A City Staycation

Summer Monica, my husband coined, in response to my perpetual pleas to adventure and travel as a family as much as possible.  There’s something about the fleeting summer months that stir up a strong sense of wanderlust.  The children aren’t bound by school commitments, and the beautiful temps lend way to spontaneity in plans.

We took off for a beach vacation the day that school ended – igniting our favorite season in the best way possible.  Since that time, my husband’s business is busier than ever and on most nights he’s not home to tuck in the kids, or join us to catch the local beach sundowns that colored our summers past.  So when an opportunity arouse for a sponsored Marriott staycation in the heart of New York City via Influence Central – we were certainly up for the getaway.

Marriott East Side Hotel

Determined to tackle the weekend like consummate tourists we mapped out the best ways to celebrate childhood, experience culture and famous city spots relatively close to home at the Marriott’s East Side location. Beginning in Central Park, the kiddos were elated to spot the kaleidoscope of colors approaching Victorian Gardens.  We had never been so early on a weekend, when rides were met with no lines and requests of “one more time!” were always met with “yes!”.

Victorian Gardens NYC Central Park Amusement Park

A first for us all was a visit to the Top of The Rock, where the choppers fly so incredibly close, even the tiniest of tourists can see the passengers waving.  I let myself get over the barrage of selfie-sticks to feel the palpable collective excitement buzzing through that iconic spot way up high in the sky. We took in unobstructed views of New York City landmarks unlike we ever had before and enjoyed walking around Rockefeller Center’s greatest hits including the massive LEGO store.

NYC-top-of-the-rock-kidsTop of the Rock Central ParkTop of the rocktop of the rock with kidsRockafeller Center FamilyRock Center NYC

Family art days are always a priority, and there are so many incredible opportunities to nurture creativity here in New York City.  We took another walk through the Guggenheim’s Storylines exhibit and finally made our way to the Cooper Hewitt where we all had a go at designing wallpaper in the Immersion Room.

GuggenheimCooper Hewitt Wallpaper

Despite all the fun we had traipsing around the city, I suppose that we all would have been content simply hanging out at our comfortable digs at the Marriott.  The children certainly made themselves right at home in lightning speed.

A photo posted by Monica (@marinobambinos) on

The sophisticated family-connect rooms elevated our hotel experience with ample space (two rooms and bathrooms!) met by a connecting door. Since the kids are little, we chose to keep the adjoining door open – and when they awoke like clockwork on their super-early schedule the TV in THEIR room (complete with Netflix!) was a parents’ saving grace.

From Aruba to Connecticut we’ve stayed at several Marriott locations, and their East Side location proved to be a gem in this city saturated with hotels.  We indulged in an amazing dinner at 525LEX Restaurant & Lounge located inside the hotel and looked forward to collapsing in the comfiest of beds after walking all day.

drinksMarriott East Side ReviewMarriott NYC L flyingNYC Marriott Hotel

The staff made us feel like true vacationers and the amenities like free WiFi, a great gym, healthy breakfast and business center allowed us to take care of the details that we couldn’t neglect over the weekend.

The ways in which experiences are contextualized in the minds of my children is what the crux of family travel is all about.

Family Travel NYC

Upon tiny notes that fill up books that tell our family story.

Special thank you to the Marriott East Side Team (including manager Daniel W.) and Influence Central for the hosted stay. 

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