Companion, the giant balloon depicting grafitti artist KAWS’ iconic bashful character, isn’t all that’s new at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22.
After years of marching down Seventh Avenue, the parade has a new route for 2012 — and probably beyond. And as we reported last year, for guests hoping to watch from a hotel room the choices have changed — and shrunk.
Eight Seventh Avenue and Times Square hotels, including giants like the Park Central New York, Sheraton New York, Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square and Marriott Marquis, won’t be seeing Santa & Co. this year.
Their loss is a big gain for four well-placed hotels on Sixth Avenue and Central Park West – the J.W. Marriott Essex House, Ritz Carlton New York Central Park, The Warwick New York and The New York Hilton. Though the change means a net loss of parade-view rooms, the four newly anointed properties are large, tall and, from the look of things, eager.
The J.W. Marriott offers two viewing options. A limited number of rooms overlooking the
parade are available; to book, call the hotel directly at 212 484-5149. Guest who reserve a room without a parade view can score a spot in the front section of South Gate, the hotel’s ground floor restaurant facing the street (and parade), by booking a combination package that includes breakfast. The rest of the restaurant will be open only to hotel guests during the parade. (After the parade, South Gate serves an $84 prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner.)
The best parade-viewing rooms at The New York Hilton are those closest to Sixth Avenue. Guests have three Thanksgiving options: aerial view rooms on floors 18 to 33 that look down on the parade (from $559 a night); partial view rooms on floors 7 to 24 (from $509 a night); and premium view rooms on floors 7 to 24 offering unobstructed views of King-Fu Panda and Buzz Lightyear (from $987 a night). For guests eager for a spot on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, non-view rooms start at $449.
In addition to its rooms overlooking the parade, The Warwick is serving a $65 Thanksgiving buffet in Murals on 54, the hotel dining room known for its historic Dean Cornwall murals from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To make certain your room has a parade view, sidestep the website and call the hotel directly at 212 247-2700.
Farther uptown, the Trump International Hotel and Tower has rooms overlooking the route between the prime viewing 3rd and 11th floors. And select rooms at the Mandarin Oriental look onto the route, though from on high (the hotel starts on the 35th floor).
Farther downtown, the Residence Inn New York Manhattan Times Square houses a slew of rooms facing the parade route. They’re sold out for 2012 – and a private party has taken over the hotel’s large, parade-view dining area. But there’s always 2013. Most hotels start taking requests for next year the day after Thanksgiving. Typically, parade-view hotels contact interested guests during the summer to finalize reservations once prices are firmed up.
A final option: The Excelsior on the Upper West Side overlooks West 81st Street where Hello Kitty, Kermit the Frog and fellow balloons are inflated the night before the event. The hotel is sold out for this year, but last minute cancellations often occur. It’s worth a call even when a website says there’s no room in the inn.