The Lucerne Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Small standard rooms
  • Fewer subway lines nearby than in Midtown West

Bottom Line

Far from the Times Square crowds, on the relaxed, upscale Upper West Side, the 250-room Lucerne offers small but classically styled, comfortable rooms (all renovated in 2009), prompt, dedicated service, and proximity to great kid-friendly attractions like the Museum of Natural History and Central Park.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

European decor and traditional, attentive service in a tony 250-room building in Manhattan's mostly residential Upper West Side.

Lobby Bar
Lobby Bar

Fronting the ornate red-stone building that towers over its immediate neighbors in Manhattan's Upper West Side, the 250-room Lucerne's entrance is often manned by two alert doormen and has an aura of quiet power. Inside, the hotel feels warm and secure, with its hibiscus flowers, red and gold Oriental-looking patterns, and quiet '80s pop songs like "Reminiscing" by Little River Band and Patti LaBelle's "On My Own," and "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin, from the "Top Gun" soundtrack.

The Lucerne takes its name from an alpine city in Switzerland -- though there isn't much of a Swiss vibe at the hotel, and the hotel is operated by the Empire Hotel Group, which manages a series of other mid-range New York hotels. The name speaks, vaguely, to a more traditional, European aesthetic, exemplified by the tapestries flanking the entrance and the lobby's intricately patterned upholstery.

 Location

More than 30 blocks from Times Square, the Lucerne trades midtown chaos for a quieter atmosphere, and proximity to Central Park and great family museums. But there are fewer subway lines on the Upper West Side than there are in Midtown West.

The corner of West 79th Street and Amsterdam is at the slow-beating heart of the Upper West Side, an area comprised mostly of apartment buildings that could, with their doormen and front desks, be confused for luxury hotels. But excellent restaurants like Ouest are still close by, and there's still a fair smattering of night life, with popular local bars close by like Dive 75 and the Boat Basin, which features an enormous stone patio overlooking the Hudson river.

Plus, several of New York's vaunted museums are immediately accessible. The American Museum of Natural History is one block east, and the Children's Museum of Manhattan sits four blocks north of the Lucerne. A 20-minute walk through Central Park lands visitors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Subway access around the city is more limited here than in Midtown West over 30 blocks south. There's only a 1-line subway station at the end of the block on Broadway, and the B and C trains run at 81st Street and Columbus, about a 10-minute walk away.

The Lucerne has valet parking and self-parking for daily fees.

 Rooms

Traditional but well-maintained furnishings and gold-hued walls complement the pleasant view.

The Superior Room
The Superior Room

Rooms at the Lucerne take a traditional approach to opulence -- carved wood desks, heavy Persian-patterned drapes held open by tasseled ropes, and lightly gold-inflected wallpaper that creates a warm, welcoming mood. The resulting old-world, neoclassical vibe contrasts with that of rooms in more modern UWS hotels like On the Ave and Hotel Beacon. All rooms were renovated in April 2009.

  • Superior (standard) rooms come with Queen, Double, and King size beds. At 150 square feet, the rooms are quite a bit smaller than most N.Y.C. hotel rooms, but they are spaced out so that they don't feel impossibly cramped. Upgrades to deluxe rooms mean more space per person, and additional seating.
  • Two-room suites feature kitchenettes, microwaves, and fine china.
  • Each room comes with down feather pillows, but guests can request to swap them for microfiber pillows.
  • Flat-screen TVs have free HBO. On-demand movies and a Nintendo game system are availble for an extra fee.
  • Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms
  • For more old-fashioned New York entertainment, the hotel offers free copies of USA Today and the New York Times.
  • Bathrooms have Temple Spa products. Tubs come with bath mats and a handle -- a thoughtful touch for guests with mobility concerns.
  • CD players and alarm clocks in every room
  • iPod docking station
  • Coffeemaker and Wolfgang Puck coffees available upon request.

 Features

A well-maintained gym, a library-like business center, and an on-site spa -- the three luxury-hotel essentials.

Well-maintained gym
Well-maintained gym
  • Fitness center with free weights, strength machines, and a variety of stationary cardio equipment. Each machine has its own flat-screen TV.
  • An in-house spa that provides hot stone massages, facials and foot treatments. In-room massages and facials are also available.
  • A business center decorated like a cozy library, with PC terminals, and a printer, fax machine, and telephone.
  • 24-hour room service
  • 1,000-square-foot meeting room space on the penthouse floor that can accommodate 50 people.
  • 24-hour concierge

 Family

The safe Upper West Side comes with great museums and Central Park in close walking distance. Cribs and babysitting services also available.

The standard rooms are smaller here than at most New York hotels, and are really only designed for two people who can share a bed. But there are several double rooms available, and the Deluxe rooms offer considerably more space. The rooms are generally insulated from noise from other guests or street traffic. The hotel also provides cribs upon request, and babysitting services are available through the concierge.

As New York hotels go, the Lucerne is slightly more family-friendly -- in large part because of its Upper West Side location. New York's most family-friendly museums, like the the Museum of Natural History and the Children's Museum of Manhattan are just a short walk away.

 Cleanliness

Just short of spotless.

In the room, the carpets, desk, and other furnishings were free of spots, stains, and dust. The bathroom was near-spotless, save for a barely noticeable rust stain on the tub. The lobby, hallways, fitness center, and business center are all maintained at a very high standard of cleanliness.

 Food

Popular among Upper West Side professionals, the on-site restaurant, Nice Matin, serves Belgian beer and hearty French fare, and is available for room service 24 hours a day.

Ouest Restaurant
Ouest Restaurant
  • Nice Matin, a cozy, classy, French-intellectual-type restaurant and bar, rents space from The Lucerne and is accessible through the hotel's lobby, and Lucerne guests are awarded a 15 percent discount on breakfast at Nice Matin. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Nice Matin provides room service 24 hours a day
  • Nearby, there are ample other dining options within walking distance. Among the standouts is Ouest, a restaurant run by celebrity chef Tom Valenti.

 Bottom Line

Far from the Times Square crowds, on the relaxed, upscale Upper West Side, the 250-room Lucerne offers small but classically styled, comfortable rooms (all renovated in 2009), prompt, dedicated service, and proximity to great kid-friendly attractions like the Museum of Natural History and Central Park.

Things You Should Know About The Lucerne

Address

  • 201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Lucerne Hotel New York City
  • The Lucerne Hotel

Room Types

  • Deluxe Double Room
  • Deluxe King Room
  • Deluxe King Suite
  • Deluxe Queen Suite
  • Superior Double Room
  • Superior King Room
  • Superior Queen Room
  • Superior Queen Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 250
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan
Address: 201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024
(See Map)
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