Kitano New York Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Quiet, residential location 3 blocks from 5 subway lines
  • Large [/new-york-city/hotels/kitano-new-york-hotel/photos/superior-room/ rooms] with solid amenities and a few extras
  • Free passes to New York Sports Club, 5 blocks away
  • Live jazz Wednesday through Saturday (popular among the locals)
  • Bright, modern rooms (larger than most NYC. hotel rooms)
  • Incredibly attentive service

Cons

Bottom Line

Located on an especially quiet, residential strip of snazzy Park Avenue in Murray Hill, the Japanese-owned, 149-room Kitano's appeal is in the details -- in-room towel warmers, soundproof windows, a free morning shuttle to Wall Street, and impeccable service. It's a fine hotel, but for the price it's also worth considering the nearby 70 Park Avenue and St. Giles - The Court hotels.

Oyster Awards

We investigate in person.
Like your mother-in-law.

Categories

, ,

Oyster Hotel Photos

Customers Who Viewed Kitano New York Hotel Also Viewed

The Chatwal
18% viewed
The Chatwal
Times Square, Manhattan
70 Park Avenue Hotel
18% viewed
70 Park Avenue Hotel
Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan
The Refinery Hotel
18% viewed
The Refinery Hotel
Midtown West, Manhattan
The Roger New York
18% viewed
The Roger New York
Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan

Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Quiet, serene, 149-room Japanese-owned hotel with large rooms and impeccable service.

Bronze dog sculpture in the lobby
Bronze dog sculpture in the lobby

Opened in 1995, the Japanese-owned Kitano was formerly the Murray Hill Hotel, owned by the Rockefellers. Mr. Kitano overhauled the property and transformed it into a hotel that balances Western design with Eastern hospitality. Oriental decor is kept to a minimum -- only the hotel restaurant, Hakubai, has bamboo furniture and shoji (paper windows) -- but it's in the service and ambience that Japanese sensibility is prevalent. The wide, open lobby is hushed, save for the light strains of classical music. The staff speaks in soft tones and is very polite. Symmetry and serenity are the overarching themes of this hotel, making it a peaceful and modern retreat in midtown Manhattan.

Art is an integral element of the Kitano. In the middle of the lobby sits a bronze sculpture of a dog by prominent sculptor Fernando Botero. Its tongue is tarnished from countless guests who have rubbed its tongue, which is believed to bring money. "It's our hotel mascot," the management explained. "It's the first thing that came into this hotel when it was built." Mr. Kitano curates the art around the hotel, and he changes the hallway exhibits at least once a year. When I was there, photographs from a variety of New York City artists were featured.

The hotel's website features an endorsement from tennis star Maria Sharapova, but this is by no means a celebrity-hotspot hotel. The mellow scene is more catered to business travelers, families, and wedding groups. The Kitano offers extensive business services, including a complimentary morning shuttle to Wall Street. The large suites are ideal for big groups, and occasionally wedding receptions are held at the 18th-floor banquet hall. Wednesday through Saturday, a live jazz band plays at the lounge, and this brings in older locals in the neighborhood.

 Service

Japanese-style service that's known for going above and beyond.

Full-service concierge
Full-service concierge

The Kitano staff has obviously been trained in Japanese hospitality, as everything I asked for was not only brought in five minutes, but it was done so with reverence and care. When the Ethernet cable in my room wasn't working, an engineer came up to my room. He was quite apologetic about the situation, and he thanked me for alerting the hotel about the problem. When I complimented the coffee that came with my breakfast, the room service attendant brought me a small pack of Lavazza coffee to take home.

One of the principles behind Asian service is to remain invisible but always attentive. The bellman at the corner of the entrance is a good example of this. The bellman remains unobtrusive, and you won't notice him until he comes around to help with your bags.

There is a full-service concierge fluent in both Japanese and English. As this hotel gets wedding groups as well as business travelers, concierge services range from making salon appointments to contacting a notary public, and getting Broadway tickets isn't a problem.

 Location

Centrally located in quiet Murray Hill, just south of the business centers of Midtown East.

The Kitano is in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. It's centrally located, south of Midtown East, so reaching downtown and Midtown is relatively easy. This makes it a solid choice for business travelers, especially those needing to reach offices in Midtown.

Directly beside the hotel is Scandinavia House, which has exhibits, film-screenings and design products from Scandinavia. The indoor café, Smorgas Chef, is quite popular and worth a visit. Across from the hotel is a Catholic church and apartment buildings. Apart from the other upscale hotels nearby, such as 70 Park Avenue and the W Tuscany, this is a particularly quiet section of Murray Hill.

The hotel is three blocks from Grand Central Station which connects to the 4,5, 6, and 7 subway lines, as well as the shuttle to Times Square. Cabs can also easily be hailed right in front of the hotel.

There are numerous restaurants nearby, especially on Madison Avenue (one block west). Curry Hill, a small subsection of Murray Hill, is a three block stretch of, you guessed it, Indian restaurants and shops.

 Airport Transportation

About 30-90 minutes from three airports

New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Flying into JFK or LaGuardia is typically easiest and the least time-consuming. From JFK, it's a (one-hour) $45 flat-rate taxi ride to anywhere in Manhattan. From LaGuardia, it's about a (30-minute) $40 metered cab ride to Midtown Manhattan. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls), and can take more than 90 minutes. Don't forget to tip your driver 15-25 percent.

To save some cash, try the group shuttles that are available at all three airports for about $14/person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. You can also take public transit from any of the airports for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairs. For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.

 Rooms

Large rooms with carefully planned features -- such as towel warmers in the bathrooms and soundproof windows for convenience and quiet.

The Superior Room
The Superior Room

Standard rooms are 305 square feet, which is about 50 percent larger than most standard rooms in New York City. Rooms seemed to be designed with a Japanese sensibility, with the placement of every piece of furniture thought out carefully. There are no unusual corners or misuse of space -- even rooms in the back of the hotel get a lot of natural light, and the bedroom is situated a good distance away from the door to ensure quiet and privacy.

There are 11 other room types, ranging in size from 305 square feet to 968 square feet. For large groups, the suites are very spacious and have a separate living room. There's only one Japanese-style suite that has tatami mats, futons and shoji doors. All the other suites have a Western design similar to the standard room. Smoking rooms are available on four floors: 7, 8, 14, and 16.

The hotel sees its share of Japanese guests, so it does its part to provide for their needs with Japanese newspapers and products.

  • Beds have down comforters and pillow-top mattressrs.
  • Soundproof windows shut out any outside noise, which isn't much in this residential neighborhood.
  • Marble bathrooms are spacious and immaculate, and feature towel warmers and shower/tub combos.
  • 37-inch flat-screen TV with premium cable, as well as Japanese channels
  • USA Today and Asahi (a Japanese daily) newspapers delivered to room at no extra charge.
  • Japanese green tea and a small water heater available in every room
  • Gilchrist and Soames toiletries
  • Stocked mini-bar with Japese and American products
  • Sony Dream Machine CD player; updated Suites have iPod docks
  • In room Wi-Fi is available for a fee.

 Features

Excellent business services include a complimentary shuttle to Wall Street, fee for Wi-Fi, and a private work space. There are also free passes to the New York Sports Club.

Private Business Center
Private Business Center

The hotel caters to a lot of business travelers, so it provides a myriad of business services.

  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby (but fee for in-room Internet access)
  • Free morning shuttle service to Wall Street; reservations must be made with the front desk the night before
  • Business center is a private work space that can be rented out
  • Meeting rooms also serve as banquet halls
  • The beautiful rooftop terrace featured on the hotel website is not accessible to hotel guests unless they are attending a conference or a wedding reception on the 18th floor.
  • No on-site fitness center, but the hotel offers complimentary passes to New York Sports Club on Madison Avenue and 36th Street, about a five-minute walk away.
  • Kitschy on-site Japanese gift shop

 Family

Geared toward a quiet business crowd, the hotel does have big rooms. The neighborhood is safe, but there's not much fun stuff nearby.

At 305 square feet, the double superior room is good for a family of four. For a larger clan, the suites are perfect. There are six different suite types, ranging from 522-968 square feet. These are impressively big hotel rooms, especially for New York City. The Townhouse suite has a living room the size of most New York City apartments, and it comes with plush couches and a flat-screen TV. A lot of wedding parties book here because of the amount of space.

Roll-away beds are available for a nightly fee, but they do not fit in the standard (superior) room; all other room types can accommodate them. Cribs are free, and baby-sitting services can be arranged through the concierge.

Typical kids' food isn't available in the hotel, unless your kids are into sushi. For sandwiches, walk one block over to Lexington Avenue, where there are many delis and sandwich shops.

The neighborhood is a safe and particularly affluent residential area. Sidewalks are wide enough for nannies and their double strollers. Most of the kid-friendly museums (the Museum of Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, the Children's Museum of Manhattan) are farther north and west of Central Park. Getting there means at least one subway transfer at Times Square.

 Food

Expensive and traditional Japanese restaurant, a sky-lit café with American and European fare, and a bar with live jazz and locals.

Breakfast at Garden Cafe
Breakfast at Garden Cafe
  • Hakubai serves Japanese for lunch and dinner, and has a specialty cocktail menu
  • Jazz at Kitano is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers Pan-Asian and new American fusion set to a live jazz
  • The Sidewalk Cafe is open seasonally for lunch and dinner

 Bottom Line

Located on an especially quiet, residential strip of snazzy Park Avenue in Murray Hill, the Japanese-owned, 149-room Kitano's appeal is in the details -- in-room towel warmers, soundproof windows, a free morning shuttle to Wall Street, and impeccable service. It's a fine hotel, but for the price it's also worth considering the nearby 70 Park Avenue and St. Giles - The Court hotels.

Things You Should Know About Kitano New York Hotel

Address

  • 66 Park Avenue At 38th Street, New York, NY 10016

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Kitano Hotel New York City
  • Kitano New York
  • Kitano New York City

Room Types

  • Double Double Premier Room
  • Double Double Superior Room
  • Executive Suite
  • Executive Suite 02
  • Executive Suite 04
  • Executive Suite 05
  • Junior Suite 2 Doubles
  • Junior Suite King
  • King Premier Room
  • King Superior Room
  • Tatami Suite
  • Townhouse Suite

Find the Lowest Price - Enter Dates

Check-in
Check-out
Guests
  Compare rates on dozens of sites
 AVG/NIGHT 
Hotels.com  
Expedia.com  
Tingo.com  
Booking.com  
Travelocity  
Otel.com  
Priceline.com  
CheapTickets.com  

All About Oyster

You Can't Return a Bad Vacation.

Our special investigators visit, photograph, review and rate each hotel. We uncover the truth, before it's "uh-oh" time.

Go undercover with an Oyster Investigator The Today Show
Go Undercover with an Oyster Investigator
See 70 Videos of Oyster on TV

Nearby Hotels to Consider

Dylan Hotel
  • Dylan Hotel
  • Midtown East, Manhattan
  • Rating: 30 Pearls
  • Distance: 0.1 mi
Bedford Hotel
  • Bedford Hotel
  • Midtown East, Manhattan
  • Rating: 25 Pearls
  • Distance: 0.1 mi
Library Hotel
  • Library Hotel
  • Midtown East, Manhattan
  • Rating: 35 Pearls
  • Distance: 0.1 mi
70 Park Avenue Hotel

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 149
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
View All

Hotel Information

Location: Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan
Address: 66 Park Avenue At 38th Street, New York, NY 10016
(See Map)
Loading Live Rates
Loading...