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OK, so it's hard to get too excited about a new Howard Johnson hotel, but as all-too frequent riders of the AirTrain, we can appreciate this new one's location.
A tipster pointed out that a new HoJo opened last week on Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, which is actually just a few minutes' walk to the AirTrain's Jamaica Station -- putting you within a 30-minute commute of JFK. Not a bad idea for those early morning flights.
Rates start at $110 and that includes breakfast, WiFi and access to a fitness center. You'll earn Wyndham Reward points, too, so you can save up for something with a bit more pizzazz: like the Dream Dubai
It's not unusual that the announcement of a new hotel in a less prosperous area carries the weight of expectation of the corresponding revitalization of that area. It happened in the Bronx last month when the Opera House Hotel opened to the tune of local businesses worrying whether or not the new boutique hotel would keep tourists in the Bronx long enough to spread the wealth, or if they would just head straight for Manhattan every morning. Now it's Queens' turn.
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While we had already been told that the eco-conscious brand was making its way into Flushing, Queens, of all unexpected places, we were pretty floored to hear today that the new property will be a dual-hotel development alongside Starwood stablemate Four Points by Sheraton.
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]
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NYC is like the Holy Grail for fitness hounds: jogging the Central Park reservoir, kayaking on the Huson, anti-gravity yoga classes. The list goes on. But for first-time visitors, the array of options can easily become overwhelming.
Luckily, this summer, hotels are going out of their way to offer unique work-outs, custom-tailored to individual guests' needs. So forget staring at a blank wall while pounding the treadmill, and consider these brand new hotel fitness amenities:
70 Park Avenue: Kimpton's swank Park Avenue abode just launched a new fitness center, and to promote it, the hotel is offering two new fitness amenities—first off, a "Power Bar" menu, which offers an a la carte list of different fitness options, from in-room personal training sessions ($100) to yoga ($65) to boot camp ($65).
Alternatively, guests can check-out a mini iPad pre-loaded with a Virtual Fitness Library of workout videos, tutorials and fitness tips.
Two more after the jump!
Things were looking pretty lively last time we checked in on the Flushing, Queens hotel scene (which wasn't that long ago), and the 'hood is showing no sign of slowing down. Mayor Bloomberg made an announcement on Thursday about a new 200-room hotel that will go up next to the Mets' Citi Field baseball stadium.
The unnamed hotel, which is still in its early stages, has not yet been associated with any specific brand, nor did the Mayor elaborate on what amenities the property would offer. Except for the fact that it will be part of a giant $3 billion development project set to install a retail and restaurant space, 20-acre recreational field, and a huge shopping center over the next 15 years.
Suddenly that LGA layover got a whole lot more interesting...
We recently gave you our top picks for affordable hotels in Flushing, Queens. And it looks like travelers are beginning to catch onto this area as a viable, cheaper, certainly culturally interesting alternative to midtown Manhattan.
So we read with excitement about Hotel de Point, a new boutique hotel opening inside the Shops de Point, a retail complex located about two miles from the Flushing's main strip. No, it's not the most centrally-located hotel in the city, but then again, for an airport hotel, its list of attractions is pretty impressive (an indoor pool, restaurants and karaoke room are just a few on the list).
Oh, and each of the 114 rooms is individually solar-powered. Interested yet?
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Once in a while we take a chance on a hotel, usually for one of three reasons: the place got recommended to us by a friend, it's super convenient, or we're just plain old desperate. In the case of our stay last week at the Red Roof Inn Flushing New York, which is located just four miles from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), it was some mix of the latter two.
Walking into the hotel, we thought, 'OK. It's a little bare bones, and there is kind of a weird plaster-y smell, but nevermind: the rates will be cheap, and there will be free WiFi.'
Sure enough, upon checking in, the rate was certainly lower than what we're accustomed to seeing across the river in dear old Manhattan. $110 for the night. And what's more, they even decided to bump us up to a "bigger" room on the highest floor, at a discount.
Off to a good start! But then things took a turn for the worse.
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If you are any kind of food snob at all, you already know that New York's best dim sum, hand-pulled noodles, crispy whole duck and bubble tea are found not in Manhattan's Chinatown, but nine miles east of Times Square, in Flushing, Queens.
So, you already know that. Good. But do you know how to turn your NYC visit into a mock Chinese "staycation"? Your wallet (and your stomach) will thank you after you book a room at one of these three affordable Queens hotels, all of them just a twenty minute subway ride from Times Square, and a fifteen minute cab ride from LaGuardia Airport.
The sign outside Best Western Queens Court (above) proves this isn't just any old Best Western. In addition to the rooms and free WiFi, the lobby has its own Chinese restaurant, Liang's Kitchen, an offshoot of a popular Southern California-based chain that specializes in Taiwanese dishes. Rates here start at around $140/night.
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!
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As unhappy as we are to admit it, summer is over and the warm weather is quickly receding. And to think, we only made it to the beach once this entire summer! But nevermind. While New York temperatures are still lingering in the high 70s, we thought we could all benefit from one last hurrah of outdoor hotel spaces. From outdoor movies to pizza ovens, we found something for everyone on this list.
Next time you find yourself on Fifth Avenue and 55th St with nothing to do, book yourself a 75-minute spa treatment at the Peninsula New York. The session will automatically grant you access to the hotel's Sun Terrace, which we were lucky enough to visit two weeks ago. If we had to pick our favorite spot, it would probably be the wicker chairs around the coffee table. Who said magazine browsing and sunbathing can't happen at once?
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If you haven't already tried it, the East River Ferry is a great way to get around NYC—especially in the summer. For $4 a ride, you can zip between lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and get to enjoy stunning views of the city while you're at it.
But for hotel geeks, this efficient cruise also poses another possibility: hotel hopping on the East River! Believe it or not, more than half of the eight ferry terminals are within walking distance of some of the neighborhood's essential hotels. And given NYC's blatant oversaturation these days, this is a great way to enjoy the city's diversity of hotels, without ever spending too much time in one particular neighborhood. Off to sea!