Long Island City Travel Guide
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While we were all otherwise occupied over the holiday and Polar Vortex season, a brand new hotel quietly opened up in burgeoning hotspot, Long Island City.
Actually The Paper Factory Hotel is still in its soft opening phase but most things are up and running. The hotel is, as you might guess, housed in a former paper factory and has preserved the 100-year-old factory's machines and scattered them throughout the space.
The hotel's 122 guestrooms retain something of an industrial vibe and we detect shades of Ace Hotels in strategically placed refurbished old radios and trunks. Prices range from $145 for a Double to $189 for a 'Deluxe King Suite.' Pretty attractive rates, we think, and, for the outer borough-averse, it's just one block from the M and R trains and three stops from Manhattan.
Hotel rooftop parties are always fun and we've let you know where to go for a great time. But what about picnicking high in the sky with a view of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge to boot?
That's what you'll get when you buy the Rooftop Picnic Package at the Z Hotelin Long Island City. Just 15 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, the 100-room hotel is presenting what we think is a pretty cute way to spend the day. Plus, they have rooftop parties at night, so you get double the fun!
Choose between two menu options--Gold or Platinum and get the following items:
Gourmet Sandwich: Tomato/Mozzarella, Roast Beef and Horseradish, Turkey or BLTA
Cheese and crackers, marinated olives, potato salad or bag of chips, fruit assortment, bottled water, chocolate chip cookies
Roast Chicken or Smoked Salmon
Cheese and crackers, marinated olives, mesclun green salad or Caprese salad, pasta salad, fruit assortment, bottled water, brownie
Rates for the package start at $225/night for a Queen Room, picnic set up for two between 10am and 5pm and games to play while picnicking. Also, free transportation from 59th St. to the hotel is available.
Just want to make a day of it? Book the picnic separately. The Gold package is $60 for two and the Platinum costs $75 and includes a bottle of red or white wine. (BTW, we suggest splurging on a bottle of bubbly if you're getting the picnic package--it just the right thing to do!)
Somehow we envision a whole bunch of fall proposals about to happen..hmm.
Package is available until October 1, 2013. Book by calling 877-256-5556 and using code PICNIC or online via zhotelnyc.com and using code ZPIC for gold menu and ZPIP for platinum.
[Photo: Chanize for HotelChatter]
If you want to talk about one NYC neighborhood finally getting the development love it deserves, then it's gotta be the north end of Long Island City. Fresh highrises have sprouted up in just the last year, including the Z Hotel, and there are other we're eyeing daily for an answer on if they'll be hotels or condos. Add to this the addition of JetBlue's headquarters to the area (in a building with a history as an old Rolls Royce plant) and it's plain that the area around both the Queensboro Plaza and Queens Plaza subway stops is hot stuff.
So, it really comes as no surprise that the 3-story former bank building at Queens Plaza Northnext to a newly completed pedestrian park plaza and bike path and just down from a site that once had plans for an Aloft Hotelis about to enter a new era as a budget hotel/hostel.
It doesn't have a name quite yet, but we've spotted bunkbed frames in the rooms and small chandeliers on the ceilings. An online registry only gives the operation company as "2909 Queens Plaza North Hostel Management Inc," but it shouldn't be too much longer until the flashy color-changing exterior lights are paired with a sign. And don't worrywe'll keep you updated as to when that happens and how much opening rates will be.
OK, so we can all agree Queens is making some strides in the hotel department. Though we originally put up a fight in 2010 about trekking so far just to see a rooftop bar, we've since expanded our horizons. For our next visit, however, we're setting our sights a bit closer to the ground.
The Ravel Hotel just announced a new bicycle amenity, the first of its kind by a hotel in the entire borough of Queens. Helping them achieve this goal is Bike New York, a nonprofit that promotes safe bicycling around New York City. Already, we can tell this is going to be a more practical endeavor than W London's celebrity-designed novelty bikes. Wouldn't want to be riding alongside the East River on one of those things!
The Z Hotel had our attention last week when they debuted their 100-room hotel with sky beams, a light-footed Henry Zilberman, and one of the most beautiful views we've seen in a while. For their July 4 bash (which remains invite only, sorry outer borough friends!), they have chosen to enlist the skills of the very same electric violinist who one-upped the DJ at their opening party, Gray Devio.
We've heard of hotels hiring global music directors to oversee the music scene, and once in a while a lounge pianist catches our eye. But a resident electric violinist—who plays on the roof?! This is something new.
We can now confirm with absolute certainty that the newly-opened Z Hotel has alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. The independently-owned Long Island City hotel celebrated its grand opening with a wild rooftop party on Tuesday night, and—we have to give them credit—the views were killer.
Just take a look at this video to see what we mean. In addition to the freely-flowing liquor, champagne, and beer, pizza was being served out of the oven, a violinist was jamming on the roof, and the dance music was so infectious even the owner, Henry Zilberman, couldn't keep still.
Rooms for early May are currently quoted as low as $139 if you pre-pay and $149 for a refundable room. This being a Four Points property, that price also includes your free wifi and bottled water. There are also a few interesting package deals, including a deal for 40 percent off a second weekend night stay and a package that gives you two free $20 Metrocards for the train for a rate bump of only $10.
So, yes, the hotel is in Long Island City, but numerous subways at Queensboro and Queens Plaza are just three blocks away, making it a legit way to skip out on high Midtown prices while still being a short ride from Manhattan. Plus, as the hotel rightly points out, the views of the city's skyline are much better when you're not looking at them from Manhattan.
Can you even Believe that what you are looking at above is a true Holiday Inn? And what's even crazier, is that it's an affordable. new one within New York City. When it comes to finding an alternative to the $400+ nightly rates of Manhattan hotels, many travelers think of Brooklyn or New Jersey, but they could be staying a whole lot closer if they considered the Long Island City section of Queens, where this beauty stands tall.
It's the Holiday Inn--Manhattan View, and since those floor-to-ceiling windows face straight to the Manhattan skyline, we're guessing that the hotel lives up to its name. It sits one block away from the subway too, only a couple stops away from Central Park. This area, an "up-and-coming" neighborhood, was supposed to have something of an affordable hotel row here, since there's the Holiday Inn and the Verve Hotel, but a third projectan aloft Hotelcancelled.
Consider this: Your nice, Midwestern parents are coming to New York City for the weekend, and because you live in the proverbial shoebox, they can't stay with you. And with Manhattan hotel prices as sky high as the Empire State Building, asking your nice, Midwestern parents to shell out $400-plus for the pleasure of being in your company for three nights seems like, well--a lot to ask. So what do you do? Book them in an outer-borough hotel, specifically, in the industrial section of Long Island City, Queens.
How does it turn out, you ask?
New York's five boroughs can easily be equated with select members of the Brady Bunch: Manhattan is so obviously Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! and Brooklyn, with its hipster scene and neighborhoody vibe is paramount to Cindy and her lisp--annoying, but also cute on occasion.
The Bronx, with its northern location, is sort of like when Greg finally landed his own room in the attic and Staten Island is the borough we liken to Jan, since it never gets any respect.
Then there's Queens. Very much the forgotten borough unless its baseball season; sort of like how no one remembers any significant story line for Bobby except the episode where he got to play football with Joe Namath.
Which is why we were so intrigued to learn via Bloomberg News that NYC tourists are venturing to Queens, particularly the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, as a way to be in close proximity to Manhattan without the Manhattan price tag. (Ravel rates start at about $200.)