Quick, where’s one of the most expensive US cities to travel to over Thanksgiving and Christmas? If you answered “New York City,” you are right. And guess which travel writer spends every Thanksgiving visiting family in New York City? Right again, me. Now, I love my parents, in-laws, and assorted other relatives that all converge on NYC for the Thanksgiving holiday, but space is tight in city apartments. We book hotel rooms for Thanksgiving, which really adds to the cost of the long weekend. It could be a real “holiday challenge” to not blow our entire Thanksgiving vacation budget on hotel stays alone, but fortunately, with Starwood’s SPG Amex “Holiday Challenge,” we were able to put every penny allotted to lodging aside, and save it for our teenage daughters’ supposed shopping needs. For this SPG Amex Experience, I was challenged to redeem 70,000 Starpoints during the prime travel season of the holidays. Not only did I meet this challenge, I did so with a hotel room that had views of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Awesome!
The Starwood hotel I selected was Le Parker Meridien, on West 57th Street. What a treat! The room was a suite, with a sofa bed for the kids. Each night was 20,000 Starpoints, and we stayed for three nights. Because the Holiday Challenge from SPG Amex deposited 70,000 Starpoints in my account, I actually had 10,000 Starpoints left over. I wonder if Starwood is going to want those Starpoints back; hopefully not. What a deal, though. For 60,000 Starpoints, I was able to stay in a luxury hotel with my family for the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And this is quite a hotel. In fact, Le Parker Meridien is a perfect NYC hotel for Thanksgiving.
Besides the queen-sized sofa bed, Le Parker Meridien suites feature complimentary wifi, large (55”) flat screen televisions, large work spaces with Aeron desk chairs, kitchenettes, huge showers and the other, more usual hotel amenities. The views of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t straight ahead; guests have to look a little off to the side. The weather was very nice while this past Thanksgiving, so my family and I went outside.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is, needless to say, one of the most indelible, iconic, national events each Thanksgiving. Seeing it from the comfort of a New York City hotel room is a luxury, for sure, but at Le Parker Meridien, guests can step out of the lobby and see it just a few yards away. It’s quite a different experience seeing it live, “in person.” The crowd’s excitement is palpable and contagious. For example, I’ve been to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC before, and each time, the little kids’ excitement about seeing the Power Ranger or Spongebob (or whoever) is truly fun to see. People cheering a giant inflated baseball as it makes its way down the Avenue of Americas is also fun to see — and contagious. Uh huh, that was me, cheering for a giant inflated baseball.
Back at Le Parker Meridien, it was obvious that location is one of its biggest selling points. The parade, again, is right outside. Carnegie Hall and Rockefeller Center are five minutes away. We also walked to a Broadway show (we saw Matilda this year) and back easily, and walked to the Upper West Side to visit our NYC families and stuff ourselves with turkey. Le Parker Meridien has one of the best hotel gyms in the city, and three great, notable restaurants.
The Burger Joint is, well, a burger joint. But it’s a fantastic little joint, on par with any other restaurant that focuses on the all-American hamburger. Testament to this? There’s a Shake Shack almost across the street from the hotel, but the Burger Joint still remains a popular destination hamburger restaurant in the city.
A second restaurant at Le Parker Meridien is Norma’s, and what fun it is. Norma’s closes at 3:00PM, and is the epitome of the famous New York City brunch place. We ate brunch here twice this past Thanksgiving, and the happy atmosphere fits. The waiters seem genuinely happy, and naturally most of the guests are, as well. It’s exceptionally kid-friendly. But check out the menu: what’s the “Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata?” I asked our waiter about the $100 and $1,000 eggs — is that some kind of joke, I asked. He said that a couple of the $100 eggs sell every week, usually to international businessmen. And, in the past year, six or seven of the thousand-dollar lobster frittatas were sold, which was crazy to hear. I wonder how many Starpoints I’d have to cash in to buy that breakfast.
The third restaurant is Knave, it’s a dark wood, cocktail-oriented private club-looking space. We didn’t eat here. Which brings us to…
The pool floor! The pool is on the top floor, and the floor has floor-to-ceiling windows with drop-dead stunning views of Central Park. It is, hands down, the most gorgeous New York City hotel pool I’ve seen. There is an outdoor deck, better used in the spring and summer, and a full menu for poolside drinks and snacks.
These above photos were taken next to the pool on the pool floor of Le Parker Meridien, a perfect NYC hotel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Le Parker Meridian is a Category 4 hotel, and managed by Starwood (though owned by another company). It is also a new favorite New York City hotel for my family. The location, the suites, the restaurants, pool and level of pampering combine to make it an ideal splurge. Seriously, it was worth every one of those 60,000 Starpoints we used to stay there.
I was gifted these Starpoints through my ongoing “Amex Stars” partnership, but conscientiously saving up each Starpoint all year for a big holiday blow-out is something any cardmember can do. There are many ways to use SPG Amex Starpoints; transferring them to miles, a few upgrades a year, etc. I like to save up all my Starpoints and spend them in a big gift like this to my family — a stay in a luxury Starwood property for free. In fact, it’s so much fun to accumulate Starpoints and cash them in all at once that I recommend it as a “winning tip” to all. After all, a free 3-night stay at a luxury hotel, over a major holiday, is really, remarkably, hassle- and guilt-free. With Starpoints, Le Parker Meridian is a perfect NYC hotel for Thanksgiving.
I received 70,000 Starpoints to stay at a Starwood property of my choice over the holidays, as part of my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express “Amex Stars” 3-year partnership. All opinions expressed as mine.