A Sweet Treat for Hyatt (Globalist) Elites: A Review of the Parker New York
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As a Floridian who frequently travels to New York City for work, I value cost, comfort and location the most. I really just use these hotels to sleep, since I spend most of my time at TPG HQ — and I have a couple of go-to spots like the Hyatt House New York and Westin Times Square that are ideal for my business travel (in addition to being affordable).
For this trip in particular, I needed a hotel for three nights in New York and saw that the Hyatt House was just $120 a night — a steal for Manhattan, and cheaper than anything on the Marriott app.
But then something caught my eye. The Parker New York was listed on Hyatt's app, which bewildered me, as I knew it had once been an SPG property (the Le Parker Méridien New York) that had since lost its flags (more on that below). I realized that it had converted to Hyatt, which piqued my curiosity, given the property's interesting history, which I'll touch on below. I wondered if anything had changed, and if I'd be treated any differently as a Hyatt Globalist (sadly, my status is expiring Feb. 28) than as an SPG (now Marriott) Platinum member.
First, a little history on the Parker New York. Back when it was the Le Parker Méridien, the hotel (along with the Le Parker Méridien Palm Springs) allegedly faked its occupancy rates so that Starwood would pay them more, leading to a fraud lawsuit that was eventually settled. Both Parker properties eventually left SPG in early 2018, operating independently for a while. The New York property joined Hyatt in early 2019, less than two weeks before I checked in.
Before my stay, I had a lot of questions. Would my Hyatt Globalist status offer me breakfast at the pricey Norma’s restaurant? (SPG Platinums only got a croissant and a coffee.) Would my status afford me an upgrade? (I had already confirmed there was plenty of availability online just before check-in.) Had the previously dated rooms and hallways been renovated?
Room rates for the Parker New York weren’t insane, but at $283 per night, they were definitely higher than the Hyatt House at $120. In this case, I really wanted to test out how I would be treated at as a Hyatt Globalist (for a full list of Hyatt Globalist perks, click here).
I was about to book via Hyatt using an AAA rate when I decided to add a fourth night and use my Citi Prestige Card (which is once again open for new applications) to use the 4th night free perk. It was an ideal plan, considering my flight out wasn’t until 10pm — I wouldn’t actually spend the fourth night there, but I’d be able to hang out in the room through the evening.
Using 4th night free made the price drop to $253 per night. I checked for points availability but couldn't find it online. When I called, the Globalist agent told me that it wasn't yet loaded into the system, but that she saw plenty of availability for 25,000 points per night, which I found pricey, especially since I could've stayed at the Park Hyatt for 30,000 or the Andaz 5th Avenue for 25,000.
A few days after I checked out, I noticed that my stay had posted to my World of Hyatt account. I earned a total of 7,153 points (5,502 base points plus 1,651 for my Globalist bonus). As I mentioned, I booked the $1,100 stay (and paid for it) with my Citi Prestige, earning a total of 3,300 points, thanks to the card's 3x bonus category on hotel stays, but I'm still waiting for my statement to reflect the 4th night free credit.
Although it isn't super close to TPG's office, the hotel is near spots like Central Park and Midtown's famous shopping area, with stores like Tiffany & Co., a 24-hour Apple Store, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's and more. For tourists or families wishing to visit museums, shops and restaurants and stay in a spot centrally located in Manhattan, this hotel would be ideal. There are plenty of subway stops nearby, too.
The lobby was as I remembered, spacious with high ceilings. There were plenty of benches and seating for people to wait or hang out on.
Check-in was quick and easy, the only delay was caused by my overstuffed wallet — I couldn’t find my Prestige card, which was buried below the 14 or so other cards that I carry in true George Costanza fashion.
My Globalist status was immediately recognized, and I was happy to hear that I’d been upgraded to a junior suite on the 34th floor of the tower. Considering this suite was selling at $582 per night, it was definitely a solid upgrade. However, I had stayed in this room type before and had mixed feelings about it. Although it was spacious, the view was southern, which meant no Central Park views. (Champagne problems, I know.)
Nevertheless, I was satisfied with my spacious upgrade. When I asked at check-in if my Hyatt Globalist breakfast perk included eating at Norma’s, an expensive favorite of mine, I was thrilled to find out it did. I was so excited that I forgot to inquire if room service were also included, but the next day I found out it was as well. I highly recommend eating there even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.
I headed up to check out the room through dark hallways, which gave me a sense of déjà vu — these clearly hadn’t been updated since I’d last stayed during the Parker's SPG days. However, the daytime views of Central Park at the elevator entrance made it up for it.
I entered the suite and immediately noticed that that it looked no different than when it was as the Le Parker Meridien, maintaining its outdated look (the light switches looked very '90s).
But comfort prevailed -- I slept well in the king bed. I couldn’t say for sure, but it just felt like the same bed from the SPG days. In general, the suite looked very similar to what I remembered.
The slippers on the bed were too small for my large feet, but I’ve come to expect that in hotels and travel with my own flip-flops. Luckily, I hadn’t forgotten them, because walking around on carpet barefoot weirds me out, and let's face it, this carpet wasn't replaced yesterday.
Although I longed for that Central Park view, I did appreciate having the spacious suite. The living space had an area by the window that was a perfect spot for my luggage.
I didn’t even have time to relax on the sofa, but I noticed it pulled out into a sofa bed. In general, I thought the suite would have been a nice space for families, which is something I definitely can’t say about many hotel rooms in New York.
Besides the carpet, the suite had its fair share of wear and tear. The mini-fridge was broken and it looked only halfway stocked. I wouldn't give cleanliness top ranks either — the wall space behind the TV, which could be pulled out and turned to face the bed or living area, was covered with dirt and scratches.
One thing I really liked about my room was that I didn't have to sit through the old SPG promotional video (which, by the way, featured TPG himself). Honestly, Hyatt probably just hasn't gotten around to installing their own promo video yet, but regardless I loved turning on the TV and having it go directly to the channel guide.
I was irritated that the suite had no coffeemaker, though it did have robes, a workspace with a desk and chair, iron and ironing board and safe.
Luckily, I had just missed a polar vortex, so it was a solid 57 degrees Fahrenheit outside. But I run hot and found the room to be too warm, but it wasn’t possible to turn the A/C on. (Many older buildings in New York City don't have the luxury of having both A/C and heat in the same season.)
Since it was so warm out, I cracked the window open the 3 inches (that’s as far as it went), which helped, but it wasn’t an ideal solution on such a warm day.
I surprised to see that my bathroom was wheelchair-accessible. Usually, staff would have informed me that I was being given an accessible suite. It wasn’t really a big deal, but it was noticeable in the bathroom. The shower was very low, only coming up to my shoulder (this definitely wouldn’t pass the TPG shower test).
I initially balked at the ugly exposed piping below the sink, but then I realized that this was obviously because open space was needed under the sink in order to pull a wheelchair in close enough to use the sink.
Although I was much too tall for the shower, the water was hot and the pressure was strong. The towels were easy to grab, thanks to the accessible bathroom, though I wished they were a little larger (more Champagne problems — I knew this wasn’t the Park Hyatt).
I actually loved the Moonshine bath amenities, which I hadn’t ever used before. I found the scent to be subtle and not overly floral.
Globalist perks at the Parker included free Evian water and a nice fruit bowl. Does anyone else not love the taste of Evian? I ended up refilling the bottles with good ol’ New York City tap water.
Food and Beverage
My status afforded me both free breakfast at Norma's and room service, which saved me a lot of money. In fact, Globalists get free breakfast for not only themselves but for up to two adults and two kids (the cut-off age is determined by the hotel). In New York City, that could save you over $100 per day.
Thank goodness I had this, though. I would have had to pay over $20 for the small carafe of coffee that I ordered to my room. Even in New York, $20 for coffee was borderline obscene. I remember being annoyed about paying 2 euros per Nespresso capsule in the Santa Marina in Mykonos, but this was worse.
Those without Globalist status: If you stay here and want coffee, visit the Starbucks across the street instead. The American breakfast room service cost $60 (again, wiped from my bill, but for a non-Globalist guest, skip it and go get yourself a New York bagel for a buck or two).
However, the breakfast at Norma’s restaurant was absolutely delicious (I recommend the French toast), and I was thrilled to have it free of charge.
I noticed the menu included a $2,000 lobster-and-caviar option. When I asked the waiter if that was included as part of the free breakfast (jokingly), he told me he would ask his superior, rushing off. He came back shortly after with the expected response: no. Oh well, I had to try!
In any case, my Globalist status at Hyatt afforded me a delicious full breakfast, as opposed to my coffee and croissant that SPG Platinum once got me at the lobby espresso bar -- that didn't even qualify as a continental breakfast in my book. In contrast, the free breakfast room service for Hyatt Globalists was amazing, and I'd only experienced this at one other Hyatt property, the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
Burger Joint was delicious, and I’d eaten there over the years even when not staying at the hotel.
I’ll start with the amenities I did like.
The hotel featured an indoor rooftop pool with a view of Central Park — a real treat in New York.
This reinforced my view that this would be an ideal hotel for families, including any pets. There was even a special menu for food, treats and beyond for dogs or cats -- had I known I would have taken one of The Points Pups with me!
An awesome amenity I didn’t have time to use (does this excuse hold water if you use it over and over again?) was the gym, one of the best I've ever seen at a hotel. Called gravity, it seemed open to both hotel guests and members. In order to arrive, I had to walk down the lobby to a small elevator that took me to the basement, with a tiny shopping area, the spa and some other wellness spots, like the drybar and a makeup salon. Then I noticed a fairly typical hotel gym with cardio equipment.
But that wasn't it! From there, I ventured up some stairs, where I found a huge gym with a variety of equipment like both weight and cardio machines, and a spinning room. I wanted to snap more photos but was reprimanded by a gym employee — I guess that's what happens if you show up to a gym with a jacket and jeans on.
Amenities for Globalists were great at the property, but if I hadn’t had this, I would have gone elsewhere — after all, this is New York City, and options are endless.
Although it was included with my status, internet prices were appalling. While there were several options, the one I needed was $30.99 per day for 15 MB on one device — absurd. I was actually shocked that in 2019 a hotel would charge that price for internet access. With my three devices, that would have cost me over $100 per day -- I frankly don't understand how that's not included even for non-members, especially considering the equally obnoxious destination fee the hotel charged.
When I checked out, I got my final bill and didn't look at it until a bit later. Once I did, I realized I'd been charged an extra $100 — $25 per day. When I called, they told me it was the daily resort fee (also known as an urban fee in large cities like New York) for things like local and toll-free calls and gym and pool access. When I asked her if Globalists paid this fee, she said no and wiped the charge.
Also, I noticed that breakfast room service charges were on my bill -- on my way out I asked them to remove that as well. The new folio was emailed several hours later and it reflected the wiped charge.
Aside from my personal opinions on these urban resort fees, this was a good reminder for me (which I'm extending to all of you TPG readers) to always carefully check my bill.
I think I’ll be sticking with the Hyatt House as my go-to New York Hyatt property in the future (though always striving to stay at the Park Hyatt). However, staying at the Parker as a Hyatt Globalist did indeed grant me more luxuries than it did when I was an SPG Platinum. To answer my own questions from the beginning of this review:
Did my Hyatt Globalist status offer me breakfast at Norma's? Yes, it did.
Did my status afford me an upgrade? Yes!
Had the previously dated rooms been renovated? Absolutely not!
Considering I'll be losing my Globalist status at the end of the month, I doubt I’d stay here again. I really appreciate basic amenities like coffeemakers and high-speed internet, which make all the difference when you’re in town for work.
However, families, especially ones with Globalist status, would love this hotel, with its location near the park and amenities like the rooftop pool.