Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Park Hyatt New York

Room:  Park Deluxe King
Price:  Free (two nights free as sign-up bonus for the Chase Hyatt Visa)
Category:  7

Having signed up for the Chase Hyatt Visa card earlier this year, I had two free nights to burn at any Hyatt property worldwide.  To maximize the value of my nights, I wanted to redeem them at a Park Hyatt, which is Hyatt's luxury brand.

Park Hyatt New York

The Park Hyatt New York (PHNY) seemed like a good choice -- standard rooms are routinely above $700.

Park King Room, 8/18/2015

So when I had an east coast trip for work, I was excited to book a two-night stay at the crown jewel of Hyatt's US properties. But my expectations weren't super-high, given that the FlyerTalk hive mind hasn't had very kind things to say about the property.

Location
PHNY occupies the first 25 floors of One57, a ~1000-foot tower across the street from Carnegie Hall. Most of One57 is luxury condos -- a duplex penthouse on the top two floors sold earlier this year for just over $100 million. Earlier this week, a more modest 3BR/3BA unit sold for $28 million.

Just imagine what the prices would be if Curbed hadn't named One57 "The Worst Building of the Year" in 2014.

One57
Source:  Wikimedia

But regardless of how you feel about the anonymous foreign investors buying high-end units or the shadow that the skyscraper casts above Central Park, the location can't be beat. One57 (and PHNY) are just two blocks south from Central Park and easily accessible from the Columbus Circle, 57th Street, and 7th Avenue subway stops.

Check-in
The One57 residences and PHNY have separate entrances on the north side of 57th Street. (In my excitement, I forgot to get pictures of the reception area, so I'm borrowing a shot from PHNY's website).

Ground Floor Reception
Source:  Hyatt

The reception area is beautiful and minimalist -- there isn't much seating, but I don't think PHNY intends for guests to linger here. As I walked in, an elegant woman in black greeted me from the wood podium and asked for my name, confirmed my reservation, then escorted me to a bank of elevators heading toward the "real" check-in desk on the lobby floor (two stories above reception).

Lobby Seating Area

Check-in Desk

The check-in agent asked for my name. I was a bit surprised that the first receptionist hadn't relayed this information upstairs. That would have made sense given the dual reception/check-in functions and made the process more seamless. But no big deal. Check-in was quick (I was never asked for ID or a credit card), and headed up to my room on the 16th floor.

(Unfortunately, the lobby-room elevators are different from the lobby-street elevators).

Bench in elevator lobby

Guestroom hallway

The Room
As a Diamond member in the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program, I received a complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe King room -- theoretically, an upgrade from a Park King room, although the descriptions on PHNY's website are awfully similar.

As I entered the room, there was a leather storage trunk at the end of an extended hallway.

Foyer

A bit closer

The trunk contains a safe, magazines, a PHNY-branded shopping bag, and several storage trays.

Storage trunk

 The drawer just below the safe contains a lint roller and instructions for PHNY's complimentary shoe-shine service.


To the left of the storage trunk is a massive full-length mirror.  Turning 90 degrees clockwise from the trunk, I saw an elegant cabinet and closet.


The closet had his-and-hers slippers, a bathrobe, iron and ironing board, and a large umbrella.

Closet 

The cabinet houses a Nespresso machine, two bottles of complimentary water, and a stunning mini-bar selection.

Mini-bar cabinet

Nespresso

Mini-bar wine

Cold mini-bar beverages (Krug!)

In a hidden compartment of the mini-bar (with a separate lock), there were a few half- to third-sized bottles of liquor. This is the first mini-bar where I've seen Johnnie Walker Blue.

Grey Goose, Johnnie Walker Blue, Bombay Sapphire, Woodford Reserve

The mini-bar menu misspelled "Johnnie Walker" as "Johnny Walker."

They spelled "Whisky" correctly, though

Turning to the right from the mini-bar cabinet, I saw a beautiful, spacious restroom behind wooden double-doors.

Restroom

To the left, there is an incredibly comfortable shower (with separate rainforest / handheld modes). It's no Nebia, but it's pretty darn comfortable. To the right is an unremarkable toilet (the PHNY suites have bidets, but the basic rooms do not).

Shower and water closet

Shower

Toiletries

And there were sinks, because hygiene.

Sinks

A couple of times during my stay, I enjoyed a relaxing bath in an oversize soaking tub.

Soaking tub

And on the other end of the room is an inviting bedroom with lots of natural light.


I appreciated the water bottle and glass placed next to the bed.

Hydration

The king-sized bed is spacious, with a firm mattress and pillows with varying levels of firmness (which I appreciate).

 Bed

View of the bathroom from the bedroom

An electronic panel to control the lights was above the nightstand on both sides of the bed. It also controlled the blinds, allowing an occupant to wake up to a beautiful view of Carnegie Hall. (Maybe the better rooms have park views? Mine didn't).

Control panel

And in the left-side nightstand, there was a small flashlight. As a credit to PHNY's attention to detail, there was a small silicon nub to prevent the flashlight from rolling around in the drawer.


And a flat-screen television faces the bed, with a fairly large desk perpendicular to the display. Next to the desk, there was an iPad mini (hotel directory, wake-up calls, weather info) and a phone.

Television and desk

When I arrived, there was a bottle of water and two apples on the desk. Unfortunately, the apples were bruised and looked unappetizing.

Bruised apples

When I came back in the evening, the desk had a small box of truffles and a handwritten note from guest services. This was probably a Diamond-only amenity, but I'm not positive. Either way, I appreciated the gift.

Thank you note

They look nice. I ate one and gave the other three to a friend.

Truffles

Dining
At check-in, the agent told me that Diamond guests receive the $38 "57th Street Breakfast" gratis, or can order a la carte for the equivalent amount. On the weekend, The Back Room at One57 restaurant closes its brunch at 2:30 p.m., so I was able to both sleep in and enjoy the restaurant.

The Back Room

PHNY has two dining areas: The Living Room (cocktails, coffee, bar snacks) and The Back Room (appropriately named, as it is accessible by walking through The Living Room).


The Living Room (entrance to The Back Room in the left background)

Lounge seating in The Living Room

The free breakfast is my favorite Diamond benefit, and I appreciate the chance to treat a friend or two to breakfast when I travel. On this trip, I was traveling solo in New York, but met two couple-friends for brunch on each day of my stay. PHNY covered the cost of the brunch on both days (even though I think we went slightly over the $38-a-person limit).

I wonder whether anyone would choose the austere 57th Street Breakfast when this awesome menu is available to them. (The 57th Street Breakfast says: "Your choice of hot morning beverage and juice / Eggs any style served with breakfast sausage, ham or bacon / Your selection of pastry or toast / $38")

"Bluberry Pancake" (spelled correctly on the online version)

Saturday
On Saturday, we received three delicious doughnut holes as an amuse bouche, but not on Sunday.

Doughnut holes

I ordered the eggs Benedict (Canadian bacon), a side of berries, and a black coffee.

Despite the simple presentation on the Benedict, I thought it was superlatively delicious, especially the hollandaise sauce (which was pleasantly tart).

Traditional eggs Benedict

The berry bowl would have been big enough to share.

Bowl of berries

Coffee

Another friend ordered the short rib hash, which came with a savory biscuit.


Short rib hash

And his wife ordered a trio of pastries and a berry-and-granola yogurt parfait. She enjoyed the cream cheese danish and banana-walnut bread, but the pain au chocolat was dry.

Trio of pastries and parfait

Sunday
I ordered the Maine lobster scramble -- there was quite a bit of lobster with the egg (in addition to the de-shelled claw).

Lobster scramble

A friend ordered the smoked salmon Benedict, which looked even better than my traditional Benedict from the day before.

Smoked salmon eggs Benedict

And her husband had the short rib hash. We also split a decadent order of brioche french toast, which was rich and buttery.

French toast

Gym and pool
PHNY's swimming pool and spa are on the 25th floor of the hotel (the top PHNY floor). When I went to the pool at about 2pm on Saturday afternoon, it was deserted except for a friendly lifeguard. The hot tub is large and decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles.


Hot tub

The lap pool is huge (it looks like a full 25-meter pool). The windows look out onto Carnegie Hall and Midtown.


Lap pool

There are several lounge chairs to the side of the pool, which seems a little odd to me given that the pool is inside.

Lounge chairs

Near the entrance to the pool area, there is a fairly large steam room / sauna. Apologies for the near-meaningless photo.

Sauna

The gym is up a staircase from the pool area. There is a fair amount of gym equipment -- free weights, yoga balls, weight machines. Everything looks like it's in good condition, and the view from the treadmills looks out on Central Park.

View from the gym

Conclusion
PHNY exceeded my expectations in several ways:
  • Brunch for three fully comped on both days, even though I went slightly over budget on both days. I had read on FlyerTalk that Diamond guests have had to "negotiate" the breakfast benefit upon check-out, and I'm glad that PHNY didn't try to nickel-and-dime me (even when they would have been within their rights to do so). And brunch was delicious.
  • Welcome gift of chocolate truffles.
  • I was offered a bottle of water twice after checking out -- once when I dropped off my bags at the front desk, and once when I came back to retrieve them.
  • After I retrieved my bags, the bellhop proactively asked if I needed a cab. I told him I needed one to JFK; he told me to wait in the air-conditioned lobby (it was hot and humid), and he would let me know once he had secured a ride.
  • Lots of little touches in the room that indicated attention to detail, e.g., slippers and a bottle of water next to the bed; a non-fogging mirror in the shower; ability to close the drapes and turn off the lights from the bed; complimentary PHNY postcards in the room were pre-stamped.
There were, however, a few small miscues:
  • No coordination between the ground-floor reception desk and the third-floor check-in desk upon arrival.
  • At brunch on both days, waiters were not proactive about refilling drinks. Also, we waited for about 20 minutes after we were done eating for the check despite the restaurant being relatively empty.
  • Analog clock on the nightstand and in the bathroom tick loudly. (I recognize that this annoys me much more than it annoys most people).
  • Welcome-gift apples were not in the condition I would expect from a five-star hotel.
  • Other Hyatt properties (e.g., Hyatt Regency San Francisco and Hyatt Chicago - Magnificent Mile) have white-noise machines in the rooms to block city noise; given that 57th Street has a fair amount of traffic, PHNY could benefit from offering them.
But none of these miscues significantly affected my stay. Given the location and quality of the property, I think the price point is appropriate, and if I had more money, I would certainly stay here again.

2 comments:

  1. I love the comped delicious breakfasts! I will look for this at Grand Hyatt SF.

    ReplyDelete