For those of you who know me, you know I love to travel and you know I consider New York City my second home. I have been so excited for over a year to finally check out the brand new RIU right here in the Big Apple. Located in the heart of Manhattan, putting you at the doorstep of Times Square.
In March of 2016 this hotel opened it's doors to the public. The hotel is situated in the renowned "Restaurant Row" surrounded by Broadway's most famous theaters making it a prime location for those looking to spend some time seeing a show and having an amazing dinner. It is also only a 10 minute walk from NYC Penn station, which we did in fact walk. It is located close to the city's main subway lines which cover all of the Big Apple's boroughs. The 7 train, which is only 6 minutes from the hotel, will take you to Queens where you can visit Long Island City, the borough's most fashionable neighborhood; the A and C trains, just a quarter mile from the hotel, will take you to Brooklyn where you can visit Prospect Park; and, lastly, the 3 train, which is 6 minutes from the hotel, will take you to the Bronx and the ferry which will take you to Staten Island where you can take in the spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty. As you can see, just a few steps beyond the hotel you will have access to all of New York.
We had a great room, which was super clean (always a plus in the city) and with a decent amount of room compared to what other New York City hotels offer. We had a great view of the city with windows that opened on the bottom, two double beds with a desk and chair, a flat screen television and mini fridge. The bathroom was super clean with a rain shower head as well as a hand held one.
Buffet breakfasts are available for a surcharge here at the Riu Plaza New York and are served each morning between 7 AM and 11 AM. Depending on the room option you book it can actually come included in the price of your room. We paid for the buffet separate from the room reservation and it was around $24.00 per adult and $12.00 per child (prices may vary). We found the buffet to be fully stocked even though we did not arrive until 10:45 am (15 minutes before they close it). It was very clean and the service was great. They never chased us out after 11:00 am.
I have stayed in many hotels all over the city and this one will now be one of my favorites for the pricing and the location. Let a Starstuff Travel Planner create amazing NYC memories by booking your next visit to the Riu Plaza New York Times Square. Contact us today at 1-800-314-0624.
The U.S. Department of State is expecting an increase in passport applications through 2018. This comes as a result of the 2007 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) that mandated that U.S. citizens entering the U.S. by air or land from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico must have a valid passport in order to gain entry. Because of the timing of WHTI, those new passports issued in 2007 (over 18 million) are expiring, causing an influx in renewal applications and a slowdown in processing times.
DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A PASSPORT?
First things first, check the expiration date! Based on when you got it and the timing of all of this, it could be expiring this year. It’s important to know the expiration date because many countries require travelers to have at least 6 months of remaining validity on their passport in order to gain entry.
So for instance if your traveling to St. Lucia in September and your passport expires in July, than you would not be allowed to enter the country. You should renew your passport as soon as possible and, based on processing times, even push back the travel dates to be sure you’ll have your renewed passport when you depart. Always ask your travel professional if you are unclear on the documents you will need to provide when traveling.
Passport renewals can be done by mail if you meet the criteria, which is clearly outlined by the U.S. Department of State. Renewals can also be done in person if you do not meet the criteria to renew by mail. And if your departure date is sooner than you thought, renewals can be expedited for an additional cost.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPLY FOR OR RENEW A PASSPORT?
The routine processing time for new passports or renewals is estimated at 4 to 6 weeks, but can be expedited to 3 weeks for an additional fee. The processing time may also vary based on demand, as stated above we are looking at an extreme influx of renewals this coming year. Peak season, which can also slow down processing times, is from January to August. Off-peak season is from September to December. If you can wait until off-peak season to apply for or renew a passport, we recommend that you do so unless your passport expires in 2018, then we recommend doing it as soon as you can.
HOW MUCH DOES A PASSPORT COST?
The cost of a new passport for an adult is $135. The cost of a renewal of an adult passport is $110. A passport for a minor (anyone under the age of 16) costs $105.
Passport cards, which are different than a passport, are less expensive but can only be used for international trips by land and sea – they are not valid for international air travel. To learn more about passport cards, visit the Department of State’s passport card page.
The Department of State’s website has even more information on passport applications and renewals. But when working on applying for a new passport or renewing an existing one, the best advice is to plan ahead and be prepared with the correct documents. No one wants to have their vacation delayed because of passport issues.