We needed a four-night hotel stay in New York, and I originally planned to rack up some Hilton points. Wanting to avoid the horrid “destination” fees, I settled on the Hilton Midtown East. It was one of the few full-service Midtown hotels not charging the fee. However, about a month before our trip, the hotel announced a rebranding to independent chain Westgate Resorts. A rebranding scheduled to occur, literally, the day before our arrival.
And so, I faced a dilemma – keep the booking, and forfeit the Hilton points? Or try to find a room at a different Hilton? In the end, since I booked a large room for more space, I just decided to keep it. Luckily for us, that turned out to be a good decision. I paid $284 a night for a Junior Suite, and received the fourth night free using my Citi Prestige benefit.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about our summer road trip to New York. Click here for the introductory post and trip report index.
Westgate New York City Resort
- 304 East 42nd Street, New York, NY
- Website: https://www.westgateresorts.com/hotels/new-york/midtown-manhattan/westgate-new-york-city/
- Features: on-site restaurant, conference center, fitness center, free WiFi in lobby, parking available (fee), pet friendly
Location: at the far east end of Midtown, at 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue. Grand Central Terminal is 2 blocks east; the UN Building is just down 42nd. If you’re driving in from the west, beware that Google Maps will direct you straight down 42nd Street past Times Square. DON’T do this, unless you’re very comfortable driving in Manhattan.
If using the Subway, take the 4, 5, 6, 7, or S trains to Grand Central. It’s an easy 5-10 minute walk down 42nd Street from there.
Dates of Stay: June 8-11, 2018
Westgate New York City Resort – History
Before beginning the review, I think it’s worth going through a brief discussion of the hotel’s history. The hotel makes up part of the Tudor City complex. While the area was a slum beginning around the Civil War, real estate developer Fred French thought up a plan to revitalize the area in the 1920s. That plan? Construct the world’s first residential skyscraper complex to attract middle-class workers back to Manhattan. French completed work on nine apartment buildings and a hotel in 1932; that hotel now carries the flag of Westgate Resorts. The entire Tudor City complex was named a New York City historic district in 1988. Today, you’ll find a plaque noting the building’s historic roots out front.
You can still see the original “Hotel Tudor” sign atop the building.
Westgate New York City Resort – Check-In and Common Areas
We arrived around 2 pm on a Friday, and check-in was quick and painless. Though I expected problems due to the Hilton-Westgate switchover, everything ended up fine. A friendly associate confirmed our King Junior Suite, and had us ready to go in a few minutes. The lobby area is pretty simple, with a short hallway leading to the restaurant and elevators.
There are a handful of modern-ish chairs and tables in front of the front desk.
Meanwhile, just down the hall is the hotel’s restaurant, Tudor City Marketplace. This is more of a “grab and go” spot, though they do serve a few hot breakfast dishes and sandwiches.
The Marketplace also has a spacious seating area, one that rarely had people using it during our stay. It actually came in handy as a good lunch spot for Ashok, since he could walk around and eat without disturbing anyone.
Meanwhile, as you might expect from a historic hotel, corridors are narrow, and a bit odd-shaped.
Westgate New York City Resort – Guest Rooms
As mentioned, we booked a “Junior Suite”. While not really a suite, it definitely is a good-sized room for New York City. The room features a long hallway from the sleeping area to the door.
The bathroom is to the right immediately after entering. It includes both a hand-held and rainforest shower, and a tub with a whirlpool feature. I couldn’t get the whirlpool to work, though. I found water pressure excellent, and you can get the hot water extra toasty.
The bathroom included both a regular toilet and a European-style bidet. Just for you, Kyle.
The room itself features one bed, with a sofa bed to the side. Rooms don’t include refrigerators; I requested in advance. Annoyingly, it wasn’t in the room when we arrived. After calling down, though, the front desk sent one up in about 20 minutes. There is plenty of space between the bed and wall for a standard pack-and-play crib.
The windows behind the sofa face some of Tudor City’s residential buildings.
In the center of the room is a standard flat-screen TV and chest of drawers.
Between the TV and the window is a pretty decent sized storage area. We managed to squeeze several suitcase and shopping bags in here. It was nice to have a spot to stick stuff out of the way.
Meanwhile, to the right of the TV is a small work desk. The desk includes three usable electrical outlets, one on the wall, and two in the lamp.
FYI, there is also one more plug behind the couch if you prefer to work there. While I prefer at least one plug near the bed, I can’t really complain too much. Especially for an older hotel.
In the opposite corner is a small closet. The ironing board and safe take up a lot of room, but there is space for a full-size cooler and a couple of bags.
Next to the closet is a coffee maker.
One complaint I had about the room? WiFi, or rather, the slow, poor quality offering. Though free, it was horribly unreliable. The system kicked me off every time my phone went into sleep mode. And sometimes just randomly in the middle of web surfing. Given the weak cell coverage in the building, that’s a real problem. Hopefully it’s just teething pains from the re-flagging.
Also, I found the decor a little – meh? It wasn’t bad, and certainly beats the cookie-cutter minimalism en vogue these days. But it felt unimaginative, and a little dated for a hotel last renovated in 2012. Otherwise, the extra space really came in handy with an active 2-year old. He had plenty of space to run around, and we had out-of-the-way space for the crib.
Westgate New York City Resort – Service
This is where the Westgate really shined. I found service from start to finish exceptional. It started when we arrived, when the bellman graciously helped us unpack the car. That’s no easy feat with a van packed to the gills for a 2-week road trip. The next day, the printer in the business center wasn’t working, but the front desk associate went out of his way to help. He took a good 20 minutes of his time trying various options. Just to help me print some Circle Line cruise tickets. Finally, as we departed, the bellman once again helped us re-pack the car, as we shared a nice conversation about what we did in New York.
The service level probably equaled what I received at The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria property. Considering we hardly paid Waldorf Astoria prices, color me impressed.
Westgate New York City Resort – General Location
I found the hotel’s location pretty good, especially for the cost savings compared to something closer to central Midtown. Grand Central Terminal is only a 5-minute walk away, providing easy access to the rest of the city. You can also walk to Times Square in about 15 minutes. The general area is also a good one for reasonably priced food (by NYC standards, anyway). Zucker’s Bagels is less than 5 minutes away at Lexington and 40th. Who needs free breakfast when you can get this for a few bucks?
Or, head a little farther down 3rd Avenue and enjoy an old school New York deli, Sarge’s Delicatessen. The reuben, while pricey, is seriously delicious.
We ended up enjoying our stay at the Westgate New York City. Exceptional service is the highlight, and the spacious room suited us well. I’ll also gladly take the better price in exchange for walking 15 minutes to Times Square. However, I won’t recommend this hotel for one reason – the odious “urban destination fee”. The Hilton didn’t charge one, but Westgate slaps a $25 a night fee on top of the rate. I escaped paying since I booked under the Hilton rate. But I refuse to do business with any hotel that charges me a mandatory fee for the privilege of staying in Manhattan.