Hotel ‘Hood: The Night Hotel, Inside & Out

The Night Hotel is the best place to get it on in the city—unless you’re the type who thought “The Future Room” in Blue Valentine was sexy. Vikram Chatwal’s vampy hotel in the Theater District of Manhattan actually won Trip Advisor’s “Sexiest Hotel in the US” award, and with packages like “Party All Night, Sleep All Day“ and parking privileges for “Bridge and Tunnel” folks looking for “an overnight stay,” it’s easy to see why.

image The Neighborhood The Theater District is in the center of it all, evoking that “Bright Lights, Big City” feel. The hotel is close to Broadway theaters, Time Square, historic Carnegie Hall, and bustling bars.

image Eating and Drinking You can find nightlife, a restaurant, and a lounge (shown above, top right) within the hotel. Nightlife and Dining Picks Nearby Serafina: Fresh pizzas and airy dining up top for underage girls wearing more Barney’s-purchased scrilla than you own. Aspen Social: Abstract forest in the middle of the trees of Times Square. Grace Lounge: The best spot in midtown for ginning up a game of Marco Polo. The Lambs Club: Get elegantly wasted with the ghost of Fred Astaire at this reincarnated clubhouse in the Chatwal Hotel. Jimmy’s Corner: Legendary corner in the middle of a midtown block.

The Obamas Revive Vail’s Ski Chic

As a far as North American ski resorts are concerned, Vail has long been the underachieving Rocky Mountain sibling to Telluride and Aspen’s ultra-pricey luxe. But thanks to a recent face lift that transformed its dated base village into a Bavarian hideaway, Vail is beginning to attract the attention of world-class hoteliers, restaurateurs, and artists. “Vail’s Renaissance” officially kicked off with the arrival of its latest luxury hotel, The Sebastian, in Vail Village. Along with it came a boom of fantastic restaurant, spa, and nightlife openings. International travelers and ski fanatics have followed, and, as if to clearly trumpet Vail’s arrival as the “it” place to stay and ski, the Obamas paid the quaint town a visit just a couple weeks ago. Here’s a look at their weekend ski itinerary.

Their Hotel: The Sebastian image Breakdown: Apparently, while Barack stayed back in DC, Michele took Malia and Sasha to the new Vail Village crown jewel (on their own, personal dime—mind you!), The Sebastian—which has been open for just over a month. The property, located at the former site of the Vail Plaza Hotel, underwent a major overhaul after the Timbers Resort took it over in 2009, and it’s been the subject of the much buzzed-about “Vail Renaissance” that began in 2008. Stand-Outs: I’m betting that Michele and her brood stayed in the Residences at the Sebastian—multi-room condos outfitted in a stylish alpine motif, with incredible views of the snow-covered mountain and quaint village. Usually an owners-only stay, they are equipped with gourmet kitchens, huge bedrooms with their own private bathrooms, and a gorgeous fireplace. I could also wax poetic about sitting outside in steaming hot tubs—four of them—in a near blizzard as a cocktail waitress serves up margaritas. Or maybe the fantastic mixology bar, Frost, that hawks original creations like the Snuggler (DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps and hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and Dekuyper Crème de Menthe). There’s also Block 16, a Napa-style farm-to-table restaurant, or the simple provisions at Market, The Sebastian’s restaurant. Not to be left out is Bloom Spa, with an array of unconventional apres ski treatments. Especially outstanding: BaseCamp, their private mountain club outfitted with ski valets to keep you from lugging your gear around town. Location: Just off the Vail Village pedestrian thoroughfare, near the Four Seasons. Best For: Families, young couples, and anyone who can really appreciate luxury on a mountainside.

Next: Uncommon Concierge Picks

Uncommon Concierge Picks image You could ski and snowboard all day, or you could go out for a different kind of adventure. Here are some interesting things to see, explore, and do around town, curated by The Sebastian’s concierge team. 1). Dog Sledding with Mountain Mushers: Ride with a mass of dogs through unspoiled vistas of Colorado. The up-close interaction with the dogs on your team, along with a high-speed (30 MPH) chase through winding hills, make for a memorable experience. 2). Adventure Ridge at Eagle’s Nest: The Obama kids would have had a ball tubing, ski biking, trampolining, and snowshoeing at this fun spot at the top of the mountain. 3). Ice Skating at Solaris in Vail Village: Under a crazy art installation in the town’s square lies a brand new ice rink, open from 1-8pm. 4). Sleigh Ride Dinners: Minutes from Vail, enjoy Sleigh Ride Dinners at 4 Eagle Ranch. Under starlit skies, an open horse-drawn sleigh picks you up at your front door and takes you back to the way Colorado used to be.

Next: Dining and Nightlife

Dining and Nightlife image On Property: 1). Frost Bar: Eighty different types of scotch, 52 different types of tequila, and signature cocktails (Bacon Bloody Mary, anyone?) will entice guests to linger. 2). Block 16: Largely focused on the produce and proteins sourced locally, Block 16 feature seasonally relevant dishes with a Mediterranean influence. Try the “Mar & Montańa” (Mountain & Ocean): Maine lobster and braised veal cheeks with salsify purée and a merlot reduction. Concierge Picks: 3).Bol 4). La Tour 5). Kelly Liken: Note—Michele O had the ribs.

Hotel ‘Hood: Neighborhood Picks Near the Millenium Hilton New York

Like all things in New York City, choosing where to stay as a visitor is all about location. Hotels have a tendency to advertise their location like this: “We are located just steps from (insert hottest neighborhood of the moment)” when, in all actuality, they’re located steps, blocks, and then two subway transfers away—which can totally suck when you’re hoofing it with a screaming brood or heavy shopping bags. Service and amenities round out a hotel’s total package, but consideration should be paid to zip codes and neighborhoods, depending on what you plan to accomplish during your stay.

Literally gazing down into Ground Zero in the Financial District, the Millenium Hilton is for business travelers and family tourists alike. Here’s a look at what to see and do in the hotel’s bustling Lower Manhattan neighborhood during your stay.

The Hotel image Breakdown: It was totally redesigned after 9/11, from the dining experiences to state-of-the-art meeting and event facilities, and the thoughtful planning shows: it’s agreeable to both families on the go and busy business travelers. Stand-Outs: Heated indoor swimming pool overlooking New York City, meeting and banquet space, unfussy but chic restaurant and lobby bar. Location: Located on Church Street at Fulton, it’s conveniently close to the heart of the downtown FiDi. Best For: Business folks who need easy access to Wall Street and other downtown corporations; Tourists looking to see classic city sights like the Statue of Liberty, and Old New York restaurants and architecture.

Next: Neighborhood Sights

Neighborhood Sights: image 1. Statue of Liberty: Hop aboard the the Statue of Liberty ferry in Battery Park, located just a few blocks from the Millenium Hilton. 2. South Street Seaport: Check out shops, family restaurants, and the farmers market, or enjoy the Taxi Beach in summer and ice skating in winter. 3. Brooklyn Bridge: I recommend walking across this historic bridge, which once held the title for longest suspension bridge in the world. 4. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: When you get over the bridge, mosey over to enjoy a slice of what many consider to be the best pie in the country at America’s “first” Pizzeria. 5. New York Stock Exchange: If you’re not here to work, you can sign up for a tour of the place that holds our nation’s fiscal fate in it’s hands. 6. Wall Street’s Charging Bull: The unofficial/official symbol of Wall Street is literally located 0.2 miles from the front door of the hotel. 7. St. Paul’s Chapel: Next door to the towering hotel is this tiny little church and graveyard. It’s where George Washington worshiped during inauguration day, and it withstood the World Trade Center Attacks.

Next: Dining and Nightlife

Dining and Nightlife image image In Hotel: 1. Church & Dey 2. Liquid Assets Nearby: 3. Delmonico’s 4. BLT Bar & Grill 5. Bridge Cafe 6. Wall & Water 7. Bar Seven Five