Omni Berkshire Place Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Midtown East, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Consistently good service
  • Big rooms
  • 37-inch flat-screen TVs
  • Updated, modern decor from 2010 renovation
  • Central, Midtown location
  • Kid’s menus in the restaurant, and milk and cookies for turn-down service
  • Excellent fitness center
  • Popular on-site bar with great cocktails

Cons

  • $10 per day Wi-Fi access

Bottom Line

Located in N.Y.C.’s shopping and corporate-office hub, the Omni’s spacious rooms, attentive service, stand-out restaurant with kids menus, and great fitness center make it a solid choice for families and corporate travelers. But it's worth comparing rates with the equally elegant, service-oriented Hotel Elysée a few block away.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Business travelers and a few families stay at this service-oriented, 396-room hotel that was renovated in 2010.

Quiet lobby
Quiet lobby

In the lobby, quiet jazz plays while guests scowl at the Financial Times and patter away on their Blackberries. The Omni Berkshire’s upscale Midtown location draws mostly business travelers, and a few, well-behaved families. There’s a strong emphasis on service here, but it’s not so over-the-top that it feels stuffy -- though I did feel underdressed in my jeans and Nikes. From what I saw, a pair of heels might have been more suitable.

The hotel completed a massive renovation in 2010, and the new furniture, bedding, carpets, and lamps in the rooms helped create a more modern, sophisticated look in line with what you'd expect of a hotel in this category.

 Service

Classy, consistent, and proper -- some of the best, most attentive service in the city.

Bartenders at Fireside
Bartenders at Fireside

There’s a significant emphasis on service, here. A manager from the Omni has responded to nearly every review on TripAdvisor since July 17, 2008, no matter how glowing or berating the review.

Service here is reliable, and for the most part, impeccable. Nightly turn-downs at 6 p.m., elevators held without request, towels delivered in minutes, and cabs hailed at the blow of a whistle. I hadn’t even gotten out my taxi when a porter (dressed in a suit, tie and bellman’s cap) came to open the door and yank my luggage from the backseat.

When I asked the concierge about jogging, he produced a map of the city and mapped out a four-mile loop through Central Park. He was able to provide an exhaustive list of restaurant recommendations, and could actually explain the vibe for all of them (unlike some N.Y.C. concierges). As for business services: “Oh yes, Ms. Blask, of course we’d be happy to take care of your FedEx package for you.”

Going the extra mile, at check out, the porter even asked, “Are you sure you didn’t leave your cell phone or any of your chargers in your room?” Once I was inside my taxi, he tipped his cap and wished me a lovely afternoon.

 Location

Safe and super-chic area with an older, wealthier population.

Surrounded by some of the most high-end shopping in Manhattan, the Omni is in one of the safest, most upscale neighborhoods in New York. Across the street from the hotel is French jeweler and watchmaker, Cartier, around the corner is renowned watch retailer Tourneau, and within a three-block radius of the hotel there is Ferragamo, Versace, and Saks Fifth Avenue. There aren't a lot of young, hip 20-somethings walking down the street here, but there are many people suited up with designer briefcases.

  • 12-minute walk to Grand Central Station
  • 7-minute walk to Rockefeller Plaza
  • 9-minute walk to Central Park
  • 8-minute subway ride to Times Square
  • 5-minute walk to the Museum of Modern Art
  • 11-minute subway ride to Penn Station
  • 20-minute subway ride The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 7-minute walk to Radio City Music Hall
  • 20-minute subway ride to the Guggenheim Museum
  • 11-minute subway ride to the Empire State Building
  • 11-minute subway ride to Columbus Circle
  • 20-minute subway ride to Wall Street and the Financial District
  • 23-minute subway ride to Ground Zero

 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.

 Room

With touches like plush beds, crystal drinking glasses, and 37-inch flat-screens, these big rooms -- renovated in 2010 -- are classy and modern.

At 270 square feet, the deluxe rooms (the cheapest option) are bigger than the rooms in most New York boutiques. There are high ceilings, a king bed (super comfortable with sateen sheets and firm pillows), a chair, and a a desk, plus plenty of room to spare. All rooms received new furniture, carpets, bedding, and 37-inch flat-screens during the 2010 renovation, and the new decor is sleek and sophisticated.

Bathrooms are huge. They’re nearly three times the size of those at other business-minded boutiques, like the Carlton on Madison. Mirrors in front and behind the sink give the illusion of an even larger space. The bathroom products are Institute Swiss. They’re nice, but not on par with the Molton Brown at the Carlton on Madison or the Malin+Goetz at the Tribeca Grand.

I could hear people in the neighboring rooms chatting during my stay, but the noise issue was addressed during the hotel's 2010 renovations, when the walls were improved to supposedly decrease the noise between rooms.

For a business hotel, there are disappointingly few outlets in the room. There’s no direct Ethernet port, though Wi-Fi is available for $9.95 per 24-hour pass.

The mini-bar comes stocked with nips of Ketel 1, Bacardi, and Bailey’s (among others), and snacks from Dean & DeLuca. Rooms also come with crystal drinking glasses -- a nice touch.

Free copies of the New York Times and USA Today are left outside each guest’s door every morning.

 Features

Great gym with plenty of equipment, small business center where printing boarding passes is free, and Wi-Fi for $9.95/day.

Great gym with plenty of equipment
Great gym with plenty of equipment

The Omni Berkshire has one of the largest fitness centers in the city. There are six Precor treadmills, two ellipticals, two bikes, a full set of medicine balls, two full sets of weights, individual TVs on every machine, and that only scratches the surface. The bad news is that it’s not open 24 hours (it’s open from 5:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.). For in-room workouts (at any hour), guests can borrow the hotel’s in-room “Get Fit Kit” from the front desk. This includes stretch cords, free weights, a floor map, and a pamphlet with suggested exercises.

The business center, located on the 17th floor, is open 24 hours. It’s just two PCs and a printer/copier/scanner combo, but printing boarding passes is free. Wi-Fi is $9.95 for a single day pass.

 Family

Kids' menus, large rooms, and a safe neighborhood make this a great family pick.

Though most guests are on the older, starched shirt, and polished shoe side, I definitely spotted a few mini-size Uggs, hand-held PS2s, and ponytails.

At check-in, all kids under age 12 get a suitcase filled with games, puzzles, and coloring books to use while they’re visiting, plus a kid’s cup with unlimited refills anywhere in the hotel. When there are two kids in the room, housekeeping’s standard turndown service includes milk and cookies.

There’s a kids' room-service menu for the Fireside restaurant that includes, among other items, ants on a log, PB&J, and grilled cheese (no crust!).

The hotel can arrange for either a twin mattress roll-away bed or a folding cot, depending on the child’s height, and both are $30 per night.

Cribs are free and the concierge can provide babysitting referrals.

 Pets

Pets less than 25 pounds are welcome, but there’s a $50 cleaning fee.

Small dogs are welcome, but this isn’t the most pet-friendly place in the city (that would be the Loews, the Westin, or the Kimpton hotel). No scoopers, bowls, or doggie beds are provided, so be sure to pack your own.

 Cleanliness

Gleaming lobby and clean rooms. Furniture was replaced in 2010.

To bring the hotel into the 21st century (it only took a decade), the entire hotel completed a renovation in 2010. The marble floors in the lobby gleam and the furniture in the common areas is in perfect condition.

 Food

Great comfort food from a restaurant popular with guests and locals, plus superb cocktails at the bar. Breakfast is pricey -- $7 for coffee!

Dinner at Fireside
Dinner at Fireside

The Fireside, a bar and restaurant located on the ground floor of the Omni, provides quality comfort food inside the restaurant or inside your room. New York Magazine sums up the dark, cozy atmosphere in glowing details.

My room service order (at my door in 18 minutes) was presented on a white table cloth and set up in front of the couch so that I could watch TV while I ate. The ricotta-stuffed ravioli ($19) arrived steaming hot and the multi-grain and sourdough rolls were still warm. Unlike most in-room dining menus, there is a large range of options, including dry-aged sirloin ($38), margherita pizza ($14), artisanal cheeses, and kid-friendly ants on a log.

I dropped by Fireside’s bar for a cocktail and it was still buzzing at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night. They have a cocktail menu with more than 15 options, and my cucumber gimlet ($13) with Hendrick’s gin, cucumber, fresh lime, and simple syrup was superb.

For breakfast, there are conscionable cage-free, hormone-free eggs, antibiotic-free bacon and sausage, and whole-leaf teas. But it doesn’t come cheap -- $7 bucks for a bagel plus an extra $2 for cream cheese, and an extra $7 for a pot of coffee. For a quintessential New York experience -- and to save a few bucks -- head to Ess-A-Bagel instead, just a few blocks away. There, a bagel with schmear (OK, cream cheese) is just as delicious (if not more so), and is less than half the price.

 Bottom Line

Located in N.Y.C.’s shopping and corporate-office hub, the Omni’s spacious rooms, attentive service, stand-out restaurant with kids menus, and great fitness center make it a solid choice for families and corporate travelers. But it's worth comparing rates with the equally elegant, service-oriented Hotel Elysée a few block away.

Things You Should Know About Omni Berkshire Place

Address

  • 21 East 52nd Street And Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • New York City Omni
  • Omni Berkshire
  • Omni Berkshire New York
  • Omni Hotel Berkshire Place
  • Omni New York City

Room Types

  • Accessible King Room
  • Berkshire Suite
  • Deluxe Room
  • Executive Business Room
  • Executive Suite
  • Get Fit Guest Room
  • Madison Suite
  • Premier Room
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein Suite
  • Specialty Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 396
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: Midtown East, Manhattan
Address: 21 East 52nd Street And Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022
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