Category Archives: Hotel Review

Sneak Peek: The Hyatt Times Square

by Louise, Director of Operations

One of the best parts of my job is going and touring the hotels of NYC, which I would most likely never get to see otherwise. As an avid traveler, I can’t help but think about what choices I would make if I were a visitor to the city I call home. It’s always a treat to let tempting new hotels like the Hyatt Times Square (scheduled to open December 3rd) capture my imagination.

We toured the almost-completed hotel yesterday and I must say I’m extremely excited to start sending people there!

hyattts3First of all, let’s talk about the location. This is where so many visitors – especially first time visitors! – want to be: in the heart of Times Square. On 45th between 6th and Broadway, you are about as “in the heart” as you can get. So much so that when we made our first stop on the tour – the soon-to-be rooftop lounge on the 53rd floor – the view in every direction was striking. The first thing that caught my attention was the view of the New Years Eve ball – one of the best such views I’ve ever seen in person. While the lounge won’t be open in time for the 2014 ball drop, you can bet this will be THE place to ring in 2015.hyattts1 And thanks to the southern view of the Freedom Tower and the eastern view of the Chrysler Building, as well as the surrounding view of Times Square, I’m willing to bet that it will be popular year round starting from its tentative opening date February of 2014. Our tour guide specified that it will be a lounge atmosphere rather than a club atmosphere, which was welcome news for someone like myself who prefers quiet ambience over noisy parties.

Once we were done taking in the views we headed down to take a look at some of the rooms. The Hyatt will be a large hotel with nearly 500 rooms available, but it’s also a tall and narrow hotel, meaning that you won’t be navigating cavernous hallways for several minutes to find your room. In fact, each floor has only 11 rooms located down a single hallway. So even though the hotel is huge, you can still enjoy something of a boutique experience.

hyattts5The rooms themselves are fantastic – averaging 364 square feet (hyattts6well above average for NYC hotels), with a plethora of options to combine rooms for larger families. It’s always a challenge to visit New York City with a family with more than two children, and this will be a perfect spot to do so! The rooms are stylishly designed, with some fun touches like hyattts4these little balloon animal statues that I really enjoyed, along with practical touches like a bar in the shower to place your feet on while you shave your legs, and several different lighting settings easily controlled by buttons next to the bed.

In addition to a future rooftop hotspot and excellent rooms, the Hyatt Times Square will also include one of the only full service spas in Times Square – a 4000 square foot facility with individual and couple treatment rooms, a blowout bar, and manicure/pedicure stations. It is open to the public, so even if you can’t stay at the hotel you can still partake in the excellent location whether prepping for night out in NYC or recovering from one.

The hotel will also feature a large, state-of-the-art gym with an impressive array of equipment, and an on-site diner-style restaurant in the lobby with a bar attached.

By now I hope you are as excited as I am! If you are planning to book a trip to NYC in the coming months, be sure to e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com for information on the Hyatt Times Square and other fantastic NYC options. I’m looking forward to living vicariously through you when you visit our city!

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Staying Off the Beaten Path

by Eileen, Travel Planner

We always get requests for hotel in Times Square.  The location of Times Square is more than ideal— five minutes to any of the Broadway theatres, fifteen minutes to Central Park, and twenty minutes to the Empire State Building.  As much as you may not necessarily enjoy Times Square, you have to admit that it is the epicenter of New York City.  However many New Yorkers do not consider Times Square the “real New York”, and to be honest staying in Times Square isn’t going to give you the true New York experience.

We pride ourselves as a company in the fact that we are all real New Yorkers, many of us born-and-raised natives.  We’re based here in the city and are committed to bringing you the experience of New York.  So we ventured out to see what hotels we could add to our growing partners that would provide our guests with the true New York experience.  Last week we were able to visit a couple of the newest hotels to join the New York scene. They all have great rates and just happen to be off the beaten path.

  1. The Comfort Inn Midtown West

efhotel1This hotel just opened this past March and sits in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Midtown Manhattan.  For those of you that do not know, Hell’s Kitchen is located on the West side of Manhattan just past Times Square.  It’s a very residential neighborhood that is quiet and features some of New York’s best restaurants.  We walked over from the 1 train passing several playgrounds and schools before reaching the hotel.

 

efhotel3There are certain elements that come to mind when you think of a Comfort Inn— no frills, economical, and standard.  This hotel meets the economical portion, but other than that you really wouldn’t be able to tell it is a Comfort Inn.  The hotel has a boutique feel to its design from its bathroom to dresser.  The hotel offers complimentary breakfast and wifi in the lobby, for additional savings.  This hotel is a great alternative for those working with a strict budget but who still want the convenience of staying close to Times Square.

  1. The Holiday Inn Lower East Side

This is another new hotel offering a local experience on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The hotel is just five minutes from the F or M lines along Houston Street.  The Lower East Side is very residential with a lot of apartment buildings and it feels like a completely different world then the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.  Taking after the area, the hotel is really quiet and offers a calm place to return to after exploring the streets of Manhattan.

Louise and I were both really impresseefhotel4d with the size of the hotel room and the way the hotel used the space.  As many of you may know, hotel rooms in Manhattan are notoriously small.  While this room isn’t huge, it’s comfortable for short or long term visit to the city.  The hotel has its own 50s themed restaurant and fitness center on the lower level of the hotel.  We were heading back to our office in Midtown after our visit, and were pleased it only took about 10 minutes or so.

  1. The Millennium Broadway

So this hotel isn’t off the beaten path, but in the grand scheme of Time Square Hotel it can get easily left behind.  The Millennium Broadway is located on West 44th Street and Broadway, with entrances that are along the side streets.  The hotel has over 700 rooms that vary to queens, kings, double doubles, and suites.  The hotel recently completely its renovations and refurnished all of its rooms.

efhotel5Out of all the hotels we’ve seen, this is the only one we’ve seen that have large rooms with floor to ceiling windows.  All of the rooms have a view of the skyline— so no interior views here!  Guests are just steps from all the major Broadway theatres, the Times Square sights, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and so much!  In addition to providing a great experience for hotel guests, the Millennium Broadway can also serve as a great conference center.  The hotel has a lot of space that would be great for conferences, private parties, and weddings.

No matter what your hotel preference— small, large, boutique, chain, the best of the best, or cost efficient— New York Guest is here to help!  Please feel free to contact us to help with any aspect of your New York trip!

 

 

 

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A First Look at The New Algonquin

by Michael, Director of Hotel Sales

I worked at the Algonquin many years ago and was drawn to it for the nostalgia and history it represents. At the time, it was a quirky hotel on club row surrounded by much more up-market hotels, but the Gonk (as we so lovingly referred to it) represented so much more than a hotel…it was an experience…it was stepping back in time where the spirit of the those that sat around the Round Table so long again were still there. Granted the names and faces were different, but the spirit was still in play. To that end, it was with great trepidation that I went to see the new renovation as I heard so many of the iconic elements that made the the Algonquin the Algonquin were stripped away. However, what I experienced upon entering the new Gonk quickly alleviated my fears—it’s not just a renovation but also a restoration. They have masterfully combined the timeless elegance of yesterday with the modern convenience of the 21st century.

The lobby still maintains its “parlor” like feel…often referred to as an oasis of serenity in a city that does not know how to spell serenity. The Blue Bar has been both expanded and updated—it will no longer be a dark bar serving wonderful cocktails but the new bar will create an experience, and those who often asked “why is this called the Blue Bar?” will never have to asked again. Much to the dismay of many, the Oak Room is no more. After having help launch the careers of Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr, Jaime Cohen to name but a few, it has now been transformed in to quite an elegant breakfast room to serve the many business travelers during the week. But just wait: new happenings are planned for the space that will put this iconic room back on everyone’s weekend’s itinerary.

The famous wallpaper that was designed by the illustrators of the New Yorker magazine is gone. However, what is lost in nostalgia is gained in the perception that the once dark hallways appear to be that much bigger and more inviting. Guest rooms still have that residential feel however, all the modern conveniences have been installed. The really most exciting improvement is the bathrooms. Those they thought the bathrooms was not user friendly are in for a surprise—the new bathrooms feature walk-in showers, ample lighting, and a functional sink area where one can place their personal items

All and all the Gonk is positioned to continue its grand heritage and will once again, welcome those travelers looking for some thing a bit different than saying in a big box hotel. The ghosts are still there…even Matilda is still in the house but one thing has changed…for the first time since 1902, an automatic ice maker has been added for guest convenience. Fear not though, guest can still call down to have ice delivered to their room complimentary as in days past.

Want to be one of the first to stay at the new Algonquin? E-mail us at info@newyorkguest.com for exclusive package deals!

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Hotel Hopping in Manhattan

by Eileen, New York Guest Travel Planner

Hello again!

No Broadway show for me this week.  Instead I had the great opportunity to visit a couple of the hotels New York Guest can offer to our guests who come to New York.

As a Travel Consultant, I work primarily with direct to consumer and online sales.  When you send in a quote request, I or one of my colleagues begin looking into what’s available for your stay.  Matching the right person with the right hotel takes a lot of searching, extensive knowledge of each property, and a little bit of luck.

The Residence Inn by Marriott

The Residence Inn just completed a round of renovations.  This hotel is in an amazing location!  You’re right across from Bryant Park, just around the corner from Times Square and the Theatre District, and within walking distance of Fifth Avenue and the Empire State Building!

The Marriott Residence features rooms with a queen bed and rooms with two double beds.  The rooms with two beds are on the larger end- about 450 square feet.  There is plenty of closet space, and the bathroom features a shower and bathtub (a major bonus for me).

Each room at the Residence Inn features a kitchenette with a fridge, microwave, and crock pot.  This is a huge plus for those of us who do not always want to go out to dinner each night.  Plus as Louise pointed out, the crock pot can be used to make stew.  How amazing would it be to come back to your room after exploring New York all day to have homemade stew!  Also when you book with New York Guest, breakfast is included!

Aside from its great location and amazing rooms, the Residence Inn has a significant amount of lounging area for guests to relax outside of their rooms.  There is a large lounge area that features multiple televisions and of course complimentary Wifi.  The Residence Inn also has an onsite fitness center and multiple meeting spaces.

The Beekman Tower Hotel

The Beekman Tower Hotel is another great property located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  This hotel is targeted towards long term stay guests.  Each hotel room features a kitchen with a full oven, stove stop, microwave and refrigerator.  The hotel rooms are spacious enough for you to move around in as well!

The Beekman is one of the oldest hotels in New York.  The property was built right along what was to be First Avenue in the beginning of the century.  However that’s not say that the hotel has remained outdated— it completed its latest renovation last year.  The old world feel of the Beekman is not lost amongst the crowd of newer buildings occupying the same street.

The most delightful part about the Beekman is the Top of the Tower Restaurant that features stunning views of the Upper East Side, Midtown, and Queens.  The Top of the Tower can be rented out to host cocktail parties and other meetings.  However anyone can make a reservation and enjoy the food and view!

The Carlton Hotel

The Carlton Hotel is a boutique property located on Madison Avenue.  The property was built about a century ago and has expanded a good deal.  Housing the popular French restaurant, Millesime, the Carlton is a great option for business and leisure travelers with a great location for those visiting New York.  The Carlton is within walking distance of the Empire State Building, Herald Square, and Penn Station.

Since the building is bit older, the rooms are on the smaller end.  However I felt that the rooms had an intimate aspect to them.  All of the in-room amenities are up to date — new bathroom, new television, and mini bar.

The restaurant Millesime is a must see and experience at the Carlton.  The restaurant has tremendous space with seating in several different areas as well as the bar.  The salon is open and airy and lets in a good deal of natural sunlight.  The gem of the Millesime dining area was a tiffany dome window that let in an amazing amount of natural light.  I strongly suggest you visit the Carlton!

The Manhattan at Times Square

The Manhattan at Times Square, formerly the Sheraton Manhattan, is a wonderful three star property that sits just north of Times Square.  The hotel is within walking distance of Times Square, many of the major Broadway theatres, Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and so much more!

The Manhattan at Times Square is one of the few properties in Manhattan that has a pool.  Most of the time when a Manhattan property claims to have a pool, it ends up being a small pool that can only fit a few people in at a time.  The Manhattan has a short course pool that expands to 25 meters.  Adjacent to the pool is a sun deck where guests can relax or sunbathe.  The other side of the pool features the fitness center that has window ceiling that lets in a large amount of natural light.

This hotel is great for those who are interested in staying within walking distance of all the major sights.  This hotel is also great for groups interested in adjoining rooms!  The hotel’s rates are wonderful for the location and the hotel definitely offers a great New York experience.

Now that you’ve heard about some of our favorite hotels, are you ready to start planning your NYC getaway? E-mail info@newyorkguest.com for customized packages and amazing deals at these or dozens of other properties we love.

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An Empire State of Mind

by Louise, Community Manager

Now famous for its prominent role as the home of the Bass family on the popular TV show Gossip Girl, the Empire Hotel, and its iconic sign, has actually been a staple of New York City’s Upper West Side for many years. I had occasion to visit the hotel last week for the very first time, and it made me wish I didn’t already live in New York City so that I could spend a weekend at the Empire without it being a rather strange thing to do.

The luxurious lobby of the Empire features a multitude of comfortable couches and armchairs where you can enjoy a drink from the lobby bar and some free wireless internet, or just watch the people come and go. There is balcony level seating that offers more privacy and a view of the entry way: the perfect spot to curl up with a glass of good wine and catch up on your e-mails after a day of New York sightseeing.

The Empire’s guest rooms are well-appointed and comfortable, with divine bedding and an excellent selection of mini bar snacks, and rooms boast an amazing view of the city – especially the King and Double Double rooms on the North side of the building (check out the view in my photo to the right! Also, if you have a large family there is an option to reserve one room with a king bed, one room with two double beds, and a “living room” in the middle with a couch, TV, table and chairs, and an additional bathroom – effectively creating yourself a two bedroom, three bathroom apartment for your trip. And if you’ve ever traveled with a large family, I’m sure you can imagine how much more harmonious a third bathroom can make your trip!

The awesomeness of the Empire doesn’t end at the guest rooms, though. Some of the hotel’s best features are right at the top! The Empire Rooftop Bar is a scene year-round, with bottle service and music every night, and you’ll often find a long line to get in. The views are tremendous and the cocktails delicious. If, like me, you’re not into the serious party scene, check it out during Happy Hour early in the evening when the drinks are cheaper and you can enjoy the view in quieter surroundings.

To be totally honest, the bar is not my favorite part of the Empire rooftop. There is an even higher section of the bi-level roof and here you’ll find the pool and the unbelievably awesome pool deck. The pool is modestly sized (but come on, you’re swimming on a roof! In Manhattan!) but in my opinion, the deck is the real star of this section of the Empire (and possibly the hotel in general). When you’re a guest at the Empire you are welcome to spend an afternoon lounging in a deck chair with a phenomenal view of Manhattan, basking in the sun and sipping a cocktail. Try as I might, I can’t think of many ideas for an afternoon more awesome than that.

Of course, the location of the Empire is amazing as well, with Central Park a few blocks east, Lincoln Center a block or so north, the Time Warner Center and Columbus Circle a short walk south, and all of Manhattan at your fingertips. It’s a fine choice for your New York City trip! Check out our Girlfriend Getaway package featuring the Empire, or e-mail info@newyorkguest.com to get a quote for a customized package!

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The Ace is the Place

by Paul, New York Guest Travel Planner

When one passes the Ace Hotel, one notices that it holds a peculiar charm. From the outside, one sees that the Ace is oddly out of place because its quaintness that you notice is in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan, and that is most certainly a good thing. The Hotel is intent on making the guest feel welcomed and relaxed, and that is an objective they accomplish the moment the guest enters the lobby. The soft-key lighting in the lobby separates the guest from Midtown’s chaos. In my opinion, that is what a good hotel is supposed to do: make the guest feel as comfortable as possible while being away from home, and that is not always easy in the city that never sleeps.

When guests enter, they are met by an open area filled with comfortable sofas, tables and chairs, and there is some intimate proximity between the people. It is always comforting to know that guests are able to mingle and converse in the main lobby; it is all just a matter of extending a hand and saying “hi.” Therefore, a single guest can easily make a travel companion and do away with the harsh criticism that New York City can be an apathetic culture. But of course, the guest can also choose to maintain the stereotype and connect to the Ace’s complimentary wifi access and experience the American coffee shop culture.

Homey comfort certainly is a theme present in the Ace Hotel, and it is all done in vintage style – it is quite a creative approach for the hotel to present itself. When the guest walks into the room, the guest is met with beautiful artwork worthy of a Chelsea or DUMBO gallery. A classic Polaroid camera lies waiting on the table, and the best thing is that the Ace Hotel wants its guests to play with such an epochal item. The experience is equal to playing a mono record on the record player – it is fun, and of course, the Ace hotel sells the film needed to take physical snapshots of New York City, instead of the intangible digital photographs that get lost in the digital world.

But of course, New York City has inspired many artists and musicians like Bob Dylan or even the entire beat generation. That is the ambiance that the Ace Hotel captures, as is evident by the guitars present in some of the rooms. They almost encourage the guest to channel their inner Phil Ochs in the privacy of their own room, while enjoying the remarkable rooftop gardens, and buildings worthy of cinematic appreciation.

The Ace Hotel is definitely a hotel worth checking out (and checking in). It has a lot to offer to the many young people who want to experience the artistic and bohemian New York City because the Ace does an incredible job of emulating that environment, while also emulating the comfort and coziness you can also find at home.

Want to stay at the Ace? Check out some of our great vacation packages that include a room there: The Hottest Ticket in Town, Once x Ace, or the NYC Foodie Weekend. Or, contact us at info@newyorkguest.com to design your own customized package!

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Transcend to the Hudson

by Louise, Community Manager

Whenever I have the opportunity to go visit one of our hotels, the first question I ask myself is “Would I stay here?” Living in NYC, I don’t have much opportunity to actually stay in the hotels here, but from my visits and tours I will say that they have more character than a lot of the hotels in cities that I’ve visited around the world. Yesterday we took a trip to the Hudson Hotel and I know I will be recommending it more often to not only clients but friends as well!

First of all, there’s the location. The Hudson is located on 58th street between 8th and 9th avenue, just one block from Columbus Circle, one of the main transportation hubs of the city where you can catch the A, C, E, B, D or 1 trains, making it easy to access pretty much anywhere in the city you might like to see. The amazing Time Warner Center is also just one block away, with upscale shopping and incomparable dining options like A Voce, Per Se, Landmarc, Barmasa and the ridiculously yummy Bouchon Bakery. The southwest entrance to Central Park is two blocks away, and Lincoln Center is just a few blocks north. Times Square is one subway stop or a short walk, pleasant walk if the weather is nice. Basically, what I’m saying is, in terms of location it is pretty prime.

When you walk into the Hudson you first encounter a long escalator that takes you up to the lobby and check-in desk. The escalators are house in quiet tunnels, giving you the opportunity to decompress from being outside in the city’s craziness before you enter the tranquility of the hotel. The lobby has an arch overhead decorated with leaves, and giant crystal chandeliers over check-in, drawing you immediately into the ambience of the area.

I won’t mince words: the rooms at the Hudson are small. They have everything you need but if you are the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time in your hotel room, the Hudson may not be the hotel for you. But also, if you’re the kind of person who likes to spend a lot of time in your hotel room, why are you coming to NYC? The hotel is undergoing room renovations this year (but don’t worry, construction noise is not a problem) with a completion date of early September. The new rooms have higher beds to provide more storage space for your luggage, new lighting, and near air conditioning units. The wood paneling on the wall provides a cozy atmosphere. But really, you’ll only be sleeping in there. One of the things I love most about the Hudson is the multitude of public spaces to relax, socialize, and have a drink.

Hudson Hall is the Hudson’s on-site restaurant, serving breakfast and dinner daily in a setting that one of my colleagues said reminded her of Hogwarts. Long, communal wooden tables are the primary seating offered and the serving is cafeteria-style – though the food is definitely not: a combination of ethnic cuisines celebrating the melting pot of NYC is served.

Hudson Bar is open Thursday-Saturday from 7 PM to midnight and is an elegant, glamorous spot to start your evening with a few cocktails or enjoy a nightcap before retiring to your room. The décor of the room is delightful – the reversed floor and ceiling décor invokes the feeling of being upside-down (in the most pleasant possible way), and the eclectic array of furniture is both comfortable and visually pleasing.

The Library is probably my favorite public space at the Hudson. With a giant fireplace,  lots of comfy places to sit, and an elegant pool table in the center of the room, it’s definitely a spot to come and unwind – plus there’s a bar, of course! The cocktails at the library sound particularly delicious to me – sipping a “Maple Mojito” (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Maple Simple Syrup, Lime, Mint & Soda) in front of the fireplace sounds like a beautiful way to end the day to me!

The Hudson also has two private outdoor spaces to relax and get some fresh air if it is a nice day and you don’t feel like taking the walk to Central Park. There is also a gym in the basement accessible to all guests, and spa treatments can be booked on-site as well. What more reason do you need to spend your NYC vacation at the Hudson?

Want to book a trip that includes a stay at the Hudson Hotel? E-mail info@newyorkguest.com and we’ll start planning today!

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