Being a Guest in our own city

On a recent Sunday, the office crew from New York Guest spent the day being tourists in New York City! We loved getting the chance to reacquaint ourselves with the city we all call home and to see it through the eyes of a tourist.

Citysights buses are a common sight on the streets of NYC

We met in the New York Guest office for a classic NYC Sunday brunch – bagels and mimosas! From there, we headed a few short blocks uptown to catch the Citysights bus tour, where we had tickets for the Downtown Loop.
As we headed downtown, our tour guide pointed out the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building (once the most popular tourist attraction in New York), the Puck Building (where Grace’s office was on Will and Grace) and the spot in Greenwich Village where the Gay Rights movement was said to have been born.

We hopped off the bus at a SoHo and while some people took advantage of all the shopping in the area, a few of us went to a nearby brunch spot called Lizzaran (a famous chain in Spain with just a few locations in the US and only one in New York) and enjoyed Sangria and a tapas snack. There was amazing 80’s music playing in the restaurant and we all sang along to some Journey songs before we headed back to the bus to continue our own journey.

The Woolworth Building, photo by Eileen

Once we got back to the corner, it was only a few minutes before another Citysights bus came to pick us up. One of the great things about  Citysights is how often the bus comes, so if a bus gets too crowded, or has some loud people on it, you can get off, wait five minutes, and another bus comes along. Amazing! It’s tempting to forget the subway and always travel this way, if only the Citysights bus went by my apartment in Brooklyn.

We headed down to the financial district where we saw the World Trade Center site, Trinity Church, City Hall, and the Woolworth Building, which in 1913 was the tallest building in the world. We got off the bus again at South Street Seaport to get some refreshments and enjoy the view of Brooklyn rom the boardwalk. We even saw some people out on jetskis in the river! Next time, maybe?

Yum!

We gathered for dinner at Casa Nonna, a new Italian restaurant from the BLT restaurant group. We had one of the private rooms reserved and we spent the evening enjoying saffron risotto arancini, fried mozzarella, thin crust pizzas, eggplant caponata, meatballs, smoked speck, and more. Casa Nonna is a huge space, perfect for families and groups of all sizes, and the food was absolutely delicious and unflinchingly Italian. The location is convenient to Times Square but slightly removed from the hubbub, which scores extra points with me! At the front of the restaurant there is a casual spot to get burgers if you’re in a hurry.

After a couple of hours of wining (but not whining!) and dining, we all split up to check into our hotels for the evening. It may seem silly to stay in a hotel in your own city but trust me, it’s awesome – and we have to check out the hotels we sell to you to make sure they’re as great as we think they are! Here are some hotel recaps from some of the New York Guest crew.

Louise – Four points by Sheraton Long Island City
Formerly a pretty industrial part of Manhattan that has become more developed in recent years due to its easy proximity to Manhattan, LIC is now home to several great hotels, and the Four Points is a stand-out. The lobby is beautifully furnished with bookshelves, couches, easy chairs, two computers, and a wide-screen TV, and on the other side of the lobby is a bar and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and providing room service as well. The second floor offers a fitness center that is free for guests to use. My very comfortable room boasted a gorgeous view of Manhattan over the 59th Street Bridge (as Simon & Garfunkel would say: “doo doo doo doo, feelin’ groovy”). The bed was incredibly comfortable and the plasma screen TV in the room provided some entertainment as I wound down for my evening before I got a great night of sleep. The next morning it only took about 25 minutes for me to get from the hotel to our office in midtown Manhattan using the conveniently located N train. I will definitely recommend this hotel to friends of mine who come to visit NYC!

Eileen – Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge
After a fabulous dinner at Casa Nonna in Midtown West we all retired to our respective hotels for the night.  I stayed at the Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge.  The hotel is located between Chinatown and Little Italy.  My favorite thing about New York is that you can get off the subway and enter an entirely different world.  This experience was no different.  As I emerged from the Grand Street subway station, Chinese vendors were
selling everything from fresh seafood to nuts to wonderful Chinese candy.

The hotel itself is a cozy little building surrounded by the lively neighborhood.  It has a parking garage inside the building itself, and offers a 20% discount for guests.  I was on the second floor in a King room.  A plush bed and air conditioning was exactly what I needed after a long day with the team.  But of course, I ran into the bathroom first!  I love bathrooms, more specifically bath tubs.  A hotel scores extremely high if they have a fabulous bath tub.  The Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge delivered!  The bath tub was nice and deep enough for me to be completely submerged in deep relaxation.  The perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Lora – The Element
For our company Sunday Funday, my boyfriend and I stayed at the Element Hotel. This Starwood property is a part of their new, eco friendly brand. The hotel is super cute. It’s a great location just west of Times Square and conveniently located near the ACE subway line. They have free food and cocktails at night and free breakfast in the morning! The bed was severely comfortable and the room was the perfect size for two people. I also loved the rain shower and the large flat screen TV…not to mention the super convenient commute to work in the morning. This hotel is definitely the right fit for couples looking for a nice hotel in the Times Square area or the traveling business savvy man or woman looking for an easy commute to their morning meeting. Did I mention the kitchens in every room are fully stocked with all of your cooking needs? This property has all of the elements to make up the perfect hotel!

Karissa – Wyndam Garden Chelsea
I had the opportunity to stay at the Wyndham Garden Chelsea for part of New York Guest Sunday Funday! The best thing about the hotel is the location. It’s a short walk from Herald Square, Madison Square Park, and across the street is EATLY! The room was standard size for New York City – large enough for a small work desk and closet. We were lucky enough to be on the street side so we did have a view outside and hardly heard any noise. It was a very enjoyable time.

Shawn – Hotel 373

An unexpected gem seated smack in the middle of all the action you want to be part of; Hotel 373 is the boutique hotel that 5th Avenue has been yearning for.
Hotel 373 is a no nonsense kind of hotel. With little bells and whistles, this hotel is the perfect retreat if you’re looking to get back to the basics of comfort and simplicity while you shop your way through the concrete jungle. Wake up and start your day with a Starbucks and a complimentary bagel from the café next door and you’ll have everything you need to take on the city!

Beth – Four Points Times Square

I had the chance to stay that the wonderful Four Points by Sheraton in Times Square after a fun Sunday with the NYG Staff. This hotel has A LOT to offer! Times Square, the best Broadway shows, Herald Square, and the Empire State Building are all just a few blocks away from the hotel! Everything is at your fingertips once you walk out of the lobby.
The room was great! The King bed was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. the hotel also houses a flat-screen with plenty of channels to choose from and (my favorite) an iHome where you can plug your iPhone in and play your favorite tunes.
The Four Points also has a great rooftop lounge to top it all off (no pun intended). The Sky Room is a great place to sip a delicious cocktail and take in the views of the City. There are two different sitting areas, one that’s very futuristic and one that is similar to a Miami day-club. We were lucky enough to have a nice summer night to enjoy at the top. I recommend this hotel to all my incoming guests!

Looking to plan your own NYC getaway? We’re the experts! Contact us at info@newyorkguest.com and one of our travel planners will be in touch to help you plan your ideal trip to New York City.

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Filed under Hotel Review, New York Restaurants, New York Sightseeing, New York Stories, Out on the Town

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