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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 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.