Hotel Review: Hilton NYC Midtown

I was recently in New York City for conference and I decided to check out the Hilton New York City Midtown.  The hotel's location is excellent.  It's a few blocks south of Central Park, a couple of blocks east of Broadway and surrounded by a plethora of great restaurants and shopping.  The conference I was attending was taking place at this hotel, so staying here made sense.  I'll give my impressions on the meeting space later in this article.

First let me say this hotel is big.  It's apparently the largest hotel in New York City with more than 2000 rooms.  It was crowded the week I was there in mid-May and I assume this is common.  The lobby is large and if you arrive mid-afternoon expect a long line to check-in.  There was no one staffing the Hilton Honors check-in, but fortunately I arrived around 7:30pm and there wasn't a line at the front desk.  

My room was on the 39th floor.  This is an executive floor and gave me full access to the executive lounge and my choice of the continental or full breakfast.  For New York City I thought my room was rather nice and large.  New York is not like many other destinations.  You will often pay a higher amount for mediocre accommodations.  I had a king bed room and the entire hotel is non-smoking.  Apparently I had a handicap accessible room because my bathroom was large and set up for a traveler with disabilities.  

I received my traditional Hilton Honors bottles of water, but no coffee maker in the room.  The executive lounge is located just off the lobby at ground level.  It was nice, but crowded during breakfast.  An attendant scans your room key and then lets you know if you are eligible for the continental or full breakfast.  I found it odd I was given breakfast coupons at check-in, but they were not needed for breakfast.  I enjoyed the continental breakfast.  There were plenty of fresh pastries, oatmeal, fruit, bagels, etc.  The staff was responsive and the lounge was kept tidy.  In the evenings from 5-7pm the lounge provides drinks and snacks.

I was able to book this hotel for around $300 per night.  In midtown this is a decent rate.  With that said, expect to spend money on just about everything.  My conference didn't end until 4pm on the day of my departure, but they would only give me a late check out until 1pm.  So I checked my bags at the baggage room.  They charge you per bag and with tip expect to spend about $5 per bag.  There is no where to really sit in the lobby.  While I was waiting for my car to take me to the airport I sat in the empty restaurant bar area.  When the bar opened at 5pm I was told to order a drink or leave.  I chose to leave.

The hotel is located at 6th Avenue and 54th.  This is a difficult place to be during rush hour.  When in NYC I almost always order car service for airport transfers.  First, they are often cheaper than a taxi.  Second, finding a cab at rush hour in Manhattan is difficult.  Car service can often be booked online and you pay a set fare.  If you get stuck in traffic it won't cost you more like it would in a taxi.  I tend to use Dial 7 and they are fairly consistent.  (Quick tip: Save your Dial 7 receipts.  They have coupons attached.)  Departing at 5:45pm it took about 90 minutes to make it to JFK for my evening flight back to DC.

The hotel's meeting space is typical of any large hotel.  I found the layout and amenities to be adequate.  Most of the ballrooms and meeting rooms are on the second and third floors.  The hotel has an excellent fitness center on the fifth floor.  Even on a busy morning I was able to find a treadmill. 

My big complaint about this hotel is lack of service.  The front desk staff was fairly apathetic.  After my first night I went down to complain about the total lack of hot water.  The front desk attendant's response was literally "what do you want me to do about it."  This is never the appropriate response.  I received two calls to my room about buying a membership to the HIlton Club, which I found quite annoying.  The one bright spot, service-wise, the bellman out front.  They ran an efficient operation working to help travelers in and out of cabs, and helping track down my car.  

Overall, there are nicer hotels, but the Hilton New York City Midtown is not a bad option.  Its location is tough to beat.  The rooms are clean, but nothing exceptional.  On an interesting note, this hotel recently announced it is getting rid of room service.