Gramercy Park Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Gramercy Park Hotel New York City
I had been giddy weeks on end about knowing I'd be staying at an Ian Shrager hotel. Maybe I had built the experience to an unattainable end before going, but I have to say the whole experience was quite disappointing. You'd think at such a high-end boutique hotel the service would be impeccable, but even average it was not. This is clearly an establishment built on exterior superficiality with nothing to support it. I had called in before my stay to make sure I could check in early and they replied with "Of COURSE" but when I came to check in only an hour earlier than the regular check in time of 3pm, my room was still not ready. I had to wait 4 hrs until I could check in! Without so much as an offer of compensation for my inconvenience. I even had to work at getting an insincere apology out of the staff. Even after waiting hours on end for my room to be serviced and inspected, there were fixtures missing from the bathroom and I had to call the front desk several times for documents I had requested at check-in. When it was pouring rain outside, they gave me a BROKEN umbrella to use to boot! Sure, come to check out the decor, but it is not worth your money or time to spend the night here.
Great lobby and bar, but....
A visit to the GPH bar via the stunning lobby is about all one really needs to experience of this hotel. The doorboys are great, the checkin efficient, the DJ in the bar fantastic to get the room going, but......
- the rooms are small and dark (and we had a suite) - many facing into the brick wall next door. Our suite was painted a flat dull rose colour - all the way over the ceiling roset that was set with a bare light bulb - if "boho ghetto" is the look the designer was trying to achieve - then he was successful.
- the bathrooms - okay, who wants to stick there finger into the sink to make the drain work? With only one sink, a couple has to negoiate with each other (or arm wrestle) for exclusive use. They have continued the "bare light bulb" theme into the bathroom fixture as they hang in clusters down the side of the mirror - and are HOT! It took a near facial burn that confirmed the fact that there was only room for one at the sink!
I could list more "decor" complaints - but the fact is for some, this place is cool. In our group, two couples did't even last putting there bags down before they headed to another hotel.
I love the building and the location, the staff were nice, and I did sleep well.....the rooms are just not everyones flavour.
Great and Original Hotel,But.....
The all new Gramercy Park (opened mid 2006) is a real treat for the vsitor to NYC with some real money to spare. Very impressive lobby with wood burning fireplace, beautiful bar (which requires reservations), young helpful friendly staff, and a superb location at the bottom of Lexington at the park. Quiet yet convenient, with the subway just around the corner at 22nd-23rd.
We booked the least expensive room in the place $505 for a "Queen Superior Room". The title is bigger than the room. Even by NYC standards, this was really small, and the bathroom was so tiny, there was no room to put down a toiletry bag. In fairness, they told me the room wasn't big, but be prepared, or spend more. Our room had a view of the wall of the adjoining building.
The room' s furnishings and appointments are absolutly first rate however. Eclectic, luxurious, idiosyncratic are a few descriptions that come to mind. Nice touches, like NY Times and Financial Times at your door, candle-lit turn down, crystal drinking glasses, two bathrobes, etc. etc. ... what you expect in a 5 star.
We couldn't get into the main bar either Friday or Saturday night because of a big event for "The Clinton Foundation". To add insult to injury, we received a note on the desk from the manager inviting us to a free reception on the top floor. However that turned out to be a mistake, intended for someone else attending the Foundation event with the same surname and first initial. We felt stupid, and so did the hotel, but no one made up for it other than an apology.
Free continental breakfast is included, but the room is rather small, so get there early. The rooftop bar (supposed to be open by now) is not, and neither is the promised Chinese restaurant from London.
Would we go back? Absolutely, but I'd want a bigger room where I didn't have to go out into the hall to change my mind.
Amazing new NY hotel experience
Since early in the 19th century, Gramercy Park has been a New York landmark. Impeccably maintained and watched over by an organization of people, mostly women, from New York society, the largest (only?) private park in Manhattan is a gentile reminder of the days when going to the opera required attire more formal than simply tucking one's polo shirt into one's jeans. Gramcery Park is inviting in its beauty and yet almost always to be seen only from behind it's beautigul iron gates and fences.
The Park makes a beautiful backdrop for the renovated Gramercy Park Hotel, a collaboration between tastemaker Ian Schrager and artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. With a W Hotel, or at least a knockoff, in every major city, Schrager has long since abandoned his minimalist aesthetic. Instead, the Gramercy Park Hotel represents an evolution of sorts, as polished woods and impossibly white-on-white fabrics have given way to rich velvets and blues, decor-as-art, and furniture that is both wholly original and comfortably functional. (My favorite is a one-of-a-kind armchair in the lobby whose frame is made from what looks like lacquered burnt driftwood. The style is echoed in my, and presumably other, rooms, with what I presume are more mass-produced models). I don't have a background in design, so I won't do justice to the wonderful lobby and bar, which also feature original works by Picasso, Schnabel himself, Warhol and Basquiat. The NY Times did a wonderful write-up several weeks ago on the hotel's design and art, which I recommend.
The size of the guest rooms (at least mine) are consistent with most luxury NY hotels. Since the hotel is not new, but a renovation, there are a few awkward angles and issues related to the layout of the existing space. However, each room is functional and, in and of itself, a work of art in progress. When my room service arrived one evening--despite the fact that the rooftop bar had not yet open, nor had the celebrity chef tasting menu been implemented yet, the food was quite good--I asked my waiter for a tablecloth or place mat. He smiled and gently informed me that "Mr. Schrager wants to let the tables stain and age a bit to add character to the furnite." I was only too happy to oblige, my water glass ring a lasting testement to my having been one of the hotel's first guests.
As with any newly opened property, there were still a few kinks to be worked out (a bathroom sink knob that wouln't stay on, for instance). However, the staff was good-humored and attentive and, for me, these experiences only added to the charm of my visit.
The hotel concierge, too, was quite attentive. He reminded me that hotel guests are entitled to a key to the Park. (When I told a well-known actress friend who has had a nearby apartment for ten years but has been denied a key by the park association, she was aghast. i confess to having loved that reaction. The local neighborhood's food offerings are decent, but I can only hope the attention and volume from the hotel will help motivate some great chefs to rediscover this historic pocket of NY. In defense of the great area restaurants I don't know about, I am used to staying uptown on the east side, and probably am not qualified to judge. The comment was based on a brief, online search, a walk through the neigborhood and a mediocre Italian experience nearby.
In short, like the great art on display, I imagine the Gramercy Park Hotel will remain relevant for many, many years and prove to be an invaluable addition to manhattan's thriving hotel scene. As has always been the case, Schrager doesn't merely have his finger on the pulse, he is the beating heart of hotel design.
Models on parade
This hotel will not be for everyone. If you disdain contemporary art and don't find joy in small aesthetic details, find another place. The decor is edgey : our room was Tiffany box blue with rose colored curtains. The photos decorating the walls were wonderful and the fresh flowers by the bed matched the curtains. Everyone from the valet who took the car to the front desk staff were friendly and helpful. We found out that most were models-an extension of the decor. The "loft" room we had was blissfully quiet even though we were facing Lexington Ave and we had a peak of Gramercy Park. Having paid the "intro" rate of $340.00, I don't have any major complaints. However if I had been paying full price I would not be very pleased with the lack of space in the breakfast room. There was no place to sit and the buffet table was difficult to access with the number of guests trying to get to it. Also, A DVD library is offered but not obtainable unless a concierge is there. We were initially asked if we had a reservation to have a drink in the Rose Bar but were granted admission after showing our guest pass. Overall, a wonderful time was had. And if you are allergic to wood smoke, definitely pass as it permeates everything. (There is a huge fireplace in the lobby and the bar.)
What a comeback! From the decor to the amenities to the furniture!
I will recommend the new Grmercy Park Hotel to anyone traveling to NYC.
Nice job Mr. Schrager!
As a travel journalist, I was excited to stay in the legendary Gramercy Park Hotel now that it has been reborn as an Ian Schraeger property. I used to live in the 20s on Lex, and would always walk by the old, run down hotel. What a legendary place it was--with its rock 'n' roll history, proximity to the Factory and Max's Kansas City. How could a refurbishment go wrong? Even the notion of staying in a Julian Schnabel-designed space was exciting. The art in the lobby and bar alone (pieces by Schnabel, was that an original Warhol I spied?) was worth the price of admission.
I booked a room in June for a stay last weekend, and got the pre-opening rate. The experience was a big disappointment.
Even though they've ditched the Phillippe Starck-style sleekness and opted instead for a "Bohemian" look (as the NY Times reported pre-opening) there's the same cheapness to the rooms as the other Schraeger properties--you get the feeling that one year from now, these rooms are going to look very, very tired. The pepto pink color of the walls, the vintage oriental rug, needle point chairs....an interested concept that will look old and shabby very fast. (And how about springing 50 cents for new light switch plates, rather than keeping the old, worn out ones?) Linens and towels are plush, and the Ipod docks are a nice touch (but are they really worth the $750 you would be charged if you decided to take one home? I believe you can purchase the same thing for less than $200 online.)
But I agree with the previous poster--the most egregious offense was the mystery policy that keeps hotel guests out of the bar unless they've made a reservation, a policy that is never explained on check in so that one could gain access to the "party" when one wanted to (some party--on the night I stayed at the hotel, the only people in the bar were a group of very unfashionable guys who looked like they had driven in from Long Island and might have been pals of the bar manager.)
When we tried to go into the bar, we were told by four different employees that the bar manager was trying to keep things very "exclusive" and so no admittance unless you had a reservation, which could only be made by the concierge, who left for the night at 10 pm. This was news to us.
We stuck by our guns and the bar manager finally deigned to let us in. We took one of the half dozen empty tables, were offered a free round of drinks and a half hearted apology.
COME ON. This kind of exclusionary policy, at a place that's barely full, been open for only two weeks, and with a clientele already in place that's neither beautiful nor cool, is just tired. I did not spot one person of interest (celebrity, power player or otherwise) in the bar who might have demanded that kind of privacy. Also, this is Gramercy Park--not the Lower East Side, not Tribeca, not the Meatpacking District. Is this kind of attitude really necessary?
I also agree that there's not much to offer here yet beyond the rooms and common areas--bland breakfast, so-so gym. No restaurant, no rooftop bar.
Things have not even gotten started yet at the GPH, and they already need to get over themselves. Not worth the money or time.
Reborn? A mixed bag
I spent the weekend at the newly re-opened Gramercy Park Hotel. It is certainly a step above a business hotel, but given all the buzz, I was disappointed. While I want to cut the hotel some slack because it's only recently opened, for a hotel claiming 5-stars, it's got quite a ways to go. I'll list some negatives and positives:
-- No turn-down service to speak of. The first night, we returned to our room and it was completely dark, with no service having been provided. The second night, someone had turned on one lamp, but wet/dirty towels hadn't been replaced, the drapes had not been closed, the bed not turned down, etc.
-- The "key" to Gramercy Park is completely unwidely, attached to a metal ring that is at least 1 foot in diameter, impossible to carry effectively. And while their advertising conveys that a key to the park is a privilege that comes with each room, there are only a few keys, so you have to compete with other guests to get them.
-- The room decor will not be to everyone's taste. My room had very dark, olive-green walls and ceiling, and the lighting in the room is very, very harsh: one exposed bulb screwed into the center of the ceiling, and then some lamps around the room. The aggressive (some would say lurid) color scheme looks much better in the natural light of day, but even then will be too much for some guests.
-- Even if you are a hotel guest, you are turned away from the bar if you have not made a reservation. I heard other guests complaining about this as well, since the bar only had a couple of people in it and paying hotel guests were told they must leave if they didn't have a reservation. I wouldn't complain about this if any of the information the hotel provided us about the bars had mentioned that reservations were required. Instead, you are given a car advertising the bar when you check in, and in the in-room hotel booklet the bar is also lauded, and never is the requirement that hotel guests make reservations stated.
-- $14.95 per day charge for internet access; this should absolutely be complimentary in a hotel like this.
-- The spa and gym are very, very small and unimpressive, so it's nice that they give you a pass to a local gym.
-- There's just not much to the hotel yet; a smaller-than-expected lobby, the bars, and that's it. When the restaurant opens and the rooftop terrace, that will really help.
On the positive side:
-- The bathroom is paneled in mahogony, and was beautiful, with the softest towels I've ever used.
-- Very impressive bedding and some beautiful pieces of furniture in the room.
-- Amenities that should be expected from a 5-star hotel and were delivered well: free shoeshine; daily NY Times delivery, ina nice, brown paper bag.
-- The free, continental-plus breakfast was nice.
It's Still Rock and Roll to me ...
Closed the Summer of 2004 for a refit, there was very little evidence of anything new at the GP. The rooms are the same in everything except price, which DOUBLED: same crappy decor, furniture, same venetian blinds (No CURTAINS; the old rockers used to pull them down!), threadbare linens, flat poly-pillows (which should be BURNED in my opinion), stained carpets, tragic bathrooms with no hairdryers and taps with no filters so water sprays everywhere if turned on too hard. No improvement in the windows either; on the 12th floor park side it is still incredibly noisy at night. The elevator interiors have been tarted up but still function like always ... too few in operation and those too slow. The queue in the lobby is ... you got it ... for the elevator! No room service and breakfast of o.j., coffee, and a stale Danish will set you back $10+ in the lobby. The staff seem to be almost wholly Russian now and can be inCREDibly aggressive. If you're not used to operating NY style and holding your own, they will eat you alive! So, still the old rock n roll hotel of the 60's & 70's and for almost $400 p/suite/room p/night, that's a little steep!!
We are looking forward to welcoming you very soon to the new Gramercy Park Hotel.