By Amy Scott:
When I went to New York City for a conference a few weeks ago, the New York Marriott Downtown offered the perfect spot to lay my head and refresh after a long day. I had a beautiful corner room on the 15th floor, with views to the west of the Hudson River and to the north overlooking Albany Street, where the entrance is to the 9/11 memorial (more on that later).
The hotel has a beautiful lobby and is easy to get to; I arrived on the PATH train from New Jersey and had to walk just a few blocks, though my way was interrupted by a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters! It’s also just a few blocks from the 1 train, which I took each day to get to the event I was attending in the West Village. I took a cab one night and the driver knew exactly which convoluted route to take to get there (the main entrance is on West Street, which is essentially a divided highway, making access trickier from the north).
The room was decorated in pretty standard chain-hotel style, but had photographs of New York on the walls to add a nice local touch. There were also lots of details I appreciated: a full-size hairdryer, a magnified makeup/shaving mirror, a curved shower rod, and even a bathroom scale (which I didn’t dare use!). The toiletries were from Bath and Body Works. The shower with a rain showerhead was great, but the water was annoyingly slow to drain, so by the end of my shower I was standing in a few inches of water. I like that Marriott has the policy that if towels are left on the floor, they’ll be replaced, and if they’re hanging on the racks, they’ll be left for you to reuse. The mysterious thing, though, is that one of my towels disappeared one day, even though it was hanging on the rack, and it wasn’t replaced. There weren’t any bathrobes, which kind of surprised me, but maybe that’s normal for a Marriott.
The desk was a good size and there was a port with all the needed outlets to plug things in and get connected. The flat-screen TV was huge (the website says 27 inches, but it seemed bigger than that and really dominated the room). There was a safe tucked in one of the desk drawers; it was big enough for my netbook but probably wouldn’t have held a larger laptop. I loved that the combination alarm clock/iPod docking station also had an audio in/out cable so I could use it with my non-iPod mp3 player.
It was quiet at night, but when there are sirens or other major street noise you can definitely hear a bit of it (what else would you expect in New York?). The hotel corridors were super silent, though, and I never heard any noise from my neighbors. The bed was comfortable, though a little soft for me with its pillowtop.
It bugs me when I move something in a hotel room to have things the way I like them, and then the cleaning staff moves it right back where it was. The first night I piled all the extra pillows (I think there were at least four of them) on a chair, and they were left there the next day, so I was happy. But the following day they were all back on the bed and I had to take them off again (I know, it’s a little thing, but why not just leave them where they were?). The room also had a little sitting area with a coffee table and a couch, but the coffee table was right in the path from the bed to the bathroom and I was worried I might run into it if I got up in the night–plus I got tired of walking around it while getting ready–so I moved the table against the wall, and when they cleaned the first time it was moved right back where it was. The funny thing is, the person who left the pillows on the chair moved the table back to its position in front of the couch, and the person who moved the pillows back to the bed left the table where I’d put it against the wall. I guess they all have specific things they think need to be a certain way!
The room has wired and wireless Internet available for $12.95/day, and it was easy to connect to the Wi-Fi network. There’s also free Wi-Fi available in the lobby, I think, because there were always people down there on their laptops. There’s also the Coffee House in the lobby and a Starbucks near the back entrance, so it’s easy to grab something on your way out in the morning. There is also a restaurant, 85 West, but I didn’t eat there. There is also a gym that I didn’t have time to check out.
The hotel is in a good location for tourists, too, in part because it’s close to the new September 11 memorial and the museum. As you walk around, you can’t help but imagine what that day was like for those in the area at the time. I didn’t have a chance to go to the memorial because advance tickets are required. If you’re planning a trip to New York, check out this website to see if tickets are available during the time you’ll be visiting. Very close to the southern tip of Manhattan, the downtown Marriott is about 10 blocks from Battery Park, where you can catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. It’s also close to Zuccotti Park, which is the center of the action surrounding the Occupy Wall Street protests (but if you don’t want to get involved, it’s easy to steer clear).
New York Marriott Downtown, 85 West Street, New York, NY, 1-800-242-8685, room rates vary–check website.
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Buenos Aires-based editor Amy Scott helps writers and entrepreneurs create extraordinary written products. She also shares tips and inspiration on location-independent living via her blog, Nomadtopia.