Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My NYC Fam

Yesterday I was in New York and experienced 2 great new travel products. In the morning I had a site inspection of the newly opened Plaza Hotel and in the afternoon I flew by US Helicopter ( Delta & Continental code share on it ) to the Delta Terminal at JFK.

The Plaza

As we all know the Plaza Hotel closed 2 years ago for a complete transformation. The iconic formally 800+ room hotel has now reimerged into a mixed use
residential/hotel operation. The building is the same on the outside but inside is another story. You now enter the hotel from the Fifth Avenue side only. The CPS entrance is for the residents only. You enter into the familiar, fully restored Palm Court with has a recreated glass ceiling (not seen since the 1940's) over the room which is still the premier location for afternoon tea in the city. To the left is a brand new lobby area with seating and a Champagne bar facing Fifth Avenue. The Oak Room & Bar are still being restored but will be the same only better I was told.

The hotel now has only 280 rooms that face Fifth Avenue, 58th Street or a newly created courtyard. The courtyard rooms look over a fountain and garden area that is not a public or function space. There are no Parkview rooms. The condo portion of the building has the park views. The guest room floors were completely gutted and are essentially brand new. The hallways are very traditional white, bright with no artwork, just chandeliers and a blue carpet. The rooms are huge-from 450-575 sq ft. Rooms have every amenity expected with state of the art technology all controlled by a computer screen that detaches from the entryway hall. The large Bathrooms have separate baths,showers and double sinks with gold plated fixtures. Each floor has 2 butlers who introduce themselves on arrival and are there for whatever is required. The hotel is doing scheduled site inspections for the next 2 months. It is a property that should be seen as you will be asked about it. Contact Clovia Leslie at or (212) 518-1178.

US Helicopter

US Helicopter is doing codeshare flights from Wall Street "JRB" or 34th Street "TSS" to either the Delta Terminal at JFK or Continental at Newark. These 8 minute flights from Manhattan to your terminal make the Virgin free limo seem so last century. You check your luggage at the terminal to your destination (50lbs, one piece maximum) receive your boarding pass and clear security before leaving the city. You fly from the East Side of Manhattan directly onto the runway at Terminal 3 where a van picks you up and takes you to Gate #11---still within a secure area. There is no security rescreening. Best of all is that all full fare Business class passengers ( C, J & D) get this for no additional charge when booked and ticketed in conjunction with their transatlantic ticket. It can be sold independently using the US Helicopter code "UH" see the attached link for details.

Delta Terminal JFK

We arrived at the Delta terminal on the day the merger of DL/NW was announced and found the facility to be in much better shape than on previous visits. The attached Terminal # 2 has completed a full renovation including a new Todd English Restaurant and a Balducci's take out store. The lounge is looking sharp and I was told that the plan was to move the LHR and CDG flights here so passengers can drive up to the entrance check in, with many newly added stations and be at the gate within minutes and less than 100 yards from the driveway. The Terminal #3 side is still a work in progress (for like 30 years) but shows signs that it is getting its act together. The 3 lounges there were quite nice, in fact nicer than the Air France lounge at Terminal 1. The people we encountered were most positive about the merger and the morale seemed great. Delta's first 777 aircraft was parked on the runway and it looks like Delta will is going to be a good choice again.