An Affordable Luxury Weekend in NYC
This past weekend I decided to head to New York City to meet up with a group of friends to celebrate a "friendaversary" of sorts. Growing up just outside of "the city" I love coming back to see friends, do a little shopping, and discover my inner Carrie Bradshaw. I decided to take a few days out of the office and split my trip into two parts. The first 24 hours I wanted to focus on pampering, centering, reflecting, and (most importantly) sleeping late. The second half... well the second half was all about drinking too much and staying out too late.
Spoiler Alert: Both portions of the trip were a success.
While I usually opt for the train or (ultra affordable) bus to get to NYC, this trip I went a different route and booked the LimoLiner luxury coach. How could I possible arrive in NYC ready to relax after being packed into a discount bus or dealing with train delays? The LimoLiner was a wonderfully different kind of travel experience. Think first class airplane service... on a luxury coach bus. I hopped on the 1pm bus from Back Bay just outside of the Back Bay Hilton on Dalton Street near Kings and Summer Shack. A much easier pick up site than South Station. Once on board, I was greeted by an attendant who brought me a seltzer water right away and notified me that lunch would be served within the hour. You read that right: an attendant, on a bus, would be serving me lunch... mind blowing.
Sure enough, once we got on the highway, cloth placemats were laid out and I was served a piping hot turkey dinner from The Main Course Market located right here in Massachusetts. It was real food too. Nothing powdered, reconstituted, or defrosted. Just an honest-to-goodness turkey dinner. The rest of the ride was top notch thanks to hot towel service, massive amounts of legroom, unlimited beverages, a snack as we approached NYC, and noise canceling headphones, all of which were provided at no additional cost. The drop off spot in Manhattan is at the Hilton Club in Midtown, right near Rockefeller Center. As I disembarked, I was given a mint, handed my bag, and off to the subway I went.
I headed downtown a couple blocks to Herald Square where I was lucky enough to book a night at the 4 star Gregory Hotel. Using Priceline's Name Your Own Price Tool, I got the room for just over $100 which is a savings of nearly 60%. I name my own price on Priceline often as a way to get affordable accommodations at a properties that would otherwise be out of my budget. I checked in to the hotel in a matter of minutes, took the elevator up to my room, and passed out in the incredibly comfortable queen sized bed. For NYC standards, the room was big AND bottled water was complementary. Later that night I headed down to the East Village to meet up with my buddy Dan (@DanimalBOS) where we ate and drank the night away.
The next morning (feeling a little the worse for wear), I stumbled down to the lobby to grab a cup of coffee, then back up to the room to plan out the day. Through a little internet digging, I found an app called MassageNow which offers last minute spa treatments (massage, facial, waxing) at a reduced cost. Currently only available in NYC and SF, I'm quickly lobbying them to break in to the Boston market. I booked a 1 hour Swedish massage at Clay Health Club + Spa for about 50% off the regular cost thanks to a referral code (Use simko1 to get $20 off your first booking) Gratuity and tax was also included. The spa was gorgeous and the staff was friendly and welcoming. Sometimes when using a discount app or coupon voucher, the perception is that service will suffer. This certainly wasn't the case. My massage was excellent and I was informed by the reception desk that because I received a massage, I was able to use all the amenities of the club for the rest of the day! I changed back into my robe, hit the sauna for 15 minutes, then showered off.
Of all the amenities, the roof deck may have been the best. I ordered a salad and green tea smoothie from the in-house cafe and headed upstairs to the roof deck. Talk about an oasis in the middle of Union Square! On a 76 degree Friday afternoon, the deck had full sunshine and a selection of tables & chairs, lounge chairs, or shaded cabanas. I ate my salad, snapchatted my heart out, and laid in the sun for the next few hours. It was a perfect way to wind down a day of pampering. The entire afternoon including the massage, sauna, roof deck access, and lunch, cost me less than $100. Not bad for a day of pampering!
Around 5pm, I headed back uptown with the commuters, collected my bags from the hotel, and found my way to the Upper West Side where I stayed with a friend for the rest of the weekend. As for the second part of the weekend? There was much drinking, eating, staying out until sunrise, and catching up with a great group of friends. Thankfully, on Sunday morning I was back on the LimoLiner which helped ease the effects of my hangover. As with the trip down, service onboard was excellent and I was served copious amounts of life-giving coffee. Lunch was served (this time it was chicken quesadillas and corn salad) and a snack (KINDbar) was provided once we were almost back to Boston. By 4pm, I was back in my apartment, snuggled up next to Dave and Juicy (my big fat cat), reciting my weekend activities to them both.
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LimoLiner provided travel gratis in exchange for social media coverage.