My trip to New York feels like an age ago, but I did intend to mention it on here so I will – it quickly became apparent that it was The Press Trip Ever, so it seems a shame to relegate it to work-coverage only. My love of NYC is well documented and as someone who truly lives a Champagne lifestyle on a Charlemagne budget, the opportunity for a press jaunt to my favourite city was never, ever going to be a disappointment.
The reason I went to New York was because Virgin Atlantic have opened a new Clubhouse at JFK airport – that’s right, if you fly first class with Virgin you don’t just get a first class lounge, you get an entire building full of awesome fun stuff. The exact reason I went to New York was because within that Clubhouse, there is a Bumble and bumble salon. And that’s reason enough, frankly. Being a guest of Virgin Atlantic meant flying first class with treats of all kinds thrown in, plus the chance to party with Mr Branson himself at the opening night of the Clubhouse. We also got to stay at The Standard, which was AWESOME in itself.
So, as there’s no chance I will ever, ever, get to fly first class and stay at The Standard again, here’s what I got up to.
Whatever you consume in the air doesn’t count, that’s just an established fact. In first class, the food flows thick and fast. My highlight was clearly the afternoon tea and champagne out of a SAUCER.
SCREAMING AT THE STANDARD!!
You all know that The Standard is awesome. What makes it more awesome is that Lindsay Lohan was there when we were. OK I DIDN’T SEE HER BUT SHE WAS THERE.
The Standard is also famous for its amazing windows.
And it’s minibar(s). This is one of two – note the emergency Happy Socks.
…And it’s ice-rink. This fabulous photo was taken during a drunk skating session – clearly this is not something I recommend to anyone, although I didn’t fall over. YES! I think my balance was improved somewhat by the large rum-spiked hot chocolate I had in one hand.
Here’s the view while you wait for the lift. I guess it’ll do.
And here’s the view inside the lift. It’s a shit photo, as you can see, but the dark lifts feature awesome animations depicting Heaven and Hell – I don’t know the technical term but it was like a video collage featuring bits from films. Nice stuff for Heaven on the way up, scary shit for Hell on the way down. Cooooool.
Pre-party, I paid a visit to the Bumble and bumble salon and academy in downtown NYC – handily positioned right opposite the hotel. If you’re in the city and have the time, I one million percent recommend a visit. There ain’t no blow-dry like a US blow-dry and the staff are awesome. Having styling chairs that face out of windows is becoming something of a trend, but I believe B and b were amongst the first. I spend about half my life in salons thanks to work and still absolutely hate having to sit in front of a mirror and stare at myself, so being able to gaze out across NYC as the sun went down is a far, far, far better option. There is a mirror just on the left there, in case you sense that the stylist is cutting in an ill-advised fringe or something.
No pictures of the party, but here’s the post-party cure. Pinche Taqueira is always on my list for NYC visits anyway, but even more so when lumbered with a hangover. Excellent Mexican food, nice and cheap, outdoor seats, negra modelo on tap… I always think Mexican food in London has come a long way, then I go somewhere like this and eat something like this and pay something like $8 and cry.
THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A SHAKE SHACK DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER AND FRIES. NOTHING.
Here’s what happens when you let a hipster look after your luggage. ❤
So, let’s take a look at that Clubhouse as that’s why we were there. Here’s the bistro area. I wish I’d taken a photo of the wallpaper (lol, as if people type things like that and mean it) – it appeared to be a bit of a wiggly line, but was in fact the NYC skyline. The (complimentary) menu was pretty fantastic and you don’t have to eat in the restaurant – fulfilling my childhood dreams, you can eat anything you want, anywhere you want. Pudding then a pint then a sandwich then a steak, all sitting on a sofa? If you fancy it.
Here’s a kinda lounge area, with HOLES IN THE WALL YOU CAN CLIMB IN AND SLEEP IN.
More lounge area. This photo may appear shit, but what you don’t know is that Jerry Springer is sitting on that seat in a fetching pink cashmere sweater. I was rly hoping we would be sat together on the plane but alas, it wasn’t to be.
Here’s the bar area, or at least part of it. All of Virgin Atlantic’s flights from JFK to London are in the late afternoon/evening, so the whole lounge has a bar-style vibe. Which is obviously awesome.
Oh here’s a picture from the party, which gives you a look at the bar kinda.
I’m a marketing man’s dream, I know, but things like this bring me such a great deal of pleasure.
You can always tell a good bathroom by its toiletries.
How do you tell the English journalists at the airport? They’re the ones with two beers and a cocktail each and enough cheese to feed a small nation.
Here’s why I came to NYC! A beautiful Bumble and bumble salon in the heart of the Clubhouse, with a view out across the runway. Another B and b salon with awesome views! You can get the works done here, so no excuse for swanning into your first class seat with anything less than immaculate hair.
Oh, these rubbish photos do a beautiful spa no justice. That’s right, after you’ve had your hair done (or probably before I guess), you can have a nice hot stone massage or facial. Ah, bliss.
Another crap picture! Yay! The Clubhouse also offers an exclusive collaboration with Dr Hauschka, which I think is a pretty perfect match to Bumble and bumble in terms of creating a luxurious but kinda cool treatment offering.
I highly recommend that you look at some proper pictures of the Clubhouse, because it’s beautiful and the design team did an incredible job. L@@K AT IT!
Always a pleasure being in NYC, this time perhaps more than ever. Awesome fun!
*It feels ridiculous to declare that this was a paid-for trip, but just in case you didn’t get the message – I was a guest of Virgin Atlantic for my exciting jaunt and they looked after me very, very well.