We're exManhattanites and spend frequent nights in the city--an Amazon deal for two nights at this newly renovated historic, famed hotel with breakfast, drinks and a queen sized room, something too good to be true, was--our first room may have been the smallest room in the hotel, the window opened onto the airshaft, the door directly onto the stairs--the queen bed looked very small, I called and asked, is this really a queen or has it shrunk. It's really a queen I was assured. Outside the window was a loud compressor noise. I went to look Opps. It wasn't outside, it was inside. Our radiator. We became acquainted with the handyman. One of the nicest I've encountered. You have to change rooms, he muttered. The helpful desk assured us, we have a nice king. It was the handicapped room. Too bad for anyone handicapped. This time we had time to measure--Marriott's standard for a king is actually a queen--60 inches. the distance between the wall and the bed, 36 1/2 inches, handicapped standard 36 inches. And it would be almost impossible to maneuover a wheel chair for the sharp left turn into the bathroom and to add insult to injury the quote on the door (all the doors have quotes from the famed denizens of the round table) is one from Robert Benchley about patients in hospitals who leave his books behind. The handyman returned because those high tech overhead lights MacWilder writes about in his review didn't work nor could we get channel 5 on our t.v.--not a problem for us but it could be next week for super bowl fans. And the heat didn't work once it was lowered to 72. At 76, it was a sauna. At 72 the airconditioner roared. Outside temp, 18 degree. I would repeat MacWilder's review, he captures most of the problems of this unfortunate hotel. I discovered the trick about the one bar of soap that everyone mentions-- you can't ask for another one but if you unwrap it and put it in the shower--a second one appeared the next morning. There's no real maid service, don't expect luxury amenties like turn downs, extra towels, robes, and don't order the continental breakfast--our vouchers were worth $24, the price of a continental breakfast--for packaged croissants and muffins and some kind of off the shelf danish. Our waiter who told us he had worked there for 36 years seems to have been relegated to Saturday a.m. service--if you can't get rid of a union waiter--give him a bad shift--too bad, full of personality and he knew what he was doing--the weekday waiter was clueless. Ditto MacWilder's comments about the doormen, bellstaff that seem to spend most of their time hanging out around the desk--there's rarely anyone at the door to get luggage, hail a cab, or watch who is coming in or out. There's a sense that everyone is really nice and nobody is in charge. Security is non existent. Anyone can walk in, wander through the lobby-bar, get on the elevator and roam freely through the halls. There's a notice in the rooms about not responding to calls from someone claiming to be the desk asking for credit card info. And the lighting in the public areas downstairs is terrible. They either need younger guests or better lighting especially in those elevators where you can't see the floor buttons.
There's no indication it's a Marriott. The sign outside says Autograph Collection. Are they too embarassed to put their name on it? This is not a luxury hotel. But neither was the old Algonquin. It made its reputation by being rakish, off beat, shabby and affordable. The Time Square area has always had its share of tourist hotels. Why try to raise expectations about the Algonquin? The renovation, the rooms, the furnishings, the amenities (two bottles of water and an ice bucket) the services, the restaurant don't meet the standard for a luxury hotel. Why the misleading marketing? I think it was Dorothy Parker who put in many years at that famed round table (where did it go by the way? it was no longer in evidence) who said "you can't make a pig's purse out of a sow's ear." Or whatever happened to truth in advertising?