Natural disasters hold a mirror to the people who get survive them; how they manage a crisis, problem-solve, and demonstrate their best or worst aspects of humanity to others. I was caught in NYC during Hurricane Sandy for nearly two weeks, and I can only describe how unequivocally impressed I am by the staff and management of The Maritime Hotel.
Indeed, the hotel has great amenities and style, and the rooms -- although a bit small -- make up for their size with excellent ergonomics and thoughtful details. Lots of closet space and drawer storage. A slim, but well-appointed bathroom with a generous shower head (water! pressure!) and a well-designed marble stall with built-in mirror and shelves. A clever and well-stocked mini-bar. A TV with 227 channels, a DVD player (to take advantage of the hotel's impressively curated movie library), and stereo. A comfy bed nestled inside a nook with shelves, lights and electrical outlets on either side to keep incidentals, and cell phones at the ready and charged.
The bar has a comfortable ambience; the restaurant is very good.
But beyond all of the basic hotel comforts, I was a firsthand witness to an extraordinary staff, who put their guests first in a time of chaos and crisis. Even after the power, then the water, went out in the hotel, each and each employee we encountered -- front desk, service staff, housekeeping, handymen, bellmen -- were warm, comforting and positive. The restaurant brought out free pizzas for everyone, and took in people off the street when the hurricane hit. The staff was doing 16-hour shifts, sleeping at the hotel away from their homes and their families to keep the hotel going and to do their jobs. Maids were cleaning the rooms as best as they could, even though the hotel was without water or power for nearly a week. Lenny, the Head of Security, despite his apparent fatigue and stress about the backup generator, ferried guests up and down the darkened elevators with his flashlight, and managed to remain cheerful and upbeat -- he was extraordinary. I also can't praise the Maritime's team of valets/bellmen enough for their hustle and great attitudes. Even when taxis were even surlier and scarcer during the blackout, they headed out into the wind and snow onto 9th to hail cars for us, and sherpa'ed our bags up and down the hotel's lobby stairs.
When the plumbing cut out, we were forced to find other accommodations for the rest of the week, and had the opposite experiences at other properties -- rate gouging, lies about the safety/functionality of the hotel, bad attitudes. The staff at the Maritime were so incredible, and were so good at their jobs, we would have stayed at the hotel even in the dark, had the toilets and water been operational. Hunkering down with this exceptional crew as Chelsea staggered to its feet would have been preferable to staying uptown with full amenities, but horrible management/staff.
The Maritime Hotel is an exemplary property, rising to their mission and ethos in the most unthinkably difficult conditions. I will remain a loyal guest for many years to come, and recommend this hotel with my highest confidence.