eStandby Upgrade Options at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway

Original Mosaic Floor in Lobby of the Radisson Martinique
Original Mosaic Floor in Lobby of the Radisson Martinique

We recently spent a delightful weekend at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City.

This hotel is part of the Club Carlson chain, and I was lucky enough to secure a two-night stay for 50,000 points with their “second night free” option for Club Carlson credit card holders.

I earned the points as a bonus when I opened the Club Carlson credit card, and paid the annual fee of $60 for the business card.  Thus technically speaking, two free nights cost me $60.

Are the eStandby Upgrades Worth It?

When I booked my stay online, I was offered the option of several eStandby upgrades.

  1. High Floor:  Enjoy your stay about the streets of NYC, $30 extra per night ($40 value);
  2. Martinque Club Level – 1 King bed, includes a complimentary breakfast and access to the Executive lounge, $0 extra per night ($75 value); or
  3. Executive Suite – 1 King bed, separate living room area with sofa bed, complementary buffet breakfast and access to the Executive lounge, $69 Extra per night ($100 value.)

The deal is that you find out at check-in if you are awarded any of the add-on offers, and if so, you are obligated to pay the up charge.

I chose option 2, which had no added cost.  I didn’t particularly care about being on the Club Level, because I had heard they didn’t serve refreshments there like at many other hotels, but the notion of free breakfast seemed worth a try.

Free Breakfast Vouchers at the Hotel Martinque in NYC

Ad things turned out, I was not offered the upgrade when checking-in.  But I had a back-up option:  the Radisson Martinque App!  The iPhone app contains a coupon that you can redeem for a free breakfast buffet.

I was surprised when the front desk clerk provided vouchers for the full breakfast buffet for two mornings.  I was traveling with my sister and my daughter, so we received 6 free breakfast vouchers in total.  The regular price of the breakfast buffet is $29.95 per person.

Because I had Gold status (a perk of holding the Club Carlson credit card) I received a welcome gift of a small box of Belgian chocolates.

The breakfast buffet offered lots of choices, including fresh fruit, tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, bacon, omelets, home fries, french toast, pastries, cereals, juice and coffee.  It wasn’t the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen — I certainly wouldn’t pay $30 for it — but it offered a nice selection, and it enabled us to get an early start on our day.

What I Loved About the Martinque on Broadway

  • 1.5 block walk from Penn Station
  • Clean, comfortable rooms, and fairly large for NYC
  • Free wifi
  • Literally on top of the Subway station and an easy walk to midtown or SoHo
  • A park across the street
  • Belgian chocolates on your pillow at night
  • In Korea town, across the street from Macy’s, and near many cheap jewelry stores
  • Beautifully preserved historic hotel with gorgeous mosaics in the lobby and a 15-story marble spiral staircase
  • International clientele including many airline personnel
  • Genuinely friendly staff and good service
  • Free bottled water in your room and a Keurig coffeemaker

What I Didn’t Like

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Fifteen Broadway Musical Theme Songs: Free on iTunes

Broadway.org App, Free on iTunes
Broadway.org App, Free on iTunes

My amazing Uncle Bernie is turning 95 years old, and to celebrate, he wanted a night on the town.

I am headed up to New York for the celebratory dinner and show.

To prepare for the trip, I loaded up my iPhone with various New York City apps — transit maps, museum info, discount theatre tickets, and the like.

Broadway.org App Offers 15 Free Broadway Hit Songs

One app I found is the Broadway.org app; it’s available for free on iTunes.

Broadway.org
Broadway.org

Broadway.org is The Broadway League’s official source for information on Broadway shows in New York City, as well as for shows on tour across the country.

The app provides up-to-date show and theatre information, including information on last-minute lotteries for greatly discounted tickets to Broadway musicals.

To get you in the mood, the app

Download These 15 Songs for Free
Download These 15 Songs for Free

provides a code that you can redeem for 15 free Broadway tunes in the iTunes store.

The code is good through November 30, 2014.  

The free songs are the signature songs from 15 top Broadway hit shows.

This is the perfect entertainment for the train ride up to New York!

 

 

 

So Easy: Free Breakfast at the Radisson Martinique in NYC

Facebook Friend Discount at Radisson Martinique
Facebook Friend Discount at Radisson Martinique

A lot of miles and points travelers gravitate to the Radisson Martinique in New York City because you can stay two nights free for 50,000 Club Carlson points, if you have the Club Carlson credit card.

Well the nights are not exactly free, because you do have to pay the annual fee on the credit card.  That fee is $60 per year for the business card, or $75 for the personal card.

I have a two night stay booked at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway for a weekend in September.

The best thing about nights booked on points is that you don’t have to pay the NYC hotel taxes that add 20 percent or more onto your tab.

A big limitation of award stays is that you cannot reserve a room with two beds.  I am traveling with my sister so I reserved a king sized bed and will hope for the best!

How to Get A Free Buffet Breakfast at the Radisson Martinique

Free Breakfast at the Radisson Martinique
Free Breakfast at the Radisson Martinique

If you download the Radisson Martinique app on iTunes, you can get a mobile coupon for one free buffet breakfast!

This is a full American breakfast featuring eggs, bacon, potatoes, pancakes, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal and bakery items.

Social Media Promo Codes to Discount Your Stay at the Radisson Martinique

The travel industry is big into social media these days, and the Radisson Martinique is no exception.

If you “like” the Martinique on Facebook, you will gain access to a promo code worth up to 20 percent off the lowest available rate.  Here’s the link to their Facebook page.  The Facebook friends’ promo code is FBOOK.  This discount is available for select dates only.

For the dates I checked, this discount was greater than the AAA discount (promo code AAA), but be sure to check both!

Similarly, if you follow the Martinique on Twitter, you can access a promo code for up to a 20 percent discount.  That promo code is TWT.  The availability calendar shows that this code is applicable beginning in January 2015.

Per Diem Discount

The best deal of all is the military per diem discount, otherwise known as the government rate.  This rate includes one complementary full breakfast per room per night.  Eligible parties include:

  • U.S. military personnel, U.S Federal civilian employees and U.S state employees
  • Active and retired travelers
  • Business or leisure travel
  • ID or military orders required
  • Tax exemption varies by state

The Historic Roots of the Martinque

Radisson Martinque on Broadway
Radisson Martinque on Broadway

The Radisson Martinique on Broadway is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Hotels of America.

The building has landmark status from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In 1923, Harry F Young, aka “The Human Fly,” was hired to climb the Hotel Martinique to promote the silent movie Safety Last.  Tragically, he lost his grip on the ascent, and fell nine stories to his death.

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Save 30% on Amtrak Companion Tickets to Baltimore and BWI

30% Off Amtrak Companion Fares
30% Off Amtrak Companion Fares

Amtrak offers lots of regional and seasonal discounts as well as regular savings for students, seniors, military, and AAA members.

But here’s a special deal you won’t find on Amtrak’s deals page!

Through a partnership with the Maryland Office of Tourism, you can get 30 percent off on companion fares on Amtrak to Baltimore, MD or Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI).

This offer is especially attractive to people who may be travelling via BWI, thanks to lower airfares on some routes.

30% Off Amtrak Companion Fares to Baltimore and BWI with Maryland Welcome! Passport

The Maryland Welcome! Passport features online coupons for attractions, accommodations, and transportation which you can access at www.marylandwelcomepassport.com.  

The offer that caught my eye is for 30% off the best available rail fare for one companion in coach, when a second adult fare ticket is purchased at regular price.

To access the offer for the Baltimore area, go to Amtrak.com/VisitBaltimore

To access the offer for BWI area, go to: Amtrak.com/VisitAnnapolis

The offer is only redeemable online; reservations must be made three days in advance and tickets cannot be purchased in person.

The offer is valid for travel within the Northeast Corridor on the Northeast Regional service to Baltimore, MD or Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and return only.

The last date to travel is December 19, 2014.

Some popular travel dates are excluded.  Upcoming blackout dates are:

  • August 29, 2014
  • September 1, 2014
  • October 10, 2014
  • November 25 – 26, 2014 November 29 – 30, 2014
  • December 1, 2014

With the purchase of two tickets, each person can save 15 percent off the regular fare.

25% Off Advance Purchase Amtrak Tickets in the Northeast Corridor

If you are the kind of traveller that plans ahead, you may find better savings on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service with Amtrak’s advance purchase fare.

You can save 25 percent off the lowest available fares when you book 14 days in advance.

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The Amazing Spiderman 2 NYC Sweepstakes

Belkin's Spiderman 2 Sweepstakes
Belkin’s Spiderman 2 Sweepstakes

Here’s another chance to win a trip to New York City, this time courtesy of Belkin, the electronics manufacturer.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip for two to New York City, including:

  • Round-trip flights for two and airport transfers
  • A private The Amazing Spider-Man 2 photo lesson and tour of New York City
  • VIP club access at the top of Times Square with $150 credit for refreshments
  • 3 nights in a 4 star hotel
  • $200 towards meals and incidentals

Runners-up will receive Belkin and/or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 products.

The sweepstakes ends May 20, 2014.

Enter here.

Win a Trip to the Lobster Rumble in NYC

Win a Trip to the 2014 Lobster Rumble
Win a Trip to the 2014 Lobster Rumble

2014 Lobster Rumble

Here’s a chance to win two VIP tickets to the 2014 Lobster Rumble in New York City on June 5, 2014.

The charity event features a chance to vote on your favorite lobster roll among 23 contestants.

The winner and a guest will get roundtrip airfare to New York, a two night stay in a four star hotel, and a $500 gift card, courtesy of Haagen Dazs ice cream.

The event is completely sold out so this contest is your only chance to get in to this year’s tasting event!

Ice cream and lobster — two of my favorite foods!

Enter here for your chance to win.

2014 Fodor’s Travel Guides: Now Free on iTunes

Fodor's Rio City Guide App
Fodor’s Rio City Guide App

Fodor’s has updated its series of 22 free travel guides for iPhone and iPad and the 2014 editions are now available on iTunes.

Just in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, city guides for Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo have been added!

Each App features:

Expert info:  Read about things to do and get expert tips
– Interactive Local Maps:  Discover what’s nearby
Booking Tools:  Book hotels, tours, and more
– Planner:  Save favorites and create lists

Fodor’s local travel experts vet every recommendation.  You’ll find information on neighborhoods, cheap things to do, kid-friendly attractions, shopping, nightlife, performing arts, and more.  These are not your parent’s stuffy travel books!

Fodor's Apps Feature Interactive Maps
Fodor’s Apps Feature Interactive Maps

The interactive maps make it easy to find nearby hotels, sights, restaurants, bars, and clubs and to access reviews from the map.

Listings are searchable by destination, price range, or category of interest.  Look for properties designated “Fodor’s Choice,” representing the best of the best.

The Fodor’s apps were recognized as the “2013 Travel App of the Year” by the Society of American Travel Writers, and were featured in Wired Magazine’s 2012 App Guide as a Best Travel Reference App.

How can Fodor’s afford to give away its guidebooks for free?  The apps include the ability to book hotel rooms via Expedia, buy event tickets via Tickets Now, and make restaurant reservations via Open Table.  Fodor’s is likely earning a commission if you make purchases via the app.

Fodor's 2014 Travel Guides Free on iTunes
Fodor’s 2014 Travel Guides Free on iTunes

Here are links to the city travel guides:

Fodor’s U.S. City Guide Apps

Fodor’s International City Guide Apps

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Silent Clowns Film Series: Free at Lincoln Center; Discount Tickets in DC

Charlie Chaplin's Silent Films at the Alden Theater
Charlie Chaplin’s Silent Films at
The Alden Theater, McLean, VA

The Silent Clowns Film Series, is New York City’s free showcase for classic silent film comedy.

The series presents monthly showings of the silent movies of Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Lloyd, and many others, with live musical accompaniment by renowned silent film accompanist Ben Model.

Every program features a spoken introduction and Q&A by film historians Bruce Lawton and Steve Massa.  The programs are presented on weekend afternoons, and are geared to classic film fans and families.

The Silent Clowns Film Series is held in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, located in the NY Library for the Performing Arts, at the back of Lincoln Center.

The next show is Saturday, April 12 at 2:30pm, and it features several Charlie Chaplin Films produced by the Mutual Film Corporation.  The show features these iconic Chaplin’s films:  The Count (1916), The Pawnshop (1916), The Immigrant (1917), and The Adventurer (1917).

Silent Clown Film Series Comes to Washington, DC

April 16, 2014 marks Charlie Chaplin’s 125th birthday.

Charlie Chaplin, aka The Little Tramp, is the most iconic and influential comedy star of the silent film era.  He starred in classic films including The Kid, The Gold Rush, City Lights and Modern Times.  

To celebrate Chaplin’s birthday, the Alden Theatre, outside Washington DC, is hosting a screening of Chaplin’s best movies, with commentary by film historian Bruce Lawton and live music by accompanist Ben Model.

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Japan Dreaming? Stop By New York’s Grand Central Terminal March 6-8

Japan Week 2014 Grand Central Terminal

If you are dreaming of a trip to Japan, like I am, you may want to stop by Grand Central Terminal in New York City for the annual Japan Week events March 6th through 8th, 2014.

The theme this year is “Discover the Past and Future in the Present,” a celebration of Old and New Japan.  

Japan Week is a public-private partnership organized by the Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization, supported by the General Consulate of Japan in New York.

The festival will take place at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall from March 6 – 8, 2014.  Half of Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal will transform into early 20th century Japan, and the other half will represent Japan’s present and future.

The event aims to introduce people to the unique features of Japan via cultural events, technology, art and music exhibits, food and beverages.

There will be a virtual reality theatre to guide visitors through Japan’s culture heritage, and a special appearance by a master of amezaiku, who transforms candy into marvelous sugar sculptures, and who is one of only a few people left in Japan who still perform this art.

There is also sweepstakes for free roundtrip tickets to Japan from JFK to Narita, sponsored by Delta Airlines, that you can enter online.

The only aspect of the festival that requires tickets is the Pop Up Bar, a replica of a 100-year café with servers dressed in Taisho era costumes, featuring exclusive sake from regions throughout Japan.

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The Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

Tour Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Join the Electric Railroaders’ Association on the afternoon of Saturday April 5, 2014 for their 32nd annual guided tour of Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, and it turns 101 years old this year.

 This majestic terminal, officially dedicated on February 2, 1913 at the pinnacle of American long-distance rail travel, originally served as the crown jewel for New York Central Railroad. Today, it services Metro-North Railroad passengers and over 20 million visitors annually. After extensive renovations in recent years leading up to its recent 100th anniversary, Grand Central Terminal is better than ever.

The tour will cover architectural and structural features of the station, including  a plethora of platforms, corridors, concourses, rooms and secret passages, as well as various types of locomotives and car equipment.

Participants will learn about upcoming plans for the terminal, such the major ongoing East Side Access Project connecting it to the Long Island Rail Road.

The tour is led by Dan Brucker, Metro-North’s official Grand Central historian.  Check out some You Tube videos of Brucker.  This guy is colorful and demonstrative! 

Tickets for the Tour of Grand Central Terminal

Tickets are $25 per person, and entries must be mailed in by March 1, 2014.

Click here for the Ticket Order Form.