soulless stars – westin new york grand central, nyc

Westin front. - starwoodhotels com

The Westin New York Grand Central
212 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
Telefon; +1(212) 490-8900
4 stars; 774 rooms & 14 suites. 
3,000 square-foot fitness studio, THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen
Add fee WiFi – $14,95 per 24hrs.

I booked very early a hotel for your trip to NYC, but I wasn’t really pleased with choice of hotel for some reason – on the other hand we weren’t really willing to pay a fortune for only sleeping. The hotel prices in NYC are daylight robbery.

So during the this year I have been shopping around and looking – then suddenly I got contact over a website that rents out apartment on short term. This young man Scott, could fix 4 & 5* hotels for 50% less than ordinary price. So I took contact with him and he asked where we wanted to stay and what style of room we wanted. Wanted Midtown and with two separate beds.

The-Westin- travelpod com

Very quickly he came back with two choices – Westin Time Sq and Westin Grand Central. Tims Sq. isn’t an area I would like to stay – far too noisy and busy. He had a lot more choices, but those hotels could only offer one bed rooms.

The normal rate for a 2 bed room standard was $520 without tax and service – he could give it to us for $320 all include, free wifi and with possible upgrade, which we never got – but we loved the room we were given.

First I thought it was a con – wasn’t too sure about the whole set up … I asked some questions – he explained. He said that I only have to pay one night’s rate up front – and that he will send me the confirmation with the hotel …. and it will be in my name.

from above

He gave me all his details – bank account, photo number and address … his company’s website, but  that could have been fake. So I transfer the $320 to his bank account after I got the confirmation and logged in with the hotel to check – there was everything as he said under my name.

Still I had my doubts about the whole thing until the moment of check in – what would I have done if … the booking suddenly been cancelled by him and my $320 gone with the wind and us two without hotelroom for the stay.

No problem what so ever – check in went okay, not very friendly – but polite … could hardly understand what the check in receptionist said, she talked with a very strong Asian accent.

Room are fantastic – two queen-size beds – 42” flat-screen HDTV .. nice working desk, seating area with a little table and massive fresh bathroom with both overhead and hand shower. The sleep comfort in those beds was divine and the plush 250-thread-count bedding was every day crisp. Plenty of draws and good wardrobe space. The room also provided a proper coffee percolator with Starbucks coffee and bathrobes. The safe is big enough to hold a laptop and very easy to use.

What I was surprised over was that such new hotel, didn’t have key locked elevators – anyone could just walk of the street and up the elevators.

morning has broken

Loads of porters on duty all the time, but not very willing to help or even say hello. Under our 5 days only 2 of them said hello. One day there was 4 of them standing outside the entrance and there was a little plastic bag dancing around in breeze – none of them could pick it up, so I did it and I handed it to one of them and asked him to put in a waste bin. No bin outside the entrance. He just looked at me.

One evening as we were going out for dinner – one of the porters was standing with his hands in his pockets … just inside the lobby. Not only one hand, both!!!! Westin Grand Central should need me as an guest service and standard consultant for a year or so.

2410 view

I had to visit the gift shop, because I was one stamp short for my postcards and it was a quite a walk to the post office. An international (global) stamp cost $1,10 at the post office – at the gift shop .. they had them in two packs. They charged me $4.17 for a pack, double price to the post office. Nearly fell over, but I bought them – because I wasn’t in the mood to walk up to 5th Ave again. Also when I entered the shop the girl was on her mobile and she didn’t attend to me before her private chat was over.

The hotel has a restaurant – THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, we never visit but it was popular with both hotel guests and none residents. Have got good reviews.

Didn’t use any services at the hotel, I doubt they had any *laughing and what I seen I could be without. Our room maid; A lovely and sweet lady. Always smiling and chatty  – so she got some extra bills when we checked out – the only tip we handed out at the hotel.

home street

No soul what so ever close to this hotel, but I would stay there again because of great the location and the beds. Of course also if the price is right. It was in a very quiet end of the city – so no problem sleeping with the window open.

Would I go back to NYC – it all depends on how long I live … first now is Vienna, Florence, Amsterdam, Chicago, Madrid and Las Vegas on my do-it-note. Chicago and Las Vegas I think I will do together, because I have to change flight in Chicago for Las Vegas, flying from Stockholm. My friend, Anna-Liisa, want to celebrate her 70th birthday next July in Las Vegas.

But first of all Dublin and Belfast in the end of November – both cities and their hotels has plenty of soul.

“When soul has no value, business has no soul”
DH Lawrence

westin - westinnewyorkgrandcentral com

Photos provided by and thanks to;
travelpod.com/ westinnewyorkgrandcentral.com/ starwoodhotels.com/ luxurytravel.about.com/
travel.southwest.com/urbanspoon.com/ thelclnyc.com
Some of the photos are my own.

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56 thoughts on “soulless stars – westin new york grand central, nyc

  1. I thought that all people in NYC were like that… I found them very rude when it came to service… but then I just swopped over to Afrikaans and told them exactly what I thought of them… they merely stood and stared at me not knowing what the hell I said to them… lovely post Viveka…

    • Bob, in overall I found NYC very friendly and helpful – people was always there to give a hand if so needed. I only think it’s poor that staff don’t say hello when met their guests.
      Such a pity on a such great hotel and the girl in the gift shop really pissed me off with her conversation on the mobile. Normally I would say something – but the taxi drivers was the same.

    • Colleen, you’re so right … it could have been mind blowing – but I can’t send it because of the way I got the rate – don’t hang Scott out to dry. But I would stay there again if the price is right.

  2. That’s quite the value for a hotel with such a large workout facility, especially with the beds so cozy! 🙂 oh and that’s pretty fancy mac ‘n cheese lol 😉

  3. The Westin is a great place! I have stayed there and yes you got a great rate! I don’t think I would have trusted him somehow but I am really glad it worked out and it gives me faith in mankind! I do not accept sub-standard service at these places and usually will ask to speak to the Manager if there is out right rudeness. Also I am kind of surprised about the elevator but I do not remember….It seems you have had a good time and can cross it off your list?

    • I loved our room, room maid and the location .. the rest I can live it, but I think it’s poor that porters don’t say hello to the hotels guests. And the elevators was open for anyone that wanted … very strange in this day and age. Even budget hotels has key locks today. Yes, I trusted him to 98% – but I was a little bit. We had a very intense email correspondence and he answered always straight away when I wrote to him. Sometimes we have to take a chance and as you said .. put trust into mankind.
      I don’t think I will cross NYC of my list .. in case – we should never say never. *smile

  4. Interesting about hotel, people and service. I didn’t think they were like that in the US…always hear how wonderfully nice they are over there, always giving people compliments and wishing them a nice day…

    Nice shots! That hotel sounds great. What disturbs me is people who never seem to care about anything – especially not other people. I go crazy when they for example don’t hang up and leave the phone, but keep on speaking, pretending not to notice I’m there. Once I told the person what I was thinking … the reaction was rather perplexed.

    • A-C, this with have a nice day .. is just something they say without any meaning to really. The taxi drivers in NYC is terrible too, ignorant and not even talking to you.
      Service is really bad when it’s bad … and excellent when it’s good.

      The girl in the gift shop was very rude and I should have reported it, but there was no warmness or service what so ever and I didn’t look for it neither.

      I loved the room and the location – and I manage without their afford.

  5. the hotel looked fabulous, the atmosphere of the porters sounds normal. You lucked out on the booking agent my friend, please be careful. I hope you get to take all of your trips. you are so darn lucky to travel

    • I’m careful … and I gave it good thinking, but still .. we never know. There is loads of fakes and cons out there. Sometimes we have to take a chance!! Yes, I know I’m very lucky that are able to travel .. wish I could afford more.

  6. Beautiful, Viveka. I had my heart in my throat as you told about the contact you’d made & the 50% discount but SO glad that worked out. You were very trusting, putting the first night’s $$ into his account. Good for you 🙂

    Stunning pictures, Viveka. My God you get around!! Would love to travel like you do!

    Absolute best, joy and health to you 🙂 N’n.

  7. The room does look great and the gym awesome. I’d been to New York twice with my sister’s family. Didn’t like it that much. Our first time, the waiter of Todai chase us because we only gave 10 percent tip and he wanted 20. OMG shocking moment for us. We’d been to Todai San Francisco and Houston and never once experience such rudeness. And the store sales people , a lot seems snobbish. I did had some great dim sums at China Town. I guess it’s not for everyone. Great honest review.

    • I have friends that was chased too in NYC because the tips wasn’t 20% – never happen to me …but it the service is good I give 20% – which is high and why can’t it be inclued in the price as its here in Sweden, but we have 17,5% and the serving staff has to pay tax on the tip too. I don’t love NYC, but I find it exciting when I’m there – I love Chicago and that is a total different cattle fish. I agree that there is a bit snobbishness in the shops and not very willing to help. Otherwise the people on the streets very helpful, like when we didn’t know how to buy a Metro ticket. People came up straight away to show us the maschines.
      Thank you for your honest .. replay. Totally agree we can love every place we come to. I didn’t click with San Franciso.

  8. I was horrified at Island Traveller’s remarks about the tip!!! I don’t know if NYC would be for me but I wish I had gone when “the girls” went a few years ago. It seemed a lot of money.
    Nice looking hotel, but I’m not a highrise person and usually seek out older, with character places, but you got the bargain and good location and that’s important.
    Florence is a “must do” for me. Chicago I’d like to see but it’s not a probable (cost again 😦 ) and Vegas- well, I think I might hate it 🙂
    Good morning hug!

    • Jo, yes it has happen to some of my friends that the staff came after them on the street. I think NYC is something we should have a chance to do once in our life, because it’s very special. I been there so many times my work and a couple of times privately. But if I had known what a great city Chicago is – I would have gone there instead. It’s a fantastic city, friendly and chatty. Taxi drivers are so social and helpful.
      The highest I have stayed was in Boston, very nice city too, and that was on 54th – with a stunning view over the Boston Bay, couldn’t sleep that night because of the view I had. I don’t like heights, but staying on a hotel doesn’t bother me so long as I don’t see the ground. Hate when all those high buildings with observing desk has glass floor and you can see the streets below under the feet, like in Sears Tower in Chicago – 120 floors up or something – and the tower in Toronto. I have a feeling fainting.
      I’m not that keen on Las Vegas, but I’m a massive fan of Cirque du Soleil and they have 7 or 8 shows there. Plus that my friend wants to celebrate her 70th. To fly to Las Vegas for 5 nights with hotel will cost us about £750 each and for 400 more we get 5 days in Chicago too. So it means that I have to start saving straight away. Florence is one of those cities that I have wanted to see for years, but never got around. Been to Rome, it was okay in my book – but I didn’t fall in love with it.
      Jo, if I enough on the lottery … I will invite you to both cities (NYC and Chicago), I promise.

      • You are such a sweetheart 🙂 My daughter is a big fan of Cirque du Soleil, and I think they’re pretty amazing too. I took her to a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London a few years ago. You’ll have a fantastic time in Vegas (snap! snap! click! showgirls everywhere 🙂 ) I’d love to do the Grand Canyon. Have you been there, Vivi?
        James has a fracture but he’s been walking on it for a week or two! Getting a “boot” for it on Tuesday. Gone to the recording studio this afternoon. Must be a tough old boot, like his mum 🙂

  9. NYC is an awesome city, but the people are an entirely different kind. Chicago is still the best for me, for both people and beauty . 😉 Just got back from Chicago myself. My heart remains there, in my home town, sweet home Chicago.

  10. Great selection of pics again, Viveka. I agree with you about the indifference and sometimes downright rudeness of some of the service providers in NYC. Some people are not cut out for jobs which involve interacting with the public, especially tourists, who they should be extra nice and welcoming to. Your hotel room looks very comfortable indeed. 🙂

    • Sylvia, the rooms was fantastic and the beds was like sleeping on clouds .. been bed linen of the crisp cool cotton. Our room maid was a adorable .. such a sweet lady.
      I think it’s all down to management and how they are against their staff. But if they don’t care … or get involved the staff are just being left to their own device.
      Not all is my pictures .. only a few – none from the hotel itself expect our room sign.

    • We got a view against the street and the Chrysler Bld – my photo of the street and building is taken from the room.
      They were more or less fully booked and they couldn’t offer an upgrade because we wanted 2 beds. Our room was fantastic.

  11. I’m happy that you got a great rate for your room but I agree with you about soulless hotels. Unfortunately, I think it is very common with a lot of hotels the US. In Europe, a job in a hotel is a career that people are proud to have. We go back year after year and see the same people working and they always welcome us back with a smile. In our country, the employees are there just until they find a better job.

    • Karen, I think you have hit the nail here … Europe has a totally different view on their jobs in the hospitality trade – they are proud over their jobs.
      It could have been such a fantastic hotel … overall, if it hadn’t been for that attitude of the staff, but our room maid was lovely and sweet – always chatty .. and smiley.

  12. I think that any time you get into a very large city, you will find people to be much more rude than in smaller areas. That’s no excuse, just and observation. A lot of American’s think the French are rude, but I didn’t find it any different in Paris than any other large city in the world.

    • London is fantastic city when it’s about friendly hotels – never stayed in London and not felt very well taken care off. Always chatty and warmly welcomming. Last time in Paris, we stayed on a very small hotel and they were so helpful and wonderful, but Paris has changed a lot. Paris don’t really like their visitors – but they have changed their attitude for the better. Chicago is another city that make you feel welcome everywhere.

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