Last week I had the pleasure of spending a night at the brand new Staybridge Suites in New York City. Just outside of Times Square, the Staybridge opened on April 1, 2010.
Staybridge Suites is known for providing services to travelers who are looking for a home-like experience over a standard hotel room. Each room in the Times Square Staybridge location sports a kitchenette with a full refrigerator, stove top, microwave, dishwasher and sink. The kitchen cabinets are stocked with silverware, plates, glasses and pots and pans. You’ll find a coffee pot, as well as coffee, tea and additives. The hotel provides breakfast, Wi-Fi in guest rooms, an exercise room and laundry facilities, all at no additional cost! This is almost unheard of in NYC, even at some of Manhattan’s most expensive hotels.
Other amenities in the hotel room include a hair dryer, safe, flat screen TV, alarm clock with iPod docking station and an ironing board and iron.
Room Size and Storage
If you’ve ever stayed in a NYC hotel, you know that they aren’t exactly spacious accommodations. The Staybridge rooms aren’t massive, but they are comfortably sized, with room to move about, even if you’re traveling with more than one person. Storage space for those with extended travel plans may be an issue, however, as there is no bureau and the closet is on the small side. I think the Staybridge Times Square would have been wise to provide underbed storage. We were there for just a night and weren’t quite sure where to keep our bags so they were out of the way.
The bathroom in our room was a nice size and included some countertop and below-the-sink space for storing toiletries. There was a shower stall, but no tub, so parents with small kids should take note. I don’t expect much water pressure in hotel bathrooms, but my shower alternated between weak pressure to none at all. My travel partner didn’t experience the same dramatic changes, so it may have been bad timing. I should also note that we were on the top floor of the hotel, which I’m sure didn’t help. I also have to add that one of my least favorite design elements in the room was a frosted glass panel in the bathroom door. While it was opaque, it still gave the feeling that you weren’t getting a fully private bathroom experience. For family travelers, this is probably trivial, but co-workers sharing a room may find it bit less comfortable.
Cleanliness and Comfort
Overall, the room was clean and tastefully decorated. Each room has individual climate controls, which is one of the basic necessities for comfort in any hotel experience. The air conditioning ran on the loud side, but Manhattan isn’t known for quiet at night, so it actually helped block out any street noise that made it up to the 32nd floor. I thought the bed was between average and good in terms of comfort. Travelers should note that Staybridge Suites provides “light” housekeeping during the week. In other words, you can request clean towels, trash pick-up and other small items, but the rooms are only cleaned one a week. As a business travel, this tends to suite my schedule, as I hate having to work around a housekeeping staff on a daily basis. It also helps to keep costs down. Generally speaking, this amount of housekeeping should be more than enough to maintain cleanliness for regular room use.
Breakfast and Evening Reception
Breakfast is served each morning just off the lobby. Our breakfast options included eggs (scrambled and hard boiled), ham, cereal, muffins, toast, bagels, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, juice and coffee. The breakfast space is small, but they are working on expanding their seating. For a free breakfast, I have few complaints, but they could use some work on their staffing. While there, the buffet ran out of bagels and coffee, neither of which were quickly replaced. Given that these are staple breakfast items in the city and that they are both relatively fast to replace, that was a bit frustrating. That said, we would have paid $10 or more each for the breakfast we had, so it was nice to have a free and easy option before heading out for our day.
The hotel also provides an evening reception during the week. We were there on a Monday and there was no reception available, so I can’t speak to the quality of food.
Other Food and Drink
The Staybridge Suites Times Square is still under construction, although most of the amenities are in place. The biggest addition to come is that of a bar. The hotel materials call it an “artisinal bread and wine bar.” It’s not clear when that will be available.
You can also purchase some simple snacks, beverages and personal care items from the Bridgemart, a small shopping space located in the lobby of the hotel. Items weren’t outrageously expensive, but you can still save some cash by walking a block away to one of the local convenience stores. Then again, since there is no room service available, having some basic necessities on hand for late-night needs is a definite plus.
Business travelers will be please to note that, in addition to wireless and hard-wired Internet access, there is a business center and two meeting rooms available.
I have stayed in nearly a dozen different Manhattan hotels and the Staybridge Suites has some of the best amenities available without the “nickel-and-diming” you’ll experience at some of the more exclusive hotels. If you’re willing to forego daily maid service and an in-house restaurant, this is a great choice, especially for a solo traveler.
The Staybridge Times Square is currently booking with a two-night minimum on weekends, with rates in the mid $200-$300 range. Week days seem to be in the high $200 to low $300 range. Expect those rates to fluctuate with demand.