The Kimberly Hotel and Dream Midtown provided the writer complimentary accommodation for the purposes of this article. There are a lots of great takeaways here! We should always strive to be more present.
New York City rewards hustlers who eat lunch at their desks and are the last to leave the office. There is not a lot of time to smell the roses (or the garbage, as the case may be).
This got me thinking: STAYCATION. There’s nothing like a hectic schedule to make it harder to find time to get away. This time, though, I needed a solid 2-3 day trip in my town and I'd even bring my husband along for the ride.
Plan to be spontaneous
A good staycation has the delicate balance of planning enough so that you know where you're going to stay comfortably, and still allows room for unexpected activities.
For the first night, we booked the beautiful classic Kimberly Hotel in Midtown. This was a great choice because we live in Brooklyn and never hang out in this particular part of New York City, even though it’s close to everything!
The old New York feel was also a draw, the added bonus being that the rooms were spacious (not the size of a walk-in closet), complete with updated amenities (cue: rain shower). They also had great daytime perks for dates, which I'll get to later.
For spontaneity on our first night, my husband and I decided to 'app around' so we didn't have to decide on one place for dinner. That meant an appetizer on a cute Bryant Park patio, a margarita in a loud hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and shared bites at a ritzy, high-end (read: pricey) steakhouse.
In a matter of three hours, we had three distinct high-end and low-key experiences. On a busy Friday night, we never had to wait for a table because we opted to hang out by the bar.
Put on that vacation message (no work allowed!)
Okay, maybe a little work is okay. I promised myself that as long as the laptop was tucked away by 10 am, I was still in 'staycation' mode.
I met my husband for a late breakfast on Saturday, and we decided not to talk about work during our fantasy weekend. Essentially, the rules are the same when you're on a vacation away from home: the auto message should say that you're on holiday and may be delayed in responding. Simple.
This tactic worked very well, except for a string of urgent text messages on Saturday afternoon that I got from a colleague. I took care of that pretty fast saying I was on vacation. (I didn't mention that I was 18 blocks away from her.)
Make sure variety is part of it
Do something you never do that's fun — and legal. Skip the boring weekend errands or spots you frequently visit.
In this case, we took advantage of the Kimberly Hotel's offer to enjoy a yacht for brunch. The hotel has a partnership with New York Health and Racquet Club, and they own a big boat. Of course, there’s no need to be able to access a yacht; it’s all about getting outside the usual routine, since this is what we all do on a trip. (Ed’s notes: Though it certainly helps!)
Strangely, we had never really seen the Statue of Liberty up close before this boat ride, and we've lived in NYC for a decade. It instantly had us feeling like tourists in our town.
To introduce more novelty, we moved hotels for night two and settled in the beautiful Dream Midtown Hotel. It was a few avenues, a world away, from our classic New York first night.
(The Dream Midtown lives up to the name in that the décor is whimsical and the rooftop has some of the best views in the city. Housed in a restored and gorgeous building from 1895, the hotel has been updated with modern and even futuristic touches. It felt as special as the Kimberly, but got us into an edgier mode.)
Variety isn't only the spice of life; it's the glue for relationships. There’s nothing like novelty to feel the old butterflies you had when you first fell for each other, and that’s what we felt on this special weekend out.
Easier said than done! but being present is a wonderful quality to channel on a staycation. Staycationing is all a practice in the art of being mindful and present.
In our case, in both hotels, I enjoyed way-too-long showers. Not to mention luxuriating in the hotels’ body lotions all over me before putting on in-room robes and slippers. (I never wear slippers!) Then we went to Central Park Sunday afternoon and grazed on the grass looking out. Then we each also decided to splurge on an amazing 60-minute full-body massage at a nearby massage parlor.
Ultimately, when we switched into vacation mode, we stayed curious about our surroundings and each other, forgetting the laundry and bills piling up at home.
After a weekend away from our regular, hectic Brooklyn life, I decided I’m ready to travel to my hometown for another staycation this winter. Maybe I’ll even leave the computer at home this time.
Andrea Syrtash (@andreasyrtash) is a relationship and lifestyle expert, on-air personality and author. She's written for many outlets including Oprah, MSN, and Glamour; and is a frequent on-air guest on television and radio shows across the country. An avid traveler, Andrea has lived in 8 cities around the world including Toronto, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York.