Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt New York

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On my three night trip to New York City in early June, I did what any normal points junkie would do, changed hotels every night. I did this for many reasons, but one of the reasons was to try out some different NYC hotels. You can read about my first night at the Crowne Plaza Times Square in this post. On the second night I moved over to the Grand Hyatt New York. Being somewhat of a Hyatt girl at heart, I was looking forward to trying out this hotel, especially since it recently finished undergoing a $130 million makeover.

The Lobby:

The hotel is located at East 42nd Street very close to Grand Central Station. That makes it pretty convenient in terms of transportation to various parts of Manhattan and beyond. The hotel is huge with over 1,300 rooms, and the lobby is very large to match the number of rooms! For me, it was quite impressive when I walked in for the first time. In the lobby you are met with this large statue and a nice water feature. If my daughter were with me, she would have loved the water feature (in fact, it would have been impossible to get her to walk by it without stopping for a while!). You then go up the escalator and into the main portion of the lobby where the check-in kiosks and desks are.

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I arrived to the hotel around 10:00AM or so in the morning, but decided to try my luck and see if a room was ready. The lady who was helping me check-in was very polite and helpful (as was everyone I encountered at this hotel), but she told me there would be an early check-in fee to check in now. I believe she said the fee was around $30, though since I forgot to right that detail down, I’m not 100% on the exact price. I think I made a bit of a surprised face, and asked if that fee was applicable for those with Diamond Hyatt status as well. She said that it is waived for Diamond guests, and I pointed out to her that I had Diamond status. I actually hate bringing up elite status as it makes me feel like I am reliving this hilarious “I am a Diamond Guest” video we saw at Star MegaDO 3 whenever I have to do it. She wasn’t sure why my status didn’t display in her system, but she quickly waived the fee for me due to my Diamond status, and explained that I would also have access to the Grand Club because of my status. This is why I love hotel elite status – the “free” perks that it brings for me and my family. A friend who was staying at the hotel who did not have elite status said they even charged him to just store his bags, so whether I actually checked in early or just stored bags at the front desk, there would have been a cost if I didn’t have status.

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The Room:

The room wasn’t huge, but it was a decent size for New York City. I liked that it had a separate sitting area from the bed, and it also had a roomy (for NYC) closet in the hall when you first walked in. I didn’t need any extra storage space on this trip, but it would have been nice if my family had been with me. The TV is situated better for watching from the small couch than from the bed, but was certainly viewable from the bed as well. The blackout drapes were electronic and were perfect. Virtually no light was able to sneak past them! I was fairly sick on this trip, and by the second night I needed sleep desperately. When a friend called me at 9:30AM the next morning I truly thought it was the middle of the night until I finally came to my senses and realized how late I had slept in.

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20120620-103832.jpgThe bathroom looked quite modern and stylish, but after brushing my teeth and washing my face, I realized what to me is a bit of a design flaw. I’m not sure how well you can tell this by looking at the photos, but the shelf over the sink hangs out over the sink a few inches. This made it very difficult for me to wash my face without either spilling water or banging my head. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it was a bit annoying – it was nice having some shelf space though.

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The shower was also modern in appearance and I had no complaints about the water pressure or temperature. I do remember having a hard time figuring out which way was hot and which was cold, but that was probably my own silliness.

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All in all I truly had no real complaints with the room (other than perhaps the sink issue) and I had no problem sleeping or working in the room, but I did want to point out some wear that had already started to show in this particular room. I found scuffs on doors, marks on the walls, and stains on the couch. I’m not sure how well these translate in the photos, but the room did feel like it has been “well used”. It didn’t feel like it was fresh off of a $130 million makeover.

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Club Lounge:

When I first walked into the Grand Club Lounge I was very impressed. From the moment you step off the elevator on this floor you get the feeling you are in for a treat.

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The lounge serves breakfast, snacks, evening appetizers, and late night desserts.  It serves drinks in the evenings (for a charge), and has complimentary water, juice, and sodas.  I got a ton of value out of this lounge, especially given how pricey food and drinks are in Manhattan.  If I had been here with my family, we would have easily saved $100 in food and beverage costs by utilizing the lounge.  I was so impressed that they had Brooklyn Brewery beer!

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If you want some “fresh air”, they even have a nice outdoor sitting area.  I didn’t get to spend as much time out there as I would have liked, but hope to on a return trip.

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I got to the lounge just as breakfast was being put away, so I didn’t have a chance to get a shot of what they were serving.  They were very nice about bringing out a spare bagel for me, and there were still yogurt parfaits in the fridge that I was able to grab.  My only real complaint about the lounge was how long they left dirty dishes out in the evening.  I had several friends who were staying at this hotel the same night I was there, so we hung out in the lounge for an hour or two that evening.  We got there toward the end of the dessert service, but dirty dishes sat all around us for the entire duration of our visit.  If you look around in the photo below you can see the dirty dishes on tables all around ours.  I’m really not picky, but it did strike me as odd to have so many dirty tables literally for hours that night.  Since I was only there for one night I don’t have any idea if that is a normal occurrence, or if it was as anomaly on this particular night.

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Overall Impression:

Overall I think this hotel is a pretty decent option for families traveling in New York City.  One of the reasons is that they do offer rooms with two double beds – not every hotel in NYC has that as an option.  I also like the ability to grab snacks or juice from the club, and there was also a small store in the lobby where you could purchase similar items.  It is also in a pretty easily accessible location that is close to many of the popular tourist attractions.  At 22,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night, this is not likely a place I would want to redeem points, as I would probably rather spend that many points to stay at the Andaz Fifth Avenue.  However, it was still a very decent hotel, and I would stay there again if I could find a good rate.  That said, if you are looking for a Hyatt hotel in NYC to use your two free nights from the Hyatt Credit Card, or to use your Hyatt or Ultimate Reward points, and want two double beds in the room, this hotel may be your best bet.

To check out a different take on this hotel, head over to my friend Pizzaman’s blog, Pizza in Motion.  He travels quite a bit, and has stayed at (more than) his fair share of Hyatt hotels – he also has two kiddos, so he knows about family travel.  He apparently woke up early enough to eat breakfast, so he has some pictures of the lounge breakfast on his blog.  He also apparently got a better bathroom than I did!

If you have stayed at the Grand Hyatt New York, I’d love to know your thoughts about your stay here as well.

 

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Comments

  1. Do they provide club access for giraffes? I think they would enjoy the outdoor sitting area/helipad.

    The lounge in particular looks pretty nice. Odd about the dirty dishes.

  2. It looks like we got pretty similar rooms. Mine was theoretically a corner room, not that this means much: it still had only one small window, so you would have never known unless you paid attention to the floor map.

    The room, as you noted, is very well sized, but the bathroom is about as small as could humanly be. I hit my head a lot on that ledge. But the Grand Club is great! We nearly ate dinner there, and for whatever reason the charges for the alcohol never made it to our folio.

  3. @matt, that is the perfect giraffe spot! The lounge is very nice….when there aren’t dirty dishes everywhere. 😉
    @Scottrick, totally agree with you on room size and bathroom size (or lack thereof). Nice about the alcohol charges that never quite made it to the room bill!
    @Maury, it is a Category 6, so 22,000 points. Quite a large number of points.

  4. This review is perfect timing for me, I am traveling to NYC the first week of October and just got this hotel for only $200 a night, when the rate for the week prior to my arrival is $700 a night. As I am new to the points/miles game and have never stepped foot in a hotel lounge or airport lounge, I was wondering if all of the food and drinks you mentioned that were being offered in the lounge were completely free? I have Hilton Gold status and have confirmed with Hyatt that they will do a 60 day Diamond status match for my Hilton status. However, because it is only 60 days, I won’t be doing the match until some time in September to make sure I take advantage of my trip, and if I could get free breakfast and snacks for this free trial that would be amazing, especially since I shouldn’t even have gold status with Hilton, I just used a clever trick floating around the internet to get it. Thanks!

    • @Ron, everything in the lounge is complimentary except the alcohol. It is a great deal (esp in NYC!). Enjoy your Diamond status when you get it. 😉

  5. The Club lounge is nice and it is one of the better ones in NYC

    My experience in rooms in this hotel has been decidely mixed. Sometimes I get a great room and sometimes not. Basically it is a pretty old building that is in constant need of maintenance and renovation. They are probably doing the best they can. Ditto with service – sometimes good, sometimes not. Hard to do in a 1600 room hotel, plus NY attitude.

    I didn’t realize it was top category. Paid rooms are often much cheaper here than at the Andaz. I’m surprised the redemption price is the same.

  6. I really wish I can stay there for this upcoming weekend. But my flight leaving EWR the other morning is 6 a.m. I guess it is better to stay in one of those EWR airport hotel.

  7. @Carl, agree about the lounge for sure. I’m sure keeping up with that many rooms is a huge challenge. I agree that it does seem that this hotel perhaps would make more sense as a Cat 5 than a Cat 6, but I’m sure they know something I don’t!
    @Rayn, eek, that is very early. The Renaissance at EWR is actually pretty nice, and likely less expensive (though I didn’t check rates for this weekend). http://mommypoints.boardingarea.com/2012/05/06/trip-review-renaissance-newark-airport-no-really-its-good/

  8. How are the walls? still thin? It looks so nice now, makes me want to try it out again….the patio is so cool. How often can you ‘picnic’ on 42nd street…right? Gary and I stayed their pre-reno and (couldn’t help but) listen to an all-night telenovela by the couple next door. And its the only lounge i’ve been in where the staff lined up for the food, pushing ahead of the guests…so the dirty dishes don’t surprise me.

    • Shanna, truthfully I didn’t hear anything from my room, but I was also sick and it was a weekday so perhaps there were more single business (ie quiet) folks in the rooms nearby. Y’all should try it out for a night and see what you think. 🙂

    • @Charlie, I don’t think Platinum will get you lounge access very often. I know you do get some “Platinum Extras” every third stay as a Plat that can sometimes be used for lounge access (I can’t remember exactly which ones can), and you could get lucky every now and then, but it probably isn’t the norm for Plat members.

  9. Recently stayed in a suite and was very disappointed. We had to ask for everything (robes, amenities etc). I am Diamond Gold PassPort and only found out after that they have a special Diamond check in area (just off the lobby between the concierge desk and the check in desks). If you are Diamond and staying at this hotel ask for the Diamond check in area.

    As with Mommypoints post, we also found the club lounge was “under serviced” with plates/ glasses left around. The outside area was closed and the doors were all locked 🙁

    I would stay again but don’t expect this from a Grand Hyatt property.

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