In the interest of full disclosure, this stay was part of the “Amex Stars” program I’m participating in this year. As a result the cost of my stay was covered by the Starwood American Express. Stay tuned, as I’ll be giving away 30,000 Starpoints tomorrow morning in conjunction with this experience.
The Westin New York Grand Central just opened in the past year, as it was previously The Helmsley. This is a nice addition to the brand since it’s only the second Westin the city (and the other one is in Times Square, so as far as I’m concerned it’s the only one).
It’s a category five Starwood property, making it 12,000-16,000 Starpoints per night. Alternatively, if booking a “cash & points” rate, a night would cost 6,000 Starpoints plus $110. For what it’s worth the rate for my room was roughly $300, which once again was paid for by the Starwood American Express.
The Westin is located on 42nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, so has a pretty central location, whether you want to go to 5th Avenue, Times Square, or wherever.
The lobby itself isn’t huge, though feels “fresh,” and from the moment I stepped in the hotel I smelled the signature Westin “scent.”
Check-in was efficient and the associate checking us (my mom and I) in was friendly. She inquired which Platinum amenity I wanted, and I went with the breakfast option.
We were staying on the 36th floor in a traditional double bed room (there were no room upgrades available as the hotel was sold out due to the US Open).
The room was standard for a Westin, and felt “fresh” given that the hotel opened less than a year ago. The room had two comfortable Heavenly Beds, a desk with a chair, a flat screen TV, and a chair with ottoman by the window. For a standard room in New York City I thought it was quite spacious, actually.
The bathroom featured a sink, toilet, and shower, with Westin bath amenities.
On the whole the room was pleasant and brand standard for Westin. The wifi in the room was fast, and as a Platinum member complimentary.
Breakfast is served at “The LCL,” which is located just off the lobby of the hotel. As a Platinum member we could either take the “grab and go” continental breakfast, or otherwise use a $16 credit per person towards anything off the menu.
The continental breakfast consisted of juice, coffee or tea, fruit (either whole fruit or a fruit cup), and then a pastry, of which there were a variety.
The hotel also had a really nice gym with modern equipment, located on the second floor.
Anyway, on the whole this is a solid Westin and they did a good job with the rebrand. It’s no means a luxury property or anything other than the Westin brand standard, but ultimately the location is good, the rooms are on the big side, and it’s nice to have a second Westin in the city. In comparison to the other Starwood properties in Manhattan, the Westin is certainly one of the better values; I think the location is slightly better than the Four Points or Sheraton, and we all know how I feel about the Ws. That being said, the Westin Grand Central, like many of the large hotels in New York, has been courting the convention crowd, so depending on your dates the price may be significantly higher than say, the Andaz 5th Avenue down the street.