As I mentioned back on Day 1 of this challenge, I have been lucky enough to win 2 holidays, which is todays prompt! Holidays! I am going to talk about my prize trip to New York!!
The business class flights from Silverjet were fantastic! We got to Luton and Silverjet have their own terminal. We went through their lounge door and a concierge took our suitcases and passports and told us to take a seat in the executive lounge area. Talk about posh…there was absolutely everything you could think of to eat in there and could even have champagne if you wanted! Our passports were returned to us and within about 20 minutes we were told that we were going to be boarding soon! Was all very exciting!! We boarded the plane and almost immediately a stewardess came round with a choice of champagne, OJ or water. I chose OJ cos i was feeling abit nervous about take off. Ed chose champers. When the plane took of it almost immediately banked/turned back round on itself which made both me and Ed go abit green around the gills! But once we were up and away we were both fine. They bought the meal round not long after take off, which is served on proper plates with metal cutlery (none of this regular plastic stuff ). The food is apparently prepared by a top london hotel! Soon after eating i decided to grab some sleep as i was so excited the night before i had had none whatsoever. Ed decided to watch a film on the personal TV you get given that has built in movies! The flight there was about 8 ish hours and to be honest i slept most of it.
When we landed at Newark Airport we went through customs and were told our passports needed veryfying (we both had new passports and am assuming this is the reason!?) we were shown into like a waiting room and were told we would been seen in a minute!………..2 hours later!! Nightmare…started to think great start to the holiday! But all was good and we got a taxi from outside the airport into New York.
We got dropped of at central park cos we didnt want taxi driver to know we were staying at a 5star hotel cos we were worried he may have ripped us off! We crossed the road from central park and there stood the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel!! Oh My God! Walked through the door and the lobby is all crystal chandeliers and black marble!! Stunning!!! They have bellboys who put our luggage onto one of those racks and once we had checked in took us up to the 16th floor in the lift and showed us into our room. The room…..well the bed was HOOGE, we had a walk in wardrobe each , aircon that you can control from a touchpad telephone next to the bed! A 32″ TV on the wall, 2 Huge mirrors framed in red leather. It was just beautiful!! The service was out of this world!
We had a little wander round central park and just tried to let it sink in that we were actually in New York! I was in total awe of it all!
I cant remeber which avenue it was but there was a street market on and it went on for 15 blocks! It was massive!!!!! We got a American version of a Kebab for dinner off a street vendor which was delicious! Then we went back to the hotel about 9pm because we were both so knackered. That was day one.
I woke up at about 7.30 to Ed coming back in the room! He had woken up about 4am and decided to go for a walk! Nutcase! He had gone to walk around Times Square! I got up and showered and we went down for breakfast! You had a choice of buffet which was croissants, bagels, pastries, fresh fruit, cold meat, yogurts, etc or there was a menu where you could have 3 egg omletes with various fillings, eggs with ham, you couls even have steak for brekkie! I stayed with the buffet this time and it was delicious!
After brekkie we went out for a walk which turned in a bloody trek!! We walked 1st of all approx 3/4 of central park which is 800+ acres on its own, we walked around the reservoir and then walked and walked and walked and walked some more with a few lil stops on the way (ground zero and a few other bits) and ended up at battery park which is where you can get the Statten Island ferry!! That is MILES! We were going to get the bus back but ended up walking back and I was in agony by the time we got back to the hotel. We had been walking for 9 HOURS!!! Someone we were talking to said we had walked in excess of 30 miles! My feet were raw!! Slept for 12 hours that night !!
We went to Woodbury Common shopping outlet and had $264 dollars spending money as part of the prize!! Shopped my absolute butt off!! OMG its so cheap! Bought so many lovely things! Luckily i had only half packed my suitcase on the way out !! It was huge this place like its own little village!! They had Chanel, Ralph Lauren, CK, Ecko, you name it they had it and it was all so cheap i was in my element!! We were there most of the day and we were chauffeur driven there and back in a limo! It was so amazing. The lady in charge of sorting the Shopping part was so desperate to meet us! She was so lovely and full of congrats when she met us! The Americans are such wonderful people!
In the evening we walked some more and got some proper photos of New York at night!! Its so beautiful! We sat in Central Park and watched the world go by!
Ok today was HOT! So muggy it was unreal!! We had to keep dashing in the shops for a fix of aircon!! I was dripping with sweat. We went into Times Square for some souvenir shopping. They’ve got an M&M’s World!! Its 3 floors high with everthing you can think of to do with M&Ms!! I recommend the peanut butter ones.
Got a few pressies in there then across the road to the Hersheys store!!! Choc overdose!
Then we went back to the hotel to drop off the MOUNDS of choc we had just bought and the concierge from the hotel escorted us over to Central Park to get us into a horse drawn carriage for our ride!! He paid and tipped the driver of the carriage and told him to look after us! It was a wonderful little ride and would recomend it to anyone visiting new york! But if you do go when its really hot they wont be about as the horses arent allowed to work when its over 90 degrees! Its very romantic though! We so fell in love with New York!! Its magical!!
At around 7.30pm we made our way to the Rockefella Centre ( part of our prize that was originally a behind the scenes tour of Carnegie Hall but they werent doing that this summer so we got tickets to this instead!) and I really would recommend this to anyone!! Just as sun was setting we made our way up 70 floors to the “Top of the Rock” It is breath taking! The views are out of this world and something I will never forget! We captured New York as all the lights started coming on in all the sky scrapers! Just simply beautiful! There was a beautiful sunset that night too! I could wake up to this city every morning for the rest of my life!! I was smitten!
We grabbed some dinner after, had another wander round then went back to our beautiful hotel!
Thursday we decided to go to central park zoo and try and see some other bits that we hadn’t seen. The zoo isn’t particularly big but amazing all the same!!
We also walked through the heart of the city again just amazed by the water features and statues all over the place and just how much you have to almost snap your neck backwards to look to the very top of the sky scrapers!
In the evening we had a meal booked at our Hotel (part of prize) that was being cooked by the hotels resident award winning chef Christian Gradnitzer!
So down we went for dinner and were shown to our candlelit table and were gven champagne. The waiter bought out 2 menus for us to choose from. We both chose hot potato and leek soup for starters and then t bone steak for main. The waiter came out not long after we had ordered and put a smallish plate infront of us and said this is compliments of the chef. We started eating this meat looking thing (the waiter had a posh sounding name for it lol)and realised it was kidney!! But……….it was actually quite yummy!
I couldn’t quite finish it knowing what it was but it was delicious! Then our soup arrived which was fabulous! Then OH MY GOD! The steak was huge. We couldn’t eat it all, it was bloody massive but again very delicious! Then the chef came out and introduced himself to us gave us both a little present which was all wrapped up fancy. It was a muffin and a chocolate lolly with gold detail in! He also presented us with a big hard back book about the hotels food history and some recipes in there too and he signed it and told us its very rare!! He was such a lovely man. He shook our hands and said how nice it was to meet us and was glad we were enjoying our stay! I was just bowled over by the way were treated by everyone!
Day 6 Last Day
Was missing my kids like crazy by now but SO didn’t want to go home!!
We decided to have a last walk round before heading for Newark airport and it was chucking it down with rain! We thought NYC was preparing us for return to the UK. We didn’t care about the weather and just walked and walked again soaking up our last moments of this most wonderful, beautiful, breath taking city and spent the very last of our money on pressies and tacky souvenirs! I came home plastered in I LOVE NY everything!! Looked like a proper Tourist!!
We went to hotel and checked out and said goodbye to all the wonderful staff at the hotel!! I honestly was close to tears I was so sad to leave! We were treated like royalty and they bent over backwards to make our stay as special and perfect as it could have been!
They hailed us a famous Yellow cab and we headed off to Newark Airport for our night flight home!
SilverJet pulled out all the stops for a A+ service home! The most wonderful and helpful and very professional crew!!!
Landed back in Luton the following morning and felt VERY surreal to be home!
If you have ever contemplated going…. GO! You will love it! We did and hope to return one day!