A recent trip found me in New York and while New York is “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” it can also be the place where dreams are crushed. Especially dreams of slumbering in a cozy hotel bed. There are an insane amount of hotels and I offer this review of the Grand Hyatt New York as a means of helping you narrow down your search for a business hotel.
I was in New York City for just a few days and ended up staying at the Grand Hyatt New York. I honestly haven’t stayed in a Hyatt for years but was satisfied with my experience. They didn’t exceed my expectations, but they didn’t let me down. For a New York hotel that is pretty darn good. Especially considering my last New York hotel experience included me walking into my room and seeing employees smoking pot on my bed. True story.
The hotel is connected to Grand Central so you cannot beat the location if you are arriving by train or if you are doing business in the area.
When you arrive, you’ll notice the lobby has a busy energy. There are execs checking their email, co-workers chatting over cocktails and international tourists mapping out their next day’s adventures. Not only is it packed full of people, it’s also very stylish – if the whole slate-gray modern approach to Zen is your thing.
The staff I encountered at the hotel was customer friendly. How so? The valet took my bags up to my room. “Meh,” you may say. That’s normal in many hotels. But do keep in mind this is primarily a business hotel. And, as my stay went on I realized this care was expected of all employees, not just the valet. Most employees I encountered asked how my stay was and how they could help me. When I was in the elevator going up for the night I had mentioned needing bottled water to a bellman and they had it delivered to my room. Another employee, after seeing I was lost, didn’t just give me directions to a meeting room on the property, he walked me there.
As for the rooms, be warned: if coffee in your room is a must make sure you ask. Many of the rooms don’t have a minibar or coffee maker. Coffee is available in the lobby or the countless shops below the hotel in Grand Central. There is a 24-hour cafe at the hotel but I recommend all the cafes around the hotel if you’re in search of a latte. Also, there was no complementary wireless in the rooms but it can be bought for $16 a day; ergo, bring your own wireless hotspot.
Like many hotels located in downtown New York, the rooms vary. From size, to view, to amenities, I can guarantee you the room I stayed in will be different than the one you get. If you aren’t pleased with the room you are booked in after seeing it, don’t be afraid to ask for another. If you need a coffee maker, ask for it. If you want a better view, ask for it. They have many options and may not know your preference. Give them the opportunity to make your stay the best it can be. Whenever I noticed a minor discrepancy they offered solutions so I know they aren’t afraid to help out.
There was one incident where Hyatt missed the mark, and it involved mariachi music. Yes! Mariachi! The hotel has one of those alarm cock-iPod player hybrids bedside. I haven’t used a “real” alarm since probably 1999 – duh, I use my mobile – so didn’t touch the alarm during the duration of my stay. Unfortunately, it was never re-set from previous use and at 5 a.m. I awoke to the blast of the vihuela. The signature sound of mariachi – violins, guitars, basses and trumpets – was so loud I half expected to see men in studded charro outfits with wide brimmed hats sitting on my bed.
In the end, you won’t come away being “wowed.” But you will encounter pleasant employees which is no small feat in New York City. More than that you will get a good night’s sleep… even if it was shorter than you expected because of some rude mariachis.
P.s. They had killer food for the conference lunch. Their selections were delicious and included duck, seared tuna and a lovely couscous. For dessert they served hazelnut eclairs!