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HAPPY NEW YEAR
from New York

BALL DROP !

Larissa & Tara

New York, New york

Every year in December (or sometimes even in November), sooner or later someone will ask the question: “What are we going to do on New Years Eve?" And inevitably, the first answer will be: “I have no idea this year!". This year was no different. We truly had no idea what we could do, but that didn’t last long, because we suddenly received an offer to ring in the new year in New York City! That’s right: New York City, The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps. The amazing city on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, that New York City! So of course we said yes!

Before we knew it, our bags were packed and we were on the plane to America, and 7 1/2 hours later we found ourselves in a yellow cab on our way to the hotel. We stayed at the Novotel Times Square Hotel, a beautiful grand hotel right on Times Square. The hotel is smack dab in the middle of downtown, with a spectacular view of Times Square. You couldn’t wish for a better view!

The hotel is modern, but it still exudes a cosy atmosphere, and it is ideal for young or old, single travellers or families. The reception desk has an amazing ceiling that reminded us of a futuristic cocoon or a tortoise's shell. Simply beautiful! The adjacent lobby, on the other hand, was very open and spacious. It is ideal for breakfast or dinner, for a cocktail at the bar, updating your social media channels on one of the many iMacs or playing games on the touchscreen tables or the game consoles.

The hotel’s location was absolutely ideal! There are two Starbucks locations within a two-minute walk, which was perfect for the coffee lovers among us. There is also a Duane Reade next door to the hotel - a combined chemist’s shop and supermarket. You can be in Times Square in five minutes, and Central Park is just a 10-minute walk in the other direction! The park is beautiful and peaceful; a striking contrast to the bustle of the city and an absolute must-see. The public transport is well-organised in New York. The closest subway station is literally just around the corner from the Novotel, and it takes you anywhere you want to go. So from the hotel you can see quite a bit of the city by either walking or taking public transportation.

The bustle of the city gave us plenty of energy, and that came in handy, because we had been invited to the famous ‘Ball Drop’, during the Supernova New Year’s Eve party in the hotel! The party is sold out every year, so we were honoured to be able to be part of the event. The lobby had been transformed into a party venue, with a dance floor, DJ, party lights, acrobatics and an excellent dinner and dessert buffet, all with the full range of cocktails and champagne! But the real cherry on top was the breathtaking view from the roof terrace. From the luxurious party, we had a perfect view of Times Square and the Ball Drop, with all of the comfort of the hotel.

You can imagine that after a party like that, it feels so good to be able to go straight to bed, and what could be better than having a room a few floors above the party?! Our hotel room was spacious and furnished with a beautiful bathroom and two sumptuous beds with soft pillows and blankets. As soon as we laid down, we were whisked away to dreamland.

From the 21st floor, we had a magnificent view of the New York skyline, and we wish that we could wake up to that view every day! The city of New York is so incredibly dynamic and the buildings are so tall compared to our Dutch cities. It is truly fascinating to see.

What made our adventure in New York even more cool, was that we were able to use Google Glass to record and photograph everything we saw. That way, everyone can experience the activities from our point of view. We weren’t familiar with the glasses, so we were very interested in trying them for the first time. All you have to do is connect the Google Glass to your smartphone and you can do all sorts of fun things. There’s a touch surface on the side of the glasses that you can use to easily navigate between the options and apps in the glasses.

Google Glass is really fun for travelling, because you can record video images with your hands free. As you walk around the city, apps like Compass, Field Trip, Foursquare and GuidiGO are fun and handy because you can use them to find your way around, search for fun hotspots and receive background information about the city’s attractions. We also appreciated the temperature option, so we could check the temperature outside before we left the hotel to make sure that we weren’t dressed too cold or too warm. MyRadar Weather is also really handy, because it tells you whether any rain showers are forecasted for the area, so that you know if you have to carry an umbrella!

The glasses are fairly compact and they don’t get in the way when you’re wearing them. In principle, they don’t have lenses, so your vision isn’t obstructed and the glasses don’t feel heavy. They also come with a sturdy bag that you can use to store the glasses safely when you’re not wearing them.

New Year’s Eve is a big celebration in New York, so we came ready to party! We both chose for a sequinned dress, curled hair and bright red lipstick. We went down to the Supernova party around 9 o’clock, and the venue was decorated with a lot of festive glittering lamps. The music sounded awesome, and you could tell that everyone was in the same mood to party as we were. Everyone was dressed to the nines, and the crowd ranged from very young to much older. It was great to see! It didn’t take long for people to get down on the dance floor, and in the meantime the rest of us enjoyed a glass of bubbly and the delicious hors d’ oeuvres from the buffet.

We decided to start the night off with a glass of champagne and take in the scene. At a certain point, we noticed a lithe woman balancing in a ring hanging from the ceiling! It was so cool! That night we also wore the Google Glass, so we were able to record the evening with the glasses’ video function. When we heard a cool song, we were able to look up the artist using the Shazam app on the glasses.

The glasses attracted a lot of attention, so all night long we fielded questions from curious partygoers. A lot of them tapped us on the shoulder and asked: “What are you wearing? Is that a magnifying glass, can you see things up close?” or “What are you seeing?!” if they recognised the glasses as Google Glass. Everyone reacted positively and with curiosity, and especially the men gave us covetous looks and pointed us out to their wives or girlfriends!

Finally, the moment that we had all been waiting for arrived: the Ball Drop! It was an intense and special moment to hear all of New York count down the seconds. At exactly 00:00, a gigantic ball set with Swarovski jewels lowered and everyone yelled: "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" Then there was an amazing fireworks show, and we gave everyone a hug and wished each other a happy new year.

But like all parties, eventually ours came to an end, and we dragged ourselves to bed. It’s so amazingly cool to be able to party at a hotel and then to just figuratively crawl to your hotel room. We took along some snacks to our room (mini cheesecakes, doughnuts and éclairs!) and talked about the evening, before we fell into a deep sleep.

After a short night’s sleep, we made our way back to the breakfast buffet and literally drooled at all of the delicious dishes. The hotel offers a wide selection of rolls, juices, sweets, fresh fruit and coffee. Larissa always chose fruit, waffles and a croissant, and Tara always had fruit, pancakes and a bagel. Yum!

With Times Square in the background, we enjoyed our breakfast and looked back on the past year. 2014 was a really fun year, and starting 2015 off in New York City can only mean that this year will be even better! We are definitely looking forward to it, and we want to express our deep gratitude to Novotel Times Square for this amazing start to the new year!

Where did you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Novotel New York City Times Square
226 West 52nd Street, New York
NY 10019, United States.

Larissa

+ meet Larissa and Tara
our exclusive insider

“This is Larissa and Tara. We’ve been travelling as a family together since our childhood. Our travel blog Travellab.nl compiles our reviews of hotels and hotspots. For Accorhotels.com, we’ve wore the Google Glass to explore New York in a new way!”

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