The Healthy Place to Stay in New York – W Union Square

Last week, I spent a beautiful (and hot!) weekend in one of my favorite cities in the world – New York. I haven’t always been in love with NYC. I started coming up to NYC at a very early age to visit family and to go to debate tournaments in the Bronx. Since then, I’ve been up many times to shop with friends and spent countless week nights visiting for work over the last 10 years. It wasn’t until I realized how amazing the food and health scene was in NYC, that I began to really love it.

There are countless neighborhoods to choose from when you go for a visit. I think I have probably stayed in almost all the popular areas of NYC one time or another. Now, before I pick an area to stay in, I always think about whether or not my travel requirements are met. I need to have access to a great organic grocery store, juice bar, healthy restaurants, a gym and yoga studio. I never want to spend my time in NYC in the subway station or stuck in traffic the whole time. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I have healthy eats and a place to work out right at my finger tips makes all my travel anxiety go right out the window.

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So where do I stay? Union Square – Specifically the W Union Square. This is by far the best hotel for healthy travel to NYC. I’m not saying you can’t stay in other areas and be just as healthy, but staying here makes staying clean & fit on the road absolutely brainless!

I love that the W Union Square is not the most expensive hotel in the area and being a starwood preferred guest member makes it affordable. A cab ride from LGA airport gets you there in about 20 mins and it’s located smack dab in the middle of everything I love, including a Whole Foods that is right across the street/park. Staying this close to a store that stocks organic foods means I don’t have to overload my luggage with all my travel food and saves me room for things to bring back home.

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Waking up at the W Union Square every morning was simple. The hotel gladly sends complimentary hot water to your room. I loved this because I could have my morning ritual of hot water with lemon, drink tea or make oatmeal without having to get out my comfy bathrobe and slippers. If you are not a tea drinker, they have complimentary coffee in the lobby every morning. Needless to say, this is a great touch. I can’t tell you how much I hate hotels that don’t provide a coffee or tea service!

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The W has a functional workout facility called “Sweat” on the bottom floor. Hotel gyms must have a least a treadmill and free weights, but the W had a lot more to offer. Fresh towels, cleansing cloths, a bowl of green apples and filtered water was a bonus.

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Down the street just a few blocks there are two fabulous (and many more) yoga studios.  This time I tried The Shala based on a recommendation from my friend Max at Livingmaxwell.com. The class taught by Juilanna was rejuvenating and just the level I needed to start the weekend off right. Next time, I plan to try a class at the near by Jivamukti Yoga Center. I’ve been wanting to go there for quite sometime after hearing about it from a girl I met scuba diving in the Maldives last year.

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To my surprise, “Olives” the restaurant at the W Union Square that serves breakfast also makes fresh juice. I was super excited to find this out, but since my favorite juice bar in the whole world is located just right around the corner, I went there instead.

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That juice bar would be One Lucky Duck.  This place really deserves a post all on its own…The food, the vibe, the juice, the smoothies, the packaged raw snacks… I really don’t even know where to start. I love it all and this is hands down my favorite place to dine in NYC. If I had one near me in Charlotte, I would go there every day.  And if you want something more fancy, there is their upscale restaurant – Pure Food and Wine right next door.

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Every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, New Yorkers and travelers get to experience the Union Square Farmer’s Market. The market is located immediately in front of the W’s front door and is absolutely fabulous and full of biodynamic and organic food. I could have spent hours looking and talking to people about the interesting things being offered. One morning I did an early stroll through the market and did a few wheatgrass shots and picked up some fresh watermelon and raspberries for breakfast.

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Just down the street from the W Union Square is an upscale organic restaurant called abc kitchen, recommended to me by my friends Liz and Brian. This place is by far one of the coolest places to get a drink in NYC. The decor of the restaurant is gorgeous and serene. They even have organic vodka and sell Organic Avenue fresh pressed juice!

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One of the improvements I think the W could make (and many other hotels for that matter) is to carry environmentally friendly & natural bath products.  Bliss is a super cute (& expensive) boutique brand, but the Environmental Working Group’s rating of this stuff is dreadful and has received some the highest hazardous ratings. Fortunately for me, I brought safe toiletries with me.

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After a long day of hitting the NYC streets, there’s really nothing like coming back to the W hotel bed. I hear people buy these beds for their homes because they are so darn comfortable. Having a good night’s sleep with the hustle and bustle of the city just outside is hugely important to me. I slept like a baby every night with dreams of One Lucky Duck raw ice cream sundaes going through my head. Luckily for me, it was just down the block when I woke up.

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Where’s your favorite place to stay, eat and play in NYC?  I’d love to know!

Food Babe

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32 Responses to “The Healthy Place to Stay in New York – W Union Square”

  1. Linda R-Schmidt

    Wow, so great to read your blogs and see all around complete coverage… you have a gift, that draws us into your world, through your eyes…. aloha… “One lucky duck”… and smart one..

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Linda R-Schmidt)

      When I read your comment the other day, I lit up like a light bulb. Thanks for making my day Linda.

      Reply
  2. Emma

    This post is just what I needed! I’m going on a holiday to the US in November and had no idea where to stay in NY. Thanks :) Can you recommend anywhere in L.A. or San Francisco?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Emma)

      In LA – try somewhere near Santa Monica, there are a ton of healthy and good eats walking distance. In San Francisco – Check out a hotel near the Ferry Building and definitely go the market on the weekend. It’s the best in all of America!

      Reply
  3. annie

    wow does lucky duck use organic ingredients, b/c that’s really expensive juice

    Reply
  4. Sheryl

    Would love for you to write a post about what you pack in your toiletry bag when you travel. I know you’ve done posts on the food you travel with but I would love the toiletry info as well.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Sheryl)

      Will do it! That will be fun! Thanks for the idea.

      Reply
  5. Veena

    I loved reading about your trip to NY since I did not hear it from you.

    Reply
  6. Holly

    With such great shopping options for fresh produce, I think I would want to travel with a blender, knife, and cutting board for my raw snacks and smoothies. Thanks for the information. I think I know where I’ll be staying if I ever make it to NYC.

    Reply
  7. Gillian

    I should be going to NYC with you!

    I’ve been to NYC once and we stayed at the Ritz in Battery Park! I loved that it was right on the water and away from the hustle and bustle. However my favourite place in all of NY was Union Square (for the market where I got a wheatgrass shot too!) and Chelsea Market where I b-lined for One Lucky Duck! I think I know where I’ll be staying next time ;)

    Reply
  8. Laura Rios

    Wow. that looks like an amazing place to stay. I wish that where I live (NoVA) had places like that. I know they probably do in DC but I am worried they are going to be so expensive! I DO have a couple good Farmer’s Markets that I frequent.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Laura Rios)

      I bet you have more places than Charlotte!

      Reply
  9. Jennifer Tremblay

    Any tips on good healthy restaurants in Toronto?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Jennifer Tremblay)

      Not really – it’s been a while since I’ve been there. Try checking out joyous health, Joy lives in Toronto and had a fantastic blog.

      Reply
  10. Christine

    What beauty products do you use? I’ve been trying to eliminate all my toxic products and would love your recommendations!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Christine)

      Check out some of my past posts on hair and skin care for specifics. For makeup I love Tarte Cosmetics and Dr. Hauschka.

      Reply
  11. Gabriekke

    Funny, I live in New York and was at One Lucky Duck yesterday lol! You should have picked up one of their organic tshirts!! Super soft!! Enjoy your stay! Check out pure food and wine as well. It’s near the union square!

    Reply
  12. Michelle

    My husband and I were in NYC last fall celebrating our anniversary. We ate at Pure Food and Wine on the patio. It was perfect! the food was delish and the atmosphere was divine! I love NYC!

    Reply
  13. sabine

    I once went to Pure Food and Wine, they are good, but expensive and. I like food without an attitude. In the vicinity of Union Square, close to Tompkins Sq. Park is St. Mark’s veg. bakery, which we like a lot, an older place is Caravan on Dreams which is still very popular, not as hot and new as the Pure Food and Wine though. Uptown there are the Candle Cafe, and Candle 79, and soon one on the West Side as I have heard. You might like especially Candle 79 they are upscale and very creative.

    Reply
  14. sabine

    I once went to Pure Food and Wine, they are good, but expensive. I like clean food without an attitude. In the vicinity of Union Square, close to Tompkins Sq. Park is St. Mark’s veg. bakery, which we like a lot, an older place is Caravan on Dreams which is still very popular, not as hot and new as the Pure Food and Wine though. Uptown there are the Candle Cafe, and Candle 79, and soon one on the West Side as I have heard. You might like especially Candle 79 they are upscale and very creative.

    Reply
  15. Juanita Pierce

    Food Babe……
    I don’t know where to begin….I somewhat feel like we’re almost related

    Reply
  16. Juanita Pierce

    Hi Food Babe……
    I sent a kind of lengthy message…..but I can only see the first line…..please let me know if you were able to see the whole msg or not!!!!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Juanita Pierce)

      No I can’t! …. please send again!

      Reply
      • Juanita P. (to Food Babe)

        Oh no….I wrote so much I not even know where to begin…,LOL

      • Juanita P. (to Juanita P.)

        Hi Food Babe,
        Ok let’s see if I can recall some of what I said!!!
        Absolutely loved this post
        We basically think alike LOL…..well especially when it comes to
        “the Healthiest Place to Stay in NYC”
        You mentioned So Many things that I absolutely LUV about the city
        The Farmers Market, Whole Foods, One Lucky Duck, and especially Pure Food and Wine!!!!!! I’ve been there many times
        I remember when they opened (I was so excited) the owners Sarma & Mathew were dating at the time…..they also wrote a book together that I have (Raw Food Real World)
        I am from Brooklyn New York and I now live in sunny FL

      • Juanita P. (to Juanita P.)

        As you can see I am trying it tonight in two parts (just in case)

  17. Juanita P.

    Arrrrggggg…..it happened again!!!!!!

    Reply
  18. Juanita P.

    Anyway…..my sister, my niece, and myself are all planning a short trip to NYC this summer….so your recommendations are right on time!
    We also traveled to ATL last summer twice and stayed at the W Hotel one of those times……it was a fantastic experience so I know what you mean when you describe how nice it is to stay there
    So I will end this now because there is no way I can recall everything I just lost again!
    But I have to say Thank You….you would make a spectacular travel agent

    Reply

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