Hilton’s luxury Conrad Hotels and Resorts brand was first established in 1982 and now has 40 properties across five continents.
Formerly the London NYC Hotel, the property underwent a full renovation and reopened as The Conrad New York Midtown in 2019. The hotel has 562 rooms and suites ranging from 30 sqm to the 260 sqm penthouse, a bar and restaurant, a fitness centre and several meeting venues.
There is an additional Conrad property in Downtown, situated on North End Avenue close to One World Trade Centre and Brooklyn Bridge.
Where is it?
The 54-floor hotel is located on West 54th Street, within walking distance of tourist attractions including Radio City Music Hall, MoMA, the Rockefeller Centre, Times Square and Carnegie Hall. It’s also a few blocks from Central Park and a three-minute walk from Seventh Avenue metro station.
It wasn’t the smoothest start to the stay as my prearranged transfer from JFK airport at night was delayed. The hotel was not very helpful on the phone, initially unaware that a cab was picking me up.
When they discovered that I had indeed booked a transfer, they put me in touch with the driver who explained that a previous customer arrived late. Once in the cab, our trip was further delayed as the driver had to stop at a petrol station outside New York.
What's it like?
The lobby is a welcoming space with high ceilings and a modern design by New York-based firm Stonehill Taylor. You immediately get a sense that art plays a big part in the hotel’s design as the entrance faces an eye-catching hyperrealist installation called ‘Leda and the Swan’ by contemporary artist Carole Feuerman.
While its purpose is not self-explanatory, there is a notice to explain that the artwork is inspired by the Greek myth of the same name and has been reinterpreted by the artist to depict Lena in a position over Zeus.
The hotel’s art collection has been curated by Paris-based art consultancy Visto Images and includes work by 37 artists including an original Henri Matisse lithograph, two original Andy Warhol silkscreens and two limited edition photos by Amy Judd.
While there was a queue for check-in, it went fairly quickly. Guests have to pay a US$200 “authorisation deposit”, which is held until they leave the property unless they ransack the minibar.
During checkout I was assured that the deposit would be released in a matter of days. When I returned back to the UK, however, I noticed that the money had been withdrawn from my account and it took several emails to be reimbursed.
To reach the guest rooms, there are two sets of elevators in the lobby – the right-hand side ones go to floors 2, 4, 25-54 and the others go to floors 2-25.
The suites feature a neutral colour palette, herringbone wood floors, Carrara marble bathrooms, contemporary artwork (mine had a Pop Art-style oeuvre in the living room) and views of either the city’s skyscrapers or Central Park.
Guests can filter their choice when booking a room, and opt for extras such as a high-floor view (recommended), dining area, glass ceiling and accessibility.
Amenities include Crabtree and Evelyn and Shanghai Tang bath products, a safe, hairdryer, iron and ironing board. Rooms also feature a mini fridge with spirits, soft drinks, wines and beer, and snacks.
My suite was large and had plenty of space for relaxing and working, as well as a dressing area with lots of wardrobe space. Given its refurbishment in 2019, I was surprised to find that the room felt a little worn down with some damaged furnishings and old fixtures. It was also quite dark in the evenings as the lights are not that powerful.
It also did not have enough USB and plug sockets – I couldn’t charge my laptop when sat at the dining table, and I had to plug the kettle in beside the bed which seemed a little odd.
The bedroom was large with an extremely comfortable bed, but a little sparse. Unfortunately my sleep was disturbed by a fire alarm at 3am. Given that I was on one of the higher floors, I was eager to get to reception – as was the case with many other guests. A second alarm then went off with an announcement that guests should disregard the alarm (but no mention of why).
Another announcement followed around ten minutes later to explain that it was a false alarm, which gave me more confidence in the situation.
Food and drink
The hotel’s all-day restaurant and bar Dabble is located on the ground floor to the right of reception. It had only just reopened when I visited but was buzzy, with people sipping signature cocktails and ‘dabbling’ in plates at the Art Deco-style bar, while others like myself dined at the sleek marble-topped tables.
Service was quick and friendly, and the space is beautifully designed with large contemporary artworks, natural light and booth-style seating.
The menu is quite short and expensive (unsurprising given its location), with mains including American classics such as a steakhouse burger, along with a couple of salads and a small selection of appetisers. There is also an extensive wine list and interesting New York-inspired cocktails such as A Bronx Tale, made with Aviation American Dry Gin.
I opted for the shrimp-crusted pan-fried salmon with black rice (US$42), along with a huge Caesar salad and toasted brioche (US$23) as a side – the main course was large by English standards.
The Chocolate Decadence dessert (US$15), featuring a brownie, dark chocolate mousse and raspberry gelée, was a fittingly indulgent end to the meal. Service was quick and friendly.
On my second night, I went across the street to La Grande Boucherie, a bustling Art Nouveau-style French brasserie which has a great menu, excellent service, and is ideal for solo travellers with high-top tables.
During my visit, breakfast was room service only, which is a rather sizeable feat considering how many rooms there are. For this reason, it was a 45-55 minute wait once you order the food so I had to time this well so that I could experience the city.
I enjoyed the American Breakfast (US$45) which included ‘any style’ eggs, potato hash, toast with butter and jams, freshly squeezed orange juice, tea, and a choice of bacon, pork or chicken sausage (it was disappointing that there were no vegetarian options). Breakfast is now served at Dabble so you don’t have to wait.
There’s 473 sqm of events space, including the 251 sqm two-storey ‘Penthouse on 54’ with wraparound views of Central Park. There is also a floor dedicated to film and TV junkets to meet the needs of the entertainment industry, and a business centre on the second floor.
There’s a 139 sqm fitness centre on the fourth floor with strength and cardio equipment by Health Life and Kinesis walls by Technogym. Guests have 24-hour access and receive complimentary bottled water and earphones.
The Conrad New York Midtown is an ideally located hotel for business and leisure travellers alike, close to the city’s top attractions and with good transport connections. The drawback is that you can tell that yours is one of over 500 suites, with occasionally forgetful service and some tired-looking rooms.
Its central Manhattan location and New York-inspired art collection
Signature cocktails at Dabble’s Art-Deco bar
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in May started from US$733 (including all taxes and fees) for a deluxe room with a city view
151 West 54th Street, New York NY 10019, +212 307 5000; conradnewyorkmidtown.com