Hotel: City Club — 55 West 44th Street New York NY 10036 (212)921-5500
Stay: June 25-28, 2010
Average nightly rate: $373.39
Confession: To this point in my life when I have traveled, I usually like to stick with what I know in terms of hotels. Familiar brands like Hilton & Sheraton usually bring a consistent product one can count on and know what to expect. But traveling to New York City last week, I was at the mercy of an Administrative Assistant whose mission it was to find a deal that is good for the company.
When my travel confirmation reached my Inbox, I went straight to Google with a raised eyebrow. “City Club Hotel” Enter. The minimalist design of their website is highlighted by a slide show of images in the center and links about the hotel on the left. My decisions had already been made for me, but I wanted a sneak peek of what the place looked like. I must say the online presentation of the property matched very well with the hotel once I arrived.
After a cab ride from LaGuardia Airport, I checked in at about 5:30pm. I was greeted by two very friendly employees at the front desk which couldn’t have fit a third person. The lobby had a capacity for about 10 people, including luggage. I asked about Wi-Fi and was told it was complimentary, and was given 2 codes (one for my laptop, one for my iPhone). I headed up to room 704, designated as a “Queen Luxe” room.
I would definitely describe the room as “Luxe.” The first thing to catch my attention was the 42-inch flat screen TV hanging from the ceiling at the foot of the bed. The TV was in front of the room’s only window. I pulled the vinyl roller-blind to see what kind of view I had. No view whatsoever, just the alley between buildings. I pulled the blind back down and it remained there for the rest of the weekend.
I dropped my iPhone into the iHome clock radio at the bedside to let it juice up. Next I plopped my suitcase on the bed and noticed how it sank a good 4 inches into the downy softness of the all-white duvet. I began hanging my clothes in the tiny, 3-foot wide closet. It was stocked with about 12 wooden hangers and at the bottom was a mini-bar with soft drinks, booze and snacks. I chose an outfit to wear out for the evening and took the iron and ironing board out of the closet. Of all the luxury in the room, they got cheap with the ironing board. Its surface area wasn’t much larger than a skateboard, and the tiny collapsible legs gave it about the same ground elevation. The act of ironing was my biggest struggle and disappointment within this hotel room.
Shower time. I was really impressed to see that the bathroom consumed about a third of the room’s overall footprint. Two fuzzy white bathrobes, plenty of towels, a sewing kit, lavender-peppermint bathing products by C.O. Bigelow, a toilet and something rarely seen in Texas… a bidet. The shower was a wide walk-in and could have easily fit 3-4 people, if you’re into that kind of thing. It had all black marble and a nozzle that let you adjust the spray pressure. I was invigorated by the Bigelow shampoo and soap. The shower area had a clear, full-length curtain that faced a floor-to-ceiling mirror on the other side of the bathroom.
While getting ready to go out, I was pleasantly surprised when a housekeeper knocked to offer turn-down service. I declined, but accepted the two freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies she brought.
Returning from my three nights on the town, I climbed into that luxurious downy duvet-covered bed and crashed. After walking block after block each of three days in NYC, it was heaven.
I’m not a hotel connoisseur (yet) but I’d stay here again, especially if the company were paying for it. The sticker price is about 4 times what I like to typically spend, so I was glad this was not on my dime. Though I do understand this is NYC we’re talking about, and I was a 5-minute walk from Times Square to the West and 5th Avenue to the East.
In review: Great, friendly staff. Luxurious , comfortable room. Tiny ironing board.