Want to take a family vacation to New York City – and then get out of town for a day? The Conrad New York offers the best of both worlds – a family friendly all-suite hotel in Battery Park City, with easy access to the highways that will take you out of the city. Get your city and your country adventure on!
Many visitors to New York mistakenly think that the city is all concrete and crowds. But you get a very different sense of the city staying downtown, at the Conrad New York. This all-suite, family friendly hotel is in a quiet part of Battery Park City, but just minutes away from the action.
I was a guest of GMC, there to test out new trucks and SUVs and drive one SUV up to Beacon, New York. The Conrad offers easy access to the West Side Highway, so as long as you are not hitting the road on a summer Friday, you can spend most of the day upstate, and still make it back to the city for a Broadway show or Michelin starred restaurant (some of these are surprisingly kid friendly).
It was fun to play tourist in my own city, and I actually biked over to the hotel, which is about five miles from my house. The concierge stored the bike for me, though I could have easily left it in my spacious suite.
Day Trip to Beacon
Beacon, in the Hudson Valley, has long been on my bucket list, since it is home to the contemporary art museum, Dia: Beacon. Alas, on the day I drove there, in a fully tricked out GMC Denali, the museum was closed.
Dia: Beacon has been drawing crowds since it opened in 2003. And I have no excuse, really, for not making it there – yes, travel soccer ate up a lot of weekends, but the picturesque town is just 65 miles north of the city. But Beacon, home to the late folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, has other charms. The cute downtown has independent coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants, and The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, a converted factory complex with a hotel and restaurant.
We drove a Yukon on a dirt road, and were able to walk a bit of a hiking path. Driving upstate, you pass multiple trail heads, so if hiking is your jam, bring some sturdy boots. Mount Beacon offers some elevation.
If you like canoeing or kayaking, the GMC trucks are great for hauling a boat up top, or pulling a trailer with a couple of boats. The Hudson River is clean enough for swimming; Seeger made sure the factory waste was cleaned and the water is fairly pristine.
Whether you hop in an SUV or a truck, or ride the train, Beacon is a worthy day trip.
The all-suite Conrad has a pull out couch in every room, a separate shower stall and bathroom with toilet and sink, and a bar sink next to a Nespresso coffee maker. The extra sink is useful if you are filling your suite with a family. And the bedroom can be closed off from the living room. But if you wanted to, say, sneak upstairs to the seasonal rooftop lounge while the kids are asleep, you’d have to walk past them and they’d hear the door. Best to stay in your bedroom and watch TV or, well, that adventure is up to you.
- 24 hour fitness center (this is the city that never sleeps)
- Old fashioned barber shop
A Mediterraan restaurant, Atrio, is just off the second floor lobby. You can also have appetizers and drinks at the rooftop bar. The hotel is steps from the highly rated North End Grilll, and branches of the casual barbecue restaurant Blue Smoke and Le Pain Quotidien. Brookfield Place, formerly the World Financial Center, is an upscale mall with a similarly upscale food court.
What Works for Families
- Separate room for parents and kids
- Steps from Battery Park City – amazing playgrounds, acres of open grassy areas. Borrow balls, Frisbees, or even board games from the Battery Park Conservancy
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- No pool
- Showers only; no tubs
- Rooms wrap around a huge atrium – I’d worry about kids falling
My Favorite, Thoughtful Touch
Light switches are labeled so you don’t have to play guessing games: how do I turn the reading light on the bedroom? Where is the bathroom switch? And a master switch lets you shut all the lights off when you leave the room, and all the lights from your bed.