Plaza (MAP IT)— the books are so elegant and they make the perfect host/hostess gifts. Smythson (MAP IT, x) also has great gifts.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: My hairdresser, Raymond Salame who works at Frédéric Fekkai (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) gives the best haircuts, ever!

FIT PICK: When I do work out (and sadly it isn’t very often), I enjoy pilates or swimming. I like to swim at the New York Health & Racquet Club on 50th St. (MAP IT, x).

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Just waking up and looking out at the city through my window every morning is a New York moment for me; it’s the best city in the world. CP

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