Hotel: InterContinental New York Barclay welcomes families

The Barclay welcomes families with a great location, big rooms and American Girl dolls Photo: Casey Kelbaugh

NEW YORK, October 25, 2012 — When families visit New York City, they tend to gravitate to Midtown hotels near the center of action like Broadway, Rockefeller Center and Times Square. 

The InterContinental New York Barclay is about as well located as a traveler could want, near enough to the action but set just off Park Avenue, a location that provides a less frenzied stay than many neighborhood hotels.

No one would challenge the Barclay’s reputation as a premier business hotel, but that doesn’t mean that traveling families won’t find a home here.

While the lobby hummed with iPhones, iPads and Blackberries at the hands of grey-suited businesspeople, my six-year old daughter made a beeline to the American Girl standing sentinel in the lobby, part of a family stay promotion package sweepstakes. (The American Girl Place is about a five minute walk from the hotel.)

Rooms are large by New York standards, no minor point when families are concerned. There is enough room in even the most modest rooms for kids to spread out and play games or lounge in front of the flat screen while parents get ready for their day.

Adults will like the Provencal yellow wallpaper that keeps rooms bright and cheerful even on the greyest city days. Dual closets, a true rarity in New York hotel rooms, make for easy unpakcing. Amenities like an iPod docking station, Green Mountain coffee and up-to-date aspirational shelter magazines like Veranda make rooms an oasis, a place to recharge before heading back out to the thrum of the city.

Fitness facilities include a steam room and sauna, which beckon from the locker room.  Equipment like ellipticals and treadmills are varied and plentiful, ensuring no wait time for workouts.

Housed in neo-Federal building constructed in 1926, the Barclay has wisely preserved many of its historic features that attracted Gilded Age icons like the Vanderbilts, such as the gold festooned balconies outside and the glamorous glass-dome ceiling in the lobby.

However, the focus here is on delivering fast, efficient modern service. If there were any doubt that this hotel wasn’t looking the 21st century squarely in the eye, the hot pink lights that slice the lobby would put that notion to rest.  

These beams of light (rather than a wall) define the restaurant, the Barclay Bar and Grill, from the lobby’s lounge. The restaurant serves American classics with an eye to lighter, healthier meals. Breakfast is an organic buffet that taps local ingredients for its turkey bacon, fruit parfaits and vegetable omelets.

Families should ask about special packages, which bundle experiences to deliver good value in this notoriously expensive city.

The New York City Getaway, for instance, provides accommodations, a MetroCard, a sightseeing map, a digital camera and breakfast starting at $325 per night for a couple.

The New York City Shopping Package provides a $50 instead of the MetroCard for about $349.

And families with daughters may find it hard to resist the American Girl Place Package starting at $279, which includes a DVD player rental and American Girl movie “Samantha”, “Felicity” or “Chrissa”,  a snack basket, a free child’s meal at the hotel restaurant on weekends with the purchase of an adult meal and a take home American Girl doll bed.



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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

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In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

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