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Published on February 19, 2007 By Jythier In Travel
I was fortunate enough to be able to live like a rich guy this weekend. I took a trip down to New York City and saw a Broadway play, The Producers, at St. James Theater, and stayed at the Omni Berkshire. Now, not actually being a rich guy, I hardly knew what to make of the whole thing. The hotel has so many service people, it costs almost as much to tip them as it does to stay in the hotel. Valet parking, bell service, a concierge... I normally stay at Days Inn, you know?

The problem with ritzy hotels, though, especially when you're not paying for it, is that nothing is free. If I go to the Days Inn, I get a free continental breakfast. Not going to happen at the Omni. And utilizing the mini-bar, while tempting, is the kind of decision a person who will never be able to afford to stay there will make. It's so expensive that I would've had it locked, except I need a place to put my wife's strawberry milk that she needs to keep the heartburn away.

I figured if she didn't drink it I could leave it in there and charge the hotel $20 for it.

Tony Danza starred in The Producers, and he was really good. The show was all the things a Mel Brooks production should be. I recommend it to any Mel Brooks fans.

I went shopping on 5th Avenue, which was expensive and pretty boring. In fact, it was extremely boring until 11, when the Disney store finally opened. We went in and they applauded all the entering customers, which really freaked me out. But other than that, it was just a Disney store... a 3 level Disney store. With a make-your-own Mr. Potato Head. Which I did with my wife, for my son to play with.

The best part of the trip was that my son had a great time... with the babysitter, back in New England. Yeah I missed him, but it was great to not be woken up by him.

I learned this trip that I don't want to stay in ritzy hotels and eat at expensive restaurants. I enjoy the time with my family more than I enjoy what an excess of money would buy me. It's nice to know what's out there, because now I know that I won't miss it.

on Feb 19, 2007
Sounds like a fun weekend. I have never been to NYC but would like to go some day. Did you go the the Empire State building? Times Square? Ground Zero? I would have loved to go shopping. Probably just window shopping for me, breakfast at tiffany's. I love to people watch too and NYC seems like it would be a great place to do that.
on Feb 19, 2007

I totally agree with you and in fact, I have a parellel story.

This weekend, my wife and I went to New York. Stayed at the Mandarin which is a 5 star hotel. And it was much the same experience. Massive amounts of service but an amost petty level of having to pay ridiculous amounts for very little.

For instance, our room was $800 a night. Yet it came with a snack bar where a candy bar was $5.  Room service bagels were $12 apiece. A class of orange juice was $9.  We didn't make use of any of this but to me, the whole things seemed tacky.   Nothing screams low class to me as when people or businesses start trying to nickel and dime you like this. How exactly do they think charging $5 for a Hershey bar makes them look?

instead of going to the Producers, we were next door to you. We saw Spamalot. Which was pretty good but not as good as I had hoped.

Overall, we had a really really good time (We're at the airport right now getting ready to head back to Michigan).  But despite the exceptional service and very nice room, I don't think I could recommend the Manadarin because of the flagrant gouging.

on Feb 19, 2007
It was the same where I was. $21 for a room service smoothie for breakfast. I don't have $42, so we went out and bought french toast and a Western Omelette for $17.50 after tip. Still expensive, but I got more, and it's New York, so what should I expect?

I don't think our room was $800 a night. I hope not, at least, because that extra $500 could go right on my bonus.

My taxi driver went right past St. James Theater so I guess he thought Spamalot was a better show? But we weren't too far away when we stopped him, so it all worked out all right. At least I didn't have to drive once we got to the hotel. I hate driving in New York, and I've only done it for 20 minutes. Almost had an accident, and almost got a 'summons' which I think is a 'ticket' in New England.
on Feb 19, 2007
We completely forgot to do any of that cool site-seeing stuff. We left the baby at home, and we were going to get charged for a second day of parking, so we went window shopping and just walked up and down 5th Avenue a couple times. We only got into the Disney Store, because everything didn't open 'til 11 or 12. But that's okay, I'm sure we'll get another chance to go down and actually have some time to see what makes New York New York.