Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Luxury that’s designed for families, including pets, in one of New York’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Upper East Side.
Sleeping lions, pine shrubs, and red window canopies greet visitors at this enduring property in Park Avenue -- one of the most affluent parts of the most affluent neighborhood in the city (the Upper East Side). The Loews Regency, a high-end chain with 16 properties across the U.S. and Canada (including Miami and Las Vegas), was once the favorite New York City getaway of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, guests are a bit more down to earth (mostly middle-age executives) but they’re still here for the same luxurious details and easy comfort that made this place a stunner for the Hollywood elite. Nearly all guests -- 90 percent to be exact -- are repeat customers, and staff members always work to remember people by name.
After dark, 540 Park (a popular breakfast restaurant) transforms into , a cabaret and supper club. When Barbara Cook belts out Broadway classics or a famous magician stakes the stage, it can be difficult to find an empty red upholstered dining chair. But these shows are great for families.
Though the lobby is far less impressive than the one at the chichi Waldorf Astoria, there are always plenty of people lounging. The comfy plush couches and velvet club chairs are just the kind of place a tweed blazer-clad professor might take a nap before dinner at The Library, the hotel’s cozy cocktail and light-fare lounge.
The hotel closed January 1, 2013 for a year-long renovation period.
Extremely attentive, and impressively well staffed
The hotel is geared toward service, and most guests find an overabundance of help. The hotel could have gotten along just fine with one person at the front desk but there were two present, as well as two bellmen. Pleasing guests and quickly giving them what they want is of the utmost priority. It’s why 90 percent of the guests come back every year.
The Loews is on the Upper East Side on Park Avenue, a street that is famous for its high-end real estate (it is on the list of most expensive city streets in the U.S.). The broad treelined boulevard is mostly recognizable by its grass median, which is also lined with trees (one of the only streets in Manhattan that has this feature). During the winter holidays the trees are decorated with tasteful white lights, and in springtime the medians bloom with cheerful tulips. No matter what the time of the year, taxis are always consistently whizzing by.
Park Avenue is, for the most part, as safe as it looks, even at night. The street is lined mostly with high-end residential buildings (each with a doorman), which operate as the avenue’s watchmen to some degree.
Nighttime noise is virtually nonexistent since the neighborhood is mostly composed of the early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise crowd. It is not the place for guests who are rearing for the excitement of Times Square or the chic restaurants and beautiful people of Soho. In short, the Loews Regency is not the place to stay for a late night Gotham buzz.
The hotel’s location -- at 61st Street -- is on the cusp of frenetic Midtown and the hoity-toity Upper East Side. Just two blocks west is the city’s urban jungle, Central Park. The high-end shops and boutiques of Madison Avenue -- from Gucci and Hermès to Armani and Ralph Lauren -- are just a block away.
About 30 to 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 to 25 percent.
To save some cash, try the group shuttles that are available at all three airports for about $14 per 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.
The standard rooms -- with either two twin beds or one king -- are comfortable and slightly larger than average hotel rooms in New York City (but 225 square feet is still pretty small). Rooms are outfitted in tasteful beige, cream, and brown tones with marble, woven brocade, and 100-percent cotton. But nothing is showy.
Small details are what make the rooms: 300 thread-count sheets, a marble-topped desk by the expansive windows that’s slanted ever so slightly and paired with an . There is a Keurig coffeemaker, which brews good coffee by the cup, and a 32-inch LG flat-screen TV.
In the bathroom, there are LATHER-brand bath products, plush ring-spun terry towels with fancy, gold-thread Loews logos, and to accompany them, an "Ultimate Doeskin" robe by Chadsworth & Haig. The only outdated oddity: a tiny old tube TV set, circa 1980.
There is excellent air circulation in the room and the central air system is easy to control (this is not always the case). Thefrom the “superior room” -- the standard room at this hotel -- is of the courtyard, which is really just a nice way to say the airshaft.
For a little more money ($25 to $60 depending on the room and time of year), guests can have a better view -- either of 61st Street or Park Avenue -- and a little more square footage. Luxury kings or doubles will provide 130 more square feet and a view of 61st Street, as well as a 42-inch flat-screen TV. Suites are a garden variety -- designed in different schemes to capture the various neighborhood styles of New York -- and priced based on size (400 to 1600 square feet), and depending on what the view is from the window. I took a look at a luxury suite, which includes a terrace with plenty of seating and a of Park Avenue. A terrace this nice is hard to come by in New York.
Well-equipped fitness center and a complimentary which lets guests borrow everything from power strips to cufflinks
The Verve Fitness Center on the lower level is a well-equipped gym with plenty of new Nautilus and cardio equipment. A private trainer and massage services can be arranged through the concierge. Sauna and steam room facilities are also on site and available to all guests.
The Nico Hair Salon, adjacent to the fitness center, offers cuts, color, and styling to guests, and has also been known to prep more than its share of brides, since the Loews Regency does three to four small weddings a week during the spring high season.
The hotel has an open closet and lends guests items that they may have forgotten -- a gimmick that’s actually useful! Everything from power strips to evening wear can be borrowed at no extra charge. If the hotel doesn’t have what a guest needs, they are happy to venture out and get it.
Loews Regency is a completely wired building and guests can get online with personal laptops in the lobby, restaurants, and rooms. Internet access is $12.95 a day. There is also a, which has three PCs available for use.
Classy and kid-friendly come together at this hotel -- and it works. Family-size suites, , , and free .
If the kids are coming along, the hotel will make them feel like VIPs. Prior to arrival, Guest Services asks guests for the age and names of each child in order to give them each an appropriate welcome gift package. Kids ages 4-8 might get their very own yellow toy taxi and Fisher Price activities; preteens are usually given a doodle pad or an Etch-a-Sketch; iPod-obsessed teens score gift cards for music downloads. In the spring, kids often get backpacks and jump ropes since they will likely be heading to nearby Central Park. As long as the parents don’t report any food allergies in advance, kids will come home to their hotel room and usually find free milk and cookies waiting for them.
Comfortable sleeping arrangements for the entire family are also easy to come by. Some suites have guaranteed sofa beds -- just ask when making a reservation. A roll-away bed fits easily in the Luxury and Grand Luxury rooms (though not the Superior), and costs $25 extra per night. All rooms can be childproof; cribs and strollers are available upon request and are complimentary.
Kids’ menus are available at The Library, the all-purpose restaurant in the lobby that also handles room service orders. There are greasy-good kid favorites, plus healthier options. Twice a month on Sundays, the hotel’s supper club, Feinstein’s, puts on a sophisticated magic show. With Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, FAO Schwartz toy store, ice-skating at Rockefeller Center all within walking distance, the Midtown East location is great for families.
A full food menu and nearby Central Park make this an ideal spot for four-leggers. Plus, there's no weight restriction, just a $25 fee.
It is virtually impossible to walk down Park Avenue and not see a furry fuzz ball tucked into a Chanel purse or on a leash running after a taxi. The Loews Regency takes their cue from neighborhood residents, opening their doors to four-legged friends with just a one-time cleaning fee per visit of $25 (a good deal, compared to the price-gouging W hotels).
Upon arrival, all pets get a complimentary welcome basket, with a pet bowl and treats, as well as a brochure that highlights services for grooming, walking, and local veterinarians (services cost extra). Amenities such as cat or dog beds, scratching poles, and litter boxes can also be arranged for an additional fee. The hotel limits guests to two pets per room.
Central Park, a dog walker’s dream, is just two blocks away.
Not surprising, the Loews Regency is impeccable, as only a Park Avenue address would be. In fact, the block the hotel almost completely takes up is some of the cleanest concrete I’ve seen in the city.
The guest rooms are all equally neat and tidy. There is not a sign of dust or mold anywhere to be found. Some guests on TripAdvisor think the carpets in the hallways are a little dirty, but I didn’t see anything worth noting during my visit.
Meals have ease, elegance, well-prepared but pricey fare, and the occasional high-profile lounge singer.
The Library restaurant and lounge serves three meals a day, and handles the hotel’s room-service requests (available 24 hours). Located on the ground floor of the hotel, this restaurant has the feel of a regal study with its club chairs and made of large replicas of leather-bound classics such as “Farewell to Arms,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “Age of Innocence." In their review of the restaurant, New York magazine noted that, though the food was satisfying, the ambience is much more the draw of this restaurant.
At dinner and cocktail time, the restaurant presents every guest with a complimentary spread of nuts, olives, fresh bread, and butter to accompany their aperitifs. The casual elegance and ease of The Library make the restaurant a popular spot among locals for after work drinks, but the menu is a bit pricy ($24-48 for an entrée) for a casual spot.
Breakfast at the other hotel restaurant, 540 Park, is a city institution. Gotham’s powerbrokers and financiers -- such as Mayor Bloomberg and the Tisch family (who, incidentally, own the Loews hotel chain along with the NY Giants) -- have been known grab a coffee and an omelet in the handsome dining room. Lunch is also served.
During the day, the Steinway baby grand piano in the dining room sits covered, but at night it is revealed and 540 Park transforms into Feinstein’s at the Regency, a nightclub that showcases acts such as 1980s TV star Tony Danza, Tony award-winning actress Betty Buckley, and Michael Feinstein himself. The Broadway theater singer and pianist takes center stage. A monthly calendar of performances can be viewed here. Supper is served during shows. The venue fills up fast -- the place has quite a local following -- but guests can make arrangements for a table with the concierge so they can enjoy cabaret performance along with their turkey burger on a brioche bun or a Park Avenue Pupu platter.
This class act on the Upper East Side's tony, treelined Park Avenue has excellent service and an on-site supper club with a world-class . It is in walking distance of Central Park, high-end shopping, and the Midtown East corporate centers. Plus, the hotel practically invented the power breakfast. THE HOTEL ClOSED IN JANUARY 2013 FOR RENOVATIONS.