Tim Foolery

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W New York – Downtown: Hotel Review

The first of three @SPG hotels I stayed at while in New York was the W New York – Downtown. This was my first stay at this property. Located in lower Manhattan just immediately across the street from the 9/11 Memorial entrance, this hotel’s lobby is on the 5th floor, which I really like. You get out of the hustle and bustle and you can start to relax immediately.

I arrive around 15h00 and was greeted by name as I approached the check-in desk.  I had not been in contact with the hotel prior to my arrival. My guess is that they had very few people checking in that day and I was the only one either queued up to arrive at that time or the only single arriving. Who knows.  I was thanked for my loyalty and offered a welcome amenity. I opted for the points in lieu of the free internet or a cocktail.  I was on a work trip so my cocktails were paid for by the vendor I was there to see, and I was queued up to be out of the room most of the time and my internet usage would be limited so those would have been a waste.

I was assigned a room on the 8th floor and unlike the W on 49th and Lex this room was bright and much bigger than I was expecting. The rooms I’ve stayed in at the Lex property are slightly larger than my walk-in closet at home.  It’s Manhattan and I get space is of a premium – and I’ve stayed multiple times at the W on Lex, so I know what I’m in for.  The downtown property was by no means spacious, but it was a nice upgrade from Midtown.

You walk in and find the bright white room with a red bed scarf that provides a huge punch of color.  The white was a bit worn, but at least you could see what was dirty and what was just worn – everything here was just worn and not dirty! Whew.

The desk was under the TV, which made it almost impossible to watch TV and work at the desk, nothing critical.  This layout actually made me a bit more productive too.  I was right next to the elevators, which Marriott is always good about following your preferences – I haven’t had much luck with SPG regarding my placement away from an elevator.

The bathroom was immediately behind the bedroom and took the entire wall. This reminded me of the layouts of the various Alofts I’ve visited before. Obviously this is a good design layout for small spaces.  The bathroom was clean and featured a nice sized walk-in shower.  The closet was extremely small – and since I was in town for more formal meetings, I couldn’t comfortably hang all my clothes – not even enough hangers. I requested some additional ones as well, but none ever showed up.

The hotel also offers complimentary car service within a given radius – although I don’t know what that radius was. No free trips to the airports that’s for sure.  I did use this service once, after check-out, when I was moving from the W Downtown to the Element Times Square.  I usually don’t have much luck with complimentary transportation services at hotels. Someone either just beat me to it or it just stopped running.  This worked out perfectly. I rode in an Acura and I had to complete a quick survey on the service and if this made me want to buy an Acura. I don’t need a car, but I told them it did, since I want this type of service to continue.

I did eat dinner one night in the hotel – mostly because there is a BLT Bar and Grill. I fell in love with BLT when we were in San Juan a few years ago. The popovers are worth the visit alone (although, I think mine are marginally better).

I often struggle with the W Hotels.  Sometimes they just seem too hip for me. I really dig the design – sleek, modern, functional – but the attitude of the guests and from time to time the staff really start to grate on my nerves.  By the end of the third day, I just want to go elsewhere.

Would I stay here again? In a heartbeat.  I like the location. I liked the room. The price was average for a Manhattan hotel. Both the Element (obviously) and Le Parker Meridien were substantially cheaper the weekend I stayed, which is part of the reason I changed hotels. I wanted to save a bit of money (50% of the cost of the W) and I wanted to try two additional properties (and get different stay credits).  My biggest complaint about the hotel, isn’t the hotel itself. It is the tons of people across the street waiting to enter the 9/11 Memorial. So many people (tourists) who don’t know where they are going. They have big bags and are bumping in to you and are just generally confused.  During the week it was great. The weekend (when I went to the Memorial) it was utter torture.

Have you stayed at the W Downtown? What’s your favorite Starwood Property in Manhattan? Are you still shocked at the size of the rooms at the W on 49th/Lex?

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