CGC takes NYC with Porter Escapes

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DAY 1

My partnership with Porter Escapes couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I was sitting at my office job, secretly returning personal emails and working away on my freelance gigs. Clearly this was ethically unfair to my workplace and my coworkers (whom I highly respect and admire creatively). For years I've been debating whether or not I should tackle freelance full-time. The only thing holding me back was financial instability, health/dental insurance, and the fact that I have an (expensive) 11-year-old. Here I was, twiddling my thumbs, wishing I didn't have to come into work everyday, longing to travel while doing the things I love, and essentially not having to report to anyone for vacation time... And there you have it, a sign from the universe and the Gods above who basically solidified my decision — leave your day job and live through freelance... PORTER ESCAPES INFLUENCER CAMPAIGN was the headline to my latest Gmail inbox. Hallelujah! I was chosen to fly to New York City for a weekend via Porter Airlines to experience the special Porter Escapes treatment. I kid you not, I felt as if I was living the VIP status. Preparing for travel never felt so painless and stress free. Lifting a finger wasn't even an option! Porter Escapes hooked your girl up! 

And if you haven't flown with Porter before, you're missing out! On what, you ask?

  • The Toronto airport is steps from downtown; Impeccable and innovative service; Lounges are open to all passengers; Free Wi-Fi, newspapers, coffee/tea; Provides complimentary snacks in lounge and on board flights; Connects right through to your destination; Easy gate access; Short lines; Planes are fast, comfortable, and refined with: 32" inch seating pitch gives you more legroom, there are no middle seats, spacious with full-height interiors, and more.

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Being that our entire travel was speedy and hassle-free, we arrived at the ever so charming Hudson Hotel an hour before check-in. Excited and eager, we dropped our bags with concierge and explored the city streets. Hudson Hotel is located in midtown, just steps from Central Park, Columbus Circle Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center and the theater district. We were quick to whip out our cameras and capture as much of New York City within an hour’s time before heading back to the hotel for check-in. Believe it or not, a memory card change needed to happen. 

Hope and I were greeted by name upon entrance and led towards futuristic neon green lights that led us to escalators to concierge. We couldn’t help but look up. The space was rustic, modern, and cool. It was handsome and charming all at once. Original brick and mortar were prominent, along with modern chandeliers with polaroids hanging from them, and neon accents. 

The Hudson Hotel is definitely an energetic social hub filled with urban adventure and daredevil designs. It’s without a doubt that the Hudson takes convention and turns it on its head. Born from the innovative vision of design impresario Philippe Starck, the Hudson is a New York boutique hotel, that is stylish, democratic, young at heart and utterly cool. Hope and I knew we belonged here. 

We checked into suite 2353, a Deluxe Double Double — 300-350 square feet in size and offers two double beds. Designer Philippe Starck’s use of unique materials like richly panelled Makore wood walls, floors imported from Africa, and bedside lamps by British x-ray photographer Nick Veasey — showcases his merging of whimsy with the exotic, while amenities such as: cotton linens, plush down duvets, and MALIN+GOETZ bath products were featured and available for use. We were living on cloud nine!

As if Porter Escapes didn't spoil me enough, on my bedside desk, read a customized letter:

Dear Christina,
Welcome to Hudson! We’re excited to have you with us for the night. Looking forward to all your beautiful photos of your NYC trip. If there’s anything you need please let us know. Enjoy your stay!
Regards,
 The Hudson Team

After a quick refresher and outfit change. It was time to explore the rest of the Hudson. We headed down for brunch at the Hudson Common, accompanied by refreshing cocktails  at the Hudson Bar — known as the quintessential New York cocktail bar and lounge. We stepped out to enjoy a round in the English Garden, a hidden oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Moments later, we found the library bar. It was jaw droppingly stunning! There were books from floor to ceiling around the entire perimeter, leather couches and luxurious seating areas, a grand pool table, a fireplace, and a standalone bar with liquor from all over the world! The Hudson was without a doubt, filled with surprises and charm for its own good. We were told the Sky Terrace on the 15th floor was a must see before venturing out to Soho. And boy were they right! We were immediately treated to a panoramic breathtaking view of New York City. You could close your eyes, take deep breaths in and out, hear the honking cars from far below, and smile at feeling more alive than ever. Porter Escapes had me weak (in the best of ways) and overwhelmed with gratitude. Side note: If Porter Escapes were a man, he'd be the total package. Lol

Shopping in Soho was the next stop. I visited a few of my favourite fashion and streetwear boutiques including: KITH, Supreme, and Saint Laurent to name a few. After hours of walking and shopping, it was time to head back to the Hudson for dinner and cocktails before venturing out for an evening in the Lower East Side.

DAY 2

Our second day started off early, scrumptious, and refreshing. Porter Escapes had our day planned out just right — food and coffee first as adventure awaits.

Being that this was my fifth time in New York, but Hope’s first, it was only right for Porter Escapes to give us everything New York had to offer within a span of a weekend. The Best of NYC cruise was the perfect way to see all five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx – in one trip. Plus, we were able to see all three NYC rivers, all the major bridges and the rest of the city’s best sights, including the full Manhattan skyline, the growing Brooklyn waterfront, the legendary Yankee Stadium; the hip Harlem Heights waterfront, the lush greenery of upper Manhattan and the stately George Washington Bridge. In addition, we had an up-close encounter with the Statue of Liberty — she was quite the beauty! 

As our daytime adventures came to a close, we checked into our second home… The Royalton Hotel New York. Upon entrance, we were greeted with automatic doors which exposed the exquisite lobby interior. It was warm, luxurious, sophisticated, and charming. Immediately after check-in, we were led up to our Superior Double Double suite which delivered high style, luxury, and comfort all in one… along with a special note: 

Dear Christina,
Welcome to Royalton, New York!
Enjoy your stay and please let us know if there is anything

we can do to make your stay more enjoyable.
- Royalton Family

Designed with the discerning traveler in mind by Charlotte Macaux and inspired by Philippe Starck, our room featured an aesthetically pleasing palette with two supreme double beds featuring crisp white custom 300 thread count cotton linens, along with luxurious down comforters and pillows. The open concept room was spacious, catered to storage, and had an office nook. The bathroom offered a sparkling and invigorating space that refreshes and restores, with a rainfall showerhead and lavish MALIN+GOETZ amenities. 

After a relaxing shower and outfit change, we were invited for cocktails at Royalton's popular Forty Four bar before an evening out on the town. Conveniently enough, the Royalton is located in the heart of midtown — just steps from great shopping, Broadway, the Theater District, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Times Square, Bryant Park and the Rockefeller Center.

If there's anything I learned during my time in New York, it was to expect, accept, and appreciate any delays that may come within the creative field. I've recently decided to freelance full time and I've been busier than ever. Note to self: Delays aren't always a negative thing.

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The iconic Royalton was brilliantly reinvented by Roman and Williams, and reinstated as the stylish living room of Manhattan, and crossroads for international travellers and the New York elites. Simultaneously sophisticated and complex, this New York midtown boutique hotel features a floor-to-ceiling hand-forged cast bronze fireplace, a twenty-foot screen that was once part of the façade of a building in France, and hand-upholstered leather walls reminiscent of African tribal art. The Royalton remains the gathering place for New York City’s media, publishing and fashion elites. 

Porter Escapes definitely offered me the best of both worlds with my stay at the Hudson and Royalton hotels. They got my personality spot on — eclectic, lively, and creative with a dash of modern sophistication. 

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DAY 3:

After an eventful, jam-packed weekend, Porter Escapes created a relaxing departure itinerary. The service at the Royalton was beyond superb and accommodating. We started our morning with an intimate breakfast at the Forty Four restaurant where we were greeted and served by Chef Vanessa herself. Her avocado toasts with poached eggs are divine!  

Since we had a late flight, we were able to leave our bags at concierge while we explored the city one last one. But before then, a coffee stop was a must. Luckily enough, STK was a close by walk from the Royalton where I was able to take a New York minute on an outdoor patio.

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Hope and I soaked in as much of New York as we could within the last few hours. We looked up for the majority of this trip, admiring the designs and aesthetics of buildings and homes. Its intricate details and textures were too precise and beautiful to go unnoticed. The natural hustle and bustle of the busy city streets fuelled us to grind harder, push further, and aim for success — it was an adrenaline we needed for our respective creative fields. Again, my partnership with Porter Escapes couldn't have come at a more perfect time. 

I would like to give a huge thank you to Hope Little for being my trusty photographer and videographer during this trip. It was an exhilarating jam-packed weekend weekend courtesy of the good people at Porter Escapes, who made sure my experience was outstanding! Booking with them is fast, easy, and stress free. Leave it up to them to make your trip experience one to remember.

The hotel lineups are specially curated so you can choose your preferred property right from their website and add attractions in most of the big urban cities where Porter Airlines flies to. While you can book your packages directly on the website 24/7, you also have the option to call their "hotline" (available Mon-Fri 9am-7pm and Saturdays 10-4) at 1-855-372-1100 where you are able to speak to one of their travel planners who can provide a curated itinerary for you and yours!

I've never experienced New York City the way Porter Escapes had me experience it — it was the perfect balance of what the city had to offer. I have a whole new appreciation and outlook: I inevitably experienced its busy touristy areas, shopped in Soho, partied in the Lower East Side, wined down during the Circle Line Boat Cruise where I was able to fall in love with the city’s skyline, stayed in an artistic-funky-cool hotel that is the Hudson, and experienced a more sophisticated touch at the Royalton. Needless to say, I also had some of the best tasting cocktails and meals during my stay. 

New York — you were good to me and Porter Escapesyou sure know how to spoil a gal like me! I am forever grateful for this experience.