The OG, the one that started it all 20 years ago remains a bustling hub for business people from afar and around the block. W New York remains the largest of the lot with 697 rooms that nearly all differ in configuration (old buildings!) but offer the signature spacious W guest experience with all amenities, all the time. This particular location also has lots of music programming and a full-scale Bliss Spa that’s accessible inside the hotel.
The least-dressed up of the W properties in New York, the rooms are rather simple—that’s not to suggest they lack character. They definitely don’t. However, the symbolic W purple makes its appearance in the room, but more subtly, and the decor isn’t embossed this or croc that. Likewise, the rooms sway on the side of smaller than the other properties. However, considering its neighborhood, all the amenities and conveniences needed, especially for business travel, are at one’s fingertips.
The W loves a standing shower—and that’s no different around here, though a few bathtubs can be found in certain corners of the hotel. NB: the bathrooms are rather dark. Apply the mascara somewhere else.
Often referred to as a “Mini Grand Central,” the lobby is a moving installation of people heading either towards the Living Room, its restaurant Heartbeat, the Bliss Spa Upstairs or elsewhere. It's behind the reception where the famed Living Room parties continue to steer into the night, even these days.
The W’s brand partner Bliss Spa has a 1200 sq. foot facility inside the hotel that has 17 massage rooms and its patented age-rewinding facials and body scrubs. This is the biggest Bliss in the country!
The W emphasizes a sweat regimen, and this W’s gym is large and in charge with lots of machines, mats and medicine balls.
Heartbeat is the proprietary restaurant that serves all three meals a day and delivers to the rooms. Still seems to be a power lunch spot serving American with a latin twist.
In the Living Room is a full-stocked bar where most guests take their cocktails but there is a bar inside Heartbeat as well.
Right off the 6 entrance at 51st street, the F/M/E at 53rd is also closeby.
The area has quite a few outposts of current New York classics, from flashy but classy Dos Caminos (2-min walk), subway-tiled American brasserie The Smith (5-min walk) and faux-rustic, sceney Crave Fishbar (3-min walk), but while you may not be able to escape bankers-dining-their lawyers, The Sea Fire Grill (4-min walk) offers some of the finest dining in the area (though the neon light scheme may offend some).
It’s a travesty to be near Grand Central and not go to the Oyster Bar (4-min walk). Sure the gin is rotgut and the crowd is Bridge & Tunnel, but their freshly caught oysters (and famous Dutch Herring week) and wood-paneled walls chant the call of a true New York classic. Irish pubs are in no short supply either in this part of town but the Hudson Malone (5-min walk) lures a sophisticated crowd for pints and fine British isle bites.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The W is always crafting unique programming or partnerships, especially at this location. Plus, with the huge Bliss Spa right inside, why ever leave?