In town, for another hotel-filled weekend. The Lexington NYC, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, a luxury upscale brand, is located at 511 Lexington Ave, and not to be confused with the New York Marriott East Side, located at 525 Lexington Ave. If you’re taking a car, note for yourself and the driver that the entrance is in fact on 48th St, and not on Lexington Ave. I’m not too familiar with Marriotts, staying primarily in Starwood hotels on my way to Platinum, but this was a change of pace in the big city.
ProTip: Main entrance is not on Lexington but actually on 48th St – address says 511 Lexington Ave @ 48th. It confused me, and I hope it does not confuse you.
Marriott Entrance & Check-in
Arriving relatively late in the evening, the regal entrance looked swanky, and upon entering the swivel doors I noted a virtual army of tagged bags to the right. I’ll touch upon this later. You’ll immediately hear the lively music and robust conversations from the hotel bar on the left, but I was looking for the reception desk to check in.
It is, in fact, straight ahead from the entrance, but partially obscured by two large white pillars. If people are milling about in the middle of the lobby area, it might in fact be difficult to locate where to check in.
ProTip: Restrooms are actually on the mezzanine level one floor up, where I snapped the two below pictures to provide some sense of perspective, with the first showing the entrance, and the second showing the outside of the bar area. There are elevator banks to the right after the main entrance, in case you need to bring things up with you.
Décor & Space
The outside looks positively vintage in nature, harkening back to perhaps the mid or late 1900s, described by some as “a modern twist on Art Deco”. As part of Marriott’s Autograph collection, the hotel has a historic quality and was designed by some famous architects nearly 100 years ago (per the wiki). It has since been renovated, which you’ll note once in the main lobby area – looking more upscale yet providing a more relaxed atmosphere.
Space, however, was most certainly an issue. Upon stepping into the elevator (below), I noted how small it seemed to be. Granted, it was, of course, New York City, and they did have five such elevators, but I was concerned about the prospect of the room being equally tiny and claustrophobic. If you think back to when this hotel was built or designed, however, back many years ago, it makes sense that things that were preserved tended to be for the people of that time, who were smaller in stature.
It was tiny, designed for two, with a Queen bed and not much else. Topping out at maybe 150-180 square feet, it was one of the tiniest hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. It was comfortable and efficient, but not very spacious. Check-out is at noon, and with a quick call to the front desk and mention of Marriott Gold Elite I was able to get it to 2pm. Even the morning of, when I called again and got to a manager, they were able to do 3pm. It was appreciated, and I am sure I and many of my readers like to have extra time to check out – just in case.
ProTip: Calling morning of checkout allows the hotel to have a better sense of their availability. Ask to speak with a manager, especially if you’re a loyal customer or have status (Marriott Gold or Platinum).
Compare this to Starwood, even as their basic level, and especially at the Gold level, with check out as late as 4pm based on availability
As I sat in the lobby waiting for my lady to arrive, I caught myself studying and observing the various persons going to and fro. It seemed like a mix of both business travelers and couples, with a lesser extent small groups of friends. The crowd appeared middle-aged, maybe 40s to 50s, on this particular Friday night, from the view of these twenty-somethings. We did spot what appeared to be a bachelorette party late the next evening, probably in their 20s to early 30s. However, they were an anomaly, with most people in their late 30s to 50s. Granted, some may just be visiting and not in fact staying at the hotel, but assuming it caters to a business-oriented segment of the population, the demographics seem valid.
Check Out and Departure
Checking out is a breeze – if you avoid the line. Note the Marriott Gold / Platinum registration on the right – very handy, if it was manned during prime checkout times. On the way out, you’ll recall the mass of bags right before the swivel entrance. That would be the hotel’s bag check, and at $3/bag it’s downright excessive. Or perhaps I’m not staying at the right hotels, but I haven’t had to pay a bag check fee before (and, note that a backpack on top of a roller bag counts as two separate bags).
This may not be the most troublesome part, as upon returning with the claim stubs, they asked me if I saw my bags, in the sea of many other similarly shaped and colored bags. Not only is it blocking the walkway near the entrance and majorly unsightly, but you get the privilege of paying $3/bag to, get this, get your own bags from the floor! What a wonderful business model, you could run it with just one employee, make the customers drop off and pick up their own bags, and provide exactly no value by doing nothing. No storing in a back room, out of sight, no retrieving the bags as well.
Nearby Places to See
Urbanspace Vanderbilt (below), an absolutely adorable date-place food court with a wide variety of offerings. We sampled the Ippudo spinoff Kuro-Obi, and there were many other places serving a virtual assortment of culinary delights, such as burgers, chicken, lobster, seafood, and others. Per Eater, it may get packed come lunch time, but a leisurely stroll in the middle of an afternoon or weekend was quite pleasant.
Grand Central Terminal (below), is the famous railroad station of NYC. Can’t help but think of tv show Quantico when I’m in here, but it’s actually quite an architectural wonder to behold, with many places to explore, cutesy bistros and bars to grab a drink (and we did), and a spacious food court with a Shake Shack, among other offerings. It probably gets extremely crowded during the day, but it’s a nice place to walk to in the evenings if you’re interested.
All in all – it was a very decent hotel – looks nice on both the outside and the inside, decent room, but could be improved on many different levels. It “does the job” as a hotel. You’d specifically choose this hotel most likely for the location, as it’s in a part of town with many corporate buildings/offices, as well as its proximity to Grand Central train station. At 48th St, it’s also relatively close to the touristy utopia that is Times Square (~20 minute walk) as well as Central Park.
Featured Image from Marriott Hotel Website.
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