A visit to New York City at Christmastime was on my bucket list for years. I finally decided to make it happen, so I planned a NYC girls’ weekend getaway with my mom and two daughters, and we set off on our adventure in early December.
The Grand Hyatt New York is an ideal Manhattan location because of its close proximity to Central Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Broadway theaters, and American Girl Doll Place. I have only ever had positive experiences at Hyatt hotels so we had high hopes for this luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
We arrived around lunchtime on a Friday and were ushered out of our cab and through the revolving glass doors into the first floor entrance. We were immediately greeted by a soaring 18-foot Christmas tree, bedazzled with thousands of glittering white lights. My daughters were in awe.
We rode the escalator to the second level where the hotel opens up into a large, modern lobby. We had to stop for a moment to get our bearings among the hustle and bustle of holiday guests.
The check-in lines were long, so we opted for an impersonal kiosk. I’m not a huge fan of these. I generally prefer the personal touch, especially in a luxury hotel, but with 1300 guest rooms in the hotel, you can imagine how many people were checking in. I was happy for the opportunity to expedite the check-in process, and overall, the kiosk was intuitive and provided a smooth transaction.
A brief look around the lobby revealed a sophisticated restaurant & lounge as well as a casual snack shop with a full-service Starbucks (SCORE!). Minimalist contemporary-style couches were arranged in the middle of the lobby, allowing visitors a spot to sit and sip coffee or wait for a friend.
We made our way to the row of elevators and rode up to our room on one of the high floors.I always ask for a high floor. It seems like it should be quieter, especially when the hotel is located on a busy city street.
Guest Rooms at Grand Hyatt New York
Our Standard Double Room was small but adequate. The bathroom was also smaller than is typical for a Grand Hyatt, and there is no sink outside of the bathroom, but it worked out okay. I knew to expect a smaller than average room in Manhattan. Grand Club Rooms and Suites are larger, of course, but the Standard Room was fine for our purposes. Although the hotel has recently gone through a big renovation, we felt the decor in our room was rather tired. However, it was clean, and we had no complaints. The double beds have the famed Hyatt pillow-top mattresses, and we slept soundly both nights.
Our room overlooked 42nd Avenue, so it was a bit noisy, but we were high enough off the ground that it wasn’t too disruptive. The blackout shades offered some insulation from the noise, and they worked so well at keeping the light out that we were able to sleep in and get a few extra winks.
Dining at Grand Hyatt New York
The New York Central Bar and Kitchen is a fine dining restaurant located inside the hotel, just off the main lobby. I enjoyed the sleek, cosmopolitan decor, and the wall of windows provides plenty of natural light along with a view of the bustling street below.
I was pleased to discover that the menu boasts fresh seasonal ingredients with loads of healthy options. Because we were visiting at such a busy time of year and our schedule was jam-packed, we dined there for almost every meal. The kale salad was so good, I ordered it two days in a row. Our food was consistently excellent, and it was incredibly convenient to have a fine dining option right inside our hotel.
The Staff at Grand Hyatt New York
All of the staff members we interacted with were friendly and accommodating. The concierge was absolutely lovely. She pointed us to what sounded like a fantastic restaurant for dinner (which we unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy, but I’ve made a note for when I’m in NYC again) and she set us up with tickets for a bus tour since my injury made walking an impossible option.
We just happened to plan our visit during what was probably the busiest weekend of the Christmas season. With SantaCon in town, the protests over Ferguson, and all of the regular holiday visitors, the sidewalks were wall-to-wall people almost the entire weekend.
It was almost impossible to hail a cab, so we relied on Uber to get around. Because of my foot injury, I couldn’t walk much. Driving, however, was slower than normal, and it took us quite a while to get where we wanted to go. On Saturday, our tour bus had to be re-routed several times due to the crowds, and when we were walking home that evening, we were almost run over by a large SUV whose driver apparently had a sudden burst of road rage and went careening through a crowded intersection near Times Square, sending all the pedestrians, including my family, fleeing for the safety of the sidewalk.
My anxiety was in high gear by the time we arrived back at our hotel, but passing through those glass doors was like entering a safe haven. The Grand Hyatt was a welcome sanctuary from the craziness of the city streets.
Hyatt Gold Passport
I highly recommend becoming a Hyatt Gold Passport member before visiting a Hyatt hotel. It doesn’t cost anything, and you get quite a few perks. Plus you can earn points toward future stays, and they add up fast if you travel often.
Because I’m a Hyatt Gold Passport member, we had free WiFi. We were also given access to the Grand Club Lounge on the 16th floor, which I regret not checking out. They provide complimentary drinks and snacks and have tables and couches so you can sit and relax for a while. We were so busy on this trip that we never had a chance to take advantage of that.
I would definitely stay at the Grand Hyatt New York again. The location provides easy access to the popular tourist attractions, the restaurant and cafe are so good that you don’t have to find other dining options unless you want to, and the staff is incredibly accommodating. You do pay for convenience and luxury accommodations, but it is a decent value for a Midtown Manhattan luxury hotel, and if you plan ahead, they usually offer package deals for the holidays.
Disclosure: I was provided with a media rate for our stay, but all experiences and opinions are my own.