The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of the most popular parades in the country, watched by millions on TV. But wouldn’t it be great to see it live and in person from New York City?
All you have to do is make your way to NYC and get up at the crack of dawn to get yourself a spot along the parade route, then stand for hours elbow to elbow with a crowd of restless strangers. Want the live experience without the pre-dawn wake-up call? Head to a Manhattan hotel.
As of this posting, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on 7th Avenue and 53rd Street still has rooms available along the parade route for November 24th, with standard guestrooms starting at $750 (hey, a tradition like this is going to cost you!). To book a room for the parade, call 212-581-1000and make sure to ask for a room facing 7th Avenue.
The W Times Square also had parade view rooms available, but there’s only one person in the hotel who can handle these specific reservations. Call 212-930-7441 and request to speak with Sherry. (Rumor has it that next year’s parade won’t go by Times Square, so this could be your last chance to see the parade from here.) Check out a few less expensive options over at the Lodging blog.
When the parade has passed you by, take advantage of some of the best shopping in the world on 5th Avenue, or head down to Chinatown for something a little more unique. Other holiday favorites in the city include visits to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.
Photo courtesy Sheraton New York
A trip to New York City is a never-ending choose-your-own adventure opportunity. Everything from your ride into Manhattan to your choice between street cart or world-famous restaurant is a a chance to enjoy a uniquely Big Apple experience. Your hotel is the backdrop that sets the tone for your New York story. Should you begin your tale in a chic boutique or at a respected chain?
Be a Native New Yorker at New Boutiques
If my inbox is any indication, developers are snapping up abandoned retail and office spaces and converting them into guestrooms faster than you can say “late checkout, please.” New hotels with amenities as hip as their names (you can borrow a skateboard from The Nolitan) appeal to a wannabe-urban clientele and provide a chance to live like a New Yorker for a weekend without any risk or roommate hunting.
The decor tends to be contemporary to the extreme, as much a design decision as an attempt to disguise the painfully small size of a typical room; tiny rooms seem to add authenticity to the New Yorker experience. Instead of offering state-of-the-art fitness centers, boutiques like The Library in Midtown provide guests with complimentary day passes to nearby private fitness clubs where tourists can break a sweat next to real live Manhattanites. You won’t find a boutique hotel within 2 blocks of Central Park, but you can find properties like Hotel Giraffe boasting easy access to Chelsea. If your must-do list for your next NYC vacation includes deli bagels for breakfast and an afternoon of people watching in Union Square, check into a Manhattan boutique hotel to set the scene.
Stay as a Welcomed Guest with Familiar Names
Do your big city fantasies involve a show on Broadway and a carriage ride through Central Park? Are you more interested in Barney’s than bagels? New York City welcomes more than 40 million tourists each year, and there’s no shame in happily being one of them. Be pampered like a guest at hotel chains that long ago secured the best locations in town.
The Ritz-Carlton Central Park sits directly across the street from Central Park and a few short blocks from the most popular Midtown tourist attractions. You can’t rent a skateboard here, but you will have room to spread out in large guest rooms and views worthy of a postcard mailed home. While you certainly can grab a bagel from a deli around the corner, you can also indulge in a gourmet snack in the Club Lounge at any time of day. No one here is new to the game, so expect expert touches like a crystal ring holder beside the bathroom sink. Similarly, The Hilton New York won’t get you into the NY Sports Club, but you can host a meeting onsite; you can also hit the in-house fitness center without traveling farther than the fifth floor.
When you visit a boutique hotel in New York City, you get the feeling that you’re staying with a friend who’s showing off their new Manhattan apartment. If you’re lucky, you can imagine yourself moving in with that friend after a night or two. The big chain hotels don’t have the hip edge or the competitive pricing of the new kids on the island. Instead, they offer a sense of security that comes from staying with the people who set the standards for New York luxury in the first place.
Who says slaving away over your own stove and filling your kitchen sink with dishes is the only way to celebrate Thanksgiving? Take advantage of the long weekend and start a new family tradition of traveling together this year. Spending the holidays in a hotel can be more relaxing than the hustle and bustle associated with a conventional celebration at home and many hotels offer special deals to help you celebrate the holiday away from home; you can even get the traditional turkey and trimmings!
Cotton Tree – Grand Cayman Islands - Spend the holidays in a private beach cottage and spend your time doing yoga instead of cooking. Rates for the “Thanksgiving Special,” which is valid for a November 23-26 reservation, start at $890.00 US per night. (www.caymancottontree.com code CT375)
Hawks Cay Resort – Florida Keys – The family-friendly resort on Duck Key is celebrating the holiday weekend with tons of activities, including a 5k Turkey Trot Walk/Run and a pie-eating competition. They’ll also be serving a family-style dinner or you can just spend your long weekend lounging in one of their five pools. (www.hawkscay.com)
Marquis Los Cabos – Los Cabos, Mexico – Grab a suite on the beach this year and enjoy lots of extra amenities, incluing a $300 spa credit, VIP rountrip airport transportation, and breakfast delivered each morning via a “silent butler” service. Take advantage of the Thanksgiving special to get a fourth night free. Nightly rates start at $590 for a Junior Suite. (1-877-238-9399 or www.marquisloscabos.com)
Photo courtesy of Marquis Los Cabos
I love all-suites hotels. You don’t need a special upgrade or media credentials to get a great room with plenty of space. You know when you check in that every room is going to be a suite. I was excited when my girlfriend gave my husband and I a gift certificate for a free night at the new all-suites hotel in Pittsburgh.
Cambria Suites is attached via parking garage to the new CONSOL Energy Center (home to the Pittsburgh Penguins), which I’m sure makes it convenient for anyone coming into town for a hockey game. It is not conveniently located near any other major Pittsburgh attraction and is just outside the downtown district and away from major bus routes. Here for a game or have a rental car? You’ll be fine.
Location issues aside, Cambria Suites is a beautiful hotel that lived up to my expectations as an all-suites property. Our king standard room included a large living area, plenty of space to work (which I happily ignored), and the most important feature of any hotel room: ample outlets for charging electronics.
The bed was comfortable, too.
The bathroom gave me pause. The modern design featured a shower with no shower curtain or sliding door. Half the shower was enclosed with a glass wall and the other half, the part farthest from the shower head, was open. Another design oddity included having the faucet for the shower on the wall opposite the shower head, eliminating the early morning cold water screams. While that design decision was brilliant, I’d love to hear the logic behind an open shower stall in a hotel bathroom.
Photo: Cambria Suites