For our latest annual summer New York visit, we once again did a downtown/midtown hotel split--this time trying the Trump SoHo before returning to our midtown NY "home", the Peninsula.
Last summer, we first stayed at the Standard High Line before the Pen, and had booked there this year as well, until I received an email about an Anniversary special at the Trump--third night free if booking a premier room, an in-room dining credit, and a chance to win a pair of Ivanka Trump earrings. I think the reservation had to be made that day, so I decided to give the Trump a try. We didn't win the earrings, but the stay was quite nice, although not as top-tier as our stays at venerable midtown hotels such as the Pen, Four Seasons, St. Regis and Mandarin Oriental. Still, in SoHo, where hotel pickings are slimmer, it is a hotel worth considering. I rank it above the other SoHo hotels I have visited, the Mondrian SoHo and the Mercer. I would still like to try the James, which seems to have a nice vibe (plus indoor and lovely outdoor David Burke dining spots), but the Trump is the most luxurious of the bunch, and seems to attract its fair share of celebrities--we saw Forest Whitaker in the lobby, surely in town for "Lee Daniels' The Butler" promotion--but alas no Oprah.
THE BUILDING, LOCATION, PUBLIC AREAS
If 6th Ave. is considered the western edge of SoHo, the Trump is technically one block west of SoHo, on Spring St. between 6th and Varick. Varick is the street that leads into the Holland Tunnel, and thus has extremely heavy southbound traffic in the afternoon. Once you cross 6th St., you are pretty much in the thick of Soho, with the entire area, with its myriad of shops and restaurants, withing walking distance. Right on Spring St. near the hotel is the Dominique Ansel bakery, famous for inventing the cronut (a cross between a doughnut and croissant), where determined folks (mostly tourists is my guess) line up for 3-hour+ waits for these confections (limit 2 per person), which sell out before 10am. I didn't ask if the hotel could provide someone to wait to get you a cronut, but if you were Forest Whitaker, you could probably get as many as you want ASAP. Also nearby, on Prince and Sullivan, is one of my favourite SoHo restaurants, the Dutch, which happily participated in Restaurant Week, which was ongoing during our stay.
There is a local Metro stop right on 6th and Spring, which serves the C and E lines. If taking the AirTrain and Metro from JFK airport, as we did, you can take the E directly (you will go through midtown before turning south), or the A train past downtown and up to Canal, which we did. A stop for the 1,2, and 3 lines is also near the hotel.
The Trump hotel's building was new construction, has 46 stories on a rather narrow base, and like all Trump hotels, offers ownership options. The 2-story-high lobby is narrow, but has decent seating areas and free wifi. An entrance to the hotel's branch of the Japanese restaurant chain Koi is just to the left of the entrance, as is a stairway to the mezzanine level Library Lounge and CafeMezz, which serves breakfast and weekend brunch. The reception, concierge and Trump Attache areas are just beyond the lobby, as are the hotel's 4 rather slow elevators, which often have a line waiting for them. I also noticed hotel staff use these elevators as well, although there are 2 service elevators. The business centre is in the basement. There seems to be a lounge/club space beyond the reception area, accessible from outside only, but there was no mention of it anywhere.
The 3rd floor houses meeting rooms, and there is an outdoor terrace. The outdoor pool is on the 7th floor terrace, along with Bar D'Eau for dining and drinking. The pool is of decent length but no more than 2 bathtubs in width. The fitness center is on the 8th floor, overlooking the pool deck. The Spa occupies part of the 7th and 8th floors; three Spa Suites--guest suites that incorporate spa equipment, conveniences, and amenities--are also on the 8th floor.
On the top (46th) floor is a function/event room called SoHi, accessible from 2 elevators. If there is no event scheduled there, guests can access this room to witness grand views of over 180 degrees to the west (Hudson River, West Village, New Jersey), south (Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, downtown), and east (SoHo, East River, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building).
THE ROOMS, MY ROOM
Floors 9-41 seem to have identical floor plans, a mixture of guest rooms and one-bedroom suites. No rooms on a single floor are identical, but a certain room's floor-plan exists in the same spot on each floor. Superior rooms, the least expensive with lesser views, occupy floors 9-19, deluxe rooms are on floors 20-29, and premium rooms on floors 30-41. Two-bedroom suites are on floor 42. Penthouse Suites, all with 2 bedrooms, some split level, some with terraces, are on floors 43-45.
Our room, on the 30th floor and thus considered a premier room, was 460 sq. ft., in the middle size-wise--regular rooms range from 422 to 540 sq. ft. The rooms are not only of different sizes and floor-plans, but are furnished differently as well. I was happy our room had a large sofa (some have chairs only), as well as a large wet bar, with a sink and lots of counter space, plus a microwave that slid out of a cabinet. One wall was almost entirely occupied by a floor-to-ceiling window, which had a part that partially opened, facing east over SoHo to the East River and its bridges. The king bed was low-slung, on a wooden base rather than a box spring, and had a feather mattress topper that one could collapse into and immediately fall asleep. The HD TV had several premium channels. I liked the design of the floor lamps. Several lighting options existed, and the black-out drapes could be operated automatically, although the sheer drapes were hand-operated.
The bathroom had some nice design features, but some niggles as well. Our bath had a single sink (some rooms have 2), and counter space was limited. I liked the design of the water knobs, but the light fixture on one side of the sink was pretty but inadequate functionally. The magnifying mirror also had no light. The floor and the bottom third of the walls were covered with the hotel's signature striped marble in shades of gray and white, but the top 2/3 of the walls had a nondescript covering. The tub was fine, the shower had rain and hand-held nozzles, but no bench. Also, the shower flooded pretty badly when in use due to faulty or inadequate sealer.
As is often the case, housekeeping services during the day and at turndown were inconsistent in terms of what was done. The biggest niggle was in-room wifi costs $14.95 per day! Also, if you wanted a newspaper delivered to your room, it was $5 a day. On-line access to newspapers was "free", but you still had to pay for the wifi! We noticed a few newspapers were placed on a bench by the elevators on each floor, as well as in bins in the lobby, so being the cheapskates we are, made use of these. A more minor niggle was there was no in-room umbrella--they are passed out as needed at the front entrance. The umbrella we got had no logo, unusual for Trump, who likes to put his name on everything.
There was one evening we had not reserved a Restaurant Week dinner, so we tried Koi. The dinner was quite tasty, some dishes reminiscent of Nobu's menu. It can be rather pricey, however. We also did late night room service once, and thoroughly enjoyed the "Kitchen Sink Burger", which had pretty much everything on it. The room service menu is quite extensive, with Italian and Asian options as well.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Trump. Its location is great, and service, especially from the bellmen, was laudable. I would still like to give the James a try, but would stay at the Trump again without hesitation. It's not inexpensive, but it is less costly than some of the midtown palaces.