“Still an Excellent Old World/Old New York-Style Hotel in the Upper Chelsea/Garment District Area!”
Before I start with my actual review for this fine hotel, I need to share with you a bit of a preface to the review.
I stayed at this hotel several times between 1997 and 2001 on visits to Manhattan, and I loved it each time. In fact, it became my favorite hotel in Manhattan. Then, starting around 2001, came a long haitus period during which I did not need to stay overnite in Manhattan for a number of years; this period lasted for over a decade.
Now let's move forward about a decade, to late 2010, when I started to make trips several times per year to Manhattan because of my work, but for those stays, I needed to be positioned in lower SoHo, near Chinatown, and I rather quickly found a hotel in lower SoHo (the Holiday Inn SoHo) that more than met my needs, and that hotel has become, over the past two years, my favorite hotel for my fairly frequent stays in lower Manhattan.
Well, I learned in early October 2012 that I needed to spend a few days on the west side of lower mid-town Manhattan, just above Chelsea in mid-November in order to see some clients in that area, and so I checked out room prices at the New Yorker hotel using their own website (I will note here that I tend to always reserve my hotel stays via a hotel's own website, rather than via any of the online booking services, because things always seem to turn out better that way). I checked the room rates with a bit of hesitation, simply because I had noticed that the New Yorker nightly room rates have climbed steadily over the past decade, and that many times nowadays their room rates fall in the range of about $380 to $700 per night, which is well out of my price range.
Well, I was very lucky when I checked room rates in early October for a projected stay in mid-November, for I was quickly able to book three nights at the New Yorker (from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19), via their own website, for an average per-night price of about $175. To me, that is very impressive!
Now that we have the introductory material out of the way, I can move on to my review for my current stay here. By the way, I am writing this review on Nov. 18th, during the middle of my 3-night stay at the New Yorker, and then on the 19th I will be moving on to SoHo (because of my work requirements), where I will stay for an additional two weeks at the earlier-mentioned hotel in lower SoHo.
In late morning on Friday, Nov. 16, as I was heading to Manhattan on an Amtrak train, I suddenly realized that while I would be getting to New Yorker hotel by around 1 PM (and, of course, their normal check-in time is 3 PM, typical for most hotels), I had totally forgotten to call the hotel front desk the night before -- as they had recommended that I do when I had called back in October to ask about the possibility of an early check-in -- to request an early check-in.
In an attempt to remediate my oversight, I grabbed my cell phone and tried to call the front desk at the hotel in an effort to at least give them a bit of advance warning that I would be asking for an early check-in at about 1 PM. Well, each of my two consecutive attempts to call the front desk at the New Yorker resulted in a string of never-answered rings, followed by a recorded message telling me that the front desk staff was too busy to take my call, after which my call was rolled to voicemail. During my second attempt to call the hotel's front desk, I finally left a brief voicemail advising them that I would be arriving at the hotel in about one hour, at about 1 PM, and telling them that I would appreciate an early check-in if it was possible.
Well, it was only a quick walk from Penn Station to the hotel once my train had arrived in Manhattan, and I found myself approaching the front desk even earlier than 1 PM, perhaps at about 12:45 PM, with the full realization that there was a very good chance that they might not be able to offer me an early check-in on such belated notice. However, I was about to be pleasantly surprised!
Once I reached the front desk, I introduced myself, and asked for an early check-in, explaining that I had totally forgotten to call the night before to give them a heads-up about the request, and adding that I would be more than happy to pay any early check-in fees, if necessary, if they could accommodate my request for an early check-in. The very friendly front desk clerk quickly told me that she would indeed be able to check me in immediately, and she advised me that there would be no extra fees for the privilege of early check-in.
I happened to mention during our conversation that I had stayed at the New Yorker several times in the past between 1997 and 2001, and it was about at this point that she offered me a free upgrade from the New Yorker Room (a relatively basic room with a queen bed located on the 19th floor or above) that I had reserved, to a View Room, which, she explained would give me a queen bed room on an even higher floor that offered a better view of the New York skyline, and would also offer me a little bit more floor space. Of course, I accepted her kind offer for a free upgrade.
I am now a full two days into my 3-night stay here at the New Yorker, and I can report that this hotel has lost none of its charm since my last stay here over a decade ago. There are tons of elevators -- specifically, six or seven elevators serving floors 2 through 20, and another six elevators serving floors 21 through 40 -- and the elevators are spacious and fast, and thus there is NEVER any significant wait for an elevator, no matter what time of day or night.
The lobby is still quite impressive; it is very large, and it features a number of separate seating areas where one can sit to wait, or relax, or read a book, or to simply sit and people-watch. There are currently two restaurants in the lobby; a cute art deco-style (like much of the rest of the hotel) diner-style restaurant called the TickTock Diner on the southern end of the lobby, and a restaurant called Coopers at the northern end of the lobby. I have eaten at both, and each has good menu selections and serves good food.
I have invariably found the lobby area, the large elevator area, the hallways (on the hotel room floors) and my room to be immaculately clean and well-cared for. Yes, the rooms are a bit small, but that is simply a fact of life for rooms in most hotels in Manhattan, at least in the under-$600-per-night price range, due to high real estate costs and high property taxes.
Speaking of the rooms, the building was completed in 1926, and opened for business as a hotel in 1930, and thus the basic "bones" of the structure -- including room shape and size for the hotel rooms -- are the same as when the hotel was first built. With that in mind, I want to say that I feel that the hotel management has made excellent use of the available space and structural bones in remodeling the rooms and the hallways, and the net result, for me, is a hotel that is obviously almost one hundred years old, but which exhibits a lot of warmth and grace, and which remains an iconic and stately hotel, one of the grander old-style hotels in Manhattan.
During my stay here, I have always found the front desk staff to be very helfpul and attentive, whether I have approached them in person or whether I have called the front desk from my room phone. Regarding complaints from a few earlier reviewers that they were never able to reach the front desk by phone while they were staying in the hotel, and rather, that they got rolled to voicemail each time they had tried to call the front desk, here is my report of my own experience in that realm:
Much as I reported earlier, my two attempts to call the hotel's front desk from my cell phone while on a train enroute to Manhattan did result in each of my two calls having been rolled to voicemail. However, during my actual stay here, out of the eight or so times that I have needed to call the front desk, there has been only one instance where my attempt to do so has resulted in my call being rolled to voicemail, and, in that case, when I tried again to call the front desk just one minute later, my call was answered by a person almost immediately.
I was able to easily get a rental refrigerator for my room by calling the front desk, and the total one-time refrigerator rental fee was simply $20, which is a bargain by Manhattan hotel standards!
Since so many past reviewers have complained about the bathrooms, I will offer my own observations on that matter here: I am 6'1" tall, albeit rather slender (I weigh about 185 pounds) and agile, and I never had any problems at all navigating around the room itself (even with the small rental refrigerator installed) or in the bathroom.
Yes, the bathroom is rather small, but that is very common for hotel rooms in New York city, particularly in the older buildings, and, at least in my room (a View Room on the 28th floor), the bathroom was spotless and immaculate, and both the bathtub and the tile floors of the bathroom were in perfect shape. And, despite the fact that I am 6'1" tall, I had no trouble at all accessing or using the sink, the shower/tub, or the toilet, and could easily live in this room for months on end in total physical comfort and ease, without ever feeling cramped, crowded or constrained by space limitations.
All that I can say in closing is that whenever I need to stay in or near the Chelsea/Garment District area in Manhattan, I will definitely return to this hotel again and again.
BTW, while basic bare-bones slow WiFi here is free for all hotel guests, there is a charge of about $9 per day for a very high-speed enhanced WiFi connection (it is very quick and easy to enable the enhanced high-speed WiFi; it takes about four seconds to click on a button to have the charges billed to your room bill). I personally chose to go with the high-speed option, and I have not regretted it.
One last note: for me, one of the things that gave this hotel its charm was the old-style wooden door frames and moulding/trim, and the old marble trim that was ever-present in hallways, in the lobby and in the mezzanine area.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.