Hotel Review: Four Points by Sheraton Chelsea
Recently I've had several last-minute trips to New York City, which on one hand is great because I absolutely love New York, especially in September, but lately hotel rates have been through the roof. With events like Fashion Week and the UN General assembly, even the lowest level of hotels can fetch $500+ a night rates. I've been trying to requalify for my Hyatt Diamond, but with both Andaz properties asking $600+ a night almost every day in September, I found using my Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints to be a better option. Starwood has a number of category 5 properties in NYC that only cost 12,000 points a night: The Element Times Square, Aloft Harlem, Four Points by Sheraton Midtown - Times Square, Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan SoHo Village, Sheraton Tribeca, the Sheraton New York Hotel, and the new Westin New York Grand Central (Opening October 1, 2012).
12,000 Starpoints a night is a good use of Starpoints in my opinion, because on $450 nights, it means you are getting 3.75 cents per points in value- and on redemptions like these, I would be paying out of pocket otherwise, so it really is cash savings, unlike some of my more aspirational resort redemptions.
Since I already tried out the element, I thought I'd try the Four Points by Sheraton Chelsea and although I try to book the Cash & Points option since I can often wring that much more value out of each and every point with this redemption method, but when I looked for it on my dates, there was no availability. Curious, I searched throughout the fall, and even through December, the hotel wasn't showing any Cash & Points inventory. The C&P inventory is usually loaded later and based on occupancy levels a few weeks or about a month out, but it's still strange there's nothing available at this hotel, so many of you might be stuck with an outright points redemption like I was.
The Four Points in Chelsea is located on 25th street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The easiest and cheapest way to get there from JFK is to take the AirTrain to Sutphin Blvd. and connect to the E Train from there, which stops at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue. You can also take the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station and then take the ACE to 23rd st.
The property has 158 guest rooms, all with the Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed. Mine had a king-size bed with overhead lamps and nightstands. The room also held a small work desk and a flatscreen TV on top of the minibar, an in-wall air conditioning unit, a chair, and a little window, part of which opened. The bathroom contained a small shower-tub combo with built in shampoo/conditioner dispensers and a single small sink.
Overall, the room was pretty bare bones, but hey this is a Four Points, not a St. Regis. My biggest complaint was that there was a funky smell in my room , but I was only staying there for a night so I put up with it since I got in late and didn't feel like switching rooms. The best aspects of this hotel is the great location, and near many subway lines such as the C/E trains on 8th Ave., the 1 on 7th Ave., and the B/F on 6th.
As this is a Four Points by Sheraton, SPG Platinum members can only get 250 points for the Platinum Welcome Amenity, but I also received a small welcome amenity in my room with bottled water and a local area map. Normally I would receive free internet as well, but it's free for all guests throughout the hotel, so I don't really count it as an elite benefit here.
When it comes to upgrades, this property doesn't have many suites, so unfortunately I was out of luck for any sort of SPG Platinum upgrade this time around. I seem to be in a slump lately when it comes to SPG Platinum upgrades - I might need to start using my 10 Suite Night Awards, which I've earned for staying over 50 nights this year with Starwood. I think I'll use those on higher-end properties, though, like a St. Regis here or a W there. It didn't seem worth it with this one.
The hotel had a small workout room with a few pieces of equipment, and the on-site dining includes the Westside Brew House, a casual "Irish" bar-restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - not that there aren't plenty of other restaurants in New York to enjoy!
In the end, although this certainly isn't one of my favorite Starwood properties in the city, it was a great option for me in a pinch and allowed me to redeem my Starpoints at a decent value and be centrally located in Manhattan.
I'll be staying a couple more NYC hotels in the near future and will use some tricks to get the prices lower and use points for great values so stay tuned! If you have any tips on your favorite points hotels or methods you use to get cheap NYC hotels, feel free to share!