In New York City, there are a million cool things happening at once. It seems impossible to keep track of the stylish and spectacular and, at times, feels like a full-time job just to know the name of the Big Apple’s latest go-to. If you’re a month behind, it might as well be a year.
Alas, not all of us are lucky enough to have voguish friends who know all the hip spots and good deals—especially ones that are wildly fun and yet so down to earth. That’s why we absolutely couldn’t resist talking to the charismatic girls of Taste The Style about their “Staycationers” series. The angle for their series is simple; stay in awesome NYC hotels and blog about it. Honestly, what better gig is there to have in the City of the World?
This time around, the ladies kicked it at SoHo's newest luxury hotel, 11 Howard. So we at the Venue Report put ourselves on a mission to unveil the ins and outs of THE STAYCATIONERS night life, hoping to learn how to recreate the ultimate sleepover they seem to have down to a science. And it made for one heck of a Q&A!
Photography by Daniela Spector for THE STAYCATIONERS
Hey ladies! We are so excited to get to know the dynamic duo behind THE STAYCATIONERS. Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Céline: Hey! I'm Céline, creator of THE STAYCATIONERS. I'm half French, half Manhattanite - I spend my days traveling and writing about hotels and booze for a variety of outlets when I'm not producing new installments of the series with Cyndi. I was inspired to create THE STAYCATIONERS back in late 2014 because nobody was really covering the hotel scene in an editorialized format, so we wanted to stake our claim in the market and lay out a roadmap to foster a bougie lifestyle by way of content creation. I think we've done a pretty good job so far.
Cyndi: Cyndi: Whattup! I'm Cyndi, founder of Taste The Style, First Lady of Den Hospitality, and proud staycationer-in-crime. I'm currently in the West Village, am a wife to an awesome man, mom to an adorable pup, and advocate of a life well-lived. You can get a glimpse of the madness on my Instagram here.
What prompted your Girl's Getaway?
Céline: It's basically what we do on a regular basis. We'll find a dope hotel and lock in a night, then build every story from there. While it looks like a getaway, there is a lot of work that goes into it -- we essentially design each story around the personality of the focus property, and there are a ton of moving parts (clothes, hair, makeup, photography, food and beverage, et cetera) for each installment. But after the shoot is wrapped, at least one of us always stays the night, so that's the getaway portion for us.
For 11 Howard, I'm always kind of trolling hotel news, and as soon as something opens, I've got my claws in. That place is magical and I'm so happy we were able to collaborate with them.
How did you hear about 11 Howard?
Cyndi: I believe it was on Céline's radar first and from there I fell in love and we were both like 'OKAY, this one's a must. How do we make it happen!?'
What was your favorite part about your stay at 11 Howard?
Céline: I love the vibe of 11 Howard. It's very much a laissez-faire kind of place -- you're not constantly bombarded by overbearing staff, and when you walk in, you're greeted by a cute doorguy who doubles as a front desk agent armed with an iPad. I thought that was cool and pretty nontraditional. I also adored their restaurant, Le Coucou...it's low key, sexy, and has a great cocktail program. A good hotel always has a strong dining scene, in my opinion.
Have any tips for making a Girls Staycation the ultimate success?
Cyndi: Basically, we just follow our format. A hair & makeup squad is imperative to making you feel your most feminine and gorgeous. From there, play dress up, get a friend to come shoot you, always have a cocktail in hand.
I REPEAT: ALWAYS HAVE A COCKTAIL IN HAND! Head to the lobby bar/restaurant for some more imbibing and dining. Then share your staycations with us @thestaycationers, #thestaycationers. *Wink, wink*
We LOVE a good impromptu hotel hallway shoot with the squad - What's in these yummy rose gold pineapple tumblers? Can we have the recipe?
Those are Absolut Elyx's iconic pineapples. They're basically our best friend -- the brand has partnered with us for a number of staycation shoots, so we're super grateful to them for their support. Their accessories always make us look good.
You never really know what's in the pineapple, but one time Elyx hooked us up with a gigantic flamingo punch bowl for our shoot at the Maritime, so I made a tea punch. I honestly just winged it with ice, vodka, cinnamon sticks, lemons, agave, star anise, and some other stuff I convinced the kitchen staff to give me. Punch was essentially the first cocktail ever... It surfaced in the 1600s with sailors who incorporated spices they'd found on the shores of their exotic destinations with rum and citrus, which was used to combat scurvy. I thought this was very fitting considering the nautical nature of the hotel.
Anyway, a super easy cocktail you can make en suite is probably just a simple vodka martini. All you need is:
Absolut Elyx, dry vermouth (I like Dolin Blanc)
-and martini glasses, of course!
I LOVE vermouth -- I drink it on ice -- so I like mine half and half, but if you're not a vermouth fan, you can do 4 or 6:1 vodka:vermouth. Most people do the latter. Shake with a little bit of ice OR stir in a mixing glass until chilled, then strain into the glasses. Express the oils of the zest around the rim and drop the peel into the drink. It's such a sexy cocktail, and so incredibly simple!
Any tips for future vacationers and staycationers when moving in temporarily to 11 Howard?
Cyndi: 11 Howard is home to the hottest restaurant in NYC right now: Le Coucou. You MUST visit and order anything and everything off the menu. It's divine (I don't normally use that word, but it's a French restaurant, so c'est la vie.)
As a NY local do you two have any shopping/coffee shop/pit stop recommendations when staying in the area?
Cyndi: Luckily for you, 11 Howard is on Howard St, aka the chicest shopping street in all of Manhattan. There, you can find Sleepy Jones, Rick Owens, Reformation, and last but certainly not least, Opening Ceremony. The Smile will be your coffee and lunch go-to; don't skip the chicken!
Céline: I literally never leave the hotel. Lol. (But what Cyndi said! The Smile is really quintessential).
So there you have it, the trade secrets of THE STAYCATIONERS. Is there a more fun pair of girls out there? It’s hard to imagine. Follow the adventures of Celine and Cyndi on Instagram to keep up with the NYC insiders as they continue to spill more secrets about ultimate sleepovers in the big city.
Photography: Daniela Spector for THE STAYCATIONERS | Guest staycationer Olivia Perez, grand dame of Friend of a Friend |
Keep up with THE STAYCATIONERS as they take over new hotels in new cities each month. This round made possible by Absolut Elyx, Bumble and bumble, Baja East, Houghton, Paula Mendoza, 11 Howard, Le CouCou, and Baker’s Pizza