Ask Ari

Ask Ari: A 40th Birthday to Remember

Ditch the party hats and skip the sheet cake. Celebrate your next milestone birthday in high (magical) style instead.

Photo by Ben Hider/Courtesy of Fine and Rare

Milestone birthdays are momentous and meaningful and…a heck of a lot of pressure. How can you celebrate years of love and life in just one night (especially when the birthday girl isnt fond of parties)?

Never fear, Arielle (Ari) Tepper Madover is here. In this edition of Ask Ari, our founder maps out an incredible—and incredibly romantic—night for a 40th birthday celebration. Treat your birthday guy or gal to this over-the-top date that doesnt include a single balloon or party horn.

Have a burning planning problem of your own? Ask Ari at Problem solved.

Hi Ari,

I want to plan a memorable 40th birthday celebration for my wife who hates parties. We always go out for dinner, so I’d like to treat her to something more. Maybe a night at a hotel? What do you suggest? —Don’t Want to Mess This Up

Happy birthday to your wife! I have the perfect evening for you. Follow these exact steps for a truly special and intimate celebration that she will love.

  1. Check into your prebooked room at the regal Lotte New York Palace Hotel. (We can help with that.)
  2. Once you’re settled, take a stroll through the neighboring St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Even if you aren’t religious, the recent renovation has made the cathedral more gorgeous than ever.
  3. Back at the hotel, doll up and look sharp (flutes of champagne while doing so optional); cocktail attire is required for your special evening.
  4. Enjoy oysters, lobster, prime rib, and martinis at the luxe beacon of throwback elegance, The Grill. 
  5. Next head back to the hotel for the 9 p.m. performance of Chamber Magic, an interactive magic show by master illusionist and mentalist Steve Cohen. I’m not a particularly big fan of magic, but I was blown away by this sophisticated, intimate performance. Trust me, these are not the typical saw-the-assistant-in-half-type tricks.
  6. End the night at Fine & Rare, a 15-minute walk or 10-minute car ride away. This is a swanky, old-school New York jazz bar. Sip Garden of Eden cocktails and toast to your wife’s past, present, and future.
  7. The next morning? A birthday breakfast in bed, of course.

Do life well,

Want us to create a special day for you? Get in touch with one of our experience planners now, or write to Ari at