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With the warm weather well on its way to stay, trees and flowers in bloom, and summer fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to get out to the parks and enjoy them before the tourist and heat surges. On a sunny spring day, what could be better than the open fields and gentle walks of New York City’s iconic Central Park? We’ve teamed up with On Location Tours for our New York City Local Deal to get you out and exploring this natural haven, with a little added pop culture flavor and a great deal – the tour is only $12/person, 50 percent off its usual price.
The Central Park TV & Movie Sites Tour not only provides a guided park walk with Central Park trivia, but the enthusiastic tour guides have more to offer: They can also tell you what television shows and movies have filmed at the various landmarks around the park, from When Harry Met Sally at the Boathouse Restaurant to The Devil Wears Prada at the Duck Pond to Enchanted along the Literary Walk and at Bethesda Fountain. It’s about two hours of leisurely paced promenading, with plenty of photo opps.
Forget Sex in the City; Hudson Valley-based wilderness training outfit Mountain Scout Survival School is bringing survival to the city, and setting up camp right in the heart of NYC’s Central Park. Their timing couldn’t be better: With enough headline-making worldwide turmoil and natural disasters to scare the bejesus out of most of us – not to mention doomsayers citing the Mayan calendar’s end date later this year as a harbinger of apocalyptic times – it seems that it’s high time to prepare to meet your doom.
Heck, even if the Earth still manages to keep spinning on its axis for a wee while longer, knowing a thing or two about living off the land and surviving in the wild isn’t such a bad thing to have in your bag of tricks. And, at the very least, when swapping stories of the day’s exploits at the bar later that night, your tale of survival training in the thicket of Central Park will hands-down trumps your friends’ accounts of their own humdrum afternoon there, spent merely picnicking or running around the reservoir (yawn).
If you’re the type of couple that wants it all, then you need to take a bite out of the Big Apple, which has it all in spades. Whether you are a culinary, cultural, theater or business-savvy duo, a downright decadent couple with a love of couture and a never-ending need for spa treatments, or a somewhat boozy brood with a hunger for urban adventures, rest assured that there are plenty of places to rest while exploring this urban oasis.
Midtown: New York Palace
It’s worth a spin to this landmark luxury property just to soak in its Gilded Age grandeur. The architecture and design of the New York Palace alone will wow you upon arrival. If it’s space that you’re craving, opt for a newly renovated Mansion Room or perhaps a triplex suite with an outdoor terrace and panoramic view of the cityscape. Otherwise, one of the 899 well-appointed rooms will provide a bird’s eye view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
It’s all too easy to be swept away in the magic of a New York summer when you can fill the days with festivals in Central Park and Sunday brunches at sidewalk cafés, followed by evenings spent in theaters and nightclubs before retiring to the latest boutique hotel. The city has much to offer its visitors – at a price. However, this summer you can be a part of New York’s vogue hotel scene by staying at the soon-to-open Andaz 5th Avenue from as little as $295/night. Debuting in July, Andaz is located directly across from the New York Public Library, and is ideal for window shopping on 5th Ave or catching an outdoor movie in Bryant Park after the sun goes town. Inside, steel factory windows and exposed pipe ceilings are reminiscent of the industrial epoch, while light-filled rooms grant 12-foot ceilings, high-definition televisions, and soothing black porcelain footbaths in the shower areas.
THE VALUE: The special preview rate of $295 is now available for stays from July 25 through September 1 – a great rate for any upscale New York hotel, let alone a brand new one. After that, prices go up to $463, so this offer saves you $168/night for peak-season travel.
THE CATCH: Book soon, rooms are certain to fill quickly!
THE DETAILS: Click here to book online with the Andaz, or call 212 601-01234.
Looking for tips once you touch town? Thumb (or click) through our New York City Travel Guide.
Take a look at some killer shots that our photographer captured on film with our New York City Slide Show.
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Don’t have the time or monetary resources to fly to far-flung locales such as Morocco? Visit New York City instead. Between January 4 and February 28, the newly-renovated, Moroccan-themed Marrakech Hotel on the Upper West Side has nightly rates starting at just $99/night – over 20 percent off regular prices! In addition, the boutique hotel is giving guests two free tickets to the Top of the Rock ($42 value) – an observatory 70 stories high with unobstructed, panoramic views of New York City.
To book, visit www.marrakechhotelnyc.com, or call 212-222-2954.
About the Hotel: Situated near Central Park, the Marrakech Hotel received a facelift in 2008 and contains 125 guest rooms outfitted with white European bed linens, down comforters, flat-screen televisions, as well as massage shower heads in each bathroom. The hotel also features a Moroccan lounge and Sookk Thai Asian Restaurant.
Envious of the luxurious lives led by the characters on AMC’s hit television series, Mad Men? Well, instead of spending another Sunday night on your couch watching the slick suits strut down Madison Avenue, you can live out your retro-glam fantasy at New York’s dreamy hotel, The Pierre. The hotel is currently offering a new Mad Men-inspired package, A Mad Affair at The Pierre, which is based on two characters Peggy and Duck who have a romantic fling at the very same hotel in the 60s. The special includes a stay in one of the hotel’s 49 swank suites (the hotel just underwent $100 million dollars worth of renovations), a bottle of champagne upon arrival, and Mad Men Seasons 1 and 2 DVD boxed sets. Watch them in your best Kennedy-inspired ensembles and enjoy a nostalgic high. The deal also covers light plates and cocktails for two at The Pierre’s new lounge and bar Two E ($150 value). The price tag, from $1,150, may be a little hard to swallow but the iconic hotel’s glamorous digs and prime Fifth Avenue address overlooking Central Park are hard to top. Plus, this old-school New York experience will leave you with your own Mad memories that trounce any TV show. To reserve, please call 1-800-743-7734 and request A Mad Affair at The Pierre or visit www.tajhotels.com. Offer is valid through December 31.
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.
Everyone has been talking about Royal Caribbean’s newest monstrosity of a ship, the Oasis of the Seas, which has catapulted into celebrity-status. With the paparazzi fiending for an inside photo of the Oasis– which launches in December – kid-sister the Allure of the Seas has been living in its icy shadow. (Cue music: “Wind Beneath My Wings”). This ship will soon have its shot in the limelight, because Royal Caribbean just announced that bookings will officially be open to the general public on April 13.
The cruise line also revealed the ship’s inaugural sailing schedule, which includes 42 voyages in the Eastern and Western Caribbean departing from Fort Lauderdale. The Allure will call at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, Cozumel, Labadee (the cruise line’s private port in Haiti), and the spanking new port of Falmouth. Located in Northern Jamaica, Falmouth remains relatively untouched by tourism – so far, and is often compared with Colonial Williamsburg for its Georgian-styled plantation homes.
Both ships will hold 5,400 passengers, and span over 16 decks featuring new entertainment complexes like a boardwalk with the first ever carousel at sea, an AquaTheater with acrobatics, water ballet, and high-diving, and a Central Park the length of a football field – for those who need a dose of green trees on the high seas. The Allure’s inaugural season will kick off in December 2010, but in the meantime, keep a close eye out – it might accidentally sail into a photo op next to its A-list sister.
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