Tried & Tested

Le Parker Meridien, New York

1 Nov 2004 by business traveller

What's it like?A modern, four-star, quirky hotel. With a lobby of marble and mirrors, it feels more like a 19th century art gallery than a hotel, especially with its walk-through access between 57th and 56th Streets. Check-in was quick and efficient and I was in my room within minutes. The quirkiness continued in the lift, with a television screen playing cartoons.

Where is it?On 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, just a few minutes' walk from Central Park and Carnegie Hall.

How many rooms?730 rooms and suites.

Room facilities:All rooms have safes, 32-inch TVs, CD/DVD players, hairdryers, ironing boards and free high-speed internet access. No cable is provided, so if you don't have your own you'll have to buy one from the hotel ($16.29). Junior suites are spacious and have a separate, comfortable seating area, table and a good-sized desk. The beds are very comfortable, thanks partly to the feather mattress toppers.
Suites have bathrooms with a separate bath
and shower, but the rooms have a bath with shower incorporated. If your room faces 57th Street and you are on a high floor you will have
a great view of Central Park.

Business centre: On the lobby level, the business centre is open from 6am to 8pm with all the usual facilities.

Fitness centre: Gravity, the hotel's health and fitness club, is in the basement and has a good range of exercise equipment and classes. If this sounds too strenuous, you can opt for a relaxing massage or facial instead. The club is open from 6am until 11pm on weekdays. The pool is open from 7am until 10.45pm.

Restaurants and bars:The hotel has three places to eat, all on the ground floor. Norma's is regarded as one of the best places for breakfast in the city, and advertises the fact with a menu of extraordinary ingenuity. Highlights include Smoky Salmon Hashish and French Toast with Foie Gras, but you can always just order pancakes. It is open 6.30am to 3pm most days, but you should book in advance if you don't want to queue.
Even more unusual is the hotel's no-frills burger joint, hidden behind a curtain (honestly) in the lobby. This serves nothing but burgers , which cost $5 (or $5.50 with cheese), and fries. Beer costs $3. This is a great option if you want fast food at a reasonable price. It is open from 11.30am until midnight.
Finally, Seppi's is a French bistro open seven days a week until 2am. It doubles as the hotel bar, but seating around the bar is very limited. The restaurant is popular and can also get very busy so booking is advised. If you fail to get in, you can always relax in your room and take advantage of the 24-hour room service.

Price: Prices start from $365 (excluding tax)

Contact:Le Parker Meridien, 18 West 57th St, New York , tel 1 212 245 5000, www.parkermeridien.com.

Julian Gregory

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