I work in New York, do a lot of travel in and out, and usually stay at the Four Seasons. Checking my calendar I saw that I'd forgotten to book a hotel for a month long stay and my hotel of choice was booked up for the first two nights. Happily, I found that the Empire had an amazing deal on a suite from Expedia for the two nights in question and I booked about three days ahead. The location is great--right next to Lincoln Center, close to the park, etc. The hotel is beautiful, my room was enormous and since I had a corner suite, I had amazing views of Columbus Circle. The lobby is chic and stylish and inviting. The facility itself is great.
My issue was with the staff of the hotel. Granted, it was the middle of Fashion Week. Granted, I'm just a lowly guest who paid for a room for two nights through a third party service. However, being reminded of these things by the staff of the front desk is really bizarre (including a really awkward moment when the man behind the counter said, "Well, you're obviously not a Fashion Week-er so...." before drifting off, and abruptly turning to a different customer who had also been waiting at the counter). Apparently appearing as if I was a country bumpkin I was condescendingly told, "It must be so fun for you to see what models and fashion people look like up close!" (Word for word.) I was kept waiting for my room for two hours after check-in time with the excuse of, "It's Fashion Week." The hotel was incredibly noisy because, "It's Fashion Week." Room service was slow because "There are VIP guests because it's Fashion Week." I get it--it's Fashion Week. However, if you're so busy because of Fashion Week, maybe don't have rooms still available on a moments notice (after Fashion Week had started, no less) or, perhaps, don't allow bookings from those who (you think) aren't attending Fashion Week? I knew it was Fashion Week before I arrived since (shock) I actually work for a fashion magazine and (double shock) wasn't just there to shop at the suggested Gap and Banana Republic. (Thanks, guy at the front desk, for the super duper awesome suggestions!)
Other random things: housekeeping doesn't care if the "do not disturb" sign is on the door and will enter anyways; housekeeping also closes the doors when they clean which seems like an enormous security issue to me; my neighbor's room service trays were left in the hallway over 24 hours; there was a chip bag in the toilet when I arrived; the french fries from room service were AMAZING even though the caesar salad was wilted; there's an "Intimacy Kit" available for $38 so don't let your kids rifle through the stuff available for purchase sitting on the desk; the windows actually open which might be really pleasant if the weather is nice; free copies of WWD out in the lounge was a really nice touch, though I'm going to assume it was just for Fashion Week; the TV (at least in my room) was whatever the equivelant of terrible definition is; the men working the door are quick, competant and friendly; if you have to wait two hours after check-in for your room, you'll be offered a drink in the lounge....which you will end up paying for yourself; possibly the attitude of the staff is kind of an ambiance thing for people who want that true nobody-cares-about-you city service--perhaps they're supposed to be acting that way!
The best part of the Empire is the hotel itself--beautiful and comfortable. I would absolutely suggest getting a suite if one is available and mine was far enough away from everything that it was incredibly quiet despite lots of noise down the hall. Judging from other reviews, I think this is one hotel where it really pays to upgrade if you can. I wouldn't suggest bringing children and I wouldn't suggest coming here if it's your first time to the city or if you're just planning to tourist it up during your stay. If you're uncomfortable with a condescending staff or if you need city guidance, this hotel is also probably not for you. Stay here if you love the area, are comfortable with New York already, need a romantic get away where you won't be leaving the room, or you know, if you're in town for Fashion Week.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled on our own private corner of West 63rd Street between two legendary New York City landmarks - Lincoln Center and Central Park - this boutique NYC hotel provides luxury accommodations overlooking the Broadway / Columbus Avenue - the gateway to the Upper West Side. Location is essential to the spirit of the Empire Hotel and the interior motif and design is inspired by the earth tones of Central Park and the stately modernism of Lincoln Center. 426 Deluxe guest rooms and suites, WiFi, Pool Deck open seasonally, Ed's Chowder House Restaurant, Rooftop Lounge, Lobby bar. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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