All Suites in the Big Apple: The Conrad New York Midtown
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To The Point
The London New York has transformed to become the Conrad New York, complete with all renovated suites that can be booked at a standard Hilton points rate. Pros: Beautiful rooms, super-comfy beds and great for larger groups. Cons: So-so room service and service was shaky at times.
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New York City is a tough hotel market in some ways. You certainly have the luxury of choice with well over 100,000 hotel rooms dotting the landscape, but unless you’re living life without a budget, it’s common to have a hard time deciding on where to stay in the Big Apple. This is doubly true if you’re paying with points or need space for more than two people. Do you trade space for location? Amenities for better prices? You get the idea.
But there’s a new kid in town that hits many of these marks in all the right ways. Conrad New York Midtown is a stone’s throw from Central Park, was recently renovated from top to bottom as it rebranded from The London to the Conrad, and all of the rooms are suites. That means you can book a room with points at the standard award rate and actually enjoy a true suite in Manhattan.
Do we have your attention yet? I hope so, as overall, this is a good one.
There are many good ways to book the Conrad New York Midtown, but we booked directly at Hilton.com to get the lowest rate as a Hilton Honors member. Cash rates vary starting about $200 on the low end and starting at about $600 on the high end, depending on the date. Our early-August nightly rate was in the middle of that range.
When I booked the stay months in advance, I assumed I’d have Hilton Gold or Diamond elite status by the time the stay actually happened. That would have translated to breakfast and other perks, but that ultimately didn’t work out. By the time I knew for sure the trip was going to happen and my Hilton status would still be nonexistent, it was too late to get comparable rates to rebook via a program that conferred breakfast and other elite-like benefits. (You can status match to Hilton Gold, but I’m timing that with an upcoming trip to the Conrad Bora Bora.)
If you’re paying with cash and don’t have Hilton Honors elite status, try to book via the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program, which offers free breakfast, a property amenity and elite benefits. Those with a Platinum Card® from American Express have access to that program. If you prepay for your stay via FHR, you can even earn 5x Amex Membership Rewards points
In terms of paying with points, the Conrad Midtown often bounces between 90,000 and 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night for a suite with a king bed or two queen beds. This makes it a great place to use a weekend award night from a card such as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. That’s certainly not an inexpensive stay, but not bad when you consider you get a suite. If you have Hilton elite status, your fifth night on points in a standard room is free.
You can’t be close to everything in Manhattan, but if you want to be near Central Park, Broadway, Midtown and, yes, Times Square, the Conrad Midtown is a fine choice. Truth be told, the hotel’s West 54th Street location isn’t my all-time favorite spot, as I prefer to be in neighborhoods that are more residential or eclectic (below 14th Street is my favorite). However, since we went all over the island during this trip that blurred work and leisure, the location wasn’t a big drawback.
As an added plus, the hotel is just a couple blocks from the subway station around 57th Street, opening up many easily accessible destinations for just the swipe of a MetroCard.
Fresh off an early-morning flight from Houston, we arrived at the hotel lobby about 1pm. I’m just going to say it: The lobby was a little weird. There was a magnificent, but strange, piece of artwork in the middle of the room of a woman in a pool float. It was captivating but also head-scratching in terms of theme.
The high ceiling, ongoing construction, interesting art and quite obvious omnipresent security made arrival feel a touch more uncomfortable than at some other high-end properties.
That said, we were thrilled that our suites were available for early check-in. This trip consisted of my mom (Grandma Points), my oldest daughter, my aunt, her 11-year-old grandson and myself. The day of travel, the hotel proactively texted me asking if I needed anything special during my stay. I asked for early check-in and that our two suites be close to each other, if possible. I was thrilled when both of those requests were honored without any more effort from me than a text reply.
I have no Hilton elite status, so an upgrade was not expected and did not occur. We were offered a Central Park view for around $80 additional per night, but we declined. I have heard of Hilton Diamond elites scoring pretty nice upgrades here when the hotel was The London, but time will tell if that holds true as a Conrad.
For research purposes, I asked what Hilton Gold or Diamond status would translate to for breakfast, and was told that guests with those status levels currently get $30 breakfast credit per day for room service, up to $60 for two guests. The restaurant is closed now, but once the renovated restaurant off of the lobby opens, breakfast for two daily will be provided there.
Of note during both check-in and checkout was that a man named Mike went out of his way to be kind, thoughtful and informative. He even remembered us days later upon checkout and asked how our litany of planned activities in the city worked out.
Color me impressed. I was in no fewer than six hotel rooms on this trip to NYC, and all of them were big steps down from the Conrad.
At the end of a hallway lined with striped carpet, the 525-square-foot suite was both gorgeous and functional. Not to try and sound like I’m auditioning for a show on HGTV, but the color palette of various shades of gray that carried from the suite to the bedroom was both inviting and calming. The homey accents of a large rug and coffee table probably didn’t hurt, either.
In the living space, there was a wooden floor and a nice-sized couch for sitting, which was heavily utilized with our party of five as we planned out the morning or rehashed the day.
The table for two worked well for in-room dining, working or laying out massive maps of Manhattan as my mom plotted her course.
Most lovely of all for us was that the suite easily held a complimentary rollaway bed, which allowed my mom to have her own space once the door was shut and my daughter and I retreated to the bedroom.
Speaking of the bedroom, the bed was ridiculously incredible. The website says 300-thread-count sheets, but it felt like about a billion thread count to me. I’m picky, and it was one of my favorite hotel beds ever. (Sorry, mom, next time I’ll take the rollaway.)
There was a wall-mounted TV in the bedroom and ample outlets on both sides of the bed.
Unlike in the living space, the bedroom was carpeted, which I appreciated even more after my 4-year-old fell headfirst out of bed at the next hotel in a room that was most certainly not carpeted.
Bathroom space in the suite was at a premium. While aesthetically as nice and fresh as the rest of the space, the function was a bit diminished thanks to the toilet, sink and shower all being housed in one long but skinny, connected space.
The sliding bathroom door was cumbersome to open and shut (my kids wouldn’t be able to work it), and keep in mind that every bathroom-related activity has to take place in some small space off the bedroom, not the living room. That was fine for us, but could hinder getting out the door if everyone had to get ready at once.
Otherwise, everything in the suite was virtually perfect. The shower water was hot, the robes were plush, the Wi-Fi was fast, the thermostat was easy to operate, and that bed … well, I miss it already.
(Just steer clear of the minibar, where we were warned a Coke cost $16.)
Two negatives of our 11th-floor suite were that it sometimes took a long time to physically get to the room, as several of the elevators were down during our stay, to the point that it was noticeably slow during peak times. Additionally, it took three requests (first via text, then at check-in and eventually a late-evening phone call) to get the rollaway bed placed in the room.
Food and Beverage
When the stay was booked, the hotel was set to have been fully rebranded as the Conrad by our trip. But delays happen, and they are “only” 90% of the way there. I pushed forward with the review because the rooms are fully renovated, and that’s what matters most in a Manhattan hotel, since there are a million places to eat in the city. However, the downside of the still-ongoing renovation process was that the one on-site restaurant, Dabble, wasn’t operational. In fact, that is the one element holding up the full relaunch as a Conrad.
But 24-hour in-room dining was up and running when we visited, so we tried that out both for breakfast and a late-night dessert.
For breakfast, we completed one of those handy-dandy order cards you place on the door handle the night before and hope breakfast arrives the next morning on time. It did.
Our order consisted of a $30 continental breakfast (that $30 credit for elites mentioned earlier suddenly didn’t seem coincidental), a $16 yogurt parfait, side of bacon and hot chocolate for Grandma.
Having prepared food and hot coffee arrive to your room at the appointed time never stops being indulgent and amazing.
Since the goal of a review is to be a little picky, I’ll say that everything for breakfast was plenty good — but nothing was amazing. If it had been included thanks to elite status or by booking via a program that provides breakfast, it probably would have been great. But with all of the fees and gratuity added in, this room-service breakfast for three rang in at $93, and it wasn’t something I would necessarily recommend at the price point unless you are in dire need of food delivered right to your bed (been there, fully understand).
We also tried room service for dessert, which wasn’t great. I thought I had ordered a slice of strawberry cheesecake for us to all share, one of only three dessert options on the menu (the other two were mousses).
But, instead of cheesecake, this is what arrived. I suppose it is also mousse? While on the phone to order, the man taking the order said something about the cheesecake that was hard to understand, though I thought he said plain cheesecake was available instead of strawberry. I must have misunderstood the situation.
It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t what we wanted and wasn’t worth the $20 all-in that it cost.
There aren’t a ton of amenities at the Conrad, but there is a large fitness center that is open 24/7. Admittedly, we only visited there for complimentary bottles of water (the front desk told us to), but there were plenty of machines and space to get in a full workout.
If you want more amenities, such as a (pricey) on-site spa and indoor pool, head to the Park Hyatt New York about a block away.
I loved our suite at the Conrad New York Midtown and 100% would stay there again if the price were right, especially if the living room portion of the room would be useful on a particular family trip to NYC. Room service was overall only OK, and the service we received at the property ranged from spotty (three rollaway requests) to excellent.
The elevators and under-construction restaurant weren’t ready for prime time, but I still find myself really happy with the lodging. It’s just hard to find a Manhattan hotel room that is fresh and comfortable for more than one or two people, without spending a small fortune on points or cash. This hotel has that box checked.
As the Conrad New York Midtown gets experience under its fancy new name, I have faith that the smaller fine points will improve. But the five-star room is already there. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be there again to enjoy it.
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