> New, boutique hotels have more to offer than older ones.
Sometimes this still holds true, but Marriott CRN hotels have swag. For example, the glass-enclosed gym on the 23rd floor of the Marquis (that can be spotted from the glass elevators en route to your room), where I could overlook all of Times Square while hitting the treadmill, was one of the coolest I’ve seen. The F&B program at the Sheraton, helmed by chef Joseph Fontanals, implements menus with food sourced from within 100 miles of the hotel—a program you might not expect at a big-box hotel. And at the newly renovated New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, a typical lobby Starbucks is swapped for a Brooklyn Roasting Company stand, where BRC-trained baristas do coffee tastings for guests.
> New Yorkers are self-absorbed.
I didn’t come to New York expecting the kind of hospitality one might find in the South, or even in Montana, where I’m from. Walking the streets of Manhattan, it isn’t uncommon to have to bust out some acrobatic moves to get out of the way of passerby. But people can surprise you, and when they do, it renews a little bit of your faith in humanity.
For example, when Amy Popper, senior marketing manager with Marriott CRN, and I finally got on the right train after wandering hopelessly underground for what felt like hours, a stranger was happy to snap a photo of us upon being asked. One woman stopped me on the street to tell me she loved my dress. And when we were in hot pursuit (literally, thanks to New York’s Indian summer) of a place serving edible cookie dough, traipsing the streets of Greenwich Village and looking a little lost, a kind stranger offered to point us in the right direction. Guiding us down a side street that he described as “really cute” and through Washington Square Park (shown above), he gave us both a friendly smile and this prophetic reminder: “Sometimes the journey is half the fun.”