By Amanda Feldman Jay

If you are anything like me, you’re in dire need of a new trip to plan and a getaway to look forward to, but most of all, a change of scenery after many months spent at home. With ever-changing travel restrictions and a long winter ahead of us, my husband and I decided we needed to get back into the groove of planning experiences to keep us sane throughout the next few months. So we got off the couch, packed our bags, masked up, and set out to explore New York City in a new light.

Apart from the brief holiday rush each year, it’s no secret that the city is not typically the most desirable wintertime destination for most. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed exploring the city I thought I knew so well. It was fun to see it through new lenses and with different adventures than the ones I’m accustomed to. And dare I say, I even relished bundling up and spending time outdoors in the crisp winter backdrop, breathing in fresh air and wearing clothes other than the rotation of tired loungewear sets I have been living in for months on end.

The moment we arrived at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, our staycation homebase, we were immediately transported to a getaway state of mind with the delightful and unmistakable scent of custom Le Labo fragrance in the lobby. The 1 Hotels brand signature scent is equal parts luxurious and earthy. A biophilic oasis where nature reigns supreme, this waterfront urban gem was designed by local artists using native greenery and reclaimed materials to create a stunning industrial-boho-chic retreat with some of the most breathtaking city vistas that will wow even the most jaded of city dwellers and visitors. Our accommodations, a Bridge Studio Suite, featured nearly suite-wide floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views overlooking the city’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge and gorgeously crafted, artisan-made pieces including open-slatted wood closets and Fresnel glass light fixtures. The hotel’s onsite restaurants, The Osprey and Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge are temporarily closed due to COVID-19. We enjoyed the casual Neighbors café, just off the lobby, which features a plethora of Brooklyn-made light bites, coffees, juices, and beers and wines to-go that you can enjoy in the comforts of your own room or suite. For everything else, the concierge can help to arrange outdoor dining reservations, or you can opt to order food in and revel in some much-needed alternatives from your own neighborhood takeout and delivery staples.

Beyond the top-notch service and incredible eco-friendly and sustainable elements, perhaps my favorite part of the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is their pet-friendly policy. It is one of the best you’ll find in NYC and beyond. We adopted a three-year old Chow Chow mix in March, right before most of the world went into quarantine, so these days we have our sweet pup in tow with us as much as possible. And while most pet-friendly luxury hotels have weight and/or breed restrictions along with additional nightly fees, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge welcomes all dogs and most other pets with open arms regardless of size and at no additional upfront cost (your standard security deposit upon check-in will cover any damage or accidents that may occur). Your pets will also be spoiled with organic treats throughout the stay and warm welcomes from all the wonderful staff!

Unique Winter Experiences
While you can hole up in your city home-away-from-home during your staycation and simply bask in the glory of your new surroundings, there are also unique and safe seasonal things to do that will almost make you feel like you’re on a normal date night or girlfriends’ getaway, pre-pandemic. The William Vale, another luxury Brooklyn hotel, has launched their Winter Spa in partnership with wellness brand Shape House and TerraGlamping to offer a fun twist on hot and cold therapies via infrared detox treatments in your own private Hudson Valley-inspired glamping tent. Located on the hotel’s outdoor fourth floor terrace and decked out in wintry, woodsy design, you’ll be tucked into a cozy FAR infrared sauna wrap to detox your body from the inside out. Who couldn’t use a full energetic cleanse after the year we’ve just had? Shape House’s FAR infrared technology provides a deep, penetrating heat that warms the body for a cleansing sweat with a myriad of benefits including improved sleep, reduced stress, strengthened immune health and glowing skin. Due to unpredictable winter conditions, The William Vale has also reserved several indoor suites that are fully outfitted for treatments in the event of inclement weather and you can rest assured that extra safety precautions and sanitation protocols are being implemented.

The William Vale also recently debuted their seasonal Vale Rink, an iconic rooftop skating rink on the 23rd floor overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Apres skate, you can kick back and sip on seasonal cocktails from the property’s rooftop bar, Westlight by award-winning Chef Andrew Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality.

Arts and culture enthusiasts will rejoice at ARTECHOUSE’s limited time Celestial installation, offering an immersive, elemental experience – earth, water, air – related to the bountiful qualities of Classic Blue, last year’s Pantone Color of the Year. Located in the former boiler room of Chelsea Market, ARTECHOUSE is a uniquely digital art space at the intersection of art, science and technology that connects progressive ideas, artists and audiences to stimulate innovation and creativity. It is the nation’s first digital art experience of its kind, on a mission to empower the creation of new, experiential and exploratory art forms. We felt as if we had walked into an alternate futuristic universe or a virtual reality game, sans the VR gear, which offered an incredible hour to get lost in the surrounding sights and sounds. The Celestial experience, initially created for 2020, has been extended through February 21, 2021.

The NYC streets are filled with lots of winterized al fresco restaurant setups with heaters and wind-blocking structures that allow you to safely dine outdoors all winter long. Simply bundle up, BYOB (blanket, that is) and be prepared to enjoy some of the city’s best dining experiences in a whole new way. One of the most innovative winterized culinary concepts can be found at The Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17 in the Seaport District, offering 28 socially distant rooftop cabins outfitted with cozy winter cabin decor and air purifiers. Seasonal dishes and drinks are served by way of contactless delivery and feature signature cocktails and select recipes crafted exclusively for The Greens from the ever-trendy West Village cocktail bar Dante.

For a more low-key, but equally delicious meal, make a reservation or pop into one of Jack’s Wife Freda’s three locations in Chelsea, Soho or the West Village. With an all-day breakfast menu, plenty of heaters and super friendly waitstaff who bring complimentary house made mint teas to keep your hands warm while you’re waiting for your meal, you certainly won’t regret it.

Whether you embark on a city staycation with a loved one, friends or even solo, you’ll find that the city still has something for everyone – even during this challenging time – the city that never sleeps is still shining bright and brimming with surprises.

Photo Credit:
The William Vale
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge