Friday, June 7, 2013

Hotel Stay Review: Conrad New York (in Lower Manhattan)

  • From what I understand, the "Conrad" brand of hotels are supposedly the premier line of Hilton hotels (at the front desk, there is, of course, the Hilton Honors priority check-in desk). I stayed at the New York location in downtown (Manhattan). The hotel is modern in design (love! love! love!) with an airy lobby. It is listed as a 5-star; however, my room felt more like a spacious (of course, we're talking NYC standards here) 4-4.5* suite. It amazes me that people pay ~$500/night for these rooms. I paid in the sub-$150 range. This was probably the nicest place I've stayed in NYC yet. Others have published they paid in the $125-range for slightly longer time periods, at approximately the same time as when I was there (which is completely believable to me). So, definitely shop around for prices. 
  • The shower is separated from the toilet/sink area (which I always appreciate). Both bathroom doors didn't appear to have locks and actually had a slight gap from the wall when closed. The shower heads were fantastic. I was thrilled that they had both the rainfall-style one above, and a modern, handheld one on the side. The shower room was enormous, but had a single, dim light. The lighting in the toilet area was significantly brighter. This is important because a guest sitting in the living room area can make out the shadow/silhouette of a person on the toilet when the Japanese-style sliding door is fully extended and the lights are on. The shower is simply too dark to have this issue. By the way, the shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc were from Aromatherapy. 
  • The second sink in the wet bar was very convenient to have when we entertained. The hotel-packed fridge (complete with sensors, of course) didn't allow guests to put anything in there. The coffeemaker was a bit tricky and often resulted in wasting a coffee pod. Fortunately, the housekeeping staff was very generous with replenishing pods. The hotel provides a surprisingly nice variety of drinking glasses. :)
  • The two large flat screen TVs were as expected (one in the bedroom, the other in the living room). The couch was on the medium side (definitely not the huge monstrosities in, like, the Venetian or Palazzo suites in Las Vegas, if we're comparing 5*s). We comfortably sat 3-4 in the living room area while cranking up the A/C and drinking cool beverages while avoiding the scorching temperatures outside. Speaking of heat, the hotel did not appear to have a pool. :(
  • What you're perhaps really paying for is location. It is conveniently located next to the National 9/11 Memorial. The subway entrances/exits are approximately a 3-4 block walk away, though. Someone recommended that we get a taxi from the nearest subway point, since we were carrying a number of heavy suitcases. In the end, we just opted to get rides from our friend, and did not bother with the subway most of the time. What we really liked what how it shared a same wall as Shake Shack and movie theater. It is also across the street from a mall. Oh, and of course, there's a riverfront park nearby.
  • When I checked in, I requested a room with a view but they were already sold out. So, from our room, we could still barely see over the Hudson (and saw a Colgate Ferris wheel? on the Jersey side). Our wing of the hotel was not near the waterfront at all (another hotel stood in between). The bar at the top of the hotel (which B checked out) appeared to have distant views as well.
  • Something I really loved were the lights. You could control the lights using various touch panels throughout the suite AS WELL AS on the TV. That was coool. Unfortunately, the light in the living room area were on the dim side and only received a sliver of natural light coming from the hall and bedroom. Then again, the hallways are so dim that when I saw the housekeeping staff trying to read their schedules, they had to bend over to the nearest light bulbs. Sad, really. Someone give them a flashlight!
  • Other plusses included blackout curtains, an umbrella(!), a cheap branded bottle opener, and a "Do Not Disturb" button/indicator (LIGHT)!
  • Overall, if you can get this room for sub-$200 (which for NY is GREAT), I'd easily do it. Just don't expect a normal 5-star. 

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