According to our Global Correspondent Jeff Guaracino it is very easy to make expensive travel mistakes. So don’t do it. This post is dedicated to helping gay travelers travel better, smarter and fabulously, especially when visiting New York. Here are Jeff’s insider trips that will make you the next NYC trip expert travel planner. For more travel tips to the Big Apple, download our New York City Travel Guide.
The biggest mistake in travel planning is picking a restaurant last-minute. As important as where your rest your head and in which class of airline cabin that you fly in is the restaurant that you choose! The restaurant is your time to show your power as the ultimate “in-the-know” travel planner. Looking for ideas? To really impress check out my two favorite recommendations.
Brunch at The Garden at the elegant, Art Deco Four Seasons NYC is not just a meal, it is a decadent, accessible New York experience. The seasonal, locally sourced menu takes visitors on a culinary tour of the best of New York. From Harlem’s authentic fried chicken and waffles to Brooklyn’s Warm Pastrami Tartine that you would swear your Bubbe would have made and the Four Season’s signature Pigs In a Blanket—a lemon ricotta pancake with chicken sausage. In honor of this week’s Miss America pageant, it was fitting to try the Ms. Congeniality cocktail with Four Seasons in-fused hibiscus vodka, limoncello and fresh watermelon. Check it out at http://www.fourseasons.com/newyork.
Think the Four Seasons is a budget buster? Not really. Yes, it is not inexpensive but when you consider exceptional service in an over-the-top beautiful room filled with aroma of fresh flowers and the occasion celebrity sightings, brunch at the Four Seasons is worth every penny.
Looking for a new find for dinner? The Wayfarer located at 57thStreet and 6th Avenue is just steps from romantic Central Park. The two-story new restaurant located adjacent to the Quinn Hotel is perfect for a date for two in a casually elegant space reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie boosts 19th Century New York atmosphere and modern artwork to stimulate your dinner conversation. The menu is diverse from fresh Oysters and Maine Diver Sea Scallops. Reserve at thewayfarernyc.com.
A NYC Hotel Find
The Muse Hotel by Kimpton is my new “find” in Times Square Manhattan. It is tucked away in the middle of everything but you could almost miss this shouldn’t be missed hotel. New York City once known as unfriendly seems to have made a decidedly friendlier turn. My travel companions each remarked on the friendliness of the airport and car rental staff and at check-in at the Muse was downright perfection. Guest check in was like meeting two friends who were beaming that you made it over to their home for the weekend. (Two free drink coupons at the hotel bar and a Raid the Mini-bar $15 credit was cool! We all need friends like them!)
The problem with most hotels in NYC especially around Times Square is the noise. Unless you are on a high floor (typically more expensive) you risk not sleeping in the city that never sleeps. The Muse is special because of incredible location just steps from Times Square and Broadway and that surprisingly comfortable rooms face interior courtyards that give ample light and serenity at night. Most 6th floor hotel rooms in NYC could be very noisy, not in this retreat.
Choosing your hotel should not be on price alone. Add up Kimpton’s 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma Loyalty Rewards member plus, a hosted Wine Hour each night, The Muse is a value.
If you’re planning on being in New York anytime for the Gay High Holy Day of Halloween, book the “Spook and Shiver” package. It includes two tickets Blackout, the ultra-creepy, walk-through haunted house experience; a Spooky Lych-eye cocktail and holiday appetizer at the hotel’s NIOS lounge; and trick-or-treat candy turndown service.
Outward Bound columns can be found at www.epgn.com and are always worth a reread.
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Jeff Guaracino is the author of Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.