"Great location, sumptuous rooms"
Earlier in the fall of 2016 my wife expressed her desire to visit New York City for her birthday in November, so come Veterans Day weekend we found ourselves at the Gramercy Park Hotel for a two-night stay. We previously visited the city together twice and stayed at the Hotel Elysee in Midtown both times (you can read my review of our most recent stay). As pleasant as our stays were there, this time I was interested in staying in another part of Manhattan. Enter the Gramercy Park Hotel (GPH from now on), which turned out to be a fine place to stay, though it was not without its quirks. As any reader of this likely knows already, the GPH is invested with history in both the operating of a hotel and the building itself. Though I don’t know exactly when, the hotel was recently renovated and there is evidence of that fact throughout. The building itself is quite stately and occupies the northwest corner of 21st Street and Lexington Avenue, directly across 21st St. from its namesake Gramercy Park; the park, though private, can be visited by hotel guests (or so I read; my wife and I didn’t have time to find out). Lexington Ave. dead-ends at 21st St. and continues on the other side of the park as Irving Place, though only until 14th St. The hotel is two blocks south of 23rd Street, a major crosstown thoroughfare, and is halfway between 3rd Avenue (to the east) and Park Avenue (to the west). The surrounding couple blocks are residential, making this a decidedly quiet neighborhood. What all this means is that GPH is centrally located. Dining, drinking, and shopping options abound in all directions, in fact too numerous to even begin to list. The sole retail establishment I will note is the 24-hour Walgreens located merely two blocks away at 23rd/Park where one can pick up any last needed personal items or, in our case, late night snacks. (The in-room minibar had predictably high prices and, unlike many hotels of its ilk, GPH did not provide free bottles of water in the room.) A central location also means that transportation options are both plentiful and close by. The nearest subway station is the 23rd St. stop of the 6 which is at the corner of 23rd/Park. Two blocks west of that at 23rd/Broadway is the stop for the R and the W. Further west, the F and the M stop at 23rd/6th, and the 1 stops at 23rd/7th. If multiple lines is your thing, a short stroll down Park to the 14th St./Union Square station gives you access to the 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W. If you prefer buses, many lines make their way up and down 1st Ave., 2nd Ave, 3rd Ave., Park, and 5th Ave., and there is a crosstown bus on 23rd. (None of these make it easy to get to GPH from any of the three airports on public transportation, mind you. I pre-booked a car service in both directions for convenience and because the cost works out about the same as a taxi, especially if you’re going to/from Newark). The only transportation quirk is that, due to the adjacent residential buildings, taxis are not always plentiful in front of the hotel. They’re definitely in the immediate vicinity, but you may have to wait for a few minutes out in front. If you’re impatient and want to hail one yourself you should make your way to 23rd, 3rd, or Park. We arrived at GPH a little after 12:00 pm on Friday and, though our room wasn’t quite ready yet, staff was able to stow our luggage so we could go have lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, a leisurely 30-minute stroll away (yes, it’s worth the wait, and get the pastrami). Upon our return check-in was swift and easy, and our luggage was brought up to our room within minutes. Our room was on the third floor with a plentiful number of windows facing the courtyard (if you can call it that). I don’t recall what class of room we booked but ours was large with a separate sitting area consisting of a sofa, two chairs, end tables, and a large lamp hung from the ceiling that I hit my head on more than once. A nifty Bluetooth stereo was in this area as well. The king-sized bed was on the opposite side of the room flanked by tables. The closet was large and close to the door, while the flat-screen TV swung out from the wall in between the closet and the bathroom. The bathroom was large enough with a separate room for the toilet and a shower with ample water pressure. All the requisite toiletries were provided and the towels were sufficiently fluffy. The biggest problem with the room was largely unavoidable due to its physical location in the hotel, but it’s also aggravated by the decorating choices: it was too dark. All the furniture and curtains were upholstered in dark, deep reds and blues, combined with a dark wood floor and dark rugs. These choices only served to accentuate the inability of natural light to enter the room. The main view out the windows is of other rooms of the hotel (keep those blinds shut and curtains drawn, especially at night, if you don’t want to literally see and be seen). Couple this with a third-floor room of a 20-floor building and there’s not much natural light coming in, even in the middle of the day. There was nary a cloud in the sky for much of the weekend but you’d never know it from that room. I understand that we could have booked a park-view room, and that older buildings/hotels have similar courtyards (such as they are), but be advised that these interior-facing rooms can best be described as gloomy. Another glitch during our stay came on the Saturday when I returned to the hotel by myself close to 5:00 pm, my wife and I having separated during the afternoon, and my key card no longer worked. I thus had to trek back to the front desk to explain the situation where a new card was activated. It was a minor inconvenience that was quickly rectified, but annoying nonetheless. I can’t really comment on the amenities on offer. As indicated earlier, we didn’t go to Gramercy Park, nor did we dine in the restaurant or have room service. Wifi was free and worked as promised. The lobby was very nice with ample seating and a fireplace, with books and newspapers lying about. In summary, the location of GPH is excellent, especially if you’re looking to stay somewhere away from the hustle and bustle and bright lights of Midtown. The immediate neighborhood is charming and has gems that many visitors might not see if they’re staying near Central Park. If you like walking you can reach both Downtown Manhattan and Midtown with relative ease, and subways to all boroughs are close by. The room itself was well-appointed, it was just too dark. I can easily recommend the GPH overall, though if you appreciate natural light I would advise the booking of a park-view room.
This is a wonderful hotel. Well proportioned room. I loved the decor. The restaurant and staff were great. Extra big shower caps was only the tell tale sign that they take care of all the details. Really friendly and helpful staff.
"You will never want to stay anywhere else in NY."
The Gramercy Park Hotel is perfect combo of lux and welcoming. From the incredible decor, eye catching art, thoughtful amenities and details, and always-on staff who are tirelessly committed to service, this hotel in the heart of NYC is a must-stay, no matter what your reason of travel. You will never want to stay anywhere else in New York.
"Kind of eccentric"
I was expecting a traditional, old-fashioned hotel. The Gramercy Park Hotel is indeed old-fashioned, but also kind of quirky, even eccentric. If you're looking for a different kind of hotel, this might be it. First, what we liked: the location. It's in a charming neighborhood of low-rise buildings at the bottom of Lexington Avenue and within walking distance of lots of restaurants and shops. The room, which was on the 17th (penthouse) floor, was very small but serviceable. There's a lot of green and red velvet, and gold tassels, and nail heads. The bathroom was very small (room for one person at a time), with very old fixtures and some tattered towels, but everything worked. The bed was comfortable, and the room was quiet. That is, we didn't hear neighbors, and although the neighborhood is relatively quiet, we were awakened very early in the morning (4 a.m.') when construction crews dropped - literally dropped - loads of rebar on the street a block away. There was a lot of road construction in the area. Now, what could have been better: The large rug in the foyer is dirty and tattered; a cigarette butt languished in the elevator for at least two days. The hotel overall is very dark, which is probably intentional, but brighter lighting might help it make a cleaner impression. At 8:30 a.m., we called an elevator to the 17th floor, and as we descended, the elevator suddenly started going up again. We again pushed the lobby button, and started to descend, only to have it start to rise again. We did it one more time and then decided the heck with it, we would wait out the long ride. When the door opened, a housekeeping person (male) was standing in front of the door with a big cart full of folded sheets. He didn’t say a word, only turned away, and we were able to make it – finally – to the ground floor. Staff should definitely be told not to control the elevator at busy times when guests are trying to depart. We had breakfast in the restaurant. It was good, but it took over 30 minutes to receive our meal – and we were the first ones seated that morning, right after opening at 7:30. We also did not realize that this hotel is technically not part of the SPG program. It's basically an affiliate hotel, which meant that my husband's Platinum status did not get him the perks we typically get at SPG hotels. SPG should make this clear to guests. We had to burrow into the fine print when we checked in to figure out what the receptionist meant when she said that the suite upgrade, etc. that we typically receive would not be forthcoming. We stayed in the area to be close to family we were visiting, but next time, will probably seek out a more modern, brighter hotel that is a full-fledged participant in the SPG or other hotel rewards program.
"Awesome home away from home in the heart of NYC"
Wonderful experience. Love the history of The Gramercy Park Hotel and the current focus on art and interior design. When you are staying here you know you are at The Gramercy Park and nowhere else. (Well actually it reminds me a little of The Clift in San Francisco :)) Service is great and there is a good vibe in the bar and restaurant. Location is perfect. You can walk to most parts of Manhattan (I like to walk when I'm in NYC.) Also, if you arrive by car it is easy to get to via Holland Tunnel. Looking forward to my next stay!
Credit cards accepted by the hotel: Visa - MasterCard - American Express - Diners Club - Japan Credit Bureau (JCB) - Discover
Check-in: 3:00 PM , Check-out: 12:00 PM