Do Life Well: Arielle’s Downtown Staycation

Arielle Tepper Madover knows how to plan the perfect family staycation.

I love hotels. The crisp white sheets, the tiny toiletries in the shower, the room service…all of it. And I love staycations. Planning activities that are out of my normal routine and seeing the city in a new light is one of my favorite things to do. There’s so much to see in NYC that, unless you pretend you’re a tourist every now and then, you’re bound to miss some of the extraordinary, ever-changing opportunities here.

I usually book a hotel in town for a whoop-it-up weekend stay with the kids for special occasions. One of our most recent—and so far favorite—staycations happened at the newly opened Four Seasons a few blocks away from One World Observatory.

Family pic at One World Observatory

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and ordered room service for dinner. It’s challenging to find restaurants that can accommodate my considerable food allergies and still turn out great, interesting dishes. But Four Seasons will make whatever you ask for and it’s always delicious. My husband loved the free-range Lancaster County half chicken with cumin-roasted carrots and sage jus; our daughter Sasha raved about the tagliatelle Bolognese; and our son Jonah’s hamburger made my mouth water (wish I could have had a bite!).

After dinner, we watched a movie, all of us lying on the giant beds and eating the complimentary snacks—giant bowls of cheese popcorn, cashews, and trail mix. Four Seasons knows how to spoil.

After room service again for breakfast (that’s staycation living!), we headed to One World Observatory. Though it has been open for two years, we’d never gone before because, to be honest, I was worried it might be a tourist trap. It wasn’t, and I wished I had visited sooner. The views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 100th to the 102nd floors are the most spectacular I’ve ever seen (sorry, Empire State Building, you’re still a classic!). From such a height, New York almost looks like a map of itself. Best part: Our kids were captivated for a long time searching for—and finding!—their home, schools, and all the places in the city they know and love.

Once we were back down, we toured the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It is so well done; every New Yorker should visit at least once. To be able to show my 15-year-old what happened on the day before she was born was a very intense and important experience for both of us.

Selfie with the girls at the Oculus

We spent the rest of the day walking around, taking photos, and stopping in at one of those obligatory I Love NY stores to buy Big Apple–themed fidget spinners. It was a getaway weekend we will all remember for a long time—and it was only five miles from our home.

Print out the full itinerary for the details or plan a summer staycation of your own. My team and I would love to help you make it something inspired. You deserve it.

Do life well,