An Anti-Sex and the City Hotel Deal in NYC

I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to the mind-numbing experience of watching Sex and the City 2, which opens Thursday. That said, I’m also amused to see a few anti-SATC hotel deals pop up among all the Cosmopolitan-fueled packages.

New York City’s Pod Hotel, a budget-minded property on East 51st Street, has put together one of these anti-SATC packages.

Starting at $139 per night, the “Don’t Get Carried Away” package includes one night in a bunk-bed room at the Pod, two cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop, a Brooklyn cocktail at East Side Social Club, and a knock-off designer handbag from Canal Street.

This package is a refreshing alternative to other SATC-themed packages, which typically have heftier price tags (can you say luxurious suites, Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, Cosmopolitan cocktails, and designer brands?)

If this package inspires you to build your own anti-SATC package, might I also suggest cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine? This Lower East Side bakery on Rivington Street whips up tasty confections for $1.50 each — my favorites are the pistachio and the Sexy Red Velvet cupcakes, which I find less sickeningly sweet than Magnolia’s $3.25 version.

Details: The “Don’t Get Carried Away” package is valid for stays at the Pod Hotel ( from May 27-June 11.

Abercrombie & Kent: Five cinema-cations around the world

You may not have that look that Hollywood craves, but you still want to get close to the action, right? You want to touch the greatness that comes with being splashed across screens from coast to coast. Thanks to the latest concept from luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, you don’t need talent. The latest “cinema-cation” packages send you to the locations where some of the hottest movies of the last year or so have been shot. There are enough options that you’ll definitely find something to match your personal style.

1. Sex and the City 2
After seeing this movie opening night on May 27, 2010, dash off to Morocco. A&K Group Managing Director George Morgan-Grenville was actually over there while movie was being filmed at the Amanjena Hotel and in the Djema el-Fna Square souks. The interiors and pool scenes, he says, were shot at the soon-to-open Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma and Palmeraie over in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Suggests Morgan Grenvile: “Take a camel ride at sunset and spend the night under the stars in a Bedouin-style tented camp surrounded by the largest sand dunes in the world.”

2. Eat , Pray, Love
Before going to see Eat, Pray, Love on August 13, 2010, check out the treasures of Northern India with this A&K Journey for Women. You’ll take apersonal journey with A&K guide Shagun Mohan, who says, “We spend time with local women at a bead-making workshop in the holy city of Varanasi, witness a spiritual Aarti ceremony on the Ganges at night, see the Taj Mahal at both sunrise and sunset, and visit Khajuraho’s Hindu temples. This kind of journey is a life-changing experience for almost anyone.” 3. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallow Part 1
Families can get a feel for Harry Potter‘s Great Britain ahead of the November 19, 2010 opening with the A&K Tailor Made Magical Great Britain package. According to Duncan Hambidge of A&K Europe, who has visited may Harry Potter film spots with his family, “One highlight for children is the Great Hall at Oxford University, Hogwart’s Dining Room. Another favorite is crossing the dramatic Glenfinnian Viaduct in the Western Highlands aboard The Royal Scotsman, the route taken by the Hogwart’s Express train in the Chambers of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire.

4. The Hurt Locker
Last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker captured the attention of audiences across the United States. A&K suggests following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia if you’re looking for travel inspired by this movie. The A&K Extreme Adventures Jordan package is the way to go, led by Raed Omar Saleem.

Saleem’s been leading thrill-seeking visitors through Jordan since 1997 and recalls from a recent excursion, “In the middle of nowhere, we pitch our tents and gather around the campfire for dinner, recalling the hikes through ancient cities, the 4X4 treks and mountain climbs that brought us here. Without speaking of it, we all share the same sense of awe, the palpable sense that time passes through this desert yet barely seems to touch it. The moon-like landscape stretches to the mountains, bannered by multicolored striations in the rock. The smooth reddish sand is devoid of stones, and our camels’ toes rouse no dust as they thudded in their steady pace. There is no dust here in the valley of Wadi Rum, once a sea basin and later the place T.E. Lawrence found his calling. That is the beauty of the desert: it is nothing and everything.”

5. Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin
Trace the history of life with the A&K Wonders of the Galapagos trip. Says A&K’s Ian Mackinnon, “The islands of the Galapagos offer an opportunity to interact with the natural world to a degree that’s virtually impossible anywhere else.”

He suggests, “Swim and snorkel with sea lions and turtles. Stroll past colonies of penguins and blue-footed boobies. Imagine yourself as Charles Darwin seeing a tortoise for the first time. Every island is unique; it’s no wonder Darwin was changed by his time there.”

I suggest: “Bring a creationist and ask constantly if he thinks dinosaurs walked the earth 5,000 years ago. Point and laugh.”

Sex and the City 2: A NYC Movie Location

The long-awaited Sex and the City 2 hits theaters on May 27. For those hoping to visit some of the actual film locations, it’ll be a little tougher with the sequel (parts of the movie were filmed in Morocco, which is meant to stand in for Abu Dhabi).

A brief scene, however, was filmed a little closer to home at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Remember the first movie when Mr. Big built Carrie a drool-worthy walk-in closet? Well apparently for the sequel, crews resorted to filming an apartment scene on one of the hotel’s balconies (Suite 1501 to be precise).

I recently toured some of the hotel’s renovated suites, and it’s not hard to see why Hollywood came calling: many of the suites have views of Central Park, and some of the rooms can be joined together to create a palatial multi-bedroom suite.

Standing in the footsteps of Carrie’s Jimmy Choos obviously doesn’t come cheap: booking Suite 1501 (a deluxe suite with a balcony) starts at $2,200 per night.

For a more affordable Sex and the City experience, fans of the TV show may recognize the on-site Bar Seine as where part of the second-to-last episode was filmed. Bartenders here mix up a signature cocktail: the Crystal Cosmopolitan.

If you can’t make it to New York City in time for the film premiere, here’s the Crystal Cosmopolitan recipe for post-movie cocktails no matter where you are.The Crystal Cosmopolitan at Bar Seine


2 oz. Absolut Citron
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. white cranberry juice
1 lime wedge


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. In the shaker, combine the vodka, Cointreau, and juice. Cover and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Speaking of martinis, famous hotel guests apparently have included none other than 007 himself (Pierce Brosnan).

Details: Hotel Plaza Athenee is located at 37 E. 64th Street at Madison Avenue.

Indulge in a ‘Sex and the City 2’ themed evening on May 26

New York City won’t be sleeping on May 26th as Sex and the City 2 rolls into theaters at midnight. If you want to make a full evening extravaganza of the highly anticipated premiere, check out the SATC2 Midnight Movie Madness package from On Location Tours.

The May 26th NYC romp will begin at 6 PM with a Sex and the City Hotspots tour including a visit to the shop where Charlotte bought her Rabbit, a peek around the Meatpacking District and a cosmopolitan at the bar Aidan owned. Then, there will be a decadent dinner at Fresco by Scotto, followed by the screening, and after that? Admission into Marquee nightclub, definitely a Carrie-worthy destination.

Secretly, with over 40 stops, it’s also a really good way to get acquainted with a saucy side of NYC. Tickets are $179 and must be booked in advance, so call your mom or your girlfriends and start thinking about outfits. Visit the website for more information.