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New York City tours and excursions

New York City tours

Tours with native New Yorkers

Big Apple Greeters is a free service sponsored by NYC & Company. A knowledgeable, native New Yorker will escort one to six people who are travelling together to special places such as neighbourhoods, sites or 'off the beaten path' destinations. Reservations and schedule must be confirmed in advance.

Tel: +1 212 669 8159.
Website: http://www.bigapplegreeter.org

Movie tours

On Location Tours operates bus tours of the sites of America's top TV shows, including Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Other tours include 'Central Park Movie Tour' and 'Manhattan TV and Movie Tour'. Tours last from two to three and a half hours. Booking is essential for all tours and meeting points vary depending on the tour taken.

Tel: +1 212 683 2027.
Website: http://www.screentours.com

New York City excursions

Long Island

Situated to the east of New York City, Long Island stretches for 190km (118 miles) into the Atlantic. Coastal parts of residential Long Island have some beautiful white sand beaches popular with New Yorkers for weekend retreats.

The north and south shores differ greatly. The south shore is fringed by almost continuous sandy coastline, including Jones Beach and gay-oriented Fire Island National Seashore, reachable by ferry. Meanwhile, the north shore is more immediately beautiful; its cliffs topped with luxurious mansions, estates, farms and excellent 'ma and pa' wineries.

Tel: +1 877 386 6654.
Website: http://www.discoverlongisland.com

Hudson Valley

Roughly two hours' drive north of New York City, the picturesque Hudson Valley makes a refreshing break from the concrete jungle, with its leafy state parks, farms and apple orchards and quaint country towns. Highlights here include hiking and swimming in Harriman State Park or nearby Bear Mountain State Park. Art-minded visitors will want to visit the Storm King Art Center, a sprawling open-air museum in the town of Mountainville, or the Dia Beacon, with cutting-edge exhibits in a former factory.

Tel: +1 914 366 6900.
Website: http://www.hudsonvalley.org

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Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel

A somewhat divisive 'art' hotel that lots of people really love for its location and pricing, but which you're going to dislike if you're humourless, or are a stickler for high levels of cleanliness. The rooms are individually designed with striking, and sometimes shocking, motifs, and the casual air recalls a backpacker's hostel but with individual rooms. Bohemian, definitely.

Lowell Hotel

New York hotels don't come too much classier than this 1927 landmark building, set on a leafy street in one of the Upper East Side's most fashionable spots. Discreet and aristocratic, the liveried doormen escort you to opulent rooms crammed with period furniture and antique décor. It manages to retain an understated air, though, and is the ultimate retreat for those that can afford it.

The Greenwich Hotel

This hip downtown spot fills a renovated historic building in the Tribeca neighbourhood. From the eclectic lobby with its comfy chairs and imported Moroccan screens, to the luxurious bathrooms featuring Carrara marble and hand-laid Turkish tiles, you'll feel a rich combination of style and decadence.

Crosby Street Hotel

This chic downtown hotel features 86 individually designed guestrooms and suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, original artwork and a stylish contemporary design. Guests also enjoy the leafy garden, the private screening room and a whimsically designed bar. The hotel is beautifully located on a cobblestone street just a short stroll from the great dining and shopping in Soho and Nolita.

The Paramount

There is nothing traditional about The Paramount, a post-modern showplace. For example, in the entrance, red roses are displayed vertically in vases set into the wall. The lobby bar, designed by Philippe Starck, has platinum walls and a glamorous staircase sweeping up to the mezzanine. Guests can gaze down from their tables to the music and theatre industry leaders reclining on the slightly off-kilter furniture below.

The Gershwin

Not far from the much-photographed Flatiron Building is The Evelyn, set in a historic building that has housed one hotel after the other since 1905. Recently renovated rooms feature soft cocoa colour schemes, crisp white linens and spacious bathrooms, and the location is superbly central.