A Free Vacation At The Big Apple!

By Meera Dolasia on February 1, 2009

London residents, Duncan Malcolm and Katherine Lewis, were thrilled when they were selected for a free five-night stay at one of New York's finest hotels. There is however, one slight catch.

While the couple get to live in a room that looks exactly like one of the real rooms at the Roger Smith Hotel, it is actually a storefront on the ground floor of the hotel, with two large floor-to-ceiling windows. As part of the agreement, Duncan and Katherine have to keep the curtains of the storefront open for three hours from 4.30 - 7.30 pm every single day, allowing curious New Yorkers to peer in and see what they are up to.

Dubbed Room501project, the idea is the brainchild of a company called Real Live Billboards and is meant to be a living advertisement for the prestigious New York City hotel.

This is not the first time Real Live Billboards has come up with a radical advertising idea for the hotel. In December, the same windows featured heavyweight boxer Tor Hamer, exchanging punches with his trainer (see video below).

Duncan and Katherine, who settled into their new digs on January 29th, said while it was strange to see people peering in at first, they are now used to it, and go on about their evening as if they were in a normal room. After all, loss of privacy for three hours, is a small price to pay for a free vacation in New York City. In fact, the hotel says they have received a number of inquiries from other people, looking for a similar deal.

Source:triphow.com, Thebeufortgazette.com

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  • cole1/27/2014
    The big apple is an awesme place to vacation at but being in a hotel and invading your privacy seems kinds weird.
    • cole1/27/2014
      The big apple is a fun place to stay at to have fun in new york but people invading your privacy to see what your doing is stange.
      • Samantha Uy1/27/2014
        How was this couple chosen? Did they have to go through some sort of process, or were they just randomly chosen through a raffle?
        • brennen1/27/2014
          I think it would be fun, it also is free so I would take it any day, plus its in New York I have always wanted to go to New York, but wouldnt it be weird having no privacy?
          • brennen1/27/2014
            I would take it any day, but wouldnt it be weird to have no privacy? Also I have always wanted to go to New York so I would go still.
            • Brandon S.1/27/2014
              I would take this deal because if I was in their situation I would be exploring the city and not in the hotel but if i had to stay in the hotel it would not take the deal.
              • kandice t.1/28/2014
                I would not like this because i like my privacy especially if i was with a date or something it would be very uncomfortable. I wonder why people would go to new york and be in a nice hotel just to have strangers staring at you through a glass window for three hours. Maybe its because i have been to new york A LOT of times.
                • andreak
                  Can't people break into the room since it is by the street?
                  • ziyyarahc
                    I think this would be cool because people can see how you live every day and if you love to take a chance than this type of thing would be perfect for you.
                    • Rafael1/30/2014
                      Just the idea of having to have the curtains open for three hours allowing any stranger to just peek through the window and see what you're doing gives me chills. But hey, if it were free, i'd take the offer.


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