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New York City
As the count down to the New Year approaches, so does the party-planning pressure. Most major cities throw vast, crowded spectacles for the occasion, but if you’re not so keen on ringing in the New Year elbow-to-elbow with thousands of strangers, consider planning something a little offbeat this year… Read more
Yes, the inevitable has come. Almost a year after the initial announcement about American Airlines merging with US Airways – effectively creating the biggest airline in the world – followed by a setback in August when the Department of Justice blocked the merger from going forward, the deal has ultimately been given the go-ahead. Many are shocked at the thought of just three airlines (United, Delta, and the “new” American Airlines) controlling over three quarters of the entire US market. Others are focusing on what the implications are for everyday travelers like you and me.
With the Millennial generation growing up, the travel industry is beginning to see a gap in the market for sophisticated young travelers on a budget. Budget-chic brands such as CitizenM and Marriott’s Moxy, which offer high design and low price points, are booming, while budget brands such as Radisson are undergoing a design-focused overhaul. The result is that the high-end experience is being redefined: luxurious is no longer synonymous with expensive. That’s good news for travelers of all generations; gone are the days when a low budget meant bland and basic accommodations - as the following worldwide hotels prove.
New York City: Playland Motel
Located way out in Rockaway Beach in Queens, the Playland Motel, which opened in summer 2013, restored a 19th -century building and engaged 12 artists and designers to curate each of the guest rooms. Each season, artists and designers will update the rooms’ designs according to their own aesthetic. Rooms currently available to book include Kate Pane’s Coconut Castle room, which the artist describes as “a hot and heavy girlhood frolic with glitter sunburns, ponies and wet swimsuits.”
The Playland Motel is also home to a popular bar, diner, and pizzeria. The scene is young and the music loud. Rooms (with shared bathrooms) go for around $160 a night.
When it comes to crafting the perfect NYC itinerary, few are as skilled as the agents at Luxury Attaché, a high-end concierge service which prides itself on helping visitors experience the best of New York, whether that means nabbing a last-minute reservation at Per Se, or an after-hours art gallery tour. The agency has been around since 2005, though unless you own a suite at Madison Square Garden, or a multi-million dollar Park Avenue penthouse, most travelers have never even heard of them.
That’s all changing now, as the company expands into the hospitality sector with a series of hotel partnerships. This month, The Quin became the first New York hotel to employ a dedicated team of Luxury Attachés, available 24/7 to all guests, from the minute they book their reservation to the minute they check out. But with rates starting at $599 a night, it’s designed with a particular (ie, wealthy) traveler in mind.
Luckily for you, we recently sat down with one of the Quin’s top Luxury Attachés, Susy Schieffelin, who happily offered up her tips on New York’s best wintertime activities. Here’s what she had to say: Read more
New York City and Mexico City both teem with traffic, culture, amazing food, and beautiful architecture. But for the next year, these two metropolises will have more in common. The two cities recently announced their first-ever city-to-city partnership that includes a one-year agreement aimed at boosting tourism in both destinations. The best part? As part of the agreement, Aeromexico is offering $399 round-trip flights between the two cities, including flights on the 787 Dreamliner, through March. (Book by November 22.)
Even if you can’t take advantage of the special fare, you can enjoy some of the cities’ similarities just by visiting one or the other. Here are some related places that we love both in the Big Apple and south of the border…
In Mexico City: Downtown México
Downtown México is one of several Mexico City hotels that pare part of the design-savvy Grupo Habita. This one, in the heart of the city’s historic center, occupies one of the city’s few remaining 17th century palaces, and is just a short stroll from Zócalo, the main square. Habita’s typical contemporary design blends with original features such as high ceilings and a brick faςade. The hotel has two courtyard restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar and pool.
New York’s MTA transit system contains 468 stations, 345 rail and subway lines and bus routes, and over 2,000 miles of track. No wonder you need a map to figure it out! Here are five of the best smartphone apps for navigating the NYC subway and New York’s regional transit systems. These apps can be a lifesaver for visitors.
It’s easy to forget, in the rush of shopping, cooking, and traveling, that the holidays are meant to be relaxing. So, if you are dreading chore of cooking and cleaning up after your Thanksgiving Day meal, why not leave the dirty work to someone else by making a reservation at a hotel restaurant.
New York City
The Thanksgiving feast at the InterContinental Barclay offers a tasty buffet of local, natural and organic food with a turkey and ham carving station, seafood, smoked meats, soups, salads, hot entrèe selections that include Amish free-range organic roasted chicken breast with morel sauce, and pistachio-crusted organic farm-raised bronzini with lemon and pink peppercorn sauce. Dessert offerings include pumpkin pie, and chocolate and pecan tart. You may also like to partake of the Barclay Bar’s collection of 92 different Calvados labels or the collection of more than 100 martinis and cocktails. Thanksgiving seatings are from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the price is $75 per adult, $30 for children ages 4 through 12. You can make reservations through OpenTable.
Rates start at $329 on Thanksgiving night.
A short jaunt north of Central Park, Harlem has been ushering forth a new Renaissance over the years. While there are a few sour grapes over the area’s gentrification, it’s nothing new. Harlem has always had cyclical eras of cultural highs and lows. Regardless, Harlem still brims with character: The neighborhood’s new and old guard have found a balance that makes this part of town a definite must-see. Read more
When the temperatures drop and the chill sets in, travel dreams often involve beaches and bathing suits. However, come winter time, there’s no reason why your perfect vacation can’t be to a cold-weather destination – in fact, there’s nothing better than cozying up by a roaring fire with a hot cocktail in hand and watching the snow fall from the comfortable indoors.
At these five warm and welcoming hotels, you can catch up on your much-needed R&R while doing nothing more than watching their glowing fires. Bonus: someone else gets to sweep out the ashes afterwards.
Forty 1° North, Newport, Rhode Island
While this seaside resort town is often thought of as a summer destination, winter is a great time to experience the charm of New England minus the crowds. At its chicest (and only LEED-certified) hotel, sitting directly on the water, each of the 28 rooms and suites has its own gas fireplace. Should you desire a reclusive retreat, you never have to leave the room. Simply lounge around in the bathrobe and slippers provided by the hotel, order one of their five signature spiked hot chocolates (dark chocolate raspberry, anyone?), and let the fire work its magic.
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.
At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.
In Uptown New York City, over the two blocks that run from 55th to 57th, bounded by 6th and 7th Avenues, there’s currently a flurry of exciting new hotel openings.
When it comes to great hotels, the Upper West Side has long played second fiddle to downtown New York – being home to far more luxury condominiums than chic hotels. Why hotels have not moved in earlier is a mystery as this area has plenty to keep visitors busy: Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and Central Park, for starters.
While none of these new hotels are in the affordable bracket, a few of them are offering some good value early opening deals.
Here’s a quick run-down on the new hotel openings.
The most recent arrival on 57th Street (it just opened on October 9th) is the first Viceroy branded property in New York City. The striking black glass fluted exterior is designed by architecture and design duo Roman and Williams (who worked on the Ace Hotel New York and the Standard NYC), who also handled all of the interiors.
For all it lacks in comfort and customer service, Ryanair is at least commonly perceived to be the cheapest European airline. Not so, it seems. A survey of European low-cost airlines, conducted by Which Airline, calculated the average total fare for a one-way ticket, including one checked bag and the transaction fee, from more than 300,000 flights and found the cheapest airline to be the lesser-known Pegasus Airlines, from Turkey.
We wanted to see how the U.S.-based airlines stacked up, so we added up the total fee for a one-way ticket, checked bag, and transaction fee (if applicable) for flights between New York and Los Angeles on three randomly chosen days. Here’s what we found: Read more
Hotel Week NYC, a promotion aimed at attracting more visitors to NYC in January, a traditionally slow time for tourism, has managed to one-up itself each year by offering bigger and better hotel deals. That expansion looks set to continue in 2014, when a total of 30 hotels will be offering uncharacteristically low rates for all stays from January 3-9. Both the rates themselves and the selection of hotels are good enough to silence those who complain that high accommodation costs prevent them from traveling to NYC at all.
Whether you’re coming to see the Rockettes, or gaze at the decked-out store windows along Fifth Avenue, New York makes for an incredible holiday vacation destination. Weeks before Thanksgiving, though, the city is already starting to prep for winter, beginning with the opening of its iconic ice rinks. Here’s a guide to what’s open, how much it costs, and what you can expect before and after you strap on your skates. The best news? There’s a lot more ice in New York City than just Rockefeller Center.
Fall in New York City is one of the best times of year. The weather is incredible, fall foliage is at its best in Central Park, and there’s plenty to celebrate. If you’re planning a trip to the city in November, consider coming for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watch as floats, bands, and dancers pass by; after, stroll through the park for some leaf peeping.
While normally you’d have to fight your way through the crowds to get a good spot to watch, you can stop stressing this year. Four-star Affinia Manhattan is offering a special “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” package with lots of great add-ons including four sought-after Grandstand tickets. The coveted VIP-only seats (usually only offered to Macy’s employees, charities, and other organizations, though we found them being auctioned online for $700 each) provide guests with the best view in town. Here’s what you’ll get with the Affinia deal:
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