I had really (really) been worried about this place the first night I was here - was put on the side of the hotel that faces busy Raymond Avenue and felt like the traffic noise was really out of control. I'm a light sleeper and could hear sirens, etc. even with ear plugs in and the A/C turned up high. Requested a room change and was put on the other side of the hotel, where luckily the traffic noise and hubbub is much reduced.
Some great things about this hotel:
1.) The staff. Had uniformly terrific interactions with everyone on the front desk, the bell staff, and the restaurant servers. "Free" (don't have exact spelling of her name) behaved in a very professional manner when confronted by a grumpy person who hadn't had much sleep and took care of the noise issue with minimum hassle. Had been told my bags would be moved for me but it took minutes to accomplish that when I got back from the city later so it was really no big deal.
2.) Comfy, awesome beds, good ventilation, room darkening shades worked great. Not much noise after my room move.
3.) This place is just right on top of the NJ Transit line that takes you into the city. It's a little confusing - NJ Transit is not called "light rail" and it behooves one to take a look at the station map helpfully posted near the entrance to Newark Penn. Be aware you don't have to go into the main waiting room to buy NJ Transit tickets and that most of the trains to New York Penn depart from Track 1. There's a ticket vending machine right on the platform and I'd say you can be from your room onto the train within 20 minutes if you're traveling off peak. It's only 2 stops to New York Penn and again, it's only about 15 minutes. So this option, IMO is comparable to staying in Manhattan and paying double or triple their inflated hotel prices to get to tourism locations like Central Park-area hotels. If you need to travel during morning or evening rush, I'd allow double those times, but I can't imagine it would take more than an hour to get into the city ever, barring major unforeseen transit disruptions.
Speaking of - having been to NYC many times and stayed in hotels: the rooms at HNP are twice the size of what you'll get in Manhattan and you'll pay dramatically less to stay here. Due to the timing of my arriving flight I decided not to wait for the hotel shuttle from the airport (which arrives every hour on the half hour - 12:30, 1:30 etc) and the cost was only about $20 even with bags. Had a great time talking to the cab driver, another good experience.
The trip back out to Newark Int'l Airport (served by Southwest Airlines, among others) is a piece of cake from the hotel, another advantage over staying on Manhattan - rather than having to haul your luggage on public transit to get back out to the airport, you can simply have the HNP staff give you a ride on the shuttle - free, easy, nothing bad to say about it at all. Be sure to bring some dollar bills, you'll want to tip the busmen and such for their genuinely excellent service.
All this being said, a couple things to know. For we Hilton Diamond members - there's a great lounge on the 9th floor staffed by another of Hilton's crazy-friendly employees, but it's only open during the week - no supper on Friday night or any service over the weekend. A good option for weekday travel but there wasn't much to eat when I got back from the city a little before 10 PM on a Friday night, as the hotel restaurant had stopped serving by the time I called around 11 PM. Room service ends at 11 as well. There are some restaurants and such in the 500-yard or so covered bridge to Newark Penn (which is carpeted, well lit, lovely, and not at all scary) but they all close at 7 PM. Just be sure you plan for this and don't wash up super-late starving hungry and expect to find a lot of late-night options. Of course, you could always step over to Penn Station and grab a bite, but as others have mentioned the tunnel to/from the hotel closes at 10:30. It's literally across the street so no issues but possibly worth mentioning in case of bad weather.
Breakfast is no problem - great service in the Executive Lounge or in the restaurant. There's a Starbucks right outside the hotel's front door for your coffee needs.
One minor quibble - I love New York's Channel 1, which features local news and a lot of weather updates. Couldn't find it on the TV package, was a little disappointed, but all of the national news channels and such were available.
Generally, though, just can't say enough about the great experience I had here. I visited NYC from Nashville, TN to visit friends and to see a 3-part art exhibition ("Audubon's Aviary" at the New York Historical Society - John Audubon's watercolor studies for epic masterpiece "Birds of New York" - go go go. The first portion of the exhibit was spring 2013, but there are two more in 2014 and 15. I'll be staying at HNP for all of them.)
Honestly, all things considered? Great service, late checkout when I asked for it since I had a little time to kill before my flight? Super-easy transportation? Good ventilation, water pressure, local services? This place gets a full five stars. I'll definitely be back, and recommend this property to everyone I know - I really think this is just unbeatable for the location and value. Thanks for an outstanding experience.
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Newark Penn Station Hotel Newark
- Hilton Hotel Newark
- Hilton Penn Station Newark
- Newark Hilton