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Travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Wendy Perrin.
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September 14, 2009

Weekends are 40% Off at a Chic NYC Hotel

Hudson Hotel - room 

Weekend discounts at New York City's Hudson Hotel help you save big bucks in the Big Apple.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Is there a better time of year than Autumn for visiting New York City? The weather's at its best, and there are plenty of cultural events going on. The only downside: It's when hotel rates typically are highest.

But for a long weekend in a hip Midtown hotel, check out this deal, available September 17 - December 25: Rooms at the Philippe Starck-designed Hudson Hotel for as low as $189 per night (before taxes), available through Travel-Ticker.com.

We were able to book a mid-October, Friday-through-Monday stay in a standard double room for $737, including taxes. That same three-night stay without the Travel-Ticker discount costs $1,246--a savings of 40%. Booking through Travel-Ticker gets you complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade too.

The $189 rate applies to Friday- and Sunday-night stays from September 17 through December 25, as well as a few additional dates during those months. Discounts apply on other dates too--just not as low as $189.

Book by: September 30 for travel September 17 - December 25

Condé Nast Traveler approved: The Hudson Hotel made our Hot List in 2001.

Book through: The link to this deal on Travel-Ticker.com, or directly through the Hudson Hotel's reservations page using discount code SPTICK.

August 14, 2009

Free Nights in Newport, Rhode Island

Castle Hill Inn
Get your third or fourth night free this fall at Newport's top property, the Castle Hill Inn & Resort.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Attention, East Coasters trying to carve out a New England getaway this fall: The Castle Hill Inn & Resort, a Relais & Chateaux property in Newport, Rhode Island, is offering free nights during midweek stays this September and October. In September, you can get your fourth night free, in October your third night free. This means that in September, you pay just $1,881 for a four-night stay, instead of the usual $2,509. In October, a three-night stay is $825 rather than $1,237. These prices include tax, daily breakfast, and afternoon tea.

The Inn, a Conde Nast Traveler Gold List property, is a lovely romantic retreat for couples -- although, as Wendy discovered during her visit, it's surprisingly family-friendly, too.

Kidfriendly_castle_hill_2
That's Wendy's younger son, Doug, running around on the Castle Hill Inn's massive lawn with a killer view.

Book by: There is no book-by deadline.

For travel through: Sundays through Thursdays in September and October, excluding major holidays.

Book through: The Inn's reservations line at 888-466-1355.

February 24, 2009

New York City Boutique Hotel Sale

by Wendy Perrin

I interrupt this Caribbean travelogue to bring you news about hotel consolidator Quikbook's great 72-hour sale on rooms in some of Manhattan's most popular boutique hotels. If you're N.Y.C.-bound anytime before October and want rates that are 25 to 30 percent below Quikbook's already low negotiated rates, check out this sale, which ends Friday at 5:00 p.m. ET.

June 05, 2007

Street Food in New York

Sammy's Halal

Smells like chicken: At the award-winning "Sammy's Halal" in Queens.
Photo: Beyond the Buffet

By Tara Kyle

New York City's summer tourist season is gearing up, which means the sidewalks will soon be crawling with even more people looking to stretch their dollar in our famously expensive city. Wendy recently highlighted a list of things to do in town for free, but even if you spend nothing on activities, a meal or two in Manhattan's pricey restaurants is enough to blow a travel budget.

Fortunately for those of us without an expense report, there's a great way to get a taste of New York's global flavors without breaking the bank. Just as Manhattan has some of the best and most varied restaurants in the world, it also has a veritable fleet of international street food stands to write home about. Where to find them and how much will they set you back? I talked to Sanjay Surana, Conde Nast Traveler's Ombudsman (and resident street food expert) for his top three picks around Times Square, home to the magazine's offices, and tourist central ...

Continue reading "Street Food in New York" »

May 18, 2007

Free Things To Do In New York City

Coversept2006
Our September 2006 cover, shot by Jonas Karlsson.

by Wendy Perrin

A couple of days ago I posted a thank-you to National Geographic Traveler's Web site for compiling a nifty list of great things to do in New York City for free.  Then I removed it because a cyberrific reader pointed out that the site that actually deserves our thanks is NYCVisit.com, the home of New York City's tourist board. NGT's list is remarkably similar to the tourist board's, only less comprehensive. 

As a native New Yorker born and raised in midtown, I grew up doing many of these free things myself -- from Friday-night films at the Museum of Modern Art to afternoons at the Sony Wonder Technology Lab to evening concerts in Central Park. The list includes many attractions, museums, walking tours, cultural institutions and events you should not miss -- even if you've got money to burn.

For a list of NYC activities that cost money but are well worth the price -- from kayaking on the Hudson River past the Statue of Liberty to flying through the air on a trapeze with views of Manhattan's skyline -- see Conde Nast Traveler's Insider's Guide to New York City. You can also see the slide show that tells the story of how we managed to shoot movie star Naomi Watts standing on one of the Chrysler Building's gargoyles for our September cover.

April 07, 2007

Where In The World Did Wendy Lunch?

Mystery restaurant
Where did I take WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WENDY? contest winner CoralsO (above, center) to lunch two days ago?

by Wendy Perrin

Remember how the WHERE IN THE WORLD IS WENDY? prize was lunch with me at the restaurant of the winner's choice?  Well, can you guess from the photos which restaurant CoralsO, the first of the three winners, chose?

What's amazing about CoralsO is that she managed to guess my WHERE'S WENDY? locations not because she's been to them but because she is unbelievably Web-savvy and knew which magic cybertools to use to pinpoint where I was. A student in Chicago, she was able to respond to the clues so quickly because she is on her computer in class all day.  Because her classes are such a yawn, she sits there behind her laptop, listening to the professor with half her (substantial) brain and exploring cyberspace with the other half.

Foie gras
"Elevages Perigord" Foie Gras: Terrine with Four Story Hill Squab and Spring Vegetables -- the first course of our five-course tasting menu.

Aperitif
The aperitif served with the foie gras was a Pineau des Charentes (J. Normandin-Mercier, Reserve Privee).

Continue reading "Where In The World Did Wendy Lunch?" »

December 24, 2006

Christmas in New York City

Rcmhfall_1
Rockettes impersonating toy soldiers at Radio City Music Hall, Dec. 23, 2006

By Wendy Perrin

Never in a million years did I think I'd end up at Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular. Then I had kids.

Tim and I took them to see it yesterday and, to my amazement, I can assure you that the show truly is spectacular.

Continue reading "Christmas in New York City" »

December 18, 2006

Manhattan Street Scam

Glassscam1
Corner of Broadway and 112th St., Manhattan, December 18, 2006
Photo: Rebekah Kebede

By Wendy Perrin

One of the most popular Perrin Report columns I ever wrote is the one about common street scams worldwide:  The "broken" ATM, the phony parking-lot attendant, the camera snatch, the baby toss . . . .

So last night I was in N.Y.C. having dinner with friends at Cafe Fiorello across from Lincoln Center and heard this one, which is happening in Manhattan on the far Upper West Side near Columbia University:  You're walking down the street and suddenly you trip over something and hear a crunch beneath your feet. You've just smashed a man's eyeglasses. He accuses you of ruining his glasses that cost $180 and gives you such a sob story that you feel terribly guilty and reach into your pocket to reimburse him.

What's really happened, of course, is  that he's tossed his already broken eyeglasses at your feet just in time for you to step on them.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


August 23, 2006

How to Score a Free Hotel Upgrade

060823_fourseasons
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the Four Seasons Hotel New York

By Wendy Perrin

Last week I wrote about how to nab an upgrade at a luxury hotel.  Leslie Lefkowitz, Director of Public Relations at the Four Seasons Hotel New York, posted some further tips:

"If you are celebrating a special occasion, we want to know about it so we can make it even more special for you by sending an amenity. Be sure to let us know your arrival time too so your champagne stays chilled!  As for an upgrade, if there is availability it certainly is possible.  So don't be afraid to ask. And while you're at it, request a corner room (more windows and light) and as high a floor as possible if you're checking into the Four Seasons New York."

I also asked if anyone knows how to snare a seat at the hotel's hot new restaurant, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, which is not yet taking reservations. Writes Leslie,

"Seating at the counter is first-come, first-served for most of the night. Go solo and request a counter seat. It's easy to squeeze between a party of two or three on either side of you and it also happens to be great fun to dine alone at this communal style seating option. Bon appetit!"


August 16, 2006

The 12-Hour Vacation

By Wendy Perrin

On a recent Sunday evening, my husband Tim gave me a surprise.  He dropped off the kids at Granny's and announced we were going to the Four Seasons New York for the night.

060816_fourseasons_b
The view from our room on the 41st floor

Our getaway was only 12 hours long, but it seemed much longer and more therapeutic, probably because it felt like we were beamed to another planet.  The Four Seasons' elevator shot to the 41st floor, and my normal life -- that of a frazzled working mother with two preschool boys -- vaporized.  We stepped into a schmancy suite (yes, suite!!!) overlooking Central Park.

This strange planet had no pizza stains anywhere, no screaming or crying, no phones or TREO ringing, no deadlines to meet, no flights to catch. There was enough time for a nice hot bath (with Bulgari bath amenities rather than rubber duckies).  There was even the possibility of an uninterrupted night's sleep!

THE SUNDAY-NIGHT UPGRADE
Now, we are NOT the sort of people who can afford a five-star hotel suite. But we DO know about the Sunday-night upgrade at city hotels catering to business travelers during the week and leisure travelers on weekends. 

Because Sunday nights are slow, because we had checked in so late in the day (few guests would be arriving later than us), because we were staying only one night, and because Tim had mentioned when making the reservation that we were celebrating a special occasion--our first night alone together without the munchkins in a year and a half--we had been upgraded to an executive suite

THE BLISSFUL BED
I collapsed into the dreamy king-size bed, burying myself in the softest, crispest, coolest Egyptian-cotton linens I've ever felt and gaping at the nighttime skyline.  I drifted off, wondering how much it would cost to wrap up the bed, linens and duvet and all, and take them home with me. (Apparently you can buy them from the hotel's gift shop.)

A SPA OF ONE'S OWN
At 8:00 a.m. I was off to the spa, which I had entirely to myself.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and a newspaper, climbed into the whirlpool, and lay on my back, the jets massaging my shoulders.  An attendant came around and placed a rolled-up towel under my neck where it hit the edge of the hot tub.  In case I got too warm, a handy-dandy basin filled with ice and cold wet washcloths sat next to the tub.  I wanted to move in.

A CHANGE FROM CLIFFORD CRUNCH
Next came breakfast at the hotel's Restaurant 57: a tall glass of fresh sweet mango juice, then chicken hash with poached eggs and cilantro, then a giant cappuccino.  I don't think it's just because my usual morning routine is to scarf down the kids' leftover Clifford Crunch cereal before running to catch the train that my leisurely hash tasted so sensational.

TIME TO BEAM OURSELVES BACK TO EARTH
It was 10 a.m.  Tim raced to Granny's to rescue her from the boys.  I raced to a meeting with my editor-in-chief, who asked:  How would I feel about starting a blog?  What would I envision for it?  The entries needn't be highly researched, in-depth columns like "The Perrin Report", she said. They could be whatever timely travel advice and insights popped into my mind as I went about my job.  Could I work it into my schedule?  And, by the way, where had I been all morning?

When I told her about my 12-hour vacation, she said that that's exactly the sort of thing I should blog about.  It could be my first entry. 

And so it is.

The moral of this story:

SCORING THE FREE UPGRADE
You can increase your chance of nabbing a better hotel room for free by  going at the hotel's off-peak time and politely requesting if there happens to be a room available that is on a top floor or has an especially  good view.  If you happen to be celebrating a special occasion, mention it:  Smart hoteliers want your time at their property to be as memorable as possible, so that you'll tell your friends about it and come back often.

TIPS WANTED
Got any tried-and-true tips for snagging a free hotel-room upgrade?  Post them here.

And, speaking of the Four Seasons New York, if anyone has managed to get into its hotter-than-hot new restaurant, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, tell me how you did it.