We booked the Benjamin after carefully considering our options. We don't much care for the giants (like Marquis Marriott, Sheraton) and don't want to spend the kind of money for the luxuries (Sherry Netherland, Waldorf Astoria) and the other contenders, such as the Algonquin, seemed to have less to offer, so there we were. I sent an email and received a phone call from Gina, one of the concierge staff, who was friendly, delightful and informative. I called ahead and requested a king bed, and the request was acknowledged in such a way that it seemed to be a done deal.
So we travel from JFK to the hotel after our long flight from California and arrive at about 5 pm to a less than warm check in experience with no information or welcome provided, and the response to my reminder that we had requested a room with a king bed was met with "the hotel is full tonight" and it seemed my request had not been noted. A toddler was screaming her head off in the lobby during these proceedings. We made a retreat for the elevator and got ready to race out for dinner and an 8 o'clock show.
That evening I remembered the vaunted "12 choice pillow menu". No such menu or offer of pillow selection ever appeared on our radar. No daily newspaper of our choice was delivered or offered. There were papers available in the lobby, however. We saw newspapers laid in front of doors to other rooms...wondering if we were overlooked for some reason. Oversight?
Uniformly excellent service was delivered every day by the doormen and housekeeping staff. Front desk, not so much. We decided not to bother renewing our request for a king room. We were too busy and too much on the go to contemplate a change of rooms. Our floor creaked but that was the only complaint about the actual room. The size and space were adequate, the bath was fine, and the little kitchenette a real benefit. We just had to push those $7 bottles of water and $24 half bottles of wine out of the way to make room for the orange juice and full size bottles of wine we acquired in shops near the hotel.
We used the adequately equipped gym twice. It is small and stuffy, with no sign of ac--New York was about 78 each day of our visit--and the Bosu was half-deflated. I looked around for an attendant who might have a pump; no dice. The hotel was busy and the two elevators were a little tiresome, although we took the 11 flights of stairs to the gym.
In thinking about the Benjamin I was reminded of the small hotels we stayed in last year in Paris and London, where the dollar is at a disadvantage and space is at a premium. You expect smaller rooms and some creaking and other facets of an older building.
When we walked to the corner nearby to grab a bite from a Metro Cafe, the entrance to the Doubletree was thronged day and night with tour groups wearing nametags around their necks waiting to board their buses. Whew! Now that would have been a mistake. I'm not sure about the Doubletree, but the Benjamin is smoke-free. You need every break you can get from smoke in NYC because people smoke like crazy on the sidewalks and in every doorway throughout the city.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of Midtown, The Benjamin offers 209 newly re-designed terrace suites, one-bedroom suites and guest rooms by Rottet Studio featuring kitchenettes and signature Benjamin Beds. Housed within the hotel is The National Bar & Dining Rooms with a menu of modern bistro dishes by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Known best for its world-renowned Sleep Program Rest & Renew, The Benjamin features a Pillow Menu and bedtime snacks. Families enjoy Winks' Kidzzz Club with pint-sized amenities for kids to use during their stay. A private guest lounge on the second floor offers two business stations and lounge seating. The Benjamin affords quick access to Fifth Avenue's high-end boutiques, Rockefeller Center, MoMA and Central Park. Hotel Services Fee is $30 plus tax per room, per night and provides you with the following amenities: •$10 daily credit toward Geoffrey Zakarian's The National Bar & Dining Rooms* •Wireless Internet on all of your devices throughout your stay •24/7 access to our state-of-the-art fitness center outfitted by Technogym •In-room artisanal coffee and tea offerings •Unlimited business services including printing •24/7 access to our private Residence Lounge •Unlimited local and domestic long distance calls •Access to our Clef D' Or Concierge services •Package handling and storage prior to and during your stay *Must be redeemed daily. Cannot roll over. **Fee is exclusive of service gratuities ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Benjamin Hotel New York City
- Benjamin New York City
- Benjamin Hotel New York City