Loews Regency Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Attractive, high-ceilinged lobby and lounge decorated with art by Brooklyn artist Nina Helms
  • Traditional “Power Breakfast” at Regency Bar & Grill
  • Extra amenities for pets and children
  • Sophisticated, contemporary, airy rooms
  • Salon-grade hairdryers and inset televisions in every bathroom
  • Plethora of easy-to-reach, ergonomically designed electric outlets
  • Kiosk to print boarding passes
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour fitness center and business center
  • Two blocks from Central Park, and close to several high-end stores
  • Short walk to several subway lines

Cons

  • No free breakfast or common dining area
  • No parking
  • No coffeemaker in rooms
  • Business center is a windowless corridor
  • Far to walk to popular tourist destinations like Times Square and the Empire State Building
  • No restaurants or stores for basic necessities in immediate area

Bottom Line

This elegantly appointed hotel on the Upper East Side will appeal to upscale power shoppers and frequent visitors to New York City, and is a favorite haunt of the city’s political and financial elite. The entire hotel underwent a complete overhaul in 2013, and rooms are now sophisticated, modern, and airy. Depending on guests’ priorities, the location may prove to be inconvenient to the usual tourist hot spots—or a welcome and relatively serene respite from the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A smartly decorated hotel frequented by similarly smartly dressed, well-heeled tourist and business travelers; the city's power brokers convene in the restaurant

The recipient of a buzzed-about $100 million makeover completed in 2014, the hotel lobby shows of clean lines, marble tile floors, columned Art Deco grandeur, 24-foot ceilings, and velvet sofas as you enter. A long, narrow seating area is off to the side, where obviously well-heeled guests chat and lounge under popcorn-flowers-and-butterflies artwork by Brooklyn artist Nina Helms. The best part? The leisurely atmosphere and relaxed attitudes of the cosmopolitan guests, not a single one of whom had a laptop or smartphone out on our visit. Any weekday morning, the power brokers and other important people of the city—from Police Commissioner William Bratton to Wall Street tycoons to Spike Lee--can be seen noshing and networking in the Regency Bar & Grill.

This enduring property has been a New York institution for over 50 years, and 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. Many guests are repeat customers, and staff members always work to remember people by name.

 Location

Paradise for experienced, high-end power shoppers, but a bit of a hike for first-time tourists thirsty for the usual attractions

The location is ideal for power shoppers who want to unwind from a day at nearby Hermes, Bergdorf's, Barney’s, FAO Schwarz, or the Apple Store by communing with nature in Central Park. First-time visitors to New York City determined to soak in spots like Times Square, the Empire State Building, or Museum Mile should prepare for a hike or cab or subway ride. Business travelers who want to save the company dime by forgoing taxis will want to make note that the nearest subway stations are serviced by east-side trains -- they'll want to go ahead and get a cab for appointments on the west side of Manhattan.

The Loews is 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. The hotel’s location -- at 61st Street -- is on the cusp of freneticMidtownand the hoity-toityUpper East Side. Just two blocks west is the city’s urban jungle,Central Park. The high-end shops and boutiques ofMadison Avenue-- from Gucci to Armani to Ralph Lauren -- are just a block away.

 Rooms

Elegant rooms with plenty of light and attention to comfort

Despite a typically small Manhattan footprint, the spare but elegant design, emphasizing light and airiness—big windows, cherry-blossom artwork above the beds—makes rooms seem spacious. The rooms are full of thoughtful extras, including the omnipresent electric outlets at the base of the lamps and on the sides of the large, ergonomically designed desks; iPod docks by the beds; and Frette linens. The attention to detail extends to the bathrooms, where guests can continue watching their shows on the televisions set into the mirrors, blow out their hair with salon-grade dryers, and check make-up in power-lit magnifying mirrors. Coffeemakers are surprisingly absent, however, and rooms with kitchenettes lack utensils (they must be requested). Note that some bathrooms have walk-in showers rather than shower/tub combos—a pro for some but not others.

 Features

Pet- and child-friendly, with an eye for little things to make travelers’ trips easier

Taking the cue for its makeover from customer suggestions, the Loews Regency has put on emphasis on the details that make a trip easier and more enjoyable for traveling families or business people, from the morning, where they start the day with their choice of newspaper delivered to their door, to the end of their stay, when they can use a small business center off the lobby to print out the boarding passes for their flights. Hotel staff take particular pride in being pet- and child-friendly. With advance notice and a reasonable flat fee, hotel rooms are prepared with dog or cat beds, food and water bowls, and pet toys. When children stay at the hotel, they are kept busy with age-appropriate toys and activities, and the staff is prepped to be extra-friendly and accommodating to the little ones.

The big, modern fitness center  gets lots of natural light, and personal trainers are available upon request. There's also an on-site salon—useful for the small weddings regularly held at the hotel.  

Regency Bar & Grill draws many of the city’s elite, and is a New York City institution. It's especially known for its "Power Breakfasts." 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, afternoon tea, and dinner are also served. Reservations are strongly encouraged. There's also a cute coffee bar on the premises. 

Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.

 Food

 Spa

 Bottom Line

This elegantly appointed hotel on the Upper East Side will appeal to upscale power shoppers and frequent visitors to New York City, and is a favorite haunt of the city’s political and financial elite. The entire hotel underwent a complete overhaul in 2013, and rooms are now sophisticated, modern, and airy. Depending on guests’ priorities, the location may prove to be inconvenient to the usual tourist hot spots—or a welcome and relatively serene respite from the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan.

Things You Should Know About Loews Regency

Address

  • 540 Park Ave., New York, NY 10065

Room Types

  • Grand King Executive Suite
  • Grand King Room
  • Luxury King Room
  • Luxury One Bedroom King Suite
  • Luxury Two Double Beds Room
  • Premium Park Ave King Room
  • Specialty Suite
  • Superior King Room
  • Superior Queen Junior Suite
  • Superior Twin Room
  • Two Bedroom Suite

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Hotel Features

Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan
Address: 540 Park Ave., New York, NY 10065
(See Map)
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