I have stayed at the Carlton at least 4 times in the past two years. It used to be a very "hot" hotel when Country restaurant was open there. It was a popular lunch spot and there was a formal dining room on the second floor with Michelin-quality food. Country was replaced with a bizarre piano bar type eatery and the fine dining place shut down.
The restaurant: I arrived 5 minutes before breakfast ended and they told me they don't serve breakfast after 11:30. I explained it was 11:26 on my clock and on their clocks. The hostess continued to argue the point. This isn't a Days Inn, it is supposed to be a top quality hotel. Evenetually they grudgingly agreed to serve... and it took them 25 minutes to bring out some eggs.
The rooms: great sheets, pleasant decor, the "double bed" type room is rather small but adequate. Some rooms are noisy because they are literally opening into the hallway. Good Molton brown products. Decent towels. and Free Wifi!
Property condition: some aspects of the hotel are tired and need remodeling. The lobby is an enormous waste of space that should be put to better use and monetized. It is dead space and a "hang out" for people whose rooms are not ready.
The "catch" is THE POOR SERVICE: I arrived late on a Friday evening after a terrible flight ordeal and had booked a "room type: double" on priceline. When checking in I was told I had a room with a double bed. I explained I had booked a room with two beds--a "double room." 50 minutes of a discussion on semantics at the front desk between myself, the front desk staff, the manager (Felipe) and priceline resolved nothing. Felipe did assure me ("guaranteed" me) that the next day I would be immediately moved to a room with two beds. The next day I called the front desk and they had no knowledge of a move (and the lady who answered was coarse and annoyed). I told them to inquire with Felipe. An hour later the manager on duty left a cold message explaining they would be charging my credit card for an upgrade if I needed to move rooms. So, what one manager "guarantees" the other one revises into a revenue source.
I'm not usually a fussy guest and I don't seek "free upgrades" or any amenities I am not entitled to but the obvious poor wording on priceline's page led to a confusion (google image "double room" and see what comes up) that should have been resolved. Felipe said he would. The next day insult was added to injury. In none of my dealings with hotel staff (other than housekeeping) did anyone smile. Whatever management is running this establishment should take a refersher in customer service. After two days of this I booked myself into the Bryant Park for the rest of my 8 day stay. Leaving the Carlton was no nicer than arriving. The (Russian?) bellhop was rude, inattentive, and creepy. When I got into the cab the driver (I swear this happened) said he doesn't like to pick up customers at the Carlton because the doormen expect a $3 tip in exchange for fares to the airport. Upon hearing that I realized the Carlton merited a review on Tripadvisor. I have vowed not to return, which is a pity, because the rooms are nice and the location is good for work. However, the bad service is simply not worth the hassle.
Rooms are great but service sucks.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Curzio M –
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Thank you for visiting the Carlton Hotel. We were disappointed to read this review and are eager to discuss further with you. The reservation was booked on Priceline.com for a standard room; in fact this is the only inventory we make available for them to sell per our contract with that third party site. Country restaurant closed its doors nearly 3 ½ years ago and were replaced by Millesime our restaurant partner. We are very proud of our partnership as Millesime have received several accolades and were voted “Best New Restaurant” in 2011. The staff at the Carlton have no special deal with New York Cab Drivers so this comment is without merit. We accept the service failures and will move to improve though additional training.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.