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The TPG team recently met in New York for strategy meetings and checked into a variety of hotels across the city. TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne stayed at the Sheraton Tribeca New York, and this is her review of the property. Stay tuned for more New York City hotel reviews.
When I checked into the Sheraton Tribeca New York last month, it had been about 10 years since I’d stayed in downtown Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood, which has long since grown into one of the city’s hippest areas. Set amidst the chaotic bustle of Canal Street, this 369-room Starwood property is a couple blocks’ walk from some of the city’s most sought-after shops and restaurants, as well as several subway stations. Though lacking in overall sex appeal – aside from the amazing deck off its 21st floor Club Lounge – the Sheraton’s well-connected location and relatively reasonable prices make it a sensible choice for business travelers and busy tourists looking for a points-earning base in TriBeCa.
Hotel Overview & Check-in
This Sheraton will fit the bill if you’re looking for a safe, convenient city hotel where you can collapse into a plush bed at night and grab a quick, tasty breakfast each morning, rather than a stylish, romantic haven where you can settle in and linger. Modern, welcoming and comfortable, the property is more functional than flashy. It’s the tallest building by far on the 300 block of Canal Street, but if you were walking directly past it you could easily miss its unassuming entrance.
Service here is warm and friendly across the board, but the fact that during my three-night stay only one person was ever working the front desk within the lobby’s narrow layout meant that each morning and evening there was a crowd of guests and luggage gathered just a few steps inside the hotel’s entryway. A big central support column bisects the lobby, so when this human pile-up occurs, only a sliver of space is left for people to enter and leave the property. The feng shui is, to say the least, not ideal.
I was first introduced to this mildly chaotic lobby scene during my own early evening check-in, waiting ten minutes to reach the desk. Once there, however, I was pleased to find out that SPG Platinum members are allowed access to the hotel’s Club Lounge, the property’s best perk.
Set on the hotel’s 21st (and top) floor, the views from up here are simply stunning, encompassing TriBeCa’s narrow 19th-century streets, the Empire State Building, the Hudson River and more. The lounge’s spacious indoor dining area has a long table with bar stools that face the Hudson.
There’s a modern little office/desk set-up in one corner with a workstation and printer, and free WiFi is available in every corner of the lounge, inside and out. And speaking of out, the open-air deck, furnished with comfy, stylish rattan furniture, is large enough to accommodate 40 to 50 people.
Most of the hotel’s guest rooms come with some access to the lounge, but in general, only Club Level rooms entitle you to its complimentary breakfast – my favorite feature. Each morning I enjoyed helping myself to a full plate from the satisfying breakfast spread, which consisted of a big fresh bowl of fruit salad (a little different each day), a small bakery case with various bagels and pastries, and a few hot items on warmers – including tasty scrambled eggs, golden-roasted potatoes and savory chicken sausage links.
There was a nice selection of low-fat and non-fat yogurts available one day, and every day the medium-roast Starbucks coffee was hearty enough to get me up and running to a darker roast in the lobby café. I would have managed quite nicely with the cafe’s breakfast offerings, but I appreciated the opportunity to linger over my morning meal while enjoying some great city views.
Speaking of views, my King Guest Room overlooked Canal Street from the seventh floor, just high enough to catch golden hours and sunrises across TriBeCa’s turn-of-the-century rooftops. (However, the front desk staff explained that the best views are found from the 16th to the 21st floor.) At 300-square-feet, the warm, quiet, modern and comfortably-furnished room had plenty of space for me, but the limited real estate around the bed might have have felt cramped if I’d been traveling with someone else.
Though I had three great nights of sleep in this well-soundproofed room, while awake, I didn’t feel like I could properly settle in here. The wide desk, ergonomic desk chair, cushy armchair and a little cushioned bench all proved extremely useful as staging areas, but the closet was positively miniature to begin with and largely co-opted by an ironing board. There was no luggage stand provided, so I simply kept my suitcase on the floor by the desk and never really unpacked.
I watched TV one night, but couldn’t help wishing the 32″ flat-screen, tucked into the far corner above the desk, was on a swiveling arm to allow for better visibility from the bed. Fortunately, the hotel had fast WiFi in the room for SPG Platinum members (which would have otherwise cost $9.95 per day), so during the remainder of my stay, I just broke out my laptop and watched Netflix. Fortunately, there were several electrical outlets in the room, including one on the base of each bedside lamp – a feature I wish I could find in every hotel room, everywhere.
The reasonably-sized bathroom was, again, ideal for one person, though the slate-tiled shower was certainly big enough for two. My favorite feature was a vintage black-and-white photo (just one of several in the room) of a bustling TriBeCa street, circa 1910.
The Sheraton-brand Shine products smelled wonderfully of herbs and flowers, but while the shampoo was a treat, the conditioner wasn’t quite up to the task of smoothing my thick hair after a dousing of hard New York City water. (Fortunately, the TPG team values me for my mind rather than my scruffy tresses.) If you’re planning a stay at this hotel, consider bringing your own conditioner from home.
Food, Drink & Other Amenities
The small, cozy and earth-toned Dutch Lounge lobby bar is a decent place to have your colleagues meet you for a drink, but if you’re looking to impress, you’ll find a more elegant scene at the Soho Grand or the Tribeca Grand, both nearby. Across the lobby, the bright, streamlined Cast Iron Grill restaurant serves three daily meals (none of which I tried) and at the rear of the lobby, the Link Café serves quick on-the-go snacks and small meals as well as Starbucks coffee. I can assure you, the coffee they serve here tastes better than what you’ll be able to make on your own in your room. Had I not had Club Lounge access, I would have been just fine with grabbing both caffeine and a light breakfast here each day.
At the center of the lobby, the Link@Sheraton business center is an oval-shaped, wood-rimmed corral providing desk space, computer terminals and printing services for your use, or you’re welcome to hook up your laptop and take advantage of the free WiFi. Though it’s well designed and certainly popular with the hotel’s corporate clientele, each day as I dodged guests lingering around it and creating yet more human traffic, I couldn’t help wishing it was located somewhere else.
On the second floor, the 1,000-square-foot fitness center is open 24 hours and tricked out with a long row of cardio machines, a flatscreen TV, a few exercise mats, hand-weights and inflatable balls.
Booking, Pricing & Overall Impression
Most nearby properties of a similar size (e.g., the Soho Grand, Tribeca Grand, The James New York and Mondrian SoHo) have nightly rates that start between $400-520 a night, while the Sheraton Tribeca New York’s lowest rates generally hover between $300-320 a night. As a Starwood Category 5 property, a free night in one of the Sheraton Tribeca’s standard rooms requires a redemption of either 12,000 Starpoints (low season) or 16,000 (peak season).
Be aware that while the hotel’s Club Level rooms will earn you Starpoints, they can’t be booked with Starpoints. These rooms average $380 a night, but for all dates that I checked between late October 2014 and mid-March 2015, there’s a special bonus deal for SPG members who book a Club Level room at the rate of $359 a night on any American Express card (The Platinum Card, The Plum Card, or Business Gold Rewards) to earn Starpoints at the following rates: one night for 500, two consecutive nights for 1,000 and three or more consecutive nights for a maximum of 3,000.
Booking your room with your Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express will also further maximize earning Starpoints, which you can transfer to a variety of partner airlines.
I didn’t love the Sheraton Tribeca New York, and personally wouldn’t choose to stay here again – but then, I tend to prefer smaller hotels with an artistic bent and a more boutique feel, rather than large properties that cater largely to business travelers. However, it’s a solid choice if you have the need or desire to be situated in this trendy, convenient swath of downtown Manhattan and you don’t plan to spend much time hanging around the property. If you’re looking for beauty or a little romance, you’ll really only find it on the Club Lounge deck – but oh, what a deck it is.
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