It’s not often that I travel with just one of my children or that Matt is the one to lead the adventuring, but last weekend that’s just what happened when he and Teddy accompanied me to Manhattan for a quick overnight visit. I was there to network and get insights about family travel blogging from industrial professionals and fellow bloggers (although my biggest discovery of the weekend may have been that the wineries of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York produce a really nice dry red wine – who knew?). While I was thus “working” Matt and Teddy used our base at the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel to explore and enjoy the city.
Thanks to the hotels great location, in the space of a mere 24 hours, the two of them covered a lot of territory. They explored some outdoor art and a giant slide;
fed a pretzel to pigeons by the Plaza;
visited the animals at the Central Park Zoo;
ate brioche and mini pastries at the nearby Le Pain Quotidien (one of my favorite chain restaurants in the world);
visited a Gaugin at the Museum of Modern Art;
and enjoyed lunch at the Omni’s Fireside Restaurant. All by foot!
I’ve written before about how Omni Hotels help to make kids feel welcome and comfortable. The Berkshire is no exception. Teddy loved his goodie bag, which was filled with fun toys that he could use while on the trip including a small Frisbee, a hacky sack, and a magnifying glass – perfect for the park. He wasn’t hungry for the milk and cookies that were sent up as an afternoon snack but was so happy to put them in a special place where he could find them right when he woke up in the morning! And at the end of a busy day, he loved the comfort of his double bed.
Me? I was thrilled by how quiet our room was. We were at the back of the hotel, and there was virtually no street noise, not a small miracle in Manhattan. The recently-renovated room was reasonably sized and nicely appointed, with plenty of plugs for my myriad devices and ample lamps (a pet peeve of mine is when a hotel room doesn’t provide adequate and flexible lighting). It also had a positively luxurious bathroom with oodles of counter space.
I’m guessing that the Omni Berkshire Place plays home to more business travelers than families, but I wouldn’t overlook this hotel if you’re planning a Manhattan trip with your kids. The location is great – it’s an easy walk to Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the Theatre District. There’s lots of great shopping in the area (including FAO Schwarz, the American Girl Place, and Dylan’s Candy Bar). And hopping in a cab or on the subway to get to the Empire State Building or lower Manhattan couldn’t be easier.
And should you feel like hanging out at the hotel on Saturday, you can visit the Kids Korner for some crafting fun accompanied by a good dose of gummy bears. You’ll find the room presided over by this nice young man:
His name is Mark and this now weekly tradition started during the evacuations brought on by Hurricane Irene. The hotel was full, not only with out-of-town guests but with local families escaping the zone around the East River. Mark thought fast, ran to the drug store across the street, and created an impromptu fun fest for the children that included follow-the-leader and lots of glitter and glue. “We had such a positive response,” he said, “That it became a regular feature.”
To me this exemplifies what I like about Omni Hotels – the way they think about the comfort of their guests and also the ease with which they blend elegance and family-friendly touches. Whether it’s a bowl of apples in the lobby that provide endless healthy snacks, the warm throws at the end of each bed that make for perfect bedtime snuggling, or the handmade individual pizzas on the kids menu, you’ll find that you and your kids feel completely at home.
Full disclosure: Omni Hotels covered the cost of our room as part of my participation in the Family Travel Conference, which I attended free of charge. In fact, I was wined and dined by the conference’s many wonderful sponsors, enjoying in particular a delicious lunch at Virgil’s Real Barbecue right around the corner from Times Square courtesy of Atlantis Resorts. I left not only with a host of ideas but with a New York Pass that’s good for a year. I can’t wait to get back with both boys and do a bit more exploring.