We decided to book 2 rooms at this hotel because of the generous discount that Hyatt gives to travel agents, its proximity to the LGA and the subway station. I trust the Tripadvisor members for the worthy reviews so I wasn't expecting the best upon checking in at this new hotel.
Shuttle service - Free airport shuttle to the LGA. The pick up from the airport was quite a mess as we have to call the hotel and wait more than 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive. The shuttle staff was courteous and apologetic for the long wait, due apparently to the bad traffic at that time after the thunderstorm. The shuttle vehicle is new so no complains. Drop-off to the airport was seamless and the staff was also friendly and courteous. We accidentally left a Macy's shopping bag by the lobby. The shuttle staff found it even before we realized that we left something. Thanks for this!
Check-in & Check-out - No problem with checking in as it was almost midnight. Staff was friendly. When we checked in for the 2nd room a day after, we requested for a connecting room. The front desk staff took time to accommodate our request and even moved us from our old room so we can have connecting rooms. On the check-out day, I called front desk for an express check-out but I was told to come down to check out. Not a big problem but was quite unusual for hotels nowadays.
Staff - I think this hotel's management is looking into the recent Tripadvisor bad reviews so I noticed that all staff members were alerted to be extra nice to the guests. There is just one Chinese ( I guess most of them are of this origin) gentleman by the front desk that looked stoic with a fake smile that didn't seem to mind me while I was asking something so I turned to the other younger Chinese guy instead. From his body movements, I would think that he is the front desk manager and if my guess is right, he needs to learn good interpersonal skills from his staff then.
Housekeeping - As soon as we got inside the room, we were greeted by muddy shoe prints by the foyer. This is so noticeable so I checked everywere if the room was not cleaned before it was assigned to us. I just noticed some litter in the garbage bin but everything seemed to be in place. We didn't request that our room be cleaned after the first night and we moved to a different room on our 3rd night so I can't comment on the efficiency of room cleaning. I just noticed that a huge bag of clean towels and a bag of trash were outside one of the staff rooms by the hallway on the 5th floor at 11am and it was still there when we came back at night.
Room - As with the other reviews, the airconditioner is a big pain! The auto on/off noise kept me awake on the 1st night. Yes, the flow of cold air from the vent gets unto your face directly so we have to put something to reroute the airflow towards the window and not on the beds. On our last night, we realized that the vent grills are movable so you can swing it towards the side of the window. As in any new hotel, all furniture are new and the bed is perfect after a tiring day. I agree with a previous review that the faucet was installed too close to the edge of the sink. My handyman could have done a better job than this. Some rooms have bathtubs while other rooms just have a shower. The tub does not look new to me as it wasn't shiny. The shower is modern as it has a glass enclosure but the floor tiles showed some smudges already. The cabinets and closet are in good shape but would need more hangers for longer stays.
Breakfast - Compared to Marriott Residence Inn or Holiday Inn Express, the breakfast here has a lot to offer. The breakfast area is also bigger and more modern than in the other hotels offering free breakfast. In one of the days, the scrambled egg was too dry and didn't look fresh but enjoyed the other stuff nevertheless. There's always something different each morning.
There was one day when a lot of staff were present at the breakfast area catering to the needs of the guests and asking if we need anything. This was a surprise as we didn't see this on the previous days.
Location - Close to LGA, plenty of Asian restaurants around, two blocks to subway station where the trains take you directly to Times Square within 20 minutes on express hours. There's a mall within walking distance. Tour buses going to the Woodbury Outlet Mall have their offices in this area too. In regards to the safety and cleanliness of the surroundings, this is like a market place, a typical Chinatown. We felt safe walking around but we didn't stay out later than 9PM.
Swimming Pool - our kids had a great time because the pool was almost empty and there were floaters available for them to play with. The sign shows "no lifeguard on duty" but we always see a hotel staff in there. In one of the days, there was a young male staff (probably on duty in that area) when we got in to swim. He has a female companion but we are not sure if she's a guest or a friend of the staff or a staff member. He was taking pictures of the lady from his phone or sometimes from a tablet in most of the times that we were there. We were thinking if they were having a photoshoot or something. When the lady stepped out of the pool, she was wearing street clothes including a belt, hahaha! I just feel that it's not quite professional to see something like this especially if both of them are hotel staff.
Overall, it was a good stay. With free wifi, free shuttle and free breakfast, I would stay here again if I get the same travel agent rate that I got during this stay.