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If you want to experience New York City in a real and authentic way, consider staying below 14th Street where the real magic of the city happens. There you will find the Hyatt Union Square Hotel that has just become one of my favorite spots for using points in Manhattan…
Hotel rooms in New York City range from expensive to astronomically expensive, depending on the time of year and what events are happening. I’ve seen the average daily rate for Manhattan hotels to vary between $257 – $389, depending on the season. All of those are big numbers that I would prefer not to pay the majority of the time, so Manhattan is a place that I frequently turn to hotel points to cover our room nights.
We have stayed in many of the Manhattan Hyatt properties including the Park Hyatt New York, Andaz 5th Avenue, Hyatt Centric Times Square, Grand Hyatt New York, Hyatt Place Midtown, and even the just-across-the-river NYC Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson. All of those points-friendly Hyatt properties have their strengths and weaknesses, especially for families, but none of them were located below 14th Street.
Below 14th Street is where much of the magic of Manhattan happens. It is where I lived when I went to NYU, and between the schools and diverse neighborhoods, this part of town is essentially a breeding ground of young and enthusiastic New Yorkers. Below 14th is where you will find neighborhoods such as Union Square, Greenwich Village, East Village, SoHo, Chelsea, Tribeca, Little Itlay, and more. This area isn’t just where people work or visit, it is where people truly live. As a result, this part of the city has a very vibrant and authentic feel all its own.
It is below 14th Street where you will find the Hyatt Union Square New York, a 178-room hotel where I just had my first, but hopefully not my last, stay.
I arrived to the hotel relatively late in the evening, and even though the stay had been booked through a third-party website (long story), I think the front desk felt a little sorry for me that my Hyatt Globalist perks such as included breakfast and late check-out were therefore not going to be honored. They seemed to feel bad delivering that bad news, and as a result of their pity of sorts, I lucked into a King Junior Suite for my brief one-night stay.
The hotel has a modern, stylish, warm, and yet somewhat industrial feel. Even late into the evening on a Tuesday night, the lobby and hotel restaurant was anything but stale. The Hyatt Union Square has a pulse, even well after dark and way past my usual bedtime. It is, after all, located below 14th Street where city life really happens.
My room was located on the 7th floor and was a corner room that was very nice size by Manhattan standards at around 325 square feet. Keep in mind this was an upgraded room and the standard rooms are listed to start at 230 square feet. When you first enter room 711, there is a small hallway that leads to a royal blue sitting couch.
As you turn to the main portion of the room, there was a desk with a large TV, some small dresser drawers with a coffee maker, and ultimately the comfortable king Hyatt Grand Bed situated in front of another large TV.
I can’t imagine a scenario when the two TVs could really be in use at the same time in 325 square feet unless they were both on the same channel, but I suppose too many is better than too few.
The bathroom was more than adequate by Manhattan standards with a vanity that had some usable counter space, a nice shower that was blessedly still void of the increasingly common soap dispensers, and a separate toilet.
On the bathroom hook, you could also find a robe with the hotel’s logo monogrammed.
For those especially interested in toiletries, the hotel uses the C.O. Bigelow brand of soaps. Of note is that you can find the C.O. Bigelow Apothecary, the oldest apothecary in the United States, just a few streets away in Greenwich Village.
This is Manhattan, so even from the seventh floor, there is street noise. This is the street noise that was once my lullaby during grad school, but now kept me up more than I wished since I am used to the calm streets of suburbia. There were earplugs available in the room for those who needed them. I imagine if I had a second night in this hotel I would either be so tired I didn’t care about the 3AM honking, or I’d re-learn to tune it out. Whether or not babies or little kids would be able to do that is a different issue, so inquire about courtyard rooms if anyone in your group is more sensitive to street noise.
From the Hyatt Union Square, you are just a few streets from the Union Square subway station, which is one of the main subway arteries in the city. You are also very close to Union Square Park, and approximately eighty billion stores, restaurants, bars, and more. While I did not test this out, the hotel’s website says they have complimentary bicycles available from May to October.
What I loved about the Hyatt Union Square, other than the fantastic location, was how friendly and easy everything was at the hotel. My stay was short, but I was easily able to work all of the lights and gadgets in the room, and every interaction with the staff was exceedingly warm. They didn’t even think I was the tiniest bit insane for ordering hot tea and smashed avocado at 11PM on a Tuesday night.
While the Hyatt Union Square may not be an overtly family-focused hotel, it is one that I think could work very well for a family visit to Manhattan. First and foremost, they have rooms with two queen beds, which is not that common within the line-up of Hyatt properties within Manhattan. Lower Manhattan is also a very solid match for families that want to experience a part of the city that is flanked by parks, playgrounds, smaller restaurants and shops, and not as chaotic as the Times Square district.
The bad news is that the hotel does not offer rollaway beds and the standard rooms you can book for 25,000 Hyatt points per night only have one king bed. If I wanted to stay here with my family using points, I would probably book the standard king bed and then ask the hotel directly in advance what it might take to upgrade to a room with two queens. If you have young kids, do note that showers are the standard at this property as opposed to bathtubs.
I love the Park Hyatt New York for its pool and proximity to Central Park; I love the Andaz Fifth Avenue for its Bryant Park location, splash suite, and poppyseed pancakes; and I like having the Hyatt Long Island City in my back pocket for affordable trips to the NYC area. However, I think that the Hyatt Union Square might have just stolen my heart as it offers the comfort and conveniences I’ve grown to rely on, while putting me back in a part of the city that feels just a little bit like home.
If you want to use World of Hyatt points to stay at the Hyatt Union Square Hotel, remember they transfer 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards and cards such as the Sapphire Preferred.
What part of New York City does your family like to stay in on your visits to the city? Have you ever stayed below 14th with your crew?
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