My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting.
- Hotel Space / Ambiance
- Food & Drink
Highlights: The Plaza New York, a Fairmont Managed Hotel
The quality of service was very good, with many people standing around ready to assist or direct guests to their destination. It’s a venerable and historic hotel, so stay here to say that you have. While I prefer the more modern décor of newer hotels, I can appreciate the aesthetics and opulence of the Plaza.
Freebies at checkin (four drinks and two breakfasts) were unexpected but not amazing. If I had to find something to rave about, it would be the bacon at the Palm Court Restaurant breakfast. Moderately thick, not overly crispy or greasy, yet with nice tenderness and flavor.
Note: this hotel is affiliated with but not completely under Fairmont, so they do not combine suite/room upgrade certificates with the free night certificates.
Regal. At all hours, someone will be just inside the hotel entrance, to direct you to the hotel checkin, concierge, or wherever you need to go. This is for the main entrance on Grand Army Plaza, off 5th Avenue, where you are facing the Palm Court Restaurant.
Checkin was a breeze, and they gave us complimentary drinks (four of them!) simply by asking. I pushed for and received breakfast complimentary as well, leveraging my Fairmont credit card and Premier status in the Fairmont President’s Club.
One point to note: one of the three (small) elevators had broken glass on the floor. I had to notify the front desk of the hazard, which was cleaned very quickly (within thirty minutes).
Room: Standard Guestroom
If the lobby, restaurants, exterior, or hallways don’t impress you, the room just screams fancy, regal, and old money. Gold on so many different fixtures. The atmosphere is very early 1900s and different from what I am used to. The lady noticed that the soaps were the same as my other Thousand Dollar Hotel, the Park Hyatt, as well as the use of an iPad to control the room, make requests, or get information. I secured late checkout through a quick call. Night service was an excellent touch – placing out water on both nightstands, and slippers on a towel next to the bed. I have only seen this slipper service at one previous hotel – the Park Hyatt.
However, there were several issues with the room. One of the wall lights flickered sporadically, and the shower was not draining properly – I had to call and have that remedied. The bed had a weird depression on the left side (when you’re facing the bed). This meant that if I sat or laid on the side, I would fall right off. This limited the amount of usable space on the bed..
Hotel Space / Ambiance
This hotel is clearly designed by the very wealthy for the very wealthy. It is very posh and regal, probably for high-performing people, socialites, and wealthy individuals. At all hours, I saw many people in floor-length gowns, tuxes, and suits. Even on my way back from Halal Guys, we saw an engagement photoshoot using the hotel attractions.
Food & Drink
First of all, the associate gave us complimentary drinks and breakfast at checkin.
Breakfast was at the Palm Court Restaurant on the ground floor. Their buffet is $48 per person, average at best in quality, and certainly not worth anywhere close to retail value. Bright spots was the service, as well as the good bacon previously mentioned.
Redeem the drink tickets at either Palm Court or Rose Club, located on the ground and second floor. In the afternoon and evening, it seemed dark and mysterious, with delicious $24 cocktails, accompanied with lightly salted popcorn and roasted peanuts as snacks.
For more variety, the Plaza houses the Todd English Food Hall in the basement, with options such as Lady M Confections or Luke’s Lobster. Explore these liberally, because there are so many delicious establishments with different specialties.
One note: In the late evening, the front desk told us both would be closing “soon”, however both Palm Court and Rose Club were already closed. A Rose Club server told us, half-jokingly, to ask for more drink coupons. The front desk refused to give us any more when we informed them that both places were already closed. I would recommend the front desk be better informed about the hours of operation of their establishment, to not confuse or frustrate patrons.
Apparently, even in the City that Never Sleeps, the old people need to retire early, as last call was 11:30pm or earlier on weekends.
Probably the most frustrating experience I have had in a hotel when attempting a workout. The route to the fitness center is extremely laborious and convoluted – out of the hotel area, towards the shops, through a side door, down two flights of pungently smelling steps, and into the shop level. In addition, the fitness center was not labeled well at all, so it took even further walking around. Doors were closed during the day, and the hotel key card did not work to open the door. Additionally, the intercom failed to call anyone. Consequently, I saw another hotel guest give up and leave. Unresponsive during the day? Shameful.
Additionally, there is no pool in the hotel. This hotel was most likely designed before the advent of fitness rooms.
Miscellaneous: The Plaza New York
This hotel, beautiful and regal as it is, is good for a free night – courtesy of my Chase Fairmont card. It is definitely not worth the $800 to $1,100 daily rate or anywhere close to it, even if you are vastly wealthy. My rate would have been about $1,100 + tax for a standard room, or over $1,200 total! Because it was built a very long time ago as the most luxurious hotel, its ambiance, staff uniforms (with gold trimmings), and gold finishings reflect that. It was a fun experience personally, but I prefer the chic and sleek modernism over old money.
I would recommend people take a walkthrough of the Plaza, as it is a famous hotel full of history, and used often in media. Finally, the food hall in the basement is quite diverse in options, with great tasting food and drink.
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