Getting there: Most major carriers fly to New York City. Of note, American Airlines (www.aa.com) just opened its new terminal at JFK and it is in the midst of launching several new routes from the airport.
Hotels: Hotel 373 Fifth Avenue (www.hotel373.com) opened in February under the ownership of Magna Hospitality and switched ownership to Hersha Hospitality in June. The hotel has 70 contemporary guest rooms with views of the Empire State Building and the Manhattan skyline. The best rooms to book are the Contemporary Queens, which are on the 9th floor and have the best views of the Empire State Building. Room number 907 faces tony Fifth Avenue, as well as the Empire State Building. Travel agents sending their clients should contact Nicole Allegra, director of sales, at 212-329-2301.
The Bowery Hotel ( www.theboweryhotel.com) opened in February. The best rooms to book are the Bowery One Bedrooms, which have a separate living room and bedroom, as well as an outdoor terrace. Two are on the top floor, with one facing north and the other south. Travel agents booking these rooms can contact Meredith Morgan, director of operations, at [email protected] Those booking other rooms can e-mail reservationist Debbie Goldstein at [email protected]
Mandarin Oriental New York Inc. sold half of its 50 percent investment in Mandarin Oriental, New York (www.mandarinoriental.com/newyork) this year. Favorite accommodations are the Central Park View and Premier Central Park View rooms and suites. Agents can contact Sales Coordinator Allison Nichols at 212-805-8558 or [email protected]
The reigning jewel of Old New York, The Plaza (www.theplazaresidences.com), will open its doors again this month with 282 hotel rooms and 152 condo-hotel units. Notable rooms will include the Royal Terrace suites, which have either two or three bedrooms. The two-bedroom suites come with 2,100 square feet of space and the three-bedroom suites have more than 4,000 square feet. Travel agents can call the hotel's reservations desk at 888-850-0909.
The New Yorker Hotel ( www.newyorkerhotel.com) is embarking on a $65 million renovation and remodeling project, which is scheduled for completion in August 2008. This iconic hotel opened in 1930 and was the largest hotel in New York at the time. The best rooms to book are the Tower Suites, which offer a bedroom and living room area.
Travel agents sending clients to the hotel should contact Susan Majoris, the hotel's director of tour and travel sales, at 212-244-0719 or [email protected]
LXR Luxury Resorts unveiled The London, NYC (www.thelondonnyc.com) this past fall. Formerly the RIHGA Royal Hotel, this revamped property underwent a comprehensive redesign and has the first U.S. restaurant by famed chef Gordon Ramsay. Rooms underwent renovations as well. The best rooms to book are the London Vistas, which are located on floors 38 to 50 and offer great views of the city. Agents sending their clients to the hotel can contact Assistant Director of Sales Andrea Amico at 212-468-8713 or [email protected]
Hotel Mela (www.hotelmela.com) opened in January. At 300 square feet, the Executive Room is the best to book. Travel agents should call the reservations department (212-710-4800) and ask for the Desires Agent, who can help with all requests.
The Essex House (www.jumeirahessexhouse.com) is now operated by Jumeirah and has undergone renovations. The most popular rooms for leisure travelers are the Park View rooms, which offer amazing views of Central Park. The most in-demand units for business travelers are the interior City View rooms, which are very quiet. Travel agents can contact the on-site reservations department at 888-645-5697.
The Pierre Hotel ( www.tajhotels.com) was taken over by Taj Hotels in July 2005. The second floor banquet space has been renovated; all guest rooms will be redone in the second phase. About one-third of the rooms at The Pierre are suites, and many have large terraces overlooking the city. Travel agents can contact Antonietta Tardugno, reservations manager, at 212-940-8156 or [email protected]
The 90-room 6 Columbus Circle (www.6columbus.com) opened this year. A pair of bi-level penthouses top off this hotel, each of which boasts 1,000 square feet of space, as well as fireplaces, flat-screen TVs and views of Central Park and the Time Warner Center. Travel agents sending their clients can contact Christine Alicea, director of sales and marketing (212-204-3001, [email protected]).
The 26-room bed and breakfast Chelsea Pines Inn (www.chelseapinesinn.com) on West 14th Street recently completed a $500,000 renovation of its public spaces and several rooms. Included in the renovation are the Superior Deluxe and Deluxe rooms. Superior Standard rooms have also been refurbished with new soft goods.
The hotel does not have an elevtor, so the best rooms to book are the Superior Deluxe rooms, which offer an ample amount of space and are located on the first three floors. Travel agents sending their clients can contact Tom Klebba, director of sales and marketing ([email protected]). The travel agent commission is 10 percent.
The Fitzpatrick Grand Central (www.fitzpatrickhotels.com/grandcentral) recently underwent renovations, including an expansion of the lobby, which now has a spacious sitting area, and a modern redesign of its state-of-the-art boardroom. Desirable rooms to book are the Junior Suites, of which there is a limited supply.
The Fitzpatrick Hotel Group's Fitzpatrick Manhattan (www.fitzpatrickhotels.com/manhattan) is undergoing a refurbishment encompassing the hotel's facade, lobby, restaurant, lounge, tea room and meeting room. Tallying in with more than 625 square feet, the Presidential Suites are the best rooms to book at this property. Travel agents sending their clients to the hotel can contact the assistant to the director of sales, Erica Eynoa at 212-784-2602. David Ferdinand is the director of sales for both properties. His e-mail address is [email protected]
One of the hottest hotels in town is the Gramercy Park Hotel (www.gramercyparkhotel.com), which Ian Schrager launched in August 2006 after a renovation. The most popular picks are the King Lofts, which are laid out in a New York-style loft format. Travel agents sending their clients can contact Jennifer Kane (212-201-2167, [email protected]), who serves as the director of travel.
Also of note, Duane Street Hotel ( www.duanestreethotel.com) opened this past month in Tribeca.
InterContinental Hotel Group (www.ichotelsgroup.com) is poised to introduce its Indigo brand to the Chelsea neighborhood.
The Allen Street Hotel and The Standard are set to open, as is the Downtown Hotel, a $43 million, six-story hotel in TriBeCa. A Vikram Chatwal Hotels' property (www.vikramchatwalhotels.com), The Lamb's Club, will debut in the fourth quarter of 2008 with an intimate 80 guest rooms.
Attractions: This year, the Empire State Building (www.esbnyc.com) extended the hours of its Observatory. The Observatory is now open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. The last ticket is sold at 1:15 a.m. and the last elevator up is at 1:35 a.m.
Tour operators: Many operators offer tours of New York City, ranging from incredibly broad overviews to very specific niche tours.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises (www.circleline42.com) gets clients out on the water (sometimes it's hard to remember that all of New York City's boroughs are on islands, except the Bronx); Gray Line New York Sightseeing (www.newyorksightseeing.com), which has a variety of routes on hop-on, hop-off double decker buses, is the perfect choice for first-time visitors; and NBC Experience Store (www.nbexperiencestore.com) runs fun and informative tours of NBC's studios and Rockefeller Center.
The convention and visitors bureau for New York City, NYC & Company (www.nycvisit.com), has a tourism department to assist travel agents and tour operators. For more detailed information on tour operators that sell New York City, contact Ray Zagorski, tourism and services manager (212-484-1237, [email protected]). Fred Dixon, vice president of tourism development, can be contacted at 212-484-1245.