We have arrived in the Big Apple! Our first challenge is to find our way from the airport to our hotel, which is near Times Square. While we wait for our baggage we assess our options – a taxi will cost between $50 and $60 and could take between and hour to an hour and a half; a shuttle-bus will cost around $17 per person and will take a little longer than the taxi; the Subway will be the quickest and cheapest option and the airport’s AirTrain will take us to the Subway station. We opt for the Subway and, once our bags arrive, we set off for the airbus.
We have to purchase Metro tickets to use the AirTrain, which is not as simple as it sounds when you are not sure where you are going! Luckily, a member of staff sees us looking lost and comes over to help. She explains where we need to change, where to get off and how much money we need to put on the card. Soon we are on our way. We leave the AirTrain at Jamaica Station and board the Subway. It is not long before we arrive at Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is close to our hotel stop. We climb the stairs from the station and the cold wind hits us – it is freezing and we quickly realise how unprepared we are!
The road is lit up with neon lights and bright, electronic billboards – New York is just as we had imagined! We know that our hotel is not too far from and which street it is on but we have lost our bearings and have no idea whether to walk left or right. We take a guess and set off. After a few minutes we realize that the street numbers are going up instead of down and figure we must be going the wrong way. We turn and head back the way we have come as the rain turns to sleet and then light snow. By the time we arrive on 10th Avenue we are soaking and freezing. Now we have to figure out whether we must turn right or left again. We give up and ask a pretzel vendor if he knows where the Yotel is and he starts to laugh. He points above us and we see that we have already arrived. After thanking the vendor we rush inside to the warmth of the hotel lobby.
The Yotel hotel chain was created by Yo! Founder, Simon Woodroffe OBE in 2002. Inspired by first class travel, he translated the luxury of airline travel into modern and luxurious hotels. The rooms are called ‘cabins’ and are equipped with the Yotel’s signature ‘techno wall’.
To check in we are directed to a touch-screen computer, which spits out our room cards. Unable to figure the check-in process out on our own, we have been assisted by a member of staff, who upon seeing our room number, takes our cards and telephones the lobby upstairs. He asks if there are any other rooms available higher up and has us moved from the 9th floor to the 23rd floor – it seems he has taken pity on the soaking wet, non-tech-savy foreigners!
The view from our room is beautiful! We can see the Hudson River and One Worldwide Plaza, the 50-story, 237 metre tall office skyscraper. We only have a few days in New York and so we decide to get changed into some warmer (and dryer) clothes and set off to explore ‘The City’…