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“Not a Westin standard hotel”

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The Westin New York Grand Central
Ranked #218 of 467 Hotels in New York City
GreenLeadersBronze level
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
106 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Not a Westin standard hotel”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2012

The only positive is the great Westin beds. Otherwise the Westin Grand Central is a disappointment. The rooms are reasonably sized as are the bathrooms but the staff let the place down. I stayed a week and was never acknowledged by any of the numerous doormen constantly standing around in the lobby doing goodness knows what. The reception staff are unfriendly and only 1 of them ever smiled in the week. The bar/restaurant was not open after renovations lasting more than 6 months. The concierge staff again never smiled but at least we're helpful. The room servicing was hit and miss- most days something would be forgotten to be replaced. Westin needs to do some serious staff training on service because it makes all the difference to your stay

Room Tip: Great coffee shop directly across 42nd Street
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ianbazza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Sydney
Level Contributor
79 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012

Well, where do I start ?. I had high expectations after staying in a number of Westin’s globally however, I’m afraid I left my stay at the Westin Grant Central NYC a very unhappy and frustrated customer.

Firstly, I had booked here with a group attending a conference in NYC, so all up there were 12 of us staying for periods between 4 and 8 nights, so I figure just based on the room rate we were charged the bill was USD$70,000 plus meals, drinks, dry cleaning etc.. etc.. Not to say I was expecting anything “amazing”, but an adequate service would have been nice.

First impressions are good, an ok location in mid-town, not too far from Grand Central Terminal. The hotel is reasonably modern and well accessible. The check in process was ok, albeit there were only 2 clerks on duty and a 20 minute wait after a long flight was a drag. the check-in staff were not overly friendly or warm, and I really detected an air of indifference in their attitude. Anyway, after what seemed an extensive wait we received our key and made our way to the 14th floor.

The luggage arrived not long thereafter and we provided the porter the customary tip. Seeing we had just arrived at JFK with no opportunity to exchange currency, we offered an AUD 5 dollar note. The porter seemed miffed at this, scoured and left with barely an acknowledgement…… geez, sorry I didn’t anticipate the inconvenience I was going to cause the porter by not thinking ahead and exchanging some currency !.

As you do after being out of contact for some 24 hours, I logged on to the guest wireless internet. This is expensive at USD$15 + taxes per device per day. As my partner and I had a Blackberry, Iphone, Laptop and Ipad between us, this proved to be an expensive option. There were no discount plans available for 3 day/7 day plans either. This is quite a scam if you ask me as wireless is readily available for free around NYC.

The rooms themselves are functional. The beds are great, as I’ve come to expect with the Westin’s I’ve stayed in. The LCD screen is huge and provides a wide range of free to air and pay options. The bathroom is adequate, but a little on the small side and you could not accommodate 2 persons in there at the same time. A pet hate are the fabric shower screens which I personally find a little unhygienic.

We slept well, and ventured out the next day to do some exploring. Upon arriving back at the room at 4pm, the room hadn’t been attended to. A call to reception fixed this, but hey…. should I have to remind them of this ?. We also noticed that the little things went unnoticed, the tissue box in the bathroom remained empty for days, toilet paper was left to run low etc.

On the second last day we had left a laundry bag with a few basics to be laundered and a tie to be dry-cleaned. They forgot to collect the laundry and we had to remind housekeeping later in the day when we returned to the room. No apology, but they said they would try and return our laundry by 5pm the next day, even though it was a Saturday. Well, the laundry returned, and I don’t want to seem picky but everything was individually hung and plastic wrapped. I personally think this is excessive and the hotel should re-think it’s green credentials. My main beef was that the underwear and 3 blouses plus 1 tie came to USD$120 + taxes. Please…… I would rather an $80 service with less plastic !... ohh, and the tie came back from being dry cleaned with a stain clearly still evident.

The disaster in the hotel which will be this properties undoing is the dining room. Faulty Towers has nothing on this place. Where do I start ?.

Firstly I will acknowledge that the dining room and bar are recently opened, and as some reviewers have mentioned, the hotel had no dining/bar options for some time, so this must be an improvement…. perhaps… ?

The breakfast offered at the dining room is very basic. It consists of a buffet that comprises the following – 3 types of cereals, 2 types of flavoured yoghurts, fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, bananas), hot options (scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sausages, roast potatoes), Muffins, breakfast bread rolls. The food didn’t look particularly appetising and at USD $25 each + taxes and service, it was poor value for money.

They make it very clear that this is a buffet and that they don’t do a-la-carte, but if you ask, they will “sometimes” accommodate your requests. The weird part is that that have a chef on attendance at the buffet (all decked out in high peak chef’s hat etc) and his primary role is to stir the eggs in the server. This was weird as when I asked him for some toast, he looked at me with a blank expression and he said that he “didn’t serve”, and motioned me towards a waiter. I still can’t quite figure out what his role was ?.

I think my main complaint with this restaurant was the service. The wait staff were down right rude. For example ; My partner was up at the buffet selecting some food and when the waiter came by to serve some coffee, I also ordered a green tea for my partner. 2 minutes later my partner sat down and decided that rather than green tea, she wanted Calm tea (a mixture of chamomile tea and other leafs). Five minutes later, the green tea arrived and when we enquired about the Calm tea, we were greeted with a scorn, and told that it was too late, as it had already been made !!... lol

On our last day we attended the buffet again and after being seated, we enquired if it was possible to get a side of smoked salmon. We were greeted with scorn at this request by the waiter and reminded of the no a-la-carte rule, but he would do his best. 20 mins later he returned to confirm that the chef would “make some”. When I politely enquired why the chef was required to “make” a side portion of smoked salmon, I was given some flippant comment that “it doesn’t appear on the plate by itself” and that it takes preparation etc. Anyway another 10 minutes elapsed and we were presented with some smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, onions and capers……. Now I know why the chef was required to “make it”, but this was quite different to what I had ordered. If only the waiter had explained this, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

At an adjacent table, the waiter was berating a customer for allowing their 5 yo girl to pick at a plate of food when she hadn’t paid for the service …. Seriously, the food is average and over-priced and why would you bother making a big deal of this… and particularly in middle of service, embarrassing the customer and making the other guests feel uncomfortable.

And finally, after breakfast we went back to the room and then went to check out. Upon checking the bill, I noticed that the breakfast hasn’t been included. I advised the clerk of this, and he phoned the dining area to see if he could get the charge posted. After 2 attempts and 5 minutes of waiting on the call for them to answer, I went to the restaurant myself to ask if they could post the charge. The restaurant was empty and I was told that by one of the SEVEN staff that it’s not normal practice to do this until end of shift ??. By this stage they could see I was getting irate and the Supervisor came across and attended to my request for me (how hard is It to request that I be charged !!). I went back to the front desk and he then proceeded to check me out and rolled his eyes muttering something about the poor restaurant……… clearly I wasn’t the only unhappy customer.

Any finally, upon checking out, I was on a 2 pm flt, my partner on a 6pm one, so I asked for a late check-out (no problems there). The only problem was that once they did this, the internet was cancelled and despite renewing the service earlier that day for their daily flat charge, we needed to do it again.

In summary, this is a hotel with lots of potential, but lacking in service ethos. The dining room is a joke and they need to re-visit this from scratch.

I would not stay here again. There is no way my Co. will be sending $70K here again, there are other hotels in NYC that would like our custom I’m sure.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank howard_and_bec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melissa B, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin New York Grand Central, responded to this review, December 18, 2012
Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent stay with us. We apologize for the inconveniences you experienced and comments like yours help us pinpoint service areas where we can improve. We have added two Rooms Controllers that will help improve the check-in experience and overall lobby flow. We have also implemented new procedures in housekeeping to address the issues you shared.

As part of our $75 million renovation, Leona's -- where breakfast is currently served -- will be closing at the end of this month and we have just opened our brand new restaurant, THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen. In addition to offering a completely different and much more expansive dining concept, THE LCL also brings a new service culture to our food and beverage program. All associates and managers at THE LCL have undergone extensive training to exceed guest expectations. We've received some great feedback since the restaurant opened two weeks ago.

We sincerely hope to see you again during your next visit to New York City.

Kind Regards,
Melissa Braverman
Guest Relations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

The rooms at this particular Westin are excellent and roomy (for NYC standards). Other than that, this hotel is a complete wreck. As a longtime SPG member, I've stayed at many of their hotels over the years and can say that without a doubt this is on of their most poorly executed examples. Some of the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. The rest are just plain clueless and unmotivated to help anyone.

I went to check in at 5pm on a Saturday, there were about 20 people standing inside the lobby (which isn't very big) waiting to check into their rooms. For some reason there was only ONE employee checking in people, but there were eight more standing around the lobby doing absolutely nothing. About ten minutes of this went by before three more employees showed up to check the guests in. Once the employees got logged into their computers, they only helped the guests in the regular line and ignored everyone in the SPG Gold & Platinum line until someone spoke up. It took 25+ minutes to get a room key. After settling into our room we came back down into the lobby an hour later and it was the same mess all over again - about 10-15 people waiting in line with only two employees checking people in (what happened to the third???).

The doormen were particularly lazy too. I'm not really sure what these guys do. Sometimes I saw them helping people get taxis, other times I saw them just stand around talking to each other and watching other guests try to hail taxis on their own. When I pulled my car into the driveway, they didn't like the fact that I had parked on the left side (they were standing around doing absolutely nothing and didn't bother to wave my car into any particular direction) - instead they made me park on the right side, which also happened to completely block the front door of the hotel. When I was leaving the hotel the next day, there were two cars parked on the left side.

On the plus side, the concierge was very helpful. We asked for help in getting to a particular place for dinner and they pulled out a map and showed us how to travel there via the subway.

It's pretty tough to find a good all-around Starwood hotel in Manhattan. The Times Square location is VERY busy and expensive, the W on Lexington Ave is very well run, but the rooms aren't as nice. This one should be the sleeper hotel of the bunch since the location is awesome, but unfortunately it's run poorly. Stay away until they get their act together.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MCouper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melissa B, Guest Relations Manager at The Westin New York Grand Central, responded to this review, December 18, 2012
Thank you for your feedback and we are truly sorry to hear that your service experience with us did not meet expectations. We are constantly stressing the importance of service to our associates and have implemented several procedures to improve our check-in experience. We have just hired two new Rooms Controllers who will help manage lobby flow and have also shared your feedback with associates working the Front Desk and Reception areas. All of our associates have also completed an extensive two-day brand training addressing the importance of personalized, proactive service. We appreciate your comments and sincerely hope to see you on your next visit to New York City.

Best Regards,
Melissa Braverman
Guest Relations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new Bedford, ma
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

We took the bus from Providence to nyc. From the port authority bus terminal we walked maybe 10-12 blocks to get to the hotel which really was not bad at all. We got to the hotel early in the day tried to check in but being it was 5 his before check in time the room was not available which was expected. The front desk clerk was a little short with us I think maybe a little overwhelmed, there were only 2 clerks on and a line full of people. The bell men were very curtious and seemed genuine to enjoy their jobs. The hotel is very well located only a few blocks from all the action. The beds were super comfortable as always we slept like babies and the shower was again Heavenly. My brother in law even is looking to by the same shower head for his home, and I the heavenly bed. The only negative thing I can say is that the alarm clock was still set from the previous guest and went off at 5:30 am luckily with such comfortable beds we were all able to quickly fall back to sleep.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jgreen7317
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
82 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

Have stayed twice at the Westin Grand Central - this used to be the New York Helmsley Hotel in Midtown East. The first time I stayed here, it was just at the beginning of the renovation and I had some issues checking in and with room, but those were related to the conversion. The second time, I stayed in August 2012 - I was there the day they re-launched the Westin. Pros: Great Westin rooms, Heavenly Bed, good amenities and service. Cons: no restaurant and bar when I stayed there (check with the Hotel), and the location is a little boring if you're looking for NYC excitement. All-in-all, decent hotel if it's the right area, and has all the Westin/SPG perks.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jjs_SMU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, MB
Level Contributor
167 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012

Stayed here for an anniversary weekend with my husband. This used to be the Helmsley Hotel and the location is great - 3rd Ave and 42nd - close to subway, easy walk to all the action in midtown. We asked for an upgrade (we're Gold Starwood members) and first the guy said he had nothing and then he said he had a nice room for us - the room was fine, perhaps a little larger than the usual NYC hotel rooms - it was a corner room so had a short hallway and a seating area. The bathroom was standard Westin quality with a walk in shower - but why does the tap have to be so far away that you get wet when you turn on the shower? As usual the bed was very comfy and the sheets of good quality. Our sheets were changed every day - something that does not seem to happen automatically any more. My pet peeve with ever Starwood I have stayed at in NYC is that there is often something missing after the room is cleaned - this time it was a bath mat one day. The staff must be under great pressure to get rooms done and they seem not to check when things are missing - or just don't go back to replace something.
That said, the hotel was recently redone so it is clean and shiny. The lobby does get very busy at times and it is quite small. I usually stay at the W on Lexington Ave and this is a very good alternative - I'd probably stay here in future rather than at the W which is getting old and tired. The gym here is also way better - large, clean with new machines.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Travellingnurse50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delray Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
152 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2012 via mobile

The Westin Grand Central has potential, you can see they are trying (some of them) to make it better but it's not there yet.

The location is superb, rooms are nice and relatively quiet. The service is so not top SPG: it seems they don't talk to each other, there must be resentment amongst the staff or maybe just disorganization.
Room ready way after 3.00 pm, late check out scheduled three times because apparently the first two were not recorded properly, SPG check in desk with a 'I wish I was not here' attitude. Yes, small things in the grand scheme but enough to make you tip-toe around the staff.

I am a Gold SPG member: the Westin in Times Square staff & service has what the Grand Central does not.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Vera B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Westin New York Grand Central

Property: The Westin New York Grand Central
Address: 212 East 42nd Street, Between 2nd Ave and 3rd Ave, New York City, NY 10017-5803
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Midtown , Manhattan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#62 Green Hotel in New York City
#151 Luxury Hotel in New York City
#156 Romantic Hotel in New York City
#165 Family Hotel in New York City
#173 Business Hotel in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Westin New York Grand Central 4.5*
Number of rooms: 774
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Westin New York Grand Central hotel is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Our hotel is ideal for both leisure and business travelers as it is ideally located near Grand Central Terminal. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The New York Helmsley Hotel New York City
The Hotel New York City
New York Helmsley Hotel
Hemsley New York
Helmsley Hotel New York
The New York City Helmsley
Helmsley New York

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