One place I always say I would travel to at the drop of a hat- or even for the opening of an envelope would always be New York (yup, even a boring brown one from HMRC).
After going for little more than twelve hours last year, it was apparent that no matter how late notice or little time I’d be in the city- I’d never turn down the chance to visit. As you can imagine, when the wonderful people at Simon Malls emailed a couple of months ago suggesting a little pre-Christmas treat, it was arguably the easiest decision I could say yes too- and I’m about as spontaneous as Colin Firth in MM2 (a niche, but worthy reference if you can get it).
Anyway- with Christmas shopping high upon the agenda (LESS THAN ONE WEEK PEOPLE), ticking off as much as possible was high on my priorities list, as well as discovering more of Brooklyn- somewhere I’d only ever previously visited for little more than a morning before. With our base for the trip being the shiny new Hoxton over in Williamsburg, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sample more of the city and feel a little more like a local in one of my favourite home-from-home stays.
Having been lucky enough to stay at their Paris and London hotels, The Hoxton already feels a little like a second home for me. The fact you can walk into their lobbies, set up shop with your laptop and a steaming mug of tea is often just the tip of the iceberg- but having hosted events there and always felt incredibly welcome- I couldn’t have felt luckier to experience their new opening across the pond.
Not only in a totally brilliant location (half an hour from JFK, and a little less from central Manhattan)- it’s perched in the centre of one of the coolest parts of Brooklyn, surrounded only by stooped houses, record shops and delicious independent restaurants- which could feel a little pretentious, but instead simply just feels like the heart of a bustling (and incredibly cool) neighborhood.
And of course, that’s without mentioning the rooms- oh, the rooms! When I walked in I literally shouted ‘THE VIEW!’ to Lindsey through the hallway, and sure enough the view was a postcard-perfect skyline of Manhattan. The kind you’d throw money at overpriced cocktails for at a trendy rooftop bar, but instead it’s the background for your bedroom which is every bit as magical at it sounds (and I definitely had many Kevin from Home Alone moments, too). With the interiors being every bit as #accidentallywesanderson as you’d imagine and the rooftop completely breathtaking (sadly it’s closed until Spring at the moment)- we couldn’t have asked to come back to anywhere more wonderful at the end of each busy day, and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting the city- either for the first time, or as a bit of a native too.
But of course, the real reason for our trip was to explore a handful of the brilliant Simon Shopping Destinations. Visiting The Mills at Jersey Gardens, King of Prussia on a little day trip to Philadelphia and finally Woodbury Common on our last day- we were absolutely spoilt with Christmas shopping opportunities. From pretty much every shop under the sun at King of Prussia, a brilliant balance of discounts and new in at The Mills at Jersey Gardens and serious shopping heaven at Woodbury Common.
Although a tough decision, one of my favourites from the trio had to be Woodbury Common. A huge fan of a little discount and a bit of a bargain (Bicester always feels like a total treat)- Woodbury was arguably one of the best outlets I’d been to ever. I know it could feel a little like, ‘why visit NY and visit an outlet centre?!’ but I was genuinely blown away by the steals and variety here, especially at this time of year- and the fact it was merely an hour by coach too (a couple of people on my Stories replied with ‘I didn’t even realise that was in NY!’ So count it as a little discovery if you like. With everything from Zimmermann, Chloe, old Céline, Acne, Mulberry, Dior and more- it was an absolute luxury to see old season Chloe collections floating on rails for up to 80% off- and truly made some of the most high-end brands accessible and within reach, whilst still getting the whole investment experience too.
In-between shopping we also made the most of soaking up the festive spirit in the big apple. Ticking off everywhere from Radio City, Greenwich Village (my favourite pocket of Manhattan) to the Rockefeller tree (can anyone resist there at Christmastime?) We managed to witness two heart wrenchingly romantic proposals both on and next to the ice rink, which turned my cold heat-teched heart to total slush. Whilst in Manhattan we also managed to finally pop into The Apartment by The Line, which was an absolute festive treat as well as The Real Real around the corner- which makes me wish we had more IRL designer consignment stores in the U.K too, such a brilliant concept- and an actual tonne of absolute gems too.
But back to Williamsburg! Although we didn’t have ages of time to explore, we managed to discover a few new spots- from frothy hot chocolates at Toby’s Estate, the most delicious sharing supper at Sunday at Brooklyn (apparently their brunch is even better), jazz, drinks and pasta at St. Mazie and cosy-French-candlelit-bistro vibes at Juliette too, just off of Bedford. The food in Williamsburg was some of the best I’d come across in the city, and it’s safe to say none of us went hungry.
Despite most shopping having been ticked off at the Simon Shopping destinations, it would have been rude to not head to my favourite Catbird, which was a stones throw away from our hotel) and finally dip into Rough Trade NYC, which I’d heard so much about, and was opposite the Hoxton too (told you it was a brilliant location). Awoke Vintage (opposite Juliette) also had the most incredible selection of vintage denim and earrings- but the new champion coming in at #1 goes to Bulletin– a little yellow female-led and curated boutique on the corner of Wythe Avenue- stocking some incredible feminist and female led brands, with 10% of profits going to Planned Parenthood too.
I hope you enjoyed a little peek into what we got up to last week- it was hard to keep this concise, but I wanted to share some Christmassy snippets ahead of the big day from one of my favourite places. I also spent the trip with two of my absolute favourite women (Sophia and Linds I’m looking at you)- and also met the lovely Lorna for the first time too. As I said on Instagram, it certainly isn’t every week I get to spend in the big apple shopping, so truly feel endlessly lucky to have these opportunities. Anyway- I hope if you popped Darlene Love on, you managed to escape for a few minutes- I hope you’re all having a wonderful week and I will be updating again with some big-ol yearly roundups in the next few days!
With many thanks to Simon Shopping Destinations for the wonderful trip- all opinions, thoughts and spending habits are my own