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Though the InterContinental New York Times Square actually opened July 12, the ribbon cutting ceremony last week – keynoted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – officially heralded this new property as one of the greenest in the city. As part of its bid for LEED certification, the hotel employed sustainable building materials and recycled three quarters of its construction waste. More visibly, there are green roofs on the 4th and 7th floors as well as a lobby-level garden, but guests are not permitted out onto these areas.
The 36-story, 607-room hotel is the largest built in New York in the past 10 years; all but the top two floors are currently open (they’re still perfecting that two-story Presidential Suite). The eponymous Times Square is actually a couple of blocks from the InterContinental, and the hotel straddles the Hells Kitchen neighborhood. This works to InterContinental’s advantage, however: A quirk in zoning laws caps most buildings in that neighborhood at seven stories, so the upper floors of the hotel boast killer views of western Manhattan. Some corner suites can even see all the way north to Central Park.
In summer, spas trot out in-season fruit and botanicals for use in spa treatments. And an Orange Blossom Scrub and Wrap sounds lovely. But if the product comes from jar (which it does 99 percent of the time) can’t I have it anytime? Combo-platter spa treatments can sound captivating in summer – a body scrub and bath followed by a massage – but what’s so summery about it exactly?
So it was exciting to find a day-spa package that makes total sense for summer – the Break Out The Bikini ($150, 75 minutes) at Spa Merge, a new spa in Midtown Manhattan. It includes a customized bikini wax (the spa has six types!), a body scrub, and an organic-leaning spray tan (it’s alcohol-free). A beauty maintenance trifecta!
I love how it handles all the issues a trip to the beach might present (save for the last five pounds I’m always trying to shed). The only thing missing is a mani-pedi, but it’s not essential, since push comes to shove, I can do it myself. The bikini wax I could NEVER do myself, and a body scrub is really necessary before a spray tan, so why not leave that to the experts so you don’t end up streaky? What seals the deal? The à la carte cost for the three services comes to $205. So I suppose I can use the $55 I saved for that mani-pedi.
There’s nothing quite like surveying the majestic New York City skyline while sipping a cocktail as the sun slowly dips below the Hudson River. Thanks to a whole slew of new rooftop bars opening in the Big Apple, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy sky-high drinks this summer.
Top of the Strand at The Strand Hotel Debuting December 2009, this rooftop watering hole is bound to become even more popular now that the weather is balmy and the sliding roof can finally be opened. The chic 21st-floor lounge was designed by Lydia Marks, whose credits include the sets for the first Sex and the City movie and The Devil Wears Prada.
Glass Bar at Hotel Indigo Set in nightclub-heavy Chelsea, 20th-floor Glass Bar provides a rooftop respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets below. The bar opened May 14; Monday is swing night with live music by The Michael Fredo Orchestra.
Private roof garden at The Surrey This Upper East Side rooftop officially opens this weekend, but don’t try to casually stop by for a drink – the exclusive seasonal space is only open to hotel guests. The garden, located on the 17th floor, looks out over Central Park. Guests can enjoy casual dining and specialty cocktails (delivered by butler) from morning to night.
If you workout religiously and constantly scope out hotels with optimal exercise facilities before traveling, then we have the perfect deal that will help you get your sweat on while “getting away from it all.” From now through December 31, the Affinia Manhattan hotel is offering an Action Adventure promotion that is priced from $229/night and sure to make your toned body even more pronounced.
As part of this ultra-fit deal, ShermansTravel.com readers will receive an exclusive complimentary upgrade to a One-Bedroom Suite (a $50 value), as well as two all-access passes to Chelsea Piers’ state-of-the-art Sports Center*, which includes the following:
• An indoor sand volleyball court
• A quarter-mile indoor running track
• Two studios for fitness classes per week
• A 10,000-square-foot indoor rock climbing wall
• One six-lane, 25-yard indoor swimming pool
• A 20,000-square-foot gym full of cardio and strength training equipment
• Three indoor basketball courts
• A boxing ring and circuit
• Two Hudson River sundecks
While the slick Cooper Square Hotel is no gritty downtown club and many young bands now play their first shows in Brooklyn instead of the East Village, the hotel is paying homage to the neighborhood’s music legacy by starting its own concert series. As part of the hotel’s new monthly Annie. O Music Series, The Cooper Square has opened the usually private penthouse suite to host an intimate and rare concert experience to hotel guests and the public (on a first-come, first-serve basis). With the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline, concertgoers can mingle on the wraparound terrace and ogle over the 360-degree skyline views from the 21st floor.
Named for and curated by Annie Ohayon (former music publicist for big time names like Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, and Pearl Jam ), musicians such as John Forte, formerly of The Fugees and the indie rock power trio Bipolar Explorer have already performed, and singer-songwriter Zack Glass, son of composer Philip Glass is slated for Thursday, March 25th (doors 7pm, performance 8pm). While these concerts are a far cry from the CBGB-era shows, the combination of free tunes and amazing views seems like an ideal way to start a downtown evening.
Details: The Cooper Square Hotel Penthouse; 25 Cooper Square (3rd Avenue between 5th & 6th Streets); www.thecoopersquarehotel.com; www.myspace.com/zackglassmusic
From the Pacific Northwest to the Big Apple to the English countryside, here’s a look at all the places where you can experience the thrilling backdrops of Hollywood’s latest and greatest firsthand this spring and summer.
Avatar Though Avatar’s Pandora is a fictitious world created largely from James Cameron’s imagination, there are those in Washington state who see striking similarities between the fantasy planet and the landscape of the Olympic Peninsula. With that in mind, Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Park and Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific coast have each put together Avatar-inspired packages to help you explore the scenery like a Na’vi.
Lake Quinault’s Pandora package (starting at $109 weekdays and $129 on weekends) includes an overnight and a tour for two through the Quinault Rainforest, where you’ll see trees reminiscent of those found on Pandora, including Douglas firs, red cedars, and Sitka spruces. Stay an extra night or two for just $50 extra per night. This package is available through May 1; use code LQPANDORA to book.
Take a bite out of the Big Apple this winter and save over 40 percent on accommodations with GEM Hotels’ low rates through February 28. Starting from just $129/night (regularly $219), guests can stay at one of three boutique properties in either the Chelsea, SoHo or Midtown West sections of Manhattan.
Hotel amenities at the GEM Hotels include comfy robes, flat-screen plasma televisions, free WiFi, and alarm clocks with MP3 capability. In terms of location, the hotels are located near popular attractions such as Greenwich Village, Union Square, the Meatpacking District, and Southstreet Seaport, to name a few.
I recently visited Midtown Manhattan’s The Surrey to check out the hotel’s $60 million renovation. Interior designer Lauren Rottet essentially remade the hotel from top to bottom, bringing The Surrey into the 21st century while sticking with the traditional elegance of the original property. Read more
Known as the Algonquin Round Table, some of the most influential literary minds of our time met at the Algonquin Hotel to share stories, opinions and meals, thus shaping the American literary landscape. Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Robert E Sherwood were among the regulars (and founders) of the group that called this chic hotel home.
Ideally located in midtown Manhattan, steps from Times Square, theaters, and shopping, the Algonquin Hotel continues to be a classic choice when staying in the city. And now, if you left your favorite book at home or (even worse) on the plane, they have you covered. Staying true to it’s rich literary heritage, and commitment to stay cutting edge, Kindles are offered to all guests loaded with your favorite reads, for you to use during your stay.
Suddenly loosing your book sounds kind of cool. We think Dorothy Parker would approve.
Sadly, New York’s landmark Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South was the site of a grisly murder this Saturday, September 19, committed by one of the hotel’s own employees. The body of a woman, Andree Bejjani, 48, was discovered by a hotel maid on Saturday afternoon. The police were able to obtain a confession from housekeeping worker Derrick W. Praileau that placed him at the scene of the crime, and, with the help of surveillance cameras and hotel key cards, they were able to trace his card’s use as well as see him enter and leave the apartment (Ms. Bejjani was staying in one of the private condominiums at the Essex House complex) around the time of the murder.
The New York Times reports, “The suspect, Derrick W. Praileau, 29, of 1521 White Plains Road, in the Bronx, was taken to Manhattan Criminal Court on Sunday afternoon and later charged with second-degree murder in the death of the woman, Andree Bejjani, whose body was found on Saturday in a 10th-floor apartment at the Jumeirah Essex House, where Mr. Praileau worked.”
The hotel is trying to make current guests as comfortable as possible. “Our sincere condolences go out to the victim’s family, and we have offered our full support during this difficult time,” said hotel spokeswoman Jenny Glover.
In the heart of the New York’s fashionable Meatpacking District, the historic Jane Hotel offers some of the most affordable and unconventional accommodations in Manhattan. Originally built in 1908 as a sailors’ lodging house, the red-brick Georgian-style building on Jane and West streets once sheltered Titanic survivors at the cost of 25 cents per night. Recently restored, the landmark property now boasts 200 hip, little guestrooms decked out like cabins aboard a yacht. Rates for these 50-square-foot berths start at only $99/night, with amenities that include 23-inch LCD TVs, DVD players, free Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations. Downstairs, you’ll find a Victorian-style lobby bar, plus the city’s hottest nightclubs are all within easy stumbling distance.
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