Friday 22nd June, 2018

New York Marriott Financial Center Hotel

I arrived by taxi to the hotel which is just a block from the former World Trade Center site. The hotel rises high into the sky (38 floors) and is a modern building. It was closed after the Twin Towers tragedy as it sustained damage, and was extensively refurbished. The lobby was all brand new, very nicely done too. A very contemporary decor, the hotel was well attended by 4 check-in attendants, a busy bell desk and a generally a nice atmosphere. I checked in to Room 1910 on the 19th floor and took an elevator only to find there were two sets of lifts, and I was in the wrong one. It would have been helpful to have been advised at reception of which lift to take. There are two lifts that service up to the 16th floor only, whilst another three service the entire hotel. There were often long waits for a lift during the stay which indicates the hotel is under-supplied with elevators. Up to the 19th floor and at the end of a short hallway I came to the allocated room. The room was really quite plush. Kingsize beds with luxurious covers and ....topped with four pillows and two quite sizeable cushions. Two bedside cabinets with lamps and two prints above the bed-top. Expansive windows opened to the Hudson River. The room was quite spacious and had a working desk complete with STSN (high-speed Ethernet, USB and Standard Modem Internet access) - high-speed was $9.95 a day. An Honor bar was provided with beers, spirits, soft drinks and confectionary in a cabinet which contained a set of large drawers and the TV. The wardrobe was adequate with an in-built safe. A large armchair with foot rest was provided. The air-conditioning system was a little old but functioned quite ok, although a touch noisy at night. The bathroom was perfectly sized with plenty of bench space, good lighting, a full size bath and shower combined.

I then went up to the 38th floor which had a window opening on to the World Trade Center site and viewed the devastation that had taken place. Quite a lot of buildings in the vicinity including this hotel were extensively damaged being so close to the destruction. Another Marriott Hotel, the Marriott World Trade Center was completely destroyed.

The hotel is just a short walk from the River and a pathway is provided for strolling alongside this expansive waterway. The Museum of Jewish Heritage Holocaust Museum is just steps away and I visited this and was both most impressed, and moved by the display. A further short walk away are the ferry terminals including those to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Staten Island and Governor's Island. A stone's throw in the other direction takes you to the beginnings of Broadway and Wall Street, which includes amongst its tenants, the New York Stock Exchange. A further walk from there and I was at the South Street Seaport Historic District.

The site of the hotel is excellent, particularly if you are in the financial services industry, however this end of town has had a little life drained out of it with the events of September 2001. Whilst the rest of New York was pretty much as usual the financial end was much more subdued, at least at the time of my visit.

In the afternoon I took a look at the Fitness Center on the fifith floor. A very large facility with an attendant assisting guests. Quite a number of running machines, weights and exercise equipment. A veryt large indoor pool and a sauna topped it off.

As night came I decided to check out the Hotel restaurant, Roy's. Roy's first began in Hawaii in 1988 and offers a Pacific islands, Euro-Asian style menu which has plenty of variety and some excellent and unusual choices. I tried the shrimp barbecued on a stick and the homemade meatloaf, both of which I found extremely delicious. The service, decor and atmosphere of the restaurant was first class, indeed I have not been more impressed by a hotel dining room. Before dining I visited the lobby bar which they call the Battery Park Tavern (Battery Park is nearby) which has a 60 inch TV screen for sports replays and offers beers, cocktails and light food fare. Check-out was automatic. The bill was delivered overnight before my day of departure. There was a note to say there was no need to call by the reception desk unless there were queries with the account, which there wasn't. I did telephone for a taxi just prior to checking out. It was problematical as to whether a taxi could be obtained within 10 minutes and I was asked if I wanted a car (provide by Elite hire cars). I said yes, however I should have checked the cost. Whilst a cab to upper Manhattan costs around $12 to $14 the car set me back $48 (which of course became $50). I do think hotels should spell out the cost of a 'car' versus a cab when offering the service, although again I should have checked.

The hotel overall was of an acceptable standard that delivered all of the amenities and services expected of a top-line hotel. The location is very good, particularly for those in finance.


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