I was naked at The Waldorf

I'll get to that in a minute....

I don't know if it's an obsession or a hobby, but I organize and research vacations just hoping that someday I may actually take them.  Some may call that pathetic, I prefer to call it "prepared".  Should the opportunity to flee arise, I'm totally ready.  So, you can imagine that when I actually, seriously, for real, get to go somewhere, I go a bit overboard. 

Me at the Waldorf
My husband, Bill, and I had been planning a 5 day, 4 night getaway to New York for about 6 months.  Too much time for me to look at too many hotels.  I couldn't decide.  So he, being the brilliant guy he is, said, "let's stay at all of them".  I narrowed it down to three.  Yes, 4 nights in three different hotels in three different parts of the city.  That was the plan, anyway.  After all, the best way to see New York is on foot, so why not just plop yourself somewhere and start walkin'?  We started in the middle of New York at the famously wonderful and historic Waldorf Astoria ...and now...the nakedness.

Bill & the famous Waldorf clock
The hotel is fabulous and everything we could have hoped for.  The rate was a reasonable $300 - it was so worth it. To say the service is impeccable is an understatement.  We ordered a couple of bottles of Evian from room service as we were getting ready to go to a show.  They brought two tall glass bottles elegantly presented on a silver tray.  Lovely.... and also $40.  Yikes.  I came out of the shower after my shell-shocked husband had forked over the cash. He said, "this water better taste a lot like a martini".  It was then I noticed that the waiter forgot a bottle opener.  Bill called room service again and I returned to the bathroom to dry my hair.  It was warm, the dryer was loud, I had the door open, Bill didn't realize that and that's when it happened.  Minutes later, I noticed in the mirror that there was movement behind me through the open door.  Thinking I was going to see Bill's face, I instead saw a very surprised Asian man with a bottle opener in one hand and a bottle in the other and boy did he see me!  I squealed and kicked the door shut but it was too late.  Bill said that the poor guy literally leaped for the door, saying "I'll come back later!"  oy.

On The Ave.
The next day we (sheepishly) checked out and moved to the Upper West side to a boutique hotel called On The Ave.  Nice hotel at a nice price, but the best part was it's location.  Brownstone lined streets, corner cafes & pizza joints, a great little grocery, the Shake Shack (which has a line out the door and down the street EVERY day) and best of all, we were 3 blocks from Central Park.  We roamed the streets like locals, found an art fair that I browsed forever, got my nails done, went for a run in the park and had a pint in an old Irish Pub complete with actual Irishmen.

Upper West Side brownstone
The next morning, we were off again.  After a great breakfast at the Manhattan Diner across the street, we checked out and headed to Greenwich Village.  The Bowery Hotel was such a treat. Please see my post from August 30th. It is so unique and filled with character - truly one of a kind.  We walked all over the Village, shopped, found Carrie Bradshaw's (Sex And The City) front stoop, and happened upon a restaurant we discovered on our first trip to New York 4 years prior.  Even though we enjoyed ourselves and loved the hotel, we longed to be back on the Upper West side.  So, a quick change in reservations and the next day we were back at On The Ave. and back in our favorite neighborhood.

Granted, this kind of traveling isn't for everyone.  The trick is to never get totally unpacked! Checking your baggage at the hotel can be a little risky - make sure they keep it in a locked room and not sitting on a cart somewhere.  Usually our room was ready around noon but one day it wasn't ready until almost 4pm - that was a bit of a drag. But the thought of waking up to a new adventure every day made it so worth it.  We lucked out with beautiful walking weather our whole trip, in case of rain, a museum visit would have been a perfect way to spend the day.  We'll save that for next time.  
The Bowery Hotel guestroom

So, I guess the moral is that there's so much more to New York than Times Square.  Get out of your comfort zone and you'll discover so many wonderful things and experience New York in a totally unique and memorable way.  

I wouldn't do anything differently next time, except maybe bring a bathrobe.



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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?