View Single Post
Old Jan 19, 04, 9:29 pm
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Andover, MA USA
Posts: 1,556
I almost forgot to write about how my stay was. We had a four night stay here, first night was Christmas. Driving up to the hotel, it appeared like a typical suburban hotel with no high rise. We pulled the car into the carport area to unload the luggage and passengers. The valet took our keys and told us we could valet park for a fee, I forget what the charge was but I seem to recall it was something like $6 or $8 a day; or we could self park in the garage for free. I chose to self park, which turns out was the better choice. In addition to not having to wait for the valet to fetch my car, I was able to park in the garage which is below ground, so my car stayed a tad bit warmer than if it was parked outside. There were always plenty of spaces just near the elevator to the hotel. I recommend you self park if you stay here.

As soon as you pull up to the hotel, it is immediately evident that it is a FULL service hotel. There were several doormen to greet me and hold open the doors and upon entering the lobby I saw a concierge desk, several bellmen and several people working the front desk. The lobby is nicely appointed and is very elegant. Toward the back of the lobby we were able to catch a glimpse of the Christmas brunch buffet in one of the restaurants (yes, there are several restaurants at this property). The brunch looked heavenly, more on this later.

Upon checking in for my reward stay, I was upgraded without asking to a room on the executive level and given a special key for the elevator to reach the exec. floors. The room wasn't terribly large, but it wasn't small either. All in all, I'd say it was decent sized. The rooms were very nicely appointed. We had a CD player stereo, robes, complimentary designer water bottles, a coffee/tea set-up, mini-bar fridge, elegant furniture, and incredibly comfy beds with triple sheeting, feather pillows(per my request, I am confident that if I had wanted foam pillows that they would have had them), and a down duvet. The bathroom wasn't overly large, but again, it was decent sized. It was very nicely appointed to with a good sized tub, there was marble everywhere, a scale, a magnifying mirror, and a large assortment of toiletries including bath salts and fancy soaps.

I truly enjoyed the decor of the room with the antique style furniture, decorative woodwork and moldings, and heavy drapes. The rooms that I saw in this hotel seemed even fancier than rooms I've stayed in at the Waldorf in NY.

The hotel has a full service spa in the basement. The spa is complimentary for hotel guests, but I believe it costs something like $28 or $30 per day for non-guests. Of course spa treatments cost extra for everybody. The spa has very nicely appointed locker rooms for men and women. It was the nicest locker room I've ever been in so far. Before even getting in the locker room, at the check-in area for the spa, I was given a luxuriously thick terry robe, plastic sandals, and a thick towel. Inside the locker room, towels were in abudance everywhere. The room seemed to always have an attendant there tidying up and keeping the place immaculate. Inside the locker room was a changing area with fancy wooded lockers that locked, a double sink area loaded with toiletries for grooming, rest rooms, many showers (each with an assortment of the spas own soaps, shaving cream, lotions etc.) and sauna.

The pool area was heavenly. The lighting was soft but adequate, there were many plants and potted palms, and three sides of the pool were lines with chaise lounge chairs with thick cushions. It was a wonderful place to just relax and read or have a drink, and many people were doing just that. There is a complimentary juice bar in the pool area. I noticed many people were having food brought in and they were eating/snacking here too. Although the pool area was often well attended by guests, it never felt noisy or crowded at any time I was there. At the far end of the large pool with 3 lanes for swimming laps, there was a large jacuzzi. Definitely plan to make use of the spa while at this hotel; you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice if you missed out on it. The spa also had a gift shop where you can purchase a huge assortment of their own branded products.

One floor up from the spa was the gym. It was more like a health club than a work-out room. There must have been at least a dozen treadmills, a half dozen stair climbers, and an incredible assortment of machines and free weights. There was huge rows of large screen tvs tuned into different channels. When you checked in to the gym, the attendant offered you a lightweight headset that plugged into the machines so that you could listen to the tv. I think you could listen to music too, but I'm not sure, I only used it to watch tv.

Upon the recommendation of several people at flyertalk, we made reservations for the Sunday brunch. It was a good recommendation. If you plan on going, make reservations well in advance (like weeks in advance if you can) as we were told that it gets booked up well ahead of time. Brunch was $45 per person. It was spectacular and included every breakfast food known to man, including belgian waffles, french toast, made-to-order omelettes and eggs of every variety, many carving stations of beef, lamb, ham, and a few other things I can't remember, a tremendous assortment of seafood including crab claws, jumbo shrimp cocktail, several kinds of caviar, smoked trout, smoked tuna, peppered salmon, smoked salmon, lox, a gazillion kinds of breads, muffins and bagels, an impressive assortment of fancy desserts, and too many other items to recall. Other than the lack of the view, this brunch rivals the brunch at the Rainbow Room in NY. Also included in the price of the brunch are all you can drink champagne and bloody marys. They get extra points for having a bartender who will make your bloody mary any way you like it, he has an incredible assortment of ingredients to tailor the drink just the way you like it. Sunday brunch here is fabulous.

The executive lounge is good at this hotel. They are open for breakfast and serve a very decent assortment of cold food. They had a wonderful crumb cake, several types of fruit and cereals, muffins, bagels and english muffins. The lounge closes for a short while after breakfast, but then reopens around noon or so for soft drinks. They have beer, wine and cocktails too, but those are not complimentary, only the soft drinks. In the evening they offered a decent selection of hot and cold appetizers. The lounge was seldom crowded and the attendants were very good about replenishing items. I've been at much better exec. lounges in Europe, especially when booze is free, but it is the best lounge I've seen so far in the US. I asked if I could have certificates for breakfast downstairs in lieu of eating it in the lounge, but the hotel said it does not do that. Oh well.

The hotel was about a 30 minute drive to the Holland Tunnel. Although we found it took more like 45 minutes to an hour to actually get into Manhattan because of all the traffic at the tunnel. The return trip from Manhattan seems much quicker.

There is a very upscale mall across the street from the hotel, but I didn't make time to go there, perhaps next trip. I also didn't eat any meals in any of the hotel restaurants other than Sunday Brunch, but.... the restaurants in the hotel sure looked good.

I can highly recommend this property. My wife and I can't wait to go back.
hhonorman is offline