You are a winner!
When I received the email notifying me that Travel With Bender had won a BlogHer Voices of the Year award for our photography, I was over the moon. They invited me to attend a ceremony in New York to collect the award.
And thus started the motions for my trip to New York.
BlogHer Voices of the Year
BlogHer is a media company and community of content creators that focuses on giving bloggers a voice. Since it’s foundation in 2005, the community has grown to reach an audience of 100 million across its members’ blogs and social profiles.
The photo we submitted for an award made it through 3 rounds and 6 judges to be selected a one of the top honourees at the annual event, which holds some 3000–4000 women.
Plus Melinda Gates and Gwyneth Paltrow were speaking, Boys II Men were playing and Nick Cannon was DJing. How could I say no?
This year the event was to be held at the Hilton Midtown. With so many women in town and multiple daily wardrobe changes, I wanted to be close to the action, without being in the action.
So when the Sheraton in Times Square suggested as a place stay, I knew it was the perfect choice.
In addition to the BlogHer conference I quickly found out some of my friends were attending another conference in town called Blogger Bash.
While not near the Sheraton, it was easy to catch a cab down to Chelsea Piers for this event as well. Plus with Uber, Lyft and Gett offering specials all weekend I was set.
Flying to New York
Lucky for me I used frequent flyer miles from Aeroplan to get from Montreal to New York. Read more about that…
These miles scored me a return trip on Air Canada, which was a surprisingly pleasant flight, complete with on-board entertainment and complimentary snacks.
La Guardia to Sheraton Times Square
When I arrived at La Guardia I waited inside for my driver. I had organised a ride with Blacklane, a private car company offering customers a luxurious taxi-like service all over the world.
The drivers are usually supposed to wait inside the terminal, however I found my driver outside in the standby zone. I admit I was a little disappointed not to have my name on a sign stepping out of arrivals, but the car was luxurious and comfortable and the driver was very courteous.
After sending Blacklane my feedback the company informed me this was most unusual and that the driver had been followed up. I was impressed with the fast actions Blacklane took and I am fully confident that on my next trip with them I’ll get my name on a sign.
Alternatively, SIXT ride car service is a safe, convenient option to get around New York. Book a ride via their website or mobile app - super easy!
Sheraton Times Square
I have extended family on Long Island so on all our previous visits to New York I have stayed with them. But this time I needed to be in the city, close to the events.
The Sheraton Times Square was perfect, literally a 2 minute walk to my conference, and centrally located on 7th Avenue in an elegant building that’s been around since 1962. Everything was close – located only half a mile from Central Park and 5 blocks from Times Square.
The lobby was extravagant – I felt special just walking through the doors. But it was super busy. Thankfully I had booked a Club Room, which immediately proved it’s worth as Sheraton provides a separate check-in queue. No one was waiting at the time (yay!) and I was checked in very quickly.
The hotel room was surprisingly small. I heard most of New York is like this, but I was still surprised. However since I was childless and husbandless on this trip, the room was still perfect.
I whirled around, fell back on the bed and started to sing, “Welcome to New York”, channelling my inner Taylor Swift. It became my theme song for the entire week. A lack of always-present dependants will tend to do that.
The room featured a large flat screen TV, super soft bed, Starbucks coffee and more. If you stay in a Club Room your room is located above the 44th floor. I scored the 45th floor and my views were stunning. I could see all the way to Central Park and it was a long (and scary) view down to the street below.
The Club Lounge situated on the 44th floor was open 24 hours a day, which came in very handy for my late night arrival. I grabbed a granola bar and an apple, used the computers to print out documents and then headed back to my room.
In the morning I returned for breakfast, a classic bagel with cream cheese and soaked up the view above Central Park. I never made it to cocktail hour, but I wish I had.
The Wi-Fi was fast and the location faultless. Any interaction I had with staff was overwhelmingly kind, patient and friendly.
My only grumble would have to be luggage storage upon checkout is charged. I guess in a busy city like New York space comes at a premium so even bags need to pay. If you have somewhere to be and need to store your bags, allow extra time to drop them off because the queue was long. Remember, there are some 1,781 rooms in this building, which equates to a lot of guests, especially in July.
Feeling Like A Winner
The Sheraton was the perfect stay for my blogging conference in New York. I could run back throughout the day and empty my swag bags, change my outfits, and grab food from the Club Lounge as I was always on the run.
It was also close enough to walk to the Dry Bar to have my hair done for the award ceremony, as well as a stop at Sephora for a makeup appointment.
It’s safe to say the stay was real special and definitely made me feel like a winner.
My review’s not the only one. See how others love the Sheraton.
Since Josh was in Montreal at the time with his camera, I had to make do with my smartphone. So apologies for my super glam snaps!
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