Tag Archives: nyc hotels

Experiencing a citizenM NYC Hotel Stay

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There was just no way that my husband and I were going to take on the new school year without rebooting.

No. Way.

So we did what we always do when we need to get in touch with our more romantic, more fun selves. We left our kids for a night away in New York City.

We chose to escaped to the new citizenM hotel in Times Square, which opened only recently this past April 2014. The hotel may be new to Times Square but it isn’t new overseas, with a strong presence in Europe and with plans to expand around the world.

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A Staycation Full of New York City History

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The fast changing pace of New York City makes it easy for those who visit, and even some of those who live there, to miss details of its history. It’s easy to walk past a landmark and not really notice its significance for being there, or into a restaurant and not even know about events that might have taken place years, if not centuries, ago.

New York City is not the oldest city in the state – that title belongs to Albany, founded in 1614, making it the oldest settlement North of Virginia. But it’s pretty old.

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Fun, Luxury, and Good Eats in NYC

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Have I told you how much I am loving living in New Jersey? No? Well, I do.

But, how is it that a Brooklyn girl can settle so quickly and so well to life in the ‘burbs? Well, there are a lot of little reasons, like more space for less money and a slower pace of life (you know, for when I am not traveling). But, I think the reason my life in Jersey is going so well is because New York is only a short train ride away.

In less than 40 minutes I can come out from the depths of Penn Station and out onto the world that is Manhattan. I think, even if you are local, you should indulge in a staycation in the city. There’s just so much to see and do that sometimes it’s enough to “vacation” there. We do it often. There are some things we do every time, like a visit to Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Toys R Us, and then there are new things we like to try.

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The LCL: New Bar & Kitchen at The Westin New York Grand Central

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I am always looking for new places to eat in NYC because it’s fun and because people are always wanting to try something new when they visit here. When those new eateries pop up in parts of town where good eateries are so hard to come by, even better!

The Westin New York Grand Central is pretty new to its East 42nd digs. Walk into the main lobby and you can still see the shine and glitter. Of course, the standard Westin scent welcomes return visitors to the brand, such as myself, making us feel immediately comfortable and familiar no matter what the destination.

But aside from all the things that we love about Westin that we are sure to experience from just walking in, they also have now launched a new eatery and bar, which on the night of my visit wasn’t just a place for tourists to mingle, but also a few New Yorkers looking to grab an after hours drink.

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The Element Times Square West by Westin [Review]

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I love the concept of budget hotels. As a family of 5, we can’t always afford the high luxury hotel stays, though believe me, I am all about the personalized attention and constant pampering. Budget hotels make traveling possible for a lot of people, whether they are world travelers or seasonal travelers. How you travel doesn’t matter. Finding ways to afford travel is key. Finding these lodging options in popular destinations, like New York City, is gold.

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ONE UN New York: A NYC Experience with Views

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When visitors ask me about where to stay in New York City, they almost always want to stay near Times Square. “We want to be in the center of it all”. That sounds fun, until you get here. Then you realize that being in the thick of it can actually be a bit more than you bargained for.

It’s why I like to suggest that people consider hotels a little further away from the zone, if only for a few days during their stay – maybe split up your visit between crazy time and not. You can find several hotels on my site that are great options.

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Conrad Concierge: 5-Star Luxury at The Tip of Your Fingers

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One of my favorite moments traveling around is when I find a new hotel closer to home in NYC where I enjoyed my stay so much that I can’t wait to tell everyone else about it.

This past weekend, that new experience was had by my family and myself, at the new Conrad Hotel NYC. The hotel first opened in March of 2012 where the Embassy Suites used to be and the smell of new still lingers in the air. Located in Battery Park City, and only steps and with full views of the Hudson River, the hotel is ideally situated and makes for a walker-friendly destination.

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The Benjamin Hotel introduces Kid-Friendly “Winks’ Kidzzz Club”

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Exciting news for families from The Benjamin Hotel! Families visiting New York City this summer are invited to “Have a Hoot” at The Benjamin (www.thebenjamin.com) with a special Winks’ Kidzzz Club package.

Renowned for having the country’s first and only Sleep Concierge, The Benjamin, a boutique luxury hotel centrally located on Lexington Avenue and 50th Street, drew from its 11 years of “perfect sleep” expertise to create Winks’ Kidzzz Club, a sleep program specially tailored to its youngest guests.

The “Having a Hoot in NYC” package, starting at $394 a night and valid through September 5, 2011 features a “good night’s sleep” in a double bed deluxe studio; a plush mascot named Winks the Owl; a delicious sundae from The National, the award-winning restaurant by Food Network Chef Geoffrey Zakarian located within the hotel; four tickets to the Central Park Zoo to meet Flaco, the zoo’s only Eagle Owl; a list of NYC family-friendly attractions and activities taking place this summer and a disposable digital camera to capture all the fun.

Winks’ Kidzzz Club is led by Winks the Owl, who serves as the fictional mascot and ambassador for the program. He teaches children the importance of a good night’s sleep so they can wake rested and ready to take on Manhattan, and provides families with the latest information on family friendly restaurants and activities in the city. The Winks’ Kidzzz Club, available to kids ages two to 12, includes:

* Kid-sized robes, available for use at the hotel

* Use of iPod pillow programmed with lullabies and audio bedtime stories

* Lending library of family favorite bedtime books

* Official Winks’ Kidzzz Club Sleep Certificate awarded upon check-out

If kids need further assistance getting to sleep, the hotel’s Sleep Concierge Anya Orlanska is on-hand to offer tips and other sleep enhancements. “The excitement of being on summer vacation can make it challenging for kids to fall asleep,” says Orlanska. Suggestions for parents to help ensure a good night’s sleep for children include: allowing time after sightseeing to wind down before bedtime; giving the kids a soothing, warm bath before going to bed; offering The Benjamin’s 12 different pillows to select one that is most like a child’s pillow at home; and avoiding caffeinated drinks, like soda, after lunchtime, cited Orlanska.

For kids that may need an extra 40 Winks while the rest of the family goes sightseeing, The Benjamin also offers babysitting service.

To book the “Having a Hoot in NYC” package or view more of the Sleep Concierge’s Sleep Tips, visit www.thebenjamin.com/hootor call 1-888-4-BENJAMIN.

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Comfort and Relief in Respire Room at Grand Hyatt NY

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Early last October the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts introduced plans to provide travelers with hypo-allergenic rooms at all of its full service properties in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. These rooms, which are especially suited to guests with asthma, allergies and other respiratory sensitivities, are called the Respire by Hyatt ─ Hypo-Allergenic Rooms, powered by PURE Solutions NA and are designed to eliminate up to 98 percent of airborne viruses and bacteria, as well as pollen and other irritants commonly found in indoor environments.

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The Ça Va Experience at Intercontinental Times Square

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During my recent stay at the Intercontinental Times Square, I had the fortune of checking out Todd English’s new restaurant Ça Va, a French brasserie and the latest for this celebrity chef.

This is an open and yet warm space designed by Jeffrey Beers International.  The surrounding art displayed throughout, from New York artist Jody Morlock, gives it an eclectic feel, though one doesn’t miss the French details also felt throughout. The soothing walnut color of the woodwork and the soft lighting glimmering from the chandeliers designed by David Weeks seem to fit well with both the cement structures of the courtyard overlooked by the private dining areas, as well as the busy traffic of 44th Street seen from the bar alongside the dining area.

Ça Va Marche, the coffee shop, comfortably sits away from the main dining area, easily catering to both hotel guests and locals alike.

I had two opportunities to eat here. For breakfast I found the menu to be pretty standard: oatmeal, eggs, yogurt. But the presentation was really what took the dishes to the next level. I ordered a basic eggs, hash brown, and sausage, and this is what I got:

Eggs over-easy with home fries and sausage

Not much, but just enough to say “this ain’t no diner lady!” I love that.

For dinner, the feel and experience was a bit more sophisticated. We dined in one of the private dining areas (there are three in total). The privacy was perfect for our group and I really enjoyed that we weren’t in a completely enclosed room.

I started out my meal with a lovely glass of Au Vin Spritzer. This was so refreshing and  perfect after a day out and about in the city.

For my appetizer, I chose Foie Gras au Torchon (with toasted rosemary brioche and fig jam). This was so good, I ate it very, very slowly! It was incredibly rich, as foie gras often is, but the fig jam helped balance that out and make it just right.

Foie Gras au Torchon
Crab Cake Chilled Shrimp Gazpacho
Crab Cake Chilled Shrimp Gazpacho

I somehow missed this on the menu: Corn Ravioli. Thus, when it was placed in front of me you can only imagine my sheer joy. I mean, come on! It’s corn in a ravioli!! Yum.

Corn Ravioli

I went pretty American with my entree by ordering steak, but I had steak in another restaurant the night before and wanted to compare. I wasn’t alone in my choice and it seems that everyone agreed, the Grilled Steak Frite at Ça Va is a must try. It was so tender and full of flavor, I was sad to see it finish. I ate every bite!

Grilled Steak Frite

I missed desert, which consisted of an Apple Tart Tatin. All who had it however said it was divine. As a matter of fact, most people I have spoken to about Ca Va always recommend I try the desserts.

Duly noted for next time. I would recommend dinner more than breakfast, as breakfast isn’t anything really unique. I can’t really say that Ça Va was an extraordinary dining experience, but it wasn’t bad. The ambiance is truly the star here and I wouldn’t mind going back again with friends from out of town or on a girl’s night out.

Ca Va– 310 West 44th St., New York, NY * Tel: 212-803-4545

Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary, all-expense paid visit by Unilever. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own.


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