The weather can make or break a trip. When I booked our NYE trip to New York City the last thing on our minds was that we would face record breaking low temperatures.

We were so sure the weather would be nice that just a couple of weeks before NYE, we decided to add another night to our stay. As the date approached, we even considered cancelling the whole thing. Looking back I’m glad we did not cancel our plans since despite the extra bitter cold we had a great time in the city.

Where stayed:

Marriott Marquis Times Square

We arrived at the MMTS around 2 pm, we were given the option of waiting for the higher level room we had requested or take what was available. We did not want to wait so we were in our room within a couple of minutes. As you can imagine, the hotel was totally packed!

View from our room on the 16th floor

The room was fine for our purposes, a bit dated and the double beds although comfortable were rather small. The staff overall was nice and professional even during the busiest weekend of the year. We requested the latest possible check out, but the person at the desk told us that the hotel was not allowing the usual late check out and that thanks to our elite status she would make an exception and give us a 1pm checkout on 12/31.

We decided to check out the concierge lounge which would usually be closed on the weekend, but this being a special occasion, Marriott not only kept it open, but also provided a delicious continental plus breakfast on the 5th floor the following morning. The truth is that other than the awesome cookies there wasn’t that much to eat there.

Hyatt Centric Times Square

Since we were out and about, we went across 7th avenue to speak to someone at Hyatt. We wanted to make sure that we would not encounter any issues coming from the Marriott the next day. The police was supposed to shut down Broadway at 9 am. Luckily for us that was not the case and we made it to the Hyatt around 11 am. Our room took a couple of more hours to be ready, however we were invited to go to Bar 54 for a complementary photo session, hot chocolate, cider and all kinds of doughnuts.

The Hyatt Centric aims to be chic and it delivers on that promise. Our room on the 12th floor was more spacious and the beds were a bit more comfortable and bigger as well. This was one of the most modern rooms I’ve seen in a while, not at the same level as a Park Hyatt, but a lot more up to this century when compared to the Marriott and its iHome with an Apple 30-pin charger. Just like the Marriott, the location is as good as it gets in midtown especially if you come to the city for NYE.

Where we ate:

I honestly don’t remember where I read that Don Antonio’s is the best pizza in the state of New York. I’m not sure if it is the very best, but we loved every pie! We will be back.

What we did:

If you’re in the city for the holidays you must visit the places everyone wants to see. Luckily for us the cold made it actually easier.

Final thoughts:

This weekend could easily have cost us $5,000+ however, at the end of the trip, the magic of points made everything nearly free (we did spend about $200 in meals). We paid 45,000 Marriott points to stay at the Marquis. The Hyatt was covered by our last free World of Hyatt night. We used our other free night at the awesome Park Hyatt Zürich. While Marriott made us pay $32 in taxes and $25 for a destination fee, that is much better than paying $1,076 for our room. Hyatt’s free night actually included everything. We took an Uber to the city from our Bergen county home and the final charge was $2.50 thanks to the Amex Platinum $35 Uber credit in December. On the way back home the Uber cost $61, but Amex covered $15 and our Chase Sapphire Reserve ended up covering the hotel fees and all of the Uber costs as part of the $300 annual travel credit.

This is the best way to do NYE in NYC, with your hotel letter and bracelet you don’t have to be standing in the crowd for hours. You just come down a few minutes before midnight and walk to the middle of Broadway and 45th street.

If the weather were better this year, I would do this allover again. We really enjoyed the city as a family even with record low temperatures.

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