Summer in New York City can be notoriously grueling—the cement holds the heat through the night and denizens get to feeling like they are slow-baking with nary a respite. Bathtubs filled with cold water and ice cubes and day-long movie-theater marathons are formidable weapons, but there’s a more elegant strategy to beating the heat: hotel roof-top pools. Of course, this costs the price of a night’s stay, but checking in and taking a dip gives perfect staycation relief. Here are three in downtown Manhattan (consider booking back-to-back stays!) where you can find a cool, aquatic oasis.
Trump Soho On the seventh-floor terrace of Trump Soho, service is top-of-the-line at this waterfall-lined plunge pool (ask for a Kindle to use poolside!), and a fresh menu is on offer at Bar D’Eau for 2012, featuring treats such as a Spicy Tuna Tartare with Won Ton Crisps and a Kiwi Krush Caipirinhia.
One side effect of having a partner who is training for the New York City Marathon (Go, Bob, go!) is that it has upped my own mileage as well. I tell myself, if he is out on an 18-miler, I can certainly pound out eight. This increase in my own distance has had another unexpected and pleasant side effect: On my last trip to London, wanting to keep up my running schedule, I found myself out running around in new areas of the city I’d never seen—I was sightseeing by accident.
Stride-by-stride is such an enjoyable way to take in a new city. I suddenly wanted to run everywhere! Wouldn’t it be great to run over the Golden Gate Bridge, or through tulip fields, or by the Pyramids? During sunset on the Côte d’Azur, in cherry-blossom season in Japan, along the coast in Perth?
The Big Apple just got a lot more user-friendly for those who like to throw their leg over a two-wheeler, hit the bike paths, and take in the sights. The NYC Parks Department and Bike and Roll—a bicycle rental group that started seven years ago and now operates in five U.S. cities—cut the ribbon last week on their new Hop On/Hop Off program, which allows renters to pick up a bike at one of the easily recognizable 11 mobile Bike and Roll centers in Manhattan and drop it off at a totally different location, eliminating the need for a round-trip and encouraging exploration. Rates range from $12-20 per hour to $39-69 per day; child seats and tagalong attachments for kids are also available.
I know most people in the U.S. are head over heels for spring right now, breaking out the shorts, the bikes, even thinking about the bathing suit. But I can’t quite let go of ski season. It was a record one this year and, of course, I wish I had gotten out on my board just a few more times. If, like me, you are holding on to the dream of just one more outing into the white stuff, there are a few places where you can make it come true.
Downtown Los Angeles has transformed from one of L.A.’s “whatever” neighborhoods to a must-do that’s on everyone’s list. With the recent opening of the brand new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels and an influx of hot restaurants in the surrounding blocks, the area is set for visitors to do more than just park and beeline to the Staples Center for a concert or sporting event, it’s now a place you want to get to early, stay all day, and maybe even spend the night.
Utah and its frontiers for skiing and snowboarding have long been on my list for exploration, and my recent trip there did not disappoint. In fact, I was amazed at how easy it was to get there (a non-stop from JFK to SLC on Delta plus 35 minutes in my Enterprise rental car from the airport to Park City—with no harrowing mountain pass requiring tire chains). And it was so much fun (9,026 acres of skiing; hundreds of hotels to choose from, sunny skies, and, since 2009, no more “membership” necessary to enter a bar and buy a drink). One local told me he always felt like Park City was the redheaded stepchild of the U.S. ski areas, but I think it is soon to be (if not already) one of the favorites.
Favorite Runs: Apex and Spider Monkey, The Canyons (lift ticket $85 a day)—trails here are generally fairly narrow, which made me feel immersed in nature, much like when I hike. Apex varies intermediate and advanced tilt down a thrilling ridge, and Spider Monkey bops beneath a cathedral of tall pines.
I am like a kid in a candy store when I surf around the pages of Tour d’Afrique’s website. The eight-year-old cycling tour company has four epic trips—Tour d’Afrique, Orient Express, Silk Route, and Vuelta Sudamericana—of which you can do all or part; 26 shorter tours; and a DreamTour program in which you create your ideal, no-limits, perfect journey, and if enough people join the “Count Me In” list for your tour, TdA will add it to their roster, work out the details, and let you go on it for free.
With my snowboarding skills firmly intact, I decided this season I would head west again (after three years) for some real-deal riding. Here are my highlights from my January jaunt to Vail and Beaver Creek.
Favorite runs: Avanti and Pickeroon, Vail (lift ticket $97 a day)—often-groomed, excellent mix of intermediate and advanced slope. Larkspur Bowl and Golden Bear, Beaver Creek (lift ticket $97 a day)—the bowl was next to empty and made me shout, WOOHOO, multiple times; I renamed Golden Bear “Honey Bear” because it was such a sweet ride.
Favorite après-ski spots: Garfinkel’s, Lionshead (drinks for two $15)—lots of picnic tables outside, making it easy to spot your friends; I accidentally stayed après après. Los Amigos, at Vail Village (drinks for two $15)—watch tired experts and out-of-their-league beginners make their last run down the black-diamond Pepi’s Face, and be thankful you’ve already loosened your boots.
That’s me and Harley, just back from a stroll around Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’m wearing the Rebound jacket from Nau, which I plan on taking everywhere I go because it’s the best travel jacket I’ve ever worn. The main reason it’s so great? Packablity.
Nau, a sustainable urban and outdoor apparel brand based in Portland, Oregon seems to be on the path to fulfilling of one of my life-long desires. I have always wanted a jacket made of a material no thicker than a quarter inch that changes its insulation factor depending on whether it is 62 degrees or minus two (space-age dream, I know, but someone will do it).
With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa just around the corner, U.S. media and fans will have a flare-up in interest in world sports. Our minds open to the fact that sports aren’t just strenuous things done around leather balls and across finish lines, but also with paddles, on blades, in water, and on trampolines. Our brains reset from caring about athletes with names like LeBron and Brett, and we start to root for people named Oksana and Usain.