I like being a traveler, not a tourist. One of my biggest pain points about traveling is that I don’t always get to explore off the beaten path and see my destination like a local. In the past, when I’ve signed up for “exploratory group tours” that offer an off-the-grid experience, it’s rarely an experience I’d want to repeat.
Last week, I had the opportunity to test-drive one of the newest initiatives from the always-chic Conrad Hotels & Resorts called Conrad 1/3/5. The initiative, which reinvents the traditional concierge offering with a new approach that goes beyond the obvious cookie cutter travel recommendations, is just brilliant. Conrad 1/3/5 offers a selection of essential experiences for time-strapped travelers in each Conrad destination around the world (like New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc.). It is a complete rethinking of the hotel concierge, with Conrad staff trained worldwide to communicate experiences designed to fit into 1, 3, or 5-hour blocks in a guest’s day, so that travelers can stay inspired even when time is of the essence.
The experiences in each of these cities has been hand-selected by Conrad’s new high-profile Director of Inspiration, Nilou Motamed – and, yes, this is the coolest job ever and, yes, she is as uber-chic as you’d imagine! I had the chance to join Nilou as she guided some of the world’s top media through 48 hours of premium, local experiences in New York City. As a New Yorker, I was eager to see which locations would be highlighted on our excursion. Nilou nailed it with spots that locals love, but tourists rarely get to enjoy. It was so cool seeing my City through an expert’s eyes!
We walked the High Line, noshed at Russ & Daughters, took in million dollar views from the 108th floor of the new Freedom Tower, toured artist studios in DUMBO, and enjoyed a feast of Caribbean flavors at Miss Lily’s in the Lower East Side. As Director of Inspiration, Nilou opened up the “beaten path” with perfect clarity and has given travelers the chance to live like a local, even if just for an hour. Getting to peek into the studios (and lives) of top Brooklyn artists was by far one of my favorite parts of the tour – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never knew how to arrange!
If you’re heading to one of Conrad’s worldwide destinations, I highly encourage you to explore the 1, 3, and/or 5-hour experiences. It was some of the best fun I’ve had in a while. To learn more about the program, visit the Stay Inspired site –or- book yourself a room at the Conrad here.
Scout Sixteen is a lifestyle blog from Justin Livingston. Justin grew up in Mississippi but relocated to New York City in 2008. On Scout Sixteen, Justin shares his passion in fashion, travel, food and drink, and mental wellness.