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Expert Advice

Hilton Grand Vacations In New York City Helped A Long-Overdue Dream Come True

The Big Apple tastes like a favorite family memory

Todd H
A Hilton Grand Vacations Member and his wife at the top of the Empire State Building while on vacation to New York

My in-laws are staring at the back end of 50 — in other words, they’re no longer “spring chickens.” Over half a century on this planet and, like many of us, they’ve spent the bulk of those years raising several kiddos into productive adults, working hard at fulfilling jobs and crafting a long bucket list.

My father-in-law worked for the California railroads for almost 40 years. My mother-in-law dealt with four kids at home, often alone, because Pops traveled the United States to work on the railroad infrastructure we rely on for many goods and services.

A Hilton Grand Vacation Member's wife and mother-in-law in New York 

Needless to say, this lifestyle didn’t allow for much wiggle room in the vacation department.

So I wasn’t surprised when — after I brought up the idea of a summer vacation to New York City — my in-laws said, “Oh, we’ve never been. That sounds fun!”

The closest they’ve come to New York City is hearing the city’s name called out in retro Pace Picante Sauce commercials — and six seasons of Sex and the City, of course.

This vacation worked out perfectly. My wife and I could craft a trip to a city where I’ve worked and vacationed for many years. Seeing the city through their first-timer eyes would be a blast, introducing them to restaurants and taking in sights that many only see in movies or TV shows.

View of the Statue of Liberty in New York 

I asked what they wanted to do and got the expected list: see a show, eat a slice of pizza and visit sites like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I asked my mother-in-law which musical she wanted to see, she replied, “I’ve wanted to see ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ ever since I was a little girl.” We had quite a long list to get through on this trip.

Thankfully, Hilton Grand Vacations has several wonderful properties for a Manhattan adventure. My wife and I own at West 57th Street, a Hilton Club on Billionaire’s Row. Brilliant. It’s a convenient location to my favorite cigar bar, a world-class park and easy access to the subway. Plus, there’s a pretty famous performance hall right next door. You may have heard of it — Carnegie Hall.

Our Suites were perfect for collapsing in, especially at the end of a long day of taking in the sights (so many people), sounds (plenty of sirens) and smells (mostly good) of New York. The Suites are clean and spacious, matching the quality you’d expect of a Manhattan abode. And the staff at West 57th Street is very kind and attentive.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member's in-laws outside of a theater showing "The Phantom of the Opera" 

Remember when my mother-in-law mentioned “The Phantom of the Opera”? She didn’t know I had already gotten us center seats on the second row for our last night in the city. I may have stretched the truth when I told her we probably wouldn’t see it before it left Broadway after its 35-year run. We had so many things planned already. After all, I couldn’t ruin the surprise.

Walking to Times Square, we chatted about the amazing trip when we found ourselves outside the Majestic Theatre 20 minutes before show time. Naturally, there was a robust line outside the theatre. I turned to my mother-in-law and said, “Huh. I think that big line is for ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ And that’s where we’re going right now.”

Her eyes sparkled with tears, and a big smile stretched across her face. She was beaming. Even if I didn’t have a video of that moment, I’ll always have that snapshot in my mind’s eye.

It was a perfect way to end what my mother-in-law still refers to as her favorite vacation ever. She’d move to Manhattan in a heartbeat — and that’s coming from a SoCal gal, born and raised.

If we didn’t have a spot at West 57th Street to call home, I don’t know if we would’ve made the big family trip.

Bravo, Hilton Grand Vacations.

Check out a Member-recommended three-day itinerary for New York City to make the most of the Big Apple.

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Todd H

Todd, a voice actor and director, has been a Member since 2018. He travels with his wife and in-laws. His home resorts include Maui Bay Villas, a Hilton Grand Vacation Club; Las Palmeras, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club; and West 57th Street, a Hilton Club. Todd also takes time to volunteer at shelters and sanctuaries while on vacation.

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