Overview: A midtown luxury hotel that delivers on its proposition
Strengths: Service, location, quality of F&B, views (from higher floors)
Drawbacks: Rooms getting a hair dated (though renovations underway), no high-end dining option, no pool
Recently, I had two separate one-night stays at the Four Seasons New York. The property, designed by I.M. Pei, is located on East 57th Street near Park Avenue (and is not the new Four Seasons-flagged property currently being finished downtown). Across my two stays, with one slight exception (which itself was handled perfectly), every aspect of my stay was perfect.
My bookings were made via a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agent. I was finally able to link up my bookings to the Four Seasons app, and for one stay, requested an early check in (10am) via the app. The request was confirmed within about 30 minutes.
Having “checked-in” via the app for both stays, there were no formalities at the front desk beyond presenting my ID. In each case, they already had keys ready for me and the manager on duty escorted me to my room.
On the way up to the room, I was briefed on the FSPP benefits. Thoughtfully, I was advised that if I wanted to eat breakfast in the restaurant, I should book the night before, as it often fills up. (I eat here periodically and indeed you typically need to book a few days early if not staying at the property.) Room service was also an option under the program – which I took advantage of on both stays.
The only slight exception to two perfect stays was that one of the rooms I was assigned was under renovation. As the manager and I approached the door, the “engineering is here” tag was hanging from the door knob. Perhaps a light bulb needed changing? No such luck, as we were greeted by two men busy spackling in the bath room. The manager quickly escorted me back to the corridor where she called down to the front desk and secured an alternate room on the same floor for me. She walked me to that room and we entered using her master key. After showing me the room, she told me she would return shortly with keys for me. Indeed, she returned less than ten minutes later. While I shouldn’t have been assigned a room under repair – perhaps the app check in coupled with early check in somehow allowed this to slip through – the way the hotel handled the mix up couldn’t have been better.
Being just one night stays, with fairly little time in the room, I selected the lowest room category. I don’t think I had an upgrade either time – and indeed, checking in via the app takes away some of the ability to ask. Though the rooms were on low floors (in the teens of a ~50 story building), they were both very spacious – doubly so by New York standards.
The rooms were both similar to (though larger than) the premier rooms I’ve stayed in at the Four Seasons London Park Lane, with the entryway to the bathroom being off of a dressing alcove, not directly off of the entry corridor or room itself. This is a small layout twist, but I find it adds a very nice feel overall to the room.
Though in very good condition, the rooms do have a bit of a 90’s feel to them in terms of decor. The rooms were silent and with the blackout shades drawn, completely pitch black.
Photos of the room on my first stay
Room on the second stay
This room had two chairs (versus the sofa in the first), and also had a side window, facing east (though looking directly into a neighboring office).
For both stays, welcome amenities (one more generous than the other) were delivered to my room.
The bathrooms had single vanities (though there was easily room for a second), a tub and a separate step-in shower. The toilets were partially obscured, but were not in their own private WCs. There was a candle by the tub.
The bath products are Bulgari Green Tea. I think I first used these products at the Four Seasons George V in Paris in the late 1990s – the scent is memorable and one that I remain very fond of. While I don’t normally take hotel soaps and shampoos, I make an exception whenever I come across these. (My wife was pleased to find them at home the next day.)
The views from both of my rooms was of 432 Park, the new building being completed by my friends at CIM Group. The new building permanently re-shapes the New York skyline – and also takes away much of the view from the south facing rooms on the upper levels of the hotel. North and east facing rooms, on upper floors, still enjoy largely unobstructed park views. Certain rooms include outdoor balconies as well.
Food and Beverage
I ordered breakfast from room service for both stays. The meals were delivered exactly on time and the food was of very good quality. The waiters were very professional. I suspect breakfast for one, with tax, tip, delivery fees, surcharges, etc, would have been about $70. The meals were included with my room rates.
During one of my stays, I hosted about 15 people in the Ty Bar in the lobby for late night drinks. My assistant called ahead to reserve a table. Several tables were put together and blocked off for us and we had one waiter exclusively looking after us. The drinks and nibbles were very good, as was the service. The bill for several hours of drinks did make the room charges seem modest – but the group included some of our most important clients and was money well spent.
Though the regular restaurant, The Garden, is far from ordinary, there is no “fancy” restaurant at this hotel any more. They had a number of different options come through over the years, but none thrived and the space where the “fancy” restaurant was, along with the former bar area, are now converted to meeting space (something the hotel was lacking before). Whereas normally I would expect a high-end option at a hotel, if there were ever a city where you could make an exception, New York would be high on the list. There are numerous Michelin-starred restaurants within a few blocks of the hotel – anyone looking for deluxe options won’t be disappointed (as long as they book in advance!).
I’ve eaten at The Garden dozens of times and have found the food and service to both be very good and very consistent. Even for breakfast, however, recall it is essential to book ahead.
Gym and Spa
I’ve never visited either here. Despite being a bespoke-built hotel, there is no pool.
Located in the upper-50s on the east side – the “Plaza District” in local real estate parlance – the property is ideally located for business in midtown. It is also very convenient to the upper east side. If I were to build a hotel in Manhattan, perhaps I’d like to be one block closer to the park, but it is hard to knock this location.
* * * * *
Both of my stays were in the “perfect stay” category. There was the mix-up with the room under repair, but even that was handled perfectly. I’d have no hesitation to return here again.
Four Seasons New York
57 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022
+1 (212) 758-5700