Tijana Jaksic is a freelance travel writer and photographer whose love of travel began early. She started her rich and varied travel ‘list’ inspired by her heritage, and quickly added to it, enthused by the many fascinating stories she heard, the foreign images she saw and what she can only describe as an ingrained urge. Just as fast as she ticks them off, more countries, cities and far-away temptations get tacked onto the end. From the streets of Cuba to the markets of India, the hustle of London to the beauty of rural Bosnia, it comes naturally to avidly document the journey. She’d just as happily unroll a swag under the stars in the middle of the desert as submerse herself in the luxuries of a five-star hotel. Tijana’s work appears online and in print, as well as new technologies such as iphone apps.
What do you get when you take an aged 1930s printing factory on Manhattan's far west side, renovate it with style, convert the rooftop into a swish bar with panoramic city views and add a bold lobby full of colour and spruce?
A concoction that screams New York without actually being smack bang in the centre of the tourist-bumping streets.
Located in the once-rough neighbourhood of Hell's Kitchen, right next to the popular Theatre District, Ink48 comes as a pleasant surprise. Although the interior screams overhaul, vibrance and decadence, the exterior nods to authenticity and remains not the only sign of the building's rich history.
In creating Ink48, a Kimpton Hotel, three quintessentially 'New York' architectural features were drawn upon as inspiration - lofts, pocket parks, and the much-loved rooftop terrace. The soaring ceilings in each guest room, ranging from 11 to 15 feet, represent the loft whilst pocket parks were creatively interpreted to fashion a number of inviting seating areas tucked around the corners of the lobby. The rooftop terrace was emphasised for its prime 16th-story location with the opening of PRESS Lounge.
Featuring a classy dining option in the downstairs restaurant PRINT, as well as an onsite fitness centre and full-service luxury spa, Ink48 is well-equipped for every kind of New York City stay. A healthy walking distance to the hustle and bustle of Times Square, Ink48 brings the best of both worlds - you can choose to escape the chaos or completely immerse yourself in the city's famous neon strip and further afield.
Stylish and minimalist with splashes of eye-catching colour and luring large-scale artworks, Ink48 is a welcoming home away from home. With stone-tiled bathrooms, marble countertops, textured stone accent walls and modern linear desks, every aspect is well constructed. Across the 222 guest rooms all include LCD flat screen TVs, full-length mirrors, in-room safes, wireless Internet access, Nintendos, irons and ironing boards, speaker phones with voicemail and complimentary coffee makers (available upon request).
With a wide range of room types on offer, the main differences can be found in room size, bathroom facilities and the view through your window. Rooms dedicated to providing the best views possible include the CityView Premier King Suite with panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, and the Hudson River Suite boasting fantastic river views. If you're looking to indulge and want both river and city views (plus so much more) the penthouse - Heaven Over Hell's Kitchen Suite - wins hands down.
The sprawling PRESS Lounge offers impeccable views on three sides to accompany the drinks, cocktails and nibbles listed on the menu. Designed by renowned architect Carlos Zapata, the rooftop lounge is open to both hotel guests and the general public - proving quite a hit amongst both.
With the emphasis on prime location, views remain unobstructed by a see-through glass exterior around the 'indoor' seating and glass railings around the spacious outdoor lounge area. PRESS Lounge is a must-see by day and night.
Situated on the ground level and next to the lobby bar, PRINT is Ink48's modern a la carte restaurant. With a menu inspired by regions of Southern France and Italy, this 80-seat restaurant dishes up a decently priced meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. They even use homemade butter from the famous Sullivan Street Bakery.
Wine-lovers out there rejoice! Each afternoon Ink48 hosts a complimentary wine reception for all guests from 5.00pm to 6.00pm in one of the styled 'pockets' of the lobby.
Whilst the name might seem a turnoff, Hell's Kitchen is an area internationally renowned for the range of cuisines on offer. All just a stone's throw away from Ink48, it's easy to find a cheap eat or a fancier restaurant to suit your taste. Fortunately the Hudson River is also nearby - in case you should need to walk off dessert.
When touring a new city, especially one as massive and varied as New York City, any little bit of insider help goes a long, long way. Find your saviour in the form of a variety credit-card, a small rectangular swipe card that is the New York Pass.
Your local guide and discount dealer, this little beauty will get you priority entry at many of the busiest tourist attractions in town whilst delivering the best value sightseeing to be found in this concrete jungle.
With a massive host of attractions attached to your pass, the deliberating will really revolve around which to make the most of. Free entry is guaranteed to over 70 attractions including the mind-blowing panoramic views from the top of the Empire State Building Observation Deck and the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre). Also included in your pass is the Madison Square Garden All Access Tour, Madame Tussaud's New York, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Sex, City Sightseeing Cruises, Guggenheim Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
If you're looking to get moving though, the pass also includes Bike and Roll NYC Bike Rental, Food on Foot tours, the Real Bronx Tour, Shearwater Sailing and two types of On Location tours. And as for transport, the New York Skyride, New York Water Taxi and Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum Ferry are also conveniently included. A complete list of attractions available on the New York Pass can be found on their website.
Offering one, two, three and seven-day passes, which pass you opt for will depend on both time and budget. The more days you choose, the cheaper it pans out per day. Take note: multiple-day passes must be used across consecutive days, and days are calculated as calendar days rather than 24-hour periods.
To get the most out of your pass it's best to hit the ground running with a plan of attack. Use the accompanying 176-page guidebook (available in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian) to research the attractions and hours of operation, find directions and logically plot your points of interest on the detailed maps inside so you're never zig-zagging across this massive metropolis.
Even better, if you have an iPhone, download the New York Pass Travel Guide App to plan your trip. Here you can create daily sightseeing itineraries, plan your budget, record all your travel and accommodation details as well as any essential notes.
Buy a New York Pass, do your research, and get the most out of your New York City stay.
Perched amongst red brick apartment blocks, sturdy warehouses and cobbled streets in the heart of New York City’s trendy Tribeca, The Greenwich Hotel can proudly claim Robert de Niro as the mastermind behind its superior conception.
Opening its doors in 2008, de Niro’s first hotel venture created a buzz at the time, and today has matured into its reputation as a sophisticated, attentive and exclusive New York City hotel experience.
Somehow de Niro has pinpointed the perfect combination of old-world charm, modern convenience, and the kind of friendly service that extends to ‘you-name-it’ requests fulfilled with a smile. With its luxurious blend of multicultural influences – from Moroccan tiles to Tibetan silk rugs and English leather settees – the atmosphere is indulgent and serene, and discreetly exudes this ‘members club’ vibe that makes one feel special just lulling about the hallways and in the elevator.
With 88 exquisite rooms and 13 suites across eight levels, it’s amazing to think that each is unique and unlike any other. Complemented by oak floors, sumptuous furniture and antique pieces, and all the classy finishing touches one would expect from an A-grade celebrity, The Greenwich Hotel's roomsare stylish and grand yet fitted with modern technology such as ipod docks, wireless internet and flat screen TVs. The complementary basket of goodies and jar of sweets, as well as an included fridge mini bar (except for alcohol), is just a bonus – especially for foreigners keen to try some Hershey’s and other local treats. Refreshingly, the high ceilings featuring beautiful hand-carved mouldings create a wonderful open and airy feeling of space within each room, and the heavy, motorised curtains are heavenly for an afternoon nap that feels more like night – perfect for jetlag recovery.
Choose from four room types, six different one and two-bedroom suites, and two styles of penthouses. The Fireplace Corner Suites are scrumptious.
The courtyard & drawing room
The Grenwich Hotel lobby is a guest-only retreat offering a drawing room decked out in classic upholstered and leather furniture pieces and garnished with stylish frames, decorative candle-holders, flowers, bookshelves and all kinds of other eye-catching ornamental items. Adjacent is a Tuscan-style outdoor courtyard, enclosed by tall city brick walls covered in crawling vines that reach up towards the blue sky above. Here, you can order a tasty dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or simply enjoy a coffee or wine and absorb the peace from the outside world.
The Shibui Spa & pool
Also exclusive to hotel guests, the Shibui Spa is infused with a calming Japanese influence, with the notion of ‘balance’ at its core. The indoor lantern-lit pool and lounge sit nestled under the roof of a 250-year old wood and bamboo Japanese farmhouse, whilst the adjoining bathrooms feature saunas. For professional spa treatments, there are four separate treatment rooms situated in their own peaceful sanctuary on the same level. Shibui Spa has a shiatsu room, a traditional Japanese bathing room with a large tub for bathing rituals and a tatami mat floor for massage, a wet room that includes a shower for wraps and scrubs, and a treatment room for massages and facials. The Shibui Spa menu is simply divine.
The Greenwich Hotel's other features: Concierge, Locanda Verde Italian tavern, in-house fitness centre located on Shibui Spa level.
The Greenwich Hotel is nestled in Tribeca, close to Soho, offering easy access to all of the New York City downtown sights and neighbourhoods. In the late 80s the area was popular with artists trying to escape the hefty prices of Soho, but today the neighbourhood has a high profile of its own with great restaurants, classy boutiques and trendy bars to tout. Wander Tribeca’s cobblestone streets and you’ll notice it still hasn’t lost its calm, chilled-out vibe, and certainly hasn’t been overrun with tourists and the ultra-hype of other New York City neighbourhoods.