Being a mom is not always an easy job and we don’t say thank you nearly enough! That’s why again this year, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re rewarding all the moms with a much deserved vacation getaway! Take a break and relax with family or just couple of friends in some of the most favored destinations. Choose from a great variety of hotels in either sunny beach destinations like NYC. or Miami, or take a fun city break to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas with your girlfriends!
Having just stayed at the Hudson New York, a Morgans Hotel Group property, I can tell you that the hotel has a unique take on the guest experience. The standard room is small, although not completely out of range for the New York sized hotel room, but they more than make up for it with their indoor and outdoor public spaces, bars, and restaurants.
One of the more fun aspects I found was that ever floor had a centrally located vending machine area with some unique items along with the standard candy, soft drinks, and ice. They’ve now brought that idea to a whole new level with a giant vending machine in place of a gift-shop.
The gift shop called Semi-Automatic is available to guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will present new luxury items on a regular basis. Prices range from $4 (for the basics) to $4500 (a two night penthouse package at Morgans Hotel Group’s newest hotel, Ames in Boston ). For the extravagant consumer with refined taste the Ben Watts photo shoot is priced at $8,000 and the Ferrari 599 GTB can be yours to rent for $10,000 per week. Other items include: Classic paperback Catcher in the Rye, a stylish toothbrush by Paul Smith, a retro Ouija Board, a luxe Dagger Rosary by renowned jewelry designer Pamela Love, an Essential Travel Kit by Malin+ Goetz, and a chic black sequin mini skirt by Haute Hippie.
“We’re thrilled to bring the unrivaled Semi-Automatic experience to Hudson in New York City,” said Kim Walker, Senior Vice President and Creative Director for Morgans Hotel Group. “This incredible concept gives us the opportunity to enhance our guests’ travel needs by offering exciting luxury brands, everyday essentials and unexpected experiences to take advantage of during their stay.”
The Hudson Hotel is one of Last Minute Travel’s Four-Star “Best Value” properties in New York. It’s Midtown location is really quite ideal for anything you need to do on Manhattan Island.
Whether you know it as The Big Apple, Gotham, The World’s Capital, The City That New Sleeps, or just New York, New York - the city so nice they’re named it twice, there is no place else on Earth like it and everybody needs to visit at least once in their life.
Last week I was in New York City for a conference at a posh Manhattan hotel. While there I took advantage of my free afternoon for a little self-guided tour. It’s amazing what you can find just by following a few apps on your mobile phone these days.
Any trip to New York City is incomplete without a stop in Times Square. The city’s plan to ban cars and turn it into a pedestrian friendly space has been a huge success. In fact, it reminds me of a twenty first century version of Main Street USA at Disneyland.
It’s hard to tell, but that’s a hotel. In fact, it’s one of the hottest destinations in town. So, I was very pleased when I heard I’d be staying at The Hudson Hotel. Located on 58th Ave between 8th and 9th, you are smack dab in the middle of Midtown, while also being just steps away from Central Park. (Search for 4 Star Hotels in Midtown - New York, NY)
Guests arrive into the illusion of an open air lobby via an escalator that rises up through a green hued tunnel. The effect is transporting and you are instantly in a happier place. Located just off the lobby are three great spots for relaxing during the day and partying at night.
The one comment I hear most about The Hudson is that the rooms are extra-tiny. Which, when compared to the rest of the country is true. But for New York, they’re okay. I think the idea is to get you out in the great open space of the hotel lobby or 15th floor garden terrace.
If you stay at the Hudson, there are both a Pinkberry and a Starbucks just steps away. Across the street is the Time Warner Center (pictured above) that looks out over Columbus Circle and Central Park. I found that the Whole Foods market in the Time Warner Center was the perfect place to pick up some delicious prepared food. Then you can just walk across the street for a picnic or bring it back to your room for a delicious meal. No one cooks in New York anyway.
The other wonderful thing I found in New York this trip was all the glorious little farmers markets (some not so little). This one was set up on the sidewalk just around the corner from The Hudson on 9th. I was able to get some farm fresh cheese, organic fruits (the apples from New Jersey were dee-lish!) and a breakfast roll that rivaled my great grandmother’s best efforts.
Also on 9th street, about two blocks down, was Thai Basil. If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine I recommend a visit the next time you’re in town. While the Pad Thai was not as sweet as I like it, it was very tasty. But the real star were the curries. The Massaman and the Jungle Curry both had so many flavors I found myself constantly pausing to enjoy them. I also really enjoyed the Mee Grob appetizer.
Planning a trip to New York this year? Perhaps you’re in town on business and have a few extra hours to enjoy the town between conference session? Walking Off The Big Apple is the perfect companion for your needs. The blog is a compendium of things to do when you’re in New York City. It features many self-guided walks are broken down by area and interest. You’ll also discover very useful tips for getting around, museum openings, and by neighborhood.
Walking Off The Big Apple is written by Teri Tynes, a freelance journalist. You can also find her on Twitter as @TeriTynes.
New Yorkers in the know take advantage of many great free cultural offerings around town when they want a low cost night of fun. Budget conscious travelers may want to check out what these great cultural institutions have to offer as well.
Every Thursday of the year you can find free performances at the Lincoln Center. Target® Free Thursdays at the Lincoln Center’s new David Rubenstein Atrium will feature national and international tourist artists as well as local featured artists from groups like The Juilliard School. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out the calendar of free performances.
In the summer there is often a free performance in Central Park no matter what day you’re in town. SummerStage and the city parks foundation website will shortly have their summer schedules up.
Groups with young children, or the young at heart, may enjoy the The Forbes Galleries located in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Galleries feature unique collections of toys and trophies. The exhibits includes a rare look at the evolution of the Monopoly board game. Open free to the public 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Please note that Thursdays are reserved for group tours and advance reservations are required.
Last Minute Travel has just refreshed its list of New York hotels and has lowered its prices on 15 of our best value properties. That makes now the perfect time to make plans for your vacation to the Big Apple.
2009 saw many hotel companies open new properties or relaunch remodeled ones. With more than 100 hotels from major brands scheduled to open across the United States, 2010 looks to be an even stronger year for openings. For the traveler this is good news as a surplus of room inventory will keep prices down. That’s not such a good thing for the hotels. So why would they want to open so many hotels right now?
The answer, according to Mark Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research, is that “hotel building cycles rarely mesh just right with economic cycles.” Planning a new hotel can take two to four years, and construction an additional one to four years. Most of the hotels getting ready to open were on the drawing boards several years ago, when the economy was healthy, demand for rooms was strong and room rates were rising quickly.
Of course, the opposite will also be true. Not a lot of hotels are being planned during the recession. So everything should start to balance out in three to four years. But in the meantime, now is your chance to get out there and experience some amazing savings as these new hotels fight for market share.
Where to go? The article in the NY Times says that the largest portion of the hotels, nearly half, will be opening in the New York area with another 30 opening in Houston. Other cities with large expansion include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington DC. Popular family destination Orlando experienced large growth in 2009, so don’t forget them either.
As travel to New York continues and we see an increasing influx of travelers from my native home of Ireland, I am always asked the same questions, where should I stay?, where should I shop? and what should I do? Here are a few tips to share with everyone:
Where should I stay? It really depends on when you come and your budget, but the most important thing to remember is that there is life outside of Times Square!! There are some great deals on the East Side and Upper East, like the Marmara Hotel, a luxury suite property on the East Side with great views, service and value for the suite that you get. Because the subway is such an easy mode of transport, I encourage people to look outside the center to get better value for money and see more of the city.
Where should I shop? Well those in the know go to Macy’s, and it’s not just for the selection. When you go to Macy’s bring a passport, or your hotel key and you will get a discount coupon for 11% off everything in the store - yes that includes electronics!. This is only for International Travelers. Most sales have some exclusions, but this coupon does not. Additionally, open a Macy’s account and you can get another 15-25% on top of that for the next 48 hours. That’s a lot of savings. For the braver bargain hunter willing to fight for their deal, go to Century21 downtown. It gives you the opportunity to see Wall Street and Ground Zero at the same time.
What Should I do? Well, if you are interested in museums they are donation admission (free but some with a donation suggested) on Friday and some Saturday evenings. By now, most know about the discount Broadway tickets available at the TKTS booth, but just be aware that the location has a temporary location at the Marriott Marquis hotel. Finally, for those beguiled by the long lines for the Empire State Building, my personal opinion and preference is to go for Top of the Rock. The views are spectacular and you have the Empire State Building in your skyline to admire. To show I am serious - that’s where I got engaged!! Have fun on your visit and I will let you know where to eat next time.
(A view from Top of the Rock)
I just got back from New York lately and thought it might be good idea to share some of my experience. Probably the most important thing is to understand that no matter if you have been there once twice or more, this is a never ending city. I was in NYC many times before and I am willing to take a flight again right now…
Obviously , I could write a book on NYC but this is just a post so I have decided to limit myself to 3 tips only.
Broadways Shows - this is a “Must Do” in every trip to New York. Personally I saw this time Mama Mia which was awesome. A very professional show, great actors and singers. If you like ABBA, this show is really for you. We (me and my wife) could just see it again, prices on the web are between $90 - $200+ but here is the tip, go to the TKTS booth near Times SQ and you can buy it for much less. We paid for example $62 per ticket. For people who know the booth from the past it moved to the Marriott Marquis Hotel (West 46th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue). The line there is really misleading, it looks like long but it goes really fast. If you wish there is a much less crowded booth, there is another one at the corner of Front and John Streets.
Museum - I am not going to recommend the Metropolitan or MOMA or Googenheim. They all really great and worth spending time (and money). I want to share with you a much less famous museum, it is called the Frick Collection. This is considerably small museum that was originally built at the beginning of the 20th century by Mr Henry Frick for his residence. All the art master pieces (mainly painting but not only) belong to Mr. Frick personal art collection. I consider this place more as a gate to a different era in New York History since any walk in the museum galleries simply let you feel how a rich man lived his life in NYa hundred years ago. Don’t take me wrong, the art pieces are very impressive too but this isn’t what I personally took from this place. All information (opening hours ,shop, prices etc) about the museum can easily found in the museum website. Few practical tips: take the audio guide ,it give a very nice explanation about what you see. Also, if your budget is limited and you cant afford the $15 admission, come on Sundays when you pay how much you want. The Frick is located at at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 70th Street.
Shopping - no way to cover NYC shopping in this post. Still few places you should not miss.
- B&H Photo - an AMAZING store for photography, audio and video equipment lovers. If you are one of those , you are going to thank me…you can visit their website but the experience in the store is something you will never feel on the web. Their rates are really competitive.
- 34 St -simply go from 34 St & Fifth Ave. along the street and you will find all the brands…
- SYMS - this store doesn’t look fancy but it is kind of an outlet for shoes and apparel (Men, Women and Kids). Extremely attractive prices. Highly recommended. Store is located at Park Ave and 54 St.
- Toys R’Us, Time Square - The store in Times Square is phenomenal. if you go with kids limit them to one or 2 presents otherwise you will end up with bankruptcy. What is so unique in this particular store is its size and the fact that they place a big wheel inside the store (yes inside). If you don’t believe here is a proof…