Why The Greenwich Hotel Should Be High On Your List For Your Next NYC Visit

Last weekend I was lucky enough to stay at the Greenwich hotel in NYC, and I was absolutely blown away.  This boutique hotel truly makes you feel like you have an apartment in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in NYC (Tribeca).  There are many reasons to stay here for your next NYC getaway, and I have listed out my favorite ones below.   Shameless plug before you read on, Nick Running Travel clients get $50 daily towards breakfast, room upgrades if available and $100 in Spa credit to forget about the busy city around you.

Pool built under a Japanese style house

Pool built under a Japanese style house

You Feel Like a Local

Many of the popular NYC hotel spots are PACKED with tourists, but not here.  The Greenwich is located in the Tribeca neighborhood, the most expensive housing market in NYC for 2018.  This area is full of cobblestone streets, amazing local restaurants and not a tourist in sight.  You are able to explore the sights during the day, but still return to a relaxing neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle in the evening.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

My favorite part of the hotel was the Drawing Room.  The Drawing room is a lounge/bar/restaurant that is for hotel guests only.  I hate that at many high end hotels the restaurants and bar areas can become packed with locals or those staying at other places nearby, so this was a great solution.  The Drawing even serves hotel guests food from the amazing and hard to get into Italian restaurant next door, Locanda Verde.

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Perfect For 2nd or 3rd  time NYC Travelers

By now you have seen everything there is to see in Midtown, gone to a play, eaten at the famous Michelin Stared restaurants and are looking for something a little different.Staying at the Greenwich means you can walk to amazing locals restaurants, visit the high line or art galleries in Chelsea or explore West, Greenwich Village and Soho on foot.This is the perfect spot to explore a little deeper into the NYC you already know.

My Top Four Holiday Getaways for Procrastinators

Have you been thinking about planning a last minute getaway for the holidays? Did your excitement suddenly disappear after a few internet searches of your favorite hotels showed no availability or ridiculous prices with crazy 7 to 10 day minimum stays?  Nick Running Travel is here to help with our favorite last minute locations for travel over the holiday time period.

Sicily

Ready to try something new this holiday season? Belmond’s amazing Grand Hotel Timeo, which normally closes prior to the holidays is open until January this year.  Because of its southern location Sicily offers a mild winter climate for those looking to escape the harsh winters and enjoy a new part of Italy.  Belmond’s hotel, the first hotel to be built in the city, gazes out across the coast towards Mount Etna.  Bask in manicured gardens, savour sensational cuisine and fuel your imagination with cocktails on the Literary Terrace—just like generations of celebrated guests before you.  As a preferred partner of Belmond, Nick Running Travel Clients get perks like upgrades, free breakfast, and up to $200 of resort credit.

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Paris

What better place to go for the holidays than the city of lights!  They beauty of Paris is most often shown during the night hours so what better time to go then the shortest days of the year.  Ice Skating rinks and Christmas Markets also help you enjoy the holiday spirit.  My favorite hotel for this time of year may also be the best hotel in the city.  Four Seasons George V boasts one of the most famous decorative lobby displays in the world designed by the amazing Jeff Leatham.  Make sure you book your stay with Nick Running Travel for Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits.

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Mexico

While people are flocking to Hawaii or the Caribbean, Mexico remains a bargain for travelers who know where to look.  Many places in the tropics this time of year have 7 to 10 night minimum stays on top of astronomical room prices.  When paying high prices you might as well get your money’s worth with a top of the line all inclusive experience.  Grand Velas Riviera Maya only requires a 5 night minimum stay, and for the holiday time period kids ages 4-17 are free.  That’s a great value for families looking for a little sunshine.  Booking with Nick Running Travel gets you complementary one way airport transfers and $100 spa credit.

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French Polynesia

While there may not be hotel availability in your favorite Caribbean or Hawaiian Island, maybe think a little bit farther away this year.  Below the equator in French Polynesia it’s currently “rainy season” which means no minimum stays over the holidays at the best resorts (like the Four Seasons Bora Bora).  While Nick Running Travel can’t guarantee weather, who cares if there is a few hours of showers while you lounge in your overwater bungalow.  Make sure you book your stay with Nick Running Travel for Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits, and if you are interested in other French Polynesia hotels make sure you reach out to take advantage of all the benefits we can provide for your preferred hotel.

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Site Visits of 6 Riviera Maya Properties

Following my recent visit of the All-Inclusive Grand Velas, I was lucky enough to visit 6 other properties in the Riviera Maya that all offer something completely different for my clients.  I have listed these properties in the order visited and feel they all offer a unique experience that I would recommend to any client.

Viceroy Riviera Maya

The Viceroy is a SUPER boutique property offering only 41 rooms and suites. This is the place to be if you are looking to relax in peace and quite and enjoy your surroundings.  Every room includes a plunge pool and most include and outdoor shower.  I would recommend this location to anyone who is interested in the “jungle” feel of the Riviera Maya as the Ocean and Partial Ocean view rooms are not nearly as private as other room categories.  My favorite are rooms in the jungle as you literally could relax in your room all day without seeing another person.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Full breakfast daily, for two in room guests

·       $100 USD Equivalent Resort/Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay

·       Early check-in/late check-out , subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

The Belmond is my recommendation for anyone who wants traditional Mexican styling along with a great beachfront. Just like the Viceroy the Belmond is small (63 rooms), however unlike the Viceroy which a majority of the rooms are in the jungle the Belmond is all right along the beautiful Maroma beach.  During my visit the ocean was notably calmer and the beach better than any of the other resorts I visited.  The Ocean View Suits and Junior Suites looked amazing and had a great combination of updated fixtures with Mexican styling. This small resort also allows the surrounding nature to thrive as during my visit a group of monkeys were swinging from treetop to treetop delighting the guests.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       A full breakfast daily for two in-room guests

·       $90 for rooms and $200 for suites hotel credit

·       Maroma floral bed decoration on arrival

·       Early check-in/Late check-out subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Rosewood Mayakoba:

I would classify the Rosewood as a great all-around hotel, especially focused on large private suites with views of the lagoon or jungle.  The Rosewood provides butler service to all rooms, and while at the beginning it was something I didn’t think use, It turned out that they were very helpful.  From planning dinner, coordinating time for turn down and room service to mixing my welcome drink in my room, the butler was amazing and greatly exceeded my expectations.   They truly know your day to day schedule and it showed.  The Rosewood would be my recommendation for anyone looking for an extremely high level of service, multiple dining options and anyone who wants space and privacy.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Buffet breakfast daily for up to 2 in-room guests

·       $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit

·       Welcome tequila amenity

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Andaz Mayakoba:

The Andaz kept with its traditional minimalist style at their brand new Mayakoba property.  While I didn’t love the Jungle or Lagoon view rooms I felt the beachfront rooms were great, while also being super close to the 2 amazing restaurants near the pool.  I would completely recommend this location to the younger crowd as there seemed to be a very good atmosphere to lounge as well as a great bar area to have drinks into the night.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade to the next room category on arrival, subject to availability

·       Daily breakfast buffet for two.

·       $100 USD Resort credit, per room, per stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

Banyan Tree Mayakoba:

The Banyan Tree is a very imposing and grand property from the moment you walk into the lobby.  The main lobby area is surrounded by water and in the middle is the famous Banyan Tree.  As imposing as the lobby is though the rest of the resort is very subtle and relaxed.  The resort is done in an Asian styling which may be weird to many guests in Mexico but it is very well done.  I personally loved the private pools (no plunge pools here these things are huge!).  This resort is perfect for those who like the Asian style décor and a swim up pool bar!

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Complimentary International buffet breakfast

·       Resort Credits ranging from USD $100 to USD $200 per villa, per stay (Resort credit amount varies depends on the villa categories)

·       Preferential green fees at El Camaleon Golf Course, a PGA championship course

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

NIZUC Resort and Spa

NIZUC is definitely a unique property.  If you are looking for a sleek, sexy couples hotel this is the spot.  While its larger than many other places on the Riviera Maya, it has a separate adults only pool and restaurant.  I loved the black pools, night lighting and service.  You are never more than a few seconds away from a picture perfect view.  Also, because it is located near Cancun, they also offer guided tours of one of the underwater museums weekly and its only 10 minutes from the airport.  In my opinion this is the perfect hotel to pair with a more jungle themed trip to the Rosewood, Viceroy or Banyan Tree.

Nick Running Travel Perks:

·       Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

·       Daily Breakfast for two

·       One-way airport transfer (valid on arrivals only)

·       Hydrotherapy session for two, once during stay

·       Welcome Amenity in suite: a bottle of tequila and dried fruit

·       Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

·       Complimentary Wi-Fi

 

Virtuoso Travel Week – 4 Takeaways

Virtuoso Travel week is finally over, and as everyone leaves Las Vegas I wanted to share with you my main takeaways from this whirlwind week.  Travel always connects us to new and exciting cultures, ideas and ways of life.  Virtuoso Travel Week is no different, we get to see the new and inventive ways the industry is changing and make sure our clients get the best trip possible.  Below are my top 4 takeaways from the week

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1.       Wellness is booming
Wellness travel is so big right now.  Whether that is a nice hotel with a great spa, or a full retreat that kicks you back into shape.  There are so many different options to fit whatever you are looking for.  My favorite option this year was The Ranch, a 7 day bootcamp with no alcohol, forced hikes and workouts and pre-planned meals.

2.       Expedition Travel
While we love our traditional vacation ideas (think Italy, France, Japan etc), some clients are looking for something new.  In recent years there has been a huge expansion in this market, and now clients have great options for cruising the Amazon, Galapagos and Polar regions.  Our favorite partner is Lindblad, who pairs environmentally conscious true expedition travel with the service level that our clients traditionally expect.

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3.       Giving Back
By far my favorite partner that I met with this week was ME to WE.  They pair luxurious adventure travel with improving the lives of the local community.  Your vacation may include helping to build a school or other needed facilities for local communities, and in return you get authentic experiences without the “staged” feeling.  Visit the world and at the same time, make a difference in a faraway community!

4.       Connections
Travel advisers can provide so much value to clients, not just because we know the products, but because we know the people behind those products.  We are on a first name basis with many people in the industry, and that means clients get treated with more care and respect.   These connections are the heart of Virtuoso Travel Week and what really separates our bookings from those of a traditional online website.

Client Success Story – $11,000+ Saved on Business Class Airfare

I often talk about all the perks of using a travel adviser with hotels, tours, and insider knowledge, but knowledgeable air experts like us will ensure you have the best flights and connections for your itinerary. Additionally, from time to time, we will save you money by booking private fares only accessible to travel agents.

I had a client last week looking for Business Class airfare for him and his wife to a major European city.  Direct flights on the airlines website were $9,860 per person!  In order to meet his preferred budget for the trip he needed a cheaper air option.  Using our private air contracts, and preferred relationships I was able to get him the same flights for $4,325 per person!  An amazing savings of over $11,000 for two tickets.  Make sure you reach out to Nick Running Travel before your next trip to see all the benefits that can be added to your next vacation.

Note: Savings on published airfare rates is not guaranteed for every itinerary.

Best Business and First Class Flights to Europe

It seems that booking flights is always an afterthought to most vacations, you just do a search for the cheapest flight or use your favorite airline.  Sometimes you want something more. For a special occasion or important work trip, traveling First or Business Class can be an important way to beat jet lag, or have a better traveling experience (see my previous blog post for more reasons why).  Products differ greatly though so Nick Running Travel wants you to know from our personal experience the best and worst ways to travel to Europe from the west coast.  This information isn’t just valuable for Europe though so in the coming weeks we will also publish our recommendations for Asia / Australia, NZ / South America / US East Coast

Best Business Class:

Air France 777 (SFO/LAX – Paris)

Air france 777 business class

Air france 777 business class

Air France has recently refurbished their 777’s to include new reverse herringbone seats which are currently the top of the line in privacy and comfort.  Food and drinks on Air France are always top notch in keeping with their French heritage.  Depending on final location this would be my preferred way to travel to Europe in business class.

American Airlines 777 (LAX – London)

American airlines 777 business class

American airlines 777 business class

American may not always have the best service, food or drinks, however the seats more than make up for it on this flight.  Flying overnight to Europe means that you lose a whole evening, luckily with Americans new refurbished seats on their 777, that means you get a full flat bed with lots of storage space that lets you relax and wake up rested.

Delta A330 (SEA – Amsterdam)

delta a330 business class

delta a330 business class

Delta is the Americas best airline in terms of service (vs American or United), but unfortunately they currently don’t have the best seats for sleeping besides the newly released A350 (which currently only flies to Asia).  The best seats Delta currently flies to Europe is on their A330 which as of now they only fly to Amsterdam from Seattle on the West Coast. 

Best First Class:

Air France 777 (LAX – Paris)

Air France first class

Air France first class

Air France didn’t just recently refurbish their business class but also first class. The seats are super luxurious with a curtain that you can close for complete privacy.  Air France’s first class lounge in Paris also has a restaurant by 3 Michelin star chief Alain Ducasse.  Guests are taken to their airplane by private car and escorted on-board from plane-side.

Lufthansa A380 (SFO/LAX – Frankfurt)

Lufthansa first class terminal bar area

Lufthansa first class terminal bar area

lufthansa first class terminal resturant 

lufthansa first class terminal resturant 

Lufthansa has a great on-board first class experience but what really separates its product from other airlines is its own terminal for passengers in Frankfurt.  That’s right first class passengers have a completely separate terminal, with security and immigration all done there.  In fact for a small fee they will even send over the authority to process your VAT refunds prior to departure.  While waiting passengers can access a full restaurant and cigar room, all included.  Hard to beat that!

These recommendations are of course subjective, and while I would feel comfortable recommending these flights to anyone, personal preferences vary.  Nick Running Travel would be happy to recommend flights for your itinerary that are customized to your preferences and needs.  Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Never flown International First/Business Class? Here are 4 of the best reasons to give it a try

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For many people airfare is a means to an end, something you deal with to get to your final destination.  Regardless of whether you are traveling for work or for pleasure there are many reasons to pay the premium on an upgraded air experience.  Below are our top reasons to book, and be sure to reach out to Nick Running Travel before your next business or personal trip.  We have access to non-public rates (prices you can’t find online), and every trip comes with a personal consultation to ensure we pick the flights right for you.

1.       Lie Flat Seats
Why spend your hard earned money on a vacation only to sleepwalk through the first few days.  Don’t walk into an important business meeting still trying to recover from your time zone change.  Almost all flights these days have lie flat seats that allow you to properly adjust to your time zone change.  Many First Class seats even have expensive mattress pads that mimic a bed in a hotel room.  There is nothing better than waking up fully rested to hit the ground running.

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2.       Upgraded Airport Experience
Customers receive expedited security, lounge access and other perks to help make the airport experience more luxurious. Lounges often offer free food and alcohol and are usually a much better place to spend time at the airport.  Some airlines offer completely separate terminals for first class passengers and Michelin star restaurants.

3.       Enhanced onboard food and beverage
No more choosing between unknown red or white wines and microwave dinners.  Business cabins usually offer 4-5 wine options that can retail for as high as $50 a bottle. Food is also served restaurant style, plated and normally in courses.  Some airlines even go as far to have chiefs onboard cooking meals.  Many first class offering included rare and high end wines retailing over $400 a bottle.

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4.       Higher Service Standard
Premium cabins offer much higher service levels than economy.  There are many more crew members per passenger and they often go out of their way to make sure you have a good experience.  From someone to hang your jacket upon boarding, to personal delivery of pre-departure champagne, anyone who prefers a personal level of service would see value in being attended to for a long flight.

10 Reasons you NEED a Travel Adviser

Today I'm proud to officially kick off Nick Running Travel, however many of you may be wondering why you would even need a travel adviser / agent in the first place...   While booking a trip yourself seems freeing and exciting, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There are nearly 400 MILLION results when you google “hotel in Paris.”  Who has time to sift through the results, find properties within your budget, figure out which ones are in the prime location, and then check for availability? Add researching restaurants, scheduling guides, and arranging transfers, and you might as well make planning travel your full time job. Here are 10 perks you can expect with Nick Running Travel.

1. Insider Access
Nick Running Travel has preferred supplier relations to make sure your experience is special.  No more waiting in lines, we can arrange private experiences that allow you to make the most of your precious vacation time.

2. Complementary Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start your day right! When you book with Nick Running Travel, you get complimentary breakfast at more than 1000 hotels and resorts around the world. 

Free Breakfast provided by kivotos hotel in mykonos

Free Breakfast provided by kivotos hotel in mykonos

3. Hotel Credit
Another perk that we receive at our partner hotels is $100 (or equivalent in foreign currency) hotel credit for food and beverage or spa.  These credits are available at the same hotel rate that can be found online.  Why would you turn down $100?

4. Upgrades
Who doesn't love upgrades!!?!  Our partner hotels confirm upgrades at the time of booking or upon arrival at the hotel.  Don't get stuck with a room that faces the parking lot or loading dock, with Nick Running Travel that room could turn into an Ocean View!

Upgraded ocean front room at Four Seasons Punta Mita.

Upgraded ocean front room at Four Seasons Punta Mita.

5. Special Occasions
Nick Running Travel works with hotels in advance for all your special occasions.  Anniversary, Honeymoon, Birthdays..... we make sure the hotel is prepared in advance and knows all the details they need to make the stay special.  You could try doing this on your own, but we have personal contacts with many hotels who want to make sure our clients keep coming back.

Surprise procecco and cake awaiting in our room upon check-in at the Four Seasons Florence.  Happy Honeymoon!

Surprise procecco and cake awaiting in our room upon check-in at the Four Seasons Florence.  Happy Honeymoon!

6. Free experiences
Many of our hotel partners offer complimentary experiences to our clients, like a martini class, museum tickets, bicycle tour, or picnic in a park. Just a little something to make a trip even better!

7. VIP Status
You won’t be just any reservation when you book with Nick Running Travel. We make sure our partners know who you are and are aware of your unique preferences. You’ll feel like a VIP — just don’t blame us when you can't go back to booking on your own.

Private 5 course cooking lesson with the head chef in Florence.

Private 5 course cooking lesson with the head chef in Florence.

8. Authentic Experiences
Would you rather see a destination as a tourist or experience it like a local? Our on-the-ground partners aren’t just familiar with a destination. They live, eat, and breathe it. They know the markets where the locals go and can guide you through it. They can arrange for you to visit a local home or learn a craft from an artisan.

9.Airfare
Your vacation starts when you walk down the Jetway!  Nick Running Travel has access to discounted first and business class airfare, so you can beat jet-lag with lay flat beds while enjoying premium wine and food.  Best of all, no matter what class of service, we tie in your airfare with your other reservations so once you hit the ground everything is seamless.

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10. Peace of Mind
We’ve all read the travel horror stories. Someone getting booked in a creepy hotel, being turned away at security because your passport expires in two months, costly trip disruptions beyond the traveler’s control, and so on. There’s no need to worry your vacation will be a newspaper headline when you book with Nick Running Travel. We know that your hotel is safe and clean. Your tour guide has been vetted and verified by our trusted partners. And if anything does happen, we are your advocate and only a call away to get the issue sorted out quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy drinks by the pool stress free!

Enjoy drinks by the pool stress free!