Review: The Westin New York Grand Central, “Mid Town East”, New York, USA

This post is one chapter in our trip to New York City via Cathay Pacific First Class. This trip was booked using American Airlines AAdvantage miles and Starwood Preferred Guest points. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: The Westin Grand Central, Mid-Town East, New York, New York, USA


Although not the first choice for our stay in New York, we ended up at the Westin Grand Central hotel, which is situated in Mid Town East. There were nicer neighborhoods to stay in but this met the amount of points that we wanted to spend on an reward redemption.

“The Westin New York Grand Central was a well maintained, conveniently located stay experience that was only hampered by a somewhat dull surrounding Mid Town East neighbourhood.”

The hotel was booked for free on SPG reward points at 12,000 a night (Category 5 property). We also used a left over 2013 SPG Gold Re-Qualification Gift 25% off redemption reward that was expiring in July 2014 stacked with the usual fifth night free on an SPG reward redemption. This brought the actual rate down to 7,600 SPG points per night from the usual posted rate of 12,000 points per night.

The hotel is situated two blocks from the Grand Central Train Station (and subway) and is in the shadow of the historic Art Deco styled Chrysler building. Aside from the beautiful shadow of the Chrysler building at night, the neighborhood is pretty dead after hours. We had dinner in other locations away from the hotel and this neighborhood.

Arriving to the hotel:

We experienced a busy check in experience as expected from a property in a high density city. On our arrival at 9 AM, the room was not ready. The lobby area was super crowded, reminiscent of a Las Vegas nightclub and matching clientele, with separate roped lines for SPG Gold’s and Platinum’s. The reception promised to call when the room was ready and actually did at 1:30 PM. We’d heard this before and decided it was impressive for a property that has over 763 rooms and as many as 763 matching reservations. Either way, the lobby space was a socialites dream of hang arounds and people gossiping. Depending on your interests, this may or may not be your scene.

On check in, there was not much on offer for an SPG gold upgrade. We were offered a premium corner room on low floor or regular deluxe view room on high floor. We opted for the regular deluxe view room on the high floor and ended up on floor 32 (out of 42) with a peek a book view of the east river and the empire state building.

The Room: A Deluxe Room – King & single sofa bed

Room 3222 was in good condition. The room was clean, although had some mild water pressure issues. It was a bit difficult to get water to flow from the usual Westin Rain Showerhead with any strength. The room was a little tight, but perhaps this is expected from New York. You certainly don’t miss the space until it’s gone.

The room offered nice peek a boo views to the Empire State Building, looking toward the Murray Hill neighborhood.

Food and Beverage:

The hotel offered one restaurant, the LCL Restaurant and bar. It offered pretty average fare. We used it one night on a Saturday night when we were headed to the theatre and didn’t want the hassle of finding a pre-theatre restaurant in Times square.

The hotel does not participate in the Green Choice program, and only offers one complimentary water per room per day for free.

The stay experience here was average to above average. It certainly wasn’t the best Westin Hotel experience ever, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. The WIFI in lobby was free but I had problems connecting to it on several occasions. Sometimes it was not working at all. On several occasions I ended up walking one block to the Starbucks Coffee to the east of the hotel on E42nd Street to connect when needed. There was also a large Catholic College Group (in excess of 100 people judging by the two large orange school buses outside) staying over the memorial day weekend. This meant that on Friday and Saturday night, there was a large amount of partying in the hotel. This included remnants of someone whom had been sick on the floor near the elevators in the lobby at 1 AM on Saturday after returning home from the play, to celebutantes announcing to everyone in the elevator “Ugh – I have to ride the elevator to the 42nd floor? I’m in a bad mood” In all, it made for an entertaining experience. . .

In Summary:

Overall, it was a reasonable stay and for a free reward reservation with discount in New York, I can’t really fault the hotel. Everything was in good working condition and aside from the partying in the hotel, it was a pretty uneventful stay. The location was the largest fault. Although easily accessible to the subway, we found that the neighborhood didn’t have much charm. We’d aim to say nearer to Tribeca, Chelsea, Greenwich or Central Park next time.

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