We spent a week here in mid-September. My partner and I had been a planning an NY trip for ages, and The Refinery was a spur of the moment booking thanks to some pretty reasonable rates and generally positive reviews on here.
The location can't be faulted - just off 6th Avenue at 38th Street, with most major attractions all within a short walk, and the subway at 42nd Street/Bryant Park handily about 2 minutes away. We took the train to Penn Station from Newark and with bags fought through the evening rush hour on foot which wasn't all that pleasant! Our welcome was by friendly, if somewhat robotic, reception staff, and there didn't seem to be any forthcoming offer of having our bags taken up to the room for us, but this wasn't a big deal. The doormen were always friendly and helpful throughout our stay.
The room itself (the standard Queen room) was lovely - extremely comfy bed, gorgeous big bathroom/huge shower and of course the obligatory widescreen. Size-wise, a very decent square footage for NY, but a distinct lack of hanging/drawer space but we managed! Our safe was broken, and following a call to reception a new one was duly delivered and installed by some extremely chirpy staff with no fuss at all. It was always spotlessly clean and the maids do a sterling job.
The reason we'd come to New York (it turns out) was for my other half to propose to me, so there had actually been some email traffic going between them unbeknown to me! On reflection, the hotel didn't exactly exude the 'can-do' attitude you'd expect from a 5* property - nothing major but enough to notice...some confusion over whether we could get candles (you can't, it's an NYFD rule); point blank refusal to chill our champagne we'd brought (you had to buy their champagne); no follow up on the outcome of the proposal (but I suppose some would find that an intrusion). All understandable, and certainly nothing more than minor gripes.
We only visited the roof terrace a few times, and experienced similar issues to other guests which were all really to do with their staff (e.g. being met by a steely glare for daring to ask for my change). But it's a lovely spot and the views of the Empire State Building, especially at night, are worth the effort.
The onsite restaurant, Parker and Quinn, is extremely good and serves up slightly less than reasonably priced fare (although it is worth checking whether your rate includes breakfast or not).
Overall, this hotel is lovely, and I wouldn't hesitate to stay in it again. But it needs to make sure it doesn't completely out-cool itself at the expense of doing the basics properly - exceptional customer service has to be more than a plastic smile...and it's the truly personal touch that would take this hotel from very good to stratospheric.
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