Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A healthy mix of tourists and business travelers in a mid-size branch of a mid-range chain in midtown Manhattan
Recently renovated, the Courtyard operates more than 300 rooms on 20 floors of a sleek, modern, 31-story building in Midtown East. The lobby is surprisingly narrow given the size of the building. With a few chairs, the front desk, and the concierge, it's basically just used for checking in and out. There is, however, a second quasi-lobby on the 12th floor (the first 11 floors are occupied by other businesses), which is home to the business center, the buffet breakfast, and the 24-hour coffee station. I saw a few people mill about this area in the morning, but it's not much of a place to hang out.
Efficient and generally cordial, with a knowledgeable concierge and friendly bellmen.
Overall, the service is efficient and professional, although the woman at the front desk was on the phone on a personal call the entire time she checked me in. The woman who checked me out, on the other hand, greeted me with a warm smile and asked how my stay was.
But in between checking in and checking out, service was solid all-around. One night, when I asked the woman at the front desk for dinner recommendations, a few of the bellmen who had overheard me jumped into the conversation to offer some tips of their own. I ended up going with room service, courtesy of the nearby Outback Steakhouse, and it was so fast -- 25 minutes even though they said it would take 45 -- that I was still in the shower when the food arrived.
The concierge is only on duty until 8 p.m., but he knows his stuff. When I asked for a breakfast recommendation, he not only gave me a good one (see thesection below), he also steered me away from a very popular but mediocre option nearby, which I appreciated.
In the heart of Midtown East, one of New York's main business districts, but it's a little isolated from most of the big tourist haunts.
The 6 subway line, which runs along Manhattan's major eastside artery, is accessible from the 53rd Street station, about half a block from the hotel. But unlike, say, Times Square, which has 12 subway lines in the immediate vicinity, the Courtyard's location is less ideal for getting around the city swiftly. Still, there's plenty to see on the east side of Manhattan: Start by taking the 6 train south to Grand Central Station, Union Square, or the East Village, or head north to the world-famous museums along Museum Mile.
The area one block east of the hotel (53rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) feels a bit more residential and is home to some quaint apartments, shops, and restaurants.
As for safety, the Courtyard's central location ensures that the street is well lit, and you'll find plenty of corporate lawyers and other business types outside catching cabs at all hours of the night.
As with most chains, the Courtyard keeps the layout and decor in its rooms quite consistent. My room looked an awful lot like my room at the Courtyard I stayed at in Miami Beach: identical picture frames and desk chair, even the same notepad on the nightstand (an "Accomplished List" rather than a to-do list). For some people, that's boring. For others, it's both comforting and comfortable.
For a mid-range hotel in New York, the rooms are pretty large -- at least 330 square feet -- and many of them, like my standard king room, come with a pull-out sofa bed. I could have fit four people in my room, though I wouldn't recommend it. Then again, this traveler actually fit six in her room for a girlfriends' getaway.
Among the other positives: a comfortable bed, free high-speed Wi-Fi, a coffee machine and complimentary coffee, and a TV with 40-plus channels, including HBO (although the TV itself is a dated tube set).
The gym is probably the highlight of this hotel's amenities. It's clean and bright, and it features modern equipment, including three treadmills, two bikes, a couple of elliptical machines, a multipurpose strength-training machine, and a nice set of free weights. The night I worked out, there were plenty of towels and water as well.
There are no kid-specific features here, and the corporate area isn't the best choice for visiting families, but there's certainly no reason not to bring the little ones. The area is safe and wholesome enough, and the kids won't lack for external stimuli.
Nearly every room includes pull-out sofa beds. For smaller children, cribs are available at no extra charge.
Hygienic and functional. Just what you'd expect from a high-quality Marriott.
Other than some smudges on the window and a few stray pieces of litter -- a napkin in the cabinet and a used map in a dresser drawer -- my room was super-clean. The property was well maintained as well.
The hotel restaurant serves a breakfast buffet but no dinner. Nearby are countless options for all three meals.
There's no on-site restaurant for lunch or dinner (just a breakfast buffet), so the Courtyard outsources all room-service requests to the nearby Outback Steakhouse. When I ordered dinner, the food came quickly and was still hot when it arrived, but a plate of ribs, some vegetables, and a soda ended up running me $33. Hardly worth it, considering all the excellent dining in New York.
For breakfast, the hotel has a buffet, but the concierge recommends the Madison Restaurant, a diner about three blocks from the hotel. I'm not sure why it's called the Madison Restaurant, given that it's four long blocks from Madison Avenue, but the meal was a success: delicious challah French toast with berries and fresh-squeezed orange juice for $17.
Solid dinner options nearby include the Luna Piena, the Pig 'n' Whistle pub on 2nd Avenue, and the famous Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Many restaurants in midtown Manhattan, however, close their kitchens relatively early (by New York standards, anyway), after the corporate crowds expense their meals and head home.
Like the business-oriented Midtown East neighborhood it calls home, the Courtyard lacks personality. But it succeeds with the basics: comfortable rooms, a well-equipped fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and solid service. Before you book, though, it's worth checking rates at other comparable hotels like the New York Helmsley, Affinia Fifty, and the Courtyard's superior sister property, the nearby Marriott East Side.