As a frequent visitor to New York who generally stays in Midtown, I sprung for something different and chose the Conrad in order to explore Lower Manhattan and get away from all the action. Being a designer, hotel junkie and online follower of this hotel, I’ve always wanted to stay at this particular Conrad and experience its design and service first-hand.
LOCATION: Conrad New York is located at North End Avenue and Vesey Street, literally in the shadow of the new World Trade Center and World Financial Center and directly across from the Irish Hunger Memorial with a view onto the Hudson River and the Jersey City coastline. That being said, it is surrounded by office and residential towers, which allows for a quieter atmosphere away from the frenzy of Midtown but still grants easy access to it. Greenwich Village, SoHo, Tribeca and Chinatown are all within walking distance for those inclined to it. John F. Kennedy International Airport is about forty-five minutes to an hour away.
ENTRANCE/LOBBY: The hotel is a relatively conservative fifteen-story brick building that blends in with its locale, but punctuated by a tall glass window above the entrance that runs the full height of the building. The entrance is the wow factor: angled railings and marble stairs with two escalators at the right lead guests up to the second floor atrium lobby, which has a spectacular blue and purple abstract mural that spans all fourteen interior floors [for those interested, it’s titled Loopy Doopy by Sol LeWitt]. The space is dimly lit and very intimate with long, curvy grey seating illuminated by orange lights along the bottom of the furniture, but remains very open and airy thanks to the atrium. The space is dotted with art by local and international artists, so artistic types will definitely appreciate these touches. Massive curved light fixtures hang from the roof, adding more to the artsy/architecture-themed vibe.
The right side of the lobby features the Atrio Restaurant & Bar, the hotel’s only restaurant, as well as the entrance to the fitness center while the other houses the front desk, bell desk, concierge and access to the hotel’s business center and meeting facilities. Check-in was conducted within five minutes and our Hilton Honors membership was acknowledged by the courteous, efficient staff.
ROOMS: All rooms at Conrad New York are suites and are brand new following a multi-million dollar renovation and conversion of the building from an Embassy Suites. This allows the rooms to be among the largest in New York at well over 400 square feet with separate living and sleeping areas, which brings me on to my next point: the design.
The [heavy] doors are unlocked by holding the keycard in front of the lock, opening onto the living area with a couch, armchair, table, desk and large television with a small corridor housing the wet bar and safe to one side and the split bathroom on the other and leading to the bedroom, where the king bed, closets, another television and windows are. The color theme is very neutral and masculine with a lot of beige and some browns, with the bedroom featuring black leather bedheads. Both the bedroom and living room can be sequestered from one another thanks to sliding panels. All lights are controlled by nifty touch panels rather than switches.
The bathroom is an interesting feature that I’m sure will elicit different reactions from different guests. In the corridor between the living room and bedroom are two frosted glass doors next to one another separated by a large floor-to-ceiling mirror: one is a room with the toilet and a sink with generous counter and shelving space while the other is a stone shower room with a rain shower head and handheld wand. The doors cannot be locked from the inside and since they’re part of the open room concept, it may be less than ideal for families or non-intimate friends and company but this can be remedied by the sliding doors between the living room and bedroom. I personally loved the concept, but it’s definitely not for everyone. The toiletries from Aromatherapy Associates were absolutely fantastic [I even took some back with me] and the water pressure from the rain shower head was spectacular; I could’ve spent hours under there. One quibble: the water could’ve been hotter on its maximum setting.
Word of warning: all rooms facing the Hudson River do not have pull-out sofa beds in the suite living rooms but other city-view rooms do. I was travelling with parents and sacrificed a pull-out so they could enjoy a river view, but the couch was quite comfortable even without the pull-out. Housekeeping comes over during the evening for a turndown in which they prepare the sofa with linens, pillows and a blanket for maximum comfort.
FOOD/BEVERAGE: The hotel only has one restaurant, Atrio. Located just off the lobby on the second floor, it is an intimate space with seating for about 150 diners. We booked the Bed & Breakfast package that entitled us to a complimentary breakfast there each morning. The breakfast, however, is relegated to a special menu shared with Hilton Honors’ top-level members and consists of orange and grapefruit juices and a choice of oatmeal, pastries, prosciutto and one or two other items. The main breakfast menu, consisting of things like egg dishes and more comprehensive foods, was also available but subject to a separate charge. Although the food quality and presentation is top-notch, we got bored of being presented with the same special menu for our stay package every morning of our stay and felt somewhat short-changed that everything else was chargeable, especially for the premium we paid for the Bed & Breakfast package. I would strongly recommend that the hotel offers a variety of special menus for its top-level/package guests that incorporate eggs and other foods that rotate throughout the week. This would at least provide a wider choice of items to please diners and guests alike.
My family also held my birthday dinner at Atrio and we found the menu selection to be on the small side, but it offered a decent choice of chicken, meat, seafood and other dishes. The staff and chefs were also very accommodating to our dining needs, offering to slice up a steak dish in a certain way that deviated from the menu.
The hotel has a rooftop bar called the Loopy Doopy Bar on the sixteenth floor with direct elevator access from the lower lobby off the street. It’s a small outdoor space with sofa/individual/bar seating with a backdrop of the Hudson River, World Financial Center towers and a view towards the Statue of Liberty. We loved this venue; it’s intimate, comfortable and the selection of drinks was fantastic, but it gets packed in the evenings. I strongly recommend the vodka popsicles and Prosecco on tap.
For those interested in nearby non-hotel nourishment, the Conrad building is home to a Shake Shack, Blue Smoke [a barbeque-themed eatery by Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer] and the more upscale North End Grill [also by Danny Meyer].
LEISURE: There is a 24-hour fitness center off the second floor lobby adjacent to Atrio, but none of us used it during our stay. The hotel doesn’t have a pool, but that’s a rare luxury that very few New York hotels offer to begin with. There is also an 11-screen Regal Cinema in the same building.
FACILITIES: The Conrad has the usual offering of meeting rooms and conference facilities which see good use due to the hotel’s location in Lower Manhattan; all the nearby companies descend on this place when they need a close-by venue. The hotel offers a business center with complimentary Internet access and printing, but two of the three computers still run Windows XP, which is antiquated for a hotel that just opened and especially in late 2012. Also, the hotel has a strict and very inconvenient content control system that blocks websites at its jurisdiction; many automotive blogs I frequent were met with “blocked” messages that disallowed access to them. Lastly, Internet access in the rooms and lobby are chargeable at $14.95 for a day’s use, which is daylight robbery in this day and age.
SERVICE: The hotel really shines on this point, as it should befitting its positioning as a luxury Conrad. The staff members were very friendly, efficient and seemed to enjoy their jobs – something that reflects in the way they deal with customers. A lot of them would also stop to have conversations with us, which was a nice personal touch. I would like to give special mentions to Morris, Gabriel and Danny from the bell desk, Allison and Beth from the reception, Mehdi, Rasheed and Avis from housekeeping and Omar from Atrio for really going above and beyond to making us feel at home, anticipating our needs and just being fantastic in their own ways.
OVERALL: I love this hotel. It may be out of the way for the tourist crowd, but I found its location to be a perfect springboard into the often-neglected sights of Lower Manhattan. The property as a whole is extremely refined, luxurious without being stuffy and, save the niggles regarding Internet charges and the food and beverage menus, an all-around five-star win. I will be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of lower Manhattan's Battery Park City, the Conrad New York is a new contemporary all-suite luxury hotel. With magnificent views of the Hudson River, this exceptional hotel is adjacent to Hudson River Park, in close proximity to many of the city's important and historic landmarks and prominent neighborhoods, including TriBeCa and SoHo. The Conrad New York offers a new standard of luxury, featuring 463 spacious guest suites that average over 430 square feet, each outfitted with integrated technology, complimentary WiFi, two flat-screen HD televisions and individual climate control, as well other unparalleled in-room amenities. Sixteen stories above street level, the hotel features a striking seasonal rooftop bar providing stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. The hotel boasts over 30,000 square feet of adaptable meeting space, including the 6,200 square-foot Gallery Ballroom; Danny Meyer's Union Square Events will be the exclusive food and beverage partner of the hotel's onsite conference and event facilities. The Conrad New York is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Conrad New York Hotel New York City
- Suites Nyc