Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Conrad New York

28 Nov 2013 by GrahamSmith

BACKGROUND

Hilton Worldwide brought its luxury Conrad brand to Manhattan in March 2012, having spent two years renovating what was previously an Embassy Suites property.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

That the 463-suite hotel has a keen focus on modern art is immediately apparent. On entering the 16-floor glass-fronted building, you take an escalator (or slightly skew-whiff staircase) up to the atrium lobby, which is dominated by a 30-metre by 24-metre mural by late US artist Sol LeWitt called Loopy Doopy (Blue and Purple). First installed in the property’s Embassy Suites days, it stretches 13 floors high and changes colour in the evening.

There are more than 2,000 works throughout the hotel, which also include the voluminous, vibrant Topsy Turvy by Pat Steir, and Julian Opie’s vinyl-and-wood Tourist Four. The hotel is certified LEED gold by the US Green Building Council.

WHERE IS IT?

In Lower Manhattan in the Battery Park City neighbourhood, next to the Hudson River and Financial District, and close to the new One World Trade Centre building.

ROOM FACILITIES

Being an all-suite property, guests benefit from more floor space than they might in a lot of other New York properties.

Entry-level Deluxe suites are 40 sqm and have separate living rooms; next are the Superior suites, which are the same but on higher floors. Then come Premier (65 sqm), Luxury (70 sqm) and Conrad suites (139 sqm).

Standard facilities include wired and wifi internet (US$10 per 24 hours for one device at a lower speed, US$15 for three at a higher speed), two flatscreen TVs, workdesks with media hubs, iPod docks, Nespresso machines, minibars, luxurious robes and slippers, safes, iron/ironing boards, and easy to operate panels for controlling the lights and requesting maid service/privacy.

Décor is sleek with a neutral colour scheme, light wood furniture and artworks by Mary Heilmann, Sara Sosnowy and Elizabeth Peyton.

Bathrooms feature roomy walk-in rainshowers (higher-category suites also have tubs) – note that bathrooms in the Deluxe and Superior suites are on the compact side. Two people would struggle to move around in one at the same time, and if you left the bathroom door ajar and then opened the shower door, they would clash into one another. There was also limited space for hanging towels.

These were my only gripes about my Superior River View suite, however, which was peaceful, comfortable and had great views of the Hudson, the skyscrapers of New Jersey and, to the far left, the Statue of Liberty.

Staff were welcoming and helpful at all times, though should you wish to bypass the front desk you can make use of the Conrad Concierge app, which has been rolled out across all of the brand’s properties. Available to iPhone, iPad and Android users, it allows you to pre-order amenities before you arrive, avail of mobile pre-check-in and check-out, make requests, order room service, book restaurant tables and find out hotel information. I used it to request my preferred toiletries – choosing from Aromatherapy Associates, Shanghai Tang and Tara Smith – set wake-up calls and find out about restaurants and bars in the area.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Off the lobby, Atrio restaurant and bar is a smart all-day venue serving excellent contemporary Mediterranean cuisine – I had dinner here and very much enjoyed my Berkshire double-cut pork chop with butternut squash hash, crispy Gala apple and sage maple glaze (US$32), while my companion declared his stone-baked pizza with butcher-cured bacon, local ricotta, roasted cipolini onions and hojimenji mushrooms (US$19) the best he’d ever eaten. I also had a good à la carte breakfast.

Open from spring to autumn, the rooftop Loopy Doopy bar offers great views across the Hudson to New Jersey.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

The hotel has 2,800 sqm of meeting space, split across the second (lobby) and fourth levels, lined by a striking staircase.

The Gallery ballroom seats 560 delegates theatre-style and has a large pre-function area. There is a second 300-capacity ballroom, seven smaller meeting rooms and a 24-hour business centre.

LEISURE FACILITIES

A 24-hour gym is on the ground floor, along with a barber shop/salon and a gift shop.

VERDICT

Spacious, well-equipped suites, warm staff and a good location by the Financial District make this an excellent option for corporate travellers.


FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 463 suites – 178 Deluxe, 170 Superior, 90 Superior River View, 12 Premiere, 12 Luxury and one Conrad.
  • HIGHLIGHTS The roomy suites, excellent restaurant and the vista from the rooftop bar and river-facing suites.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in February started from £219 for a Deluxe suite.
  • CONTACT Conrad New York, 102 North End Avenue; tel +1 212 945 0100; conradnewyork.com


Michelle Harbi

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