We chose to stay in the Upper West Side because we thought it would be easier on our children (ages 9 and 6) who would need some "down time" after their senses were overstimulated from a day in the city. We chose wisely. The Excelsior's location makes this an excellent hotel for families.
The hotel is across the street from the American Museum of Natural History. It is one block from Central Park with the nearest playground being the Diana Ross playground right at the intersection to cross over to Central Park. There are coffee shops, bagel and deli shops, a small grocer, restaurants, drug store, shops all within a 3 block radius of the hotel. As far as location goes, I have to say this was a far more pleasant and relaxing experience than our previous NYC trips where we stayed closer to midtown and less snooty than the Upper East Side. Our room (#804) had a gorgeous view of the museum's park and of the New York skyline. Our relatives were in the suite (#1010), and they had obstructed views of building tops and another building. Where our room was on the smaller side (two doubles with just a small table and two chairs as extra seating), they had a spacious living room with two doubles in the sleeping room that could be closed off.
There must be a large younger and family demographic that live in this area because there are several children's boutiques in the area. Every morning we saw parents walking children to school, children walking to school together, young professionals walking their dogs at all hours of the day. We felt very safe.
The cons: The hotel facade is currently getting a facelift so we could hear clanging from that sometimes. There was no refrigerator in the room. There's space where one used to be, but we found a telephone book in there instead. The room is on the small side, and though it was clean, the decor is a little dated. I didn't mind so much since so much of the hotel had an art deco feel, so I just chalked this up to being part of its historic charm. We had three kids playing, and not even too loudly at that, and the walls must be paper thin. There was an elderly man staying in an adjacent room who asked the kids to quiet down.
Biggest con (and why I took 1 star away) - With wifi so ubiquitous today, who still charges for wifi access? The Excelsior! You only have complimentary wifi if you go down to the lounge on the 2nd floor or sit in the lobby on the 1st floor. Every day we would see people haul their laptops, tablets, whatever down to squat for space on the first two floors for wifi. I think the 10th floor suite has complimentary wifi because our kids could access wifi in their cousin's room instead of our room (8th floor).
The doormen were always friendly. The hotel staff was neither overtly friendly, but nor were they rude. We had an issue with a non-flushing toilet which maintenance fixed within a matter of minutes. Housekeeping was excellent.
I appreciated that after a very long day of walking and not wanting to travel out to buy bottled drinking water, there was always a choice of a large bottled spring water, Fiji water, and sparkling water at reasonable prices available in the room. By reasonable price, I don't mean what I would pay for bottled water here in Texas, but the price was off by maybe a few cents from the corner shop on the Upper West Side.
Don't bother to rent a car. There is no parking anywhere, ever around here. Just use the public transportation system. The subway is very easily accessible, especially if you need to get to a larger station like Times Square.
We didn't get a chance to try the hotel restaurant Calle Ocho though it looked busy on most nights. We did try Ocean Grill (excellent, $$$$), Lenny's Deli (great, $-$$), Amsterdam Deli (ok, $), Andy's Deli (good, $), Uno's Chicago Grill (ok, free kid's night on Tuesday, $$), Gazala's (interesting, $$), Cafe Frida (delicious, great spot to watch World Cup Soccer fyi, $$).
In all -- this was a great place to stay other than the annoying wifi issue.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Excelsior Upper West Side NYC Hotel Located in the fashionable Upper West Side neighborhood between Central Park and Columbus Avenue, the Excelsior Hotel is a beautifully renovated hotel with an abundance of old world charm and comfort. This landmark hotel is characteristic of Manhattan's architectural beauty among the dramatic Central Park setting; thoroughly complimented by modern conveniences and luxuries. The Excelsior Hotel is located in one of New York City's trendiest neighborhoods, overlooking the American Museum of Natural History and the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Popular attractions such as Lincoln Center, the Beacon Theatre, and Columbia University are within walking distance to the Excelsior. A leisurely stroll across Central Park to the Upper East Side leads to the luxurious boutiques of Madison Avenue, an endless selection of restaurants, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim and Whitney Museums. If your plans include an evening at the theatre or site seeing among the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, famous attractions such as Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center are a quick ride from the Excelsior Hotel by New York Taxi, Subway, or bus. Manhattan's Excelsior Hotel features an elegantly and comfortably appointed Lobby; inviting guests to feel at home upon their arrival. Its New York City hotel room accommodations are inspired with an Art Deco contemporary motif with countless amenities and services to make a stay at the Excelsior Hotel an experience for guests desiring more than a typical New York "tourist" hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Excelsior New York City
- Excelsior Hotel New York City