Where? Citizen M hotel in the Bowery district of New York (Lower Manhattan).
The story? Thanks to the nature of blogging, my bank account is either weeping in puddles of overdraft or it’s shouting I’M RICH! I’M RICH! I’M RICH! A sensible person would save money on rich days for the overdraft days, but not me. Instead, I lost myself in an online maze of flights to JFK and whaddya know, I booked a birthday trip to New York.
I’d stayed at a few different Citizen M (a small but ever-growing hotel chain which began in the Netherlands) locations before – including their other New York property in Times Square – and had always really enjoyed the experience.
The rooms are simple yet small, there’s fast wifi, a big ol’ TV on the wall and a giant, squishy bed to climb into. Millennials are their target market and so everything is exactly as you need it.
So when I saw they were opening another New York hotel – this one in a slightly hipper downtown area, I jumped.
Which is how Chris and I ended up ditching our darling baby for four nights away on the East Coast.
Food? The sweet, sweet, excellent, delicious joy of this Citizen M is that it is within a five-minute walking distance of so many excellent and much hyped-up restaurants. Which I guess is one of the reasons why we chose it.
You’re on the cusp of Soho and Nolita, so not only do you have Little Italy on your doorstep, you’ve also got The Butcher’s Daughter (although wouldn’t hugely recommend it), Jack’s Wife Frieda, The Meatball Shop, Egg Shop, Clinton Street Baking Company and Delicatessen, just to name a few.
Citizen M does also offer food 24-hours, plus an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, but with so much food heaven surrounding you, it’s not really even an option.
There is free filter coffee until 11am though, so well worth grabbing a take-out one if you’re heading out to explore, or creeping out to the lift in your pyjamas for a cup to take back to bed (lol, guilty).
Fave new food find? DeKalb Market Hall over in Brooklyn. It has 40 street food vendors and was so delicious I am currently dreaming of it. Very much recommend Pierogi Boys, some of the best pierogi I’ve eaten since my Babcia used to make them for me.
How much? We paid around £1,000 for four nights (the exchange rate is particularly dreadful at the moment which really amps up the cost) but actually ended up getting a part refund as there were a few teething problems when the hotel opened – we didn’t actually realise we were staying in their opening week.
How to get there? We flew from London Heathrow to JFK with British Airways for around £400 each (return) and were incredibly lucky to get upgraded to Business class on the way out owing to a delayed flight and change of aircraft.
From there we joined a short taxi queue and paid around £60 to go directly to the hotel which was about a 45-minute drive.
There is always the subway which is much cheaper and I’ve done it a few times before. It takes a bit longer and obviously if you have suitcases it can be a bit of a chore, but a good budget option.
What’s nearby? Whilst there’s a plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes within walking distance, most of the tourist spots were a little further afield.
We used the subway to get around (there’s a few different stations in v close proximity to the hotel depending on whether you want to go uptown, downtown or over to Brooklyn). It costs $32 (around £25) for a 7-day unlimited MetroCard which is well worth the price, and took about 10-minutes to get to Midtown which is where you have things like the Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue shopping etc.
Recommendations? WHERE. TO. BEGIN. This was actually my sixth trip to New York so I’ve developed quite a long list of fave things to do.
I would say the Top Of The Rock is my fave viewpoint for skyscraper views of the city (more so than One World Trade Center or The Empire State Building), and the 9/11 Memoral and Museum are well worth a visit.
Hiring out a rowing boat in Central Park was ace, and I always love the High Line for a stroll (either early morning with a coffee or early evening before dinner).
OH and walking Brooklyn Bridge. The views of Manhattan are excellent. I’d recommend getting up early and taking in the city before all the other tourists are awake.
I would also really recommend getting a CityPASS to save money if you intend on ticking off a lot of the must-see attractions.
AND if you can afford it, a helicopter trip is INSANE.
But my fave from this trip? Simply taking a book and sitting in one of the little public parks (my fave was Bryant Park for convenience) and breathing in the simplicity of being in such a fucking wonderful city and being alive.
Best bits? The location of the hotel was spot on, the hotel was obviously brand new and so everything felt very fresh and sparkling. I bloody love the free shower gel – there’s an AM one and a PM one and that morning one smells like heaven. The staff were attentive and there was a decent cocktail menu. OH and flannels, which is always a bonus when you are trying to stick to a decent skincare routine. Black out blinds which make jet lag a bit easier to handle. And some of the rooms have awesome views – we could see One World Trade Center… from our first room. More info on that below.
Worst bits? As I mentioned, when we arrived the hotel had literally only just opened, which meant we were kinda like guinea pigs. There was an air conditioning problem which meant we had to change rooms after one night and then had no air con during the day for a further two. There’s also a rooftop bar that wasn’t open for our stay but I can imagine being incredible. Those views! Not a deal breaker BUT there wasn’t any passion fruit for the passion fruit cocktail which for someone as basic as me was a sad revelation.
What would I do differently? Not much. I’d stay again for sure. I’d say four nights was a good amount for a return trip, but I’d happily do a full week if I could afford it. The location was great for us as our main aim of the trip was to eat and then eat some more and then maybe drink and nap. Next time I’d like to get out to Brooklyn – esp Williamsburg – some more.
You can find out more about the hotel here.