Millenium Hilton Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Lower Manhattan, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • 42-inch plasma TVs in every room
  • On-site, 40-foot-long indoor swimming pool with hot-stone sauna
  • Modern fitness center with free 24-hour access
  • 3,500 square feet of conference rooms, plus extensive catering services
  • Next to 10 subway lines, easy access to anywhere in NYC

Cons

  • 80 percent of rooms overlook noisy construction (request a higher floor)
  • Overpriced hotel restaurant Church and Dey
  • Fewer dining or nightlife options within walking distance

Bottom Line

Located next to Ground Zero's noisy construction, this high-tech Hilton caters to executives: a 24-hour business center, a 24-hour fitness center, $15 Wi-Fi, and even a 40-foot indoor swimming pool (one of the few in NYC). The Financial District can be dead in the evening, but the Hilton's rates drop on the weekend, making it a steal.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A mega-Hilton overlooking Ground Zero, catering to the financial industry travelers with extensive meeting rooms and an indoor swimming pool.

View of Ground Zero from The Standard Room
View of Ground Zero from The Standard Room

Directly across the street from Ground Zero, the Millenium Hilton closed its doors after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and underwent a $32 million gut renovation. It reopened in April 2003.

It's impossible to miss the sleek, 55-floor monolith, an imposing dark spear right off the A, C, and E subway lines and adjacent to discount-designer haven Century 21.

Geared toward travelers in the financial industry, the hotel has 3,500 feet of meeting room space and on-hand audiovisual staff to service anyone’s PowerPoint projection needs. Taking advantage of their Hilton HHonor points, visiting businessmen take a dip in the indoor swimming pool between meetings or confer in the lobby lounge while MSNBC or Fox News plays overhead on the flat-screen TVs.

The area is a much quieter, more relaxed place to stay than say, Times Square, and a good hotel option over the holidays when Midtown hotels are packed. One staffer mentioned that it’s best to book a room on the weekends, when the executives clear out -- rooms can be as little as $150/night.

 Service

The huge staff is the hallmark of efficiency.

Room service
Room service

A small platoon of staff keeps the hotel's 569 rooms and 55 floors running smoothly. With all the speedy and efficient service, I felt like I was in the best-running bank in the world.

When I called into room service, the guy who took my order said it would be there "in less than 30 minutes." When I called the front desk about my TV (it wasn’t turning on), an engineer came up in my room in five minutes. I asked the concierge if he knew of a bar where I could bring a former business associate (“somewhere nice that won’t break the bank"). He was a little stumped -- nearby are mostly Irish pubs and pricey, expense account-driven restaurants -- but wouldn't give up and suggested a "decent" bar up the street, Mudville 9, a low-key sports bar that serves 99 beers. Well done.

 Location

In the heart of the Financial District, overlooking Ground Zero. A great place for Wall Street types, but it’s boring after 5 p.m. or on weekends.

The hotel is right in the center of the Financial District -- four blocks from Wall Street, two blocks from the World Financial Center, and right across the street from Ground Zero. Surrounded by offices, the area around the Hilton gets pretty empty after the work crowd goes home. The dining and nightlife options are more limited here than in other parts of lower Manhattan. But being located on the tip of Manhattan means stunning views of the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty from nearby Battery Park.

Many subways lines stop near the hotel: the E at the World Trade Center, the R, W at Cortland Street, and the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, M, Z at Fulton Street-Broadway. It’s arguably the most well-connected location in the city, even better than the hotels in Times Square.

Shoppers might appreciate being next door to Century 21, a prime destination for the serious New York bargain-hunter. This is where to scoop up severely discounted Prada, Versace, and other designers.

For a $10 guided tour of Ground Zero, check out the walking tours schedule at the World Trade Center Visitors Center Web site. Also, St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopalian church to the right of the hotel, has become a stop on many Ground Zero tours. The church served as a base camp for recovery workers in the eight months after the attacks and now features an interactive 9/11 exhibit entitled "Unwavering Spirit."

 Airport Transportation

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

Spacious rooms with excellent beds, 42-inch plasma TVs, full-size tubs, and bath products from Crabtree & Evelyn, but most rooms get Ground Zero's construction noise.

The Standard Room
The Standard Room

In total, the Millenium boasts 471 guest rooms and 98 suites, all of which are designed for business: sleek, smoked-glass desks, two Internet connections (though Internet costs a whopping $14.95 a day in the rooms and $5.95 an hour in the lobby), lowball glasses near the ice bucket, and very tempting 350ml bottles of Glenfiddich scotch chilling in the mini-bar. Most guest rooms have king-size beds. The suites all feature a king-size bed, an additional sitting area with a workspace and pull-out sofa, and a view of the skyline, harbor, and/or Hudson River.

Eighty percent of the 546 rooms at the Millennium overlook Ground Zero -- there's a high chance of morning-hour construction. Even from my room on the 50th floor, I could hear it. The noise wasn’t loud enough to be a distraction from this high up, but the lower floors aren’t quite as lucky. Request a room that overlooks the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, and cross your fingers.

Higher-floor rooms offer breathtaking views of the city. From my window on the 50th floor, I could peek between skyscrapers to see ships sailing by on the Hudson River. From the hallway window on the other side, I had a bird's-eye view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, the latter lit up beautifully at night.

"The Hilton Serenity Beds" are fantastic, and I slept soundly on this Serta Perfect Sleeper Suite Dreams mattress and box spring.

The bathtub in the marble bathroom is luxuriously full size and, unlike most NYC hotels, is perfect for stretching out for a long soak. The countertop spans one whole side of the spacious bathroom that featured ample outlets and a magnifying mirror. The toiletries are Crabtree and Evelyn].

The huge, 42-inch plasma screen TV is standard in all rooms. It comes with pay-per-view movies, Internet surfing capabilities, and video games at additional cost. A joy-to-use Cuisinart coffeemaker in my room turned out individual cups of Lavazza coffee. Don't drop money on ordering a carafe from room service; this satisfied all my coffee needs.

 Features

Free, high-quality 24-hour fitness center, massage rooms, a hot-stone sauna, and a handy concierge for any other needs.

24-hour Fitness Center
24-hour Fitness Center

There are no major spa facilities, but a candlelit massage room lies next to the women's changing room (outside the pool), and it can be booked for personal massages for an hour or two ($98-$200). Guests can also have a masseuse come to their room ($120-$220). Do not miss the stone-heated sauna, toasty hot and a great way to dry off after a dip in the pool. I scoffed at the "No more than 15 minutes" safety rule until I realized that, with a truly effective sauna, five minutes is plenty.

Guests can exercise any time of day at the Precor fitness center, naturally lit with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook lower Manhattan. Mint-condition treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights are complemented by weight benches, several abdominal exercise balls, a flat-screen TV, and a selection of magazines. A session with a personal fitness trainer can be booked for $85 an hour, and personal fitness bags are available for shy exercisers who want to lift weights in the privacy of their own hotel room.

The front desk is equipped with safety deposit boxes for those belongings too valuable for the in-room safes. A gift shop in the lobby stocks toiletries and newspapers for those who want more than the free USA Today that's delivered to their rooms.

Valet parking is available, although it's $55 a day. Parking hours are 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 24 hours Thursday through Saturday. There are no in-and-out privileges.

 Great Pool

The 40-foot heated indoor pool comes with a hot-stone sauna.

40-foot Indoor Pool
40-foot Indoor Pool

The extremely clean, 40-foot heated pool is flanked on one side by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that let in a view of the street outside. Lounge chairs and topiary trees border the pool's edge. Both foliage and natural light give the room a light and airy feel. The pool is constantly supervised by a staff member, and had few visitors during my stay -- perfect for swimming some early morning laps. It is, however, not open during the afternoon. Hours are Monday through Friday, 5:30-10:30 a.m. and 4-9:45 p.m. It was a little annoying when I left something in the changing room and returned to find the doors locked at 11:30 a.m. Guests change in bathrooms equipped with crisp white towels, a swimsuit-drying machine, showers with toiletries, and a proper doctor's office weight scale.

 Great Business Services

Perfectly prepped for business, with a 24-hour automated business center, a 1,000 square-foot meeting room, extensive catering services, and a reliable concierge for any FedEx needs.

Business Center
Business Center

There are five meeting rooms on the fourth floor, ranging from 240-937 square feet. On the 55th floor (the top floor), a 1,000 square-room Presidential Suite features views of the Hudson River and Brooklyn Bridge. The hotel has its own conference-services and audio-visual staff, and is fully equipped to handle the needs of "war rooms," those 24-hour lawyer powwows between trials at the courthouse. All meeting rooms can be catered, and the Presidential Suite can have a butler. Full banquet menu selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and snacks are available.

Wi-Fi is available in the rooms for $14.95/day and $5.95 an hour, and in the lobby for $5.95 an hour. A fully automated business center allows all guests to print, copy, fax, and surf the Internet 24 hours a day (computers are $.69 a minute and $1.99 with a printer). A notary public is also on hand, and FedEx services are available through the concierge.

 Family

The hotel caters toward business travelers, but there's a room-service kids' menu and an indoor swimming pool.

The Millenium's spacious hotel rooms can easily accommodate a crib or rollaway ($35/day), and the tub is full-size. But parents might have to explain to their kids what the large construction site -- Ground Zero -- is about next door.

Any hotel with a pool is obviously a big plus for kids, and a staff member watches over the pool room.

Room-service options include a children's menu with burgers, fries, and the like. While the hotel itself doesn't provide much in the way of budget-priced dining, cheap pizza and salad joints all lie within a block or two of the hotel.

Babysitters can be booked via the concierge; rates vary by vendor and they might change over the holiday period.

Families benefit from the hotel's close proximity to tourist spots like the South Street Seaport, the Staten Island Ferry, Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty is visible from Battery Park (eight blocks away), or kids can get up close with a ride to the island itself (tickets can be purchased at Castle Clinton National Monument in the park). The park promises to be an even bigger pull with kids when the Frank Gehry-designed playground moves in. The South Street Seaport (about 10 blocks away) has a maritime museum and several old docked big boats that kids could walk around. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, also eight blocks away, would be a great afternoon excursion for bigger kids -- and they can end the trip on the other side with an double-dip cone from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

 Cleanliness

Spotless, with brand-new furniture and tubs that sparkle.

The hotel wins big points for cleanliness. The hotel was renovated in 2003, but all the fixtures still look new. There are no scratch marks on the furniture, the bathroom tubs are scrubbed thoroughly, and guests can expect well-vacuumed rugs and dusted tabletops. Before noon, housekeeping was knocking on my door to clean the room.

 Food

The hotel restaurant and two bars are convenient but pricey -- dining options are limited in this area.

Hotel restaurant Church and Dey, on the third floor, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lobby bar, Liquid Assets, is open until midnight. Church and Dey serves solid American cuisine, leaning mostly toward fish and shellfish dishes. With a lack of restaurant variety nearby, it's a good option -- for those who don't mind shelling out a little more for dinner (entrées run into the high $20s and low $30s, like the $26 New York Strip Steak). Bar snacks are fairly expensive -- look to pay $14 for that bowl of fried calamari. Room service is reliable (my steak sandwich was at my door in 30 minutes).

The Financial District admittedly lacks as many restaurant and bar options as its downtown neighbors, Tribeca and Soho. Those who want a night on the town can head to Les Halles, the French brasserie of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Cheaper options around the hotel include mostly pizza joints and the diner Charly's, two blocks down. Over all, my greatest suggestion for dining outside the Millenium would be to walk the 10 or so blocks east to South Street Seaport or hail a taxi to Soho, Chinatown, or Tribeca (no more than a $5-$10 cab fare away).

 Drinks

Excellent martinis from the on-site bar, Liquid Assets. They serve primarily business clientele.

Guests who'd rather stay in will be pleased to find that hotel bar Liquid Assets turns out the perfect post-work martini. My three-olive dirty martini was light on the vermouth, and for $12-$14, satisfyingly huge. Less successful are the fruity drinks. I ordered a $12 margarita at hotel restaurant Church and Dey's upstairs bar to see if they'd turn out the real one with fresh-squeezed lime or a quicker version with Rose's lime concentrate. Expect the latter.

 Bottom Line

Located next to Ground Zero's noisy construction, this high-tech Hilton caters to executives: a 24-hour business center, a 24-hour fitness center, $15 Wi-Fi, and even a 40-foot indoor swimming pool (one of the few in NYC). The Financial District can be dead in the evening, but the Hilton's rates drop on the weekend, making it a steal.

Things You Should Know About Millenium Hilton

Address

  • 55 Church Street, New York, NY 10007

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Hilton New York City
  • Millenium Hilton Hotel
  • Millenium Hilton New York
  • New York City Hilton

Room Types

  • 1 King Bed Accessible Room
  • 1 King Bed City View Room
  • 1 King Bed Deluxe Room
  • 1 King Bed Junior City View Suite
  • 1 King Bed Junior Suite
  • 1 King Corner City View Room
  • 1 Queen Bed Accessible Room
  • 1 Queen Bed Deluxe Room
  • 2 Double Beds Accessible Room
  • 2 Double Beds City View Room
  • 2 Double Beds Deluxe Room
  • One Bedroom Suite
  • Parlor Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 569
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
View All

Hotel Information

Location: Lower Manhattan, Manhattan
Address: 55 Church Street, New York, NY 10007
(See Map)
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