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Historical Traveler Reviews Empire Hotel New York City
Great hotel for lower Central Park West
I chose this hotel because it was one of the few in this neighborhood. But I would definitely stay there again, as long as the rates don't rise.
The Empire Hotel is directly across the street from the Lincoln Center, and 2 blocks from Central Park. Much of the area is residential, so a visitor like me would not often be able to experience it. I saw only 2 other hotels in the area - the Trump International and the Mandarin Oriental, both at $1000+ per night, so the Empire has filled a nice niche (affordable).
The Empire has just completed a major renovation, and was in a soft-open mode when I was there. And there were plenty of shortfalls due to this transition, but the staff was very accomodating. I was credited $100 toward my stay because of AC issues and shower leakage issues (all renovation/construction issues), which I thought was a nice gesture. Also many of the staff were new to the hotel (and new to the industry), so there were clumsy moments, but their youthful enthusiasm made up for it. As long as they remain friendly and humble, and don't become trendy hotel "snotty", this will be a great place.
The renovation is definitely a luxury one. The rooms are small, and nicely appointed, but there are a few issues where it was "form over function', for example the bathroom light being poorly located for mirror use.
But I think this hotel will shine with experience. I look forward to my next stay.
Tired of reading nasty movie reviews, then finding out the film in question is in fact great? Me too, and I'm beginning to feel the same way about hotel reviews.
I was invited to NYC for a weekend and as soon as I was told the name of the hotel we were staying at, I went to Tripadvisor to read reviews. The one very critical review made me wonder if the user had stayed at the same hotel - how can one person's experience differ so radically from those of other users?
Everyone is ultimately entitled to their opinion, but: I am happy to report that I had a near perfect experience at the Empire Hotel for two nights.
Allow me to list all the fabs:
* Friendly doormen greeting you by the attractive entrance.
* Bell hops taking good care of your luggage.
* Reception staff helpful, efficient , courteous and knowledgable.
* Nightclub like lobby/lounge area: classy and sexy, BUT low-key.
* Working elevators, nice hallways, friendly maids.
* Bathroom spotless, with toiletries, plenty of towels.
* Clean room with sexy decor: gold, brown, metal. Very comfortable bed and pillows.
* Wood floor in shower stall, with glass sliding doors.
* Flat screen plasma TV mounted on wall.
* The air conditoner/fan is somewhat noisy, but works.
* The room (# 906) is small, but well laid out.
* Tray snacks and beverages are very expensive: $12 for a pack of red licorice. Ouch! (Didn't bother with the mini bar - I never touch mini bars and I never make phone calls from the room: good way to cut down on your hotel bill!)
Big plus: our room did not face the street - we heard neither our neighbors next door nor anyone from across the narrow "courtyard".
Vibe was very good - I overheard no guests complaining, everyone seemed happy to be there...and so were we!
NOTE: Location is great: right across the street from the Lincoln Center and close to everything on the Upper Westside and Midtown: Central Park, Columbus Circle, Times Square, Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, etc. Manhattan is compact and if you get tired, there are yellow cabs everywhere and buses/subways as well. Many streets are one-way streets which partly explains the j-walking: if it looks clear on the left or the right, pedestrians will venture forth, ignoring the red Don't Walk hand.
9 on a scale of 10.
Nice Look but lacking atmosphere
Excellent location; nice looking bar and reception area; well presented rooms all ensured I had an excellent first impression of this property.
However felt slightly let down by the lack of character displayed by the majority of the staff - everyone seemed very corporate and totally inflexible. One exception being a lovely dark haired girl who worked the bar on most nights of my stay.
I paid $50 per night to upgrade my room and was very pleased with the size, the fit out and the quality. Bathroom was very large (although hot water was off for about the first 24 hrs; despite two calls to front desk.
I had booked through Hotwire and due to the fact that many of the amenties were incomplete, 50% of my booking had been refunded to me in advance, meaning I paid less than $150 a night to stay here - So cant really complain, as it was a total bargain.
I think this place could be something really special when it completes later in the year. I would certainly try it out again once it was fully functional. I loved the style of the place; the staff just need to be a bit more relaxed!
Chic but Friendly
Recently restored, everything new, tres moderne! - attention to detail like wallmounted bedroom flatscreen tv's and even ipod docks. However what was most noticeable were the friendly and efficient staff.
Excellent Hotel and Staff
All joking aside I'm pretty sure that those who wrote a bad review on the hotel must be old and crotchety and should have probably stayed at the Hemsley down the street. Friendly staff greeted us the curb, took our bags and helped us check in. Although we were 2 hours early we were quickly assigned a room and escorted by our friendly bell hop who gave us a quick overview of the room and the various services available in the hotel and close by.
Our room was magnificent, trendy furnishings, modern art work, flat screen television, ipod alarm clock, fridge and 300 count bed sheets. The bathroom although a little small consisted of a rain shower with a cedar floor and all the toiletries and towels you could possibly need. Hot water and plenty of pressure! No funky smells! The quite A/C was powerful enough to turn our room into an ice box. We were upgraded to a king size bed on the 10th floor view and given a complimentary bottle of champagne.
The lounge area again is very trendy, modern furniture, light fixtures and lounge music being played. A complimentary continental breakfast was served with fresh pastries and fruit on the mezzanine.
The location is excellent, close to the Lincoln center, walking distance to 5th avenue, Times Square and 2 blocks from Central Park.
Plenty of restaurants nearby, (I highly recommend Ralph's Italian Restaurant down the street) and Starbucks on the corner.
There is a Pharmacy with groceries around the corner. A word of advice, hold off from the temptation of having the $7 dollar Budweiser in your bar fridge and the $12 dollar Gummie Bears and go around the corner and buy yourself a 6 pack for $5.99.
The hotel is not finished the renovations yet, although you would never know they are working. We stumbled around the hotel and checked out the nearly complete rooftop pool and lounge area. Looks amazing even though you can't use it yet. Room service is not available yet, although the staff seemed quite eager to get you what ever you desired.
Movies on demand are not available yet either, but I'm sure you can find something else to do in NYC. I only wish we had more time to spend to at the hotel! Loved it!
Cool decor but tiny rooms!
The Hotel Empire has had a makeover and it's very chic - although the lobby and bar are almost a little too precious. The rooms are nicely decorated - with earth tones, velvet and suede. Too bad they are so tiny - you get claustrophobic. And tinier than even most NY hotel rooms. Also, the room I was given was very dark - a window that backed up onto a brick wall - very unappealing. I liked the complementary breakfast and staff. The location is terrific, but I don't think it's worth the $295 price tag for what you get!
I must have stayed in a different hotel
I feel as if I stayed at a totally different hotel to the previous two reviewers. I spent a week at the Empire Hotel which began in a dramatic way with the flat screen tv falling off the wall on my first night there. As a result I was upgraded to a larger room which had great views of the Lincoln Centre and down Broadway and Columbus streets. I agree that the first room was very small - but this is New York!!. I loved the location - so close to the Park, subway station and Columbus Circle ( and its great coffee at Bouchon on the third floor of the Time Warner Building). I thought the room, bed, linens etc were great and I had no problem with the shower at all. I found the room to be very clean, no unusual odours, the ac not noisy - my only tiny complaint is the walls seemd a little thin. Perhaps that was because on a couple of nights I had exceptionally noisy neighbours. While I was there a very adequate complimentary breakfast was served every morning. The decor was very reminiscent of the 1950's and I found this appealing. The staff - without exception were very friendly and extremely helpful. I really enjoyed my stay at the Empire Hotel. I would probably not stay there again - but only because I like trying different neighbourhoods when I travel.
Nice staff, ultra-small rooms, no closet!
Me and my brother, we've stayed at the hotel in peak season - August. It is a renovated old hotel, but it's visible(!). Old and noisy airconditioning, old windows(!) with almost no sealing etc..
The personnel was more than friendly, but since it hasn't been completed yet, there was almost no breakfast and complimentary services ... But the rooms are almost terrible. I have to say, it's below average.
Btw. Just on the other side of the street is subway, so good starting point.
I was looking forward to staying at this hotel because the location is in a good area and it is a brand new boutique style hotel, with reasonable rates when it first opened. Also, I noticed it was classified as a four star hotel and that the rates would soar later in the year, so I assumed it was a really nice place. Then, when I arrived, I was immediately disappointed.
Without exaggeration, the entryway and lobby looks like a pimp's hotel from the 1970's, which I guess is the theme. It was completely over the top and is borderline cheesy. There is not much room by the check in and check out desk, so it probably gets pretty crowded at the peak hours. One of the elevator banks were already out of service and the other ones off the lobby were very slow and took a long time to wait for.
The hallways and the room smelled like moth balls and an old musty scent. It literally was making me gag and we had to go out and buy a candle for the room, even though we brought the issue to the hotel's attention. The bathroom is a bit odd because a large long frosty window is on the door, so I'm not so sure there is full privacy. The bed, however, was extremely comfortable and had nice linens.
One major problem was there was no hot water for a while on one of the mornings of our stay. It was unbearable to take a shower. Luckily, I'm a member of one of the chain gyms that has locations in NY, including one around the corner from the hotel, so I took my stuff and took a shower over there. Who would think that it would be necessary to go outside of what is supposed to be a nice hotel to take a shower? Also, it appeared that some of the toiletries in the hotel bathroom had been half used and were not replaced when we arrived. Another problem was there appeared to be no hair dryer and, when I brought it to the front desk's attention, they acted like I should have known it was in the dresser rather than in the bathroom. Who keeps a hair dryer in a dresser drawer?
Other problems with the room included that it was very small (which is not that unusual for NY hotel rooms), but that it was too jammed packed with furniture so there was not much free space. Also, the closet was like a small pantry with a cloth drape.
FYI, I would not recommend the deli around the corner (about two block away on broadway) for bagels. While it's good for other stuff, the bagels were not good at all.
The only pluses of this hotel is the location, since it's in a hub and is close to Columbus Circle, Central Park, shopping, etc. The staff generally was also helpful and friendly. However, when we checked out and notified the hotel of the problems, they did not seemed to be very surprised and didn't even apologize or offer anything as an accomodation.
We disliked the hotel so much that we changed our reservation to another hotel for the second night. Although this is a brand new hotel and needs time to get adjusted, I still have a hard time looking past these issues. I will never return.
Loved Stay, Will Return
Boutique hotel has attractive foyer with unique four-sided settee as centerpiece. Hotel and rooms are newly decorated in calming earth tones. Great location w/ Lincoln Center and Bank of America across the street; shops, pharmacy, restaurants, subway, and Central Park w/in two blocks. Two robes folded and tied w/ decorative ribbon were furnished for our stay. Very comfortable bedding. Shower knobs and switch were a bit tricky though. I'm convinced that Tim "Tool Time" Taylor selected that gadget! Just look up before turning on the shower. More than adequate free continental breakfast in the lobby and bar area. Friendly staff. We will come back again.
TripAdvisor Reviews Empire Hotel New York City
Travel Blogs from New York City
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