W New York - Union Square Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan, New York City

This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
We will update our photos and review as soon as we can.

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Daily fee for a Wi-Fi
  • Pet cleaning fee, with additional charge per night

Bottom Line

W Hotels' 270-room Union Square property greatly resembles other Ws in New York: comfortable beds, modern rooms, an excellent gym, and plenty of business travelers in the butterfly-decorated, techno-soundtracked lobby. The difference: this one's downtown, near the bar-filled East Village and media-mecca Flatiron.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Business travelers congregate in the offbeat, David Rockwell-designed lobby. Like other W hotels, a boisterous evening crowd of young professionals spills out into the lobby from the bars.

Tic-tac-toe at The Livingroom Lounge
Tic-tac-toe at The Livingroom Lounge

The W chain of hotels is the younger-leaning, more stylish arm of the Starwood Hotel group (which also operates Sheratons and Westins). W has properties all over the world, including five in Manhattan. The hotels are known for their purple, silver, and black color scheme, their extensive use of butterflies and kitschy design flourishes, and an unhealthy obsession with, yes, the letter "W" -- signs read "Welcome" at the front desk, "Whatever/Whenever" at the concierge, and "Woof" by the dog bowls at the entrance. Despite the Sesame Street-style alliteration, Ws around the city often draw decent crowds of young professional New Yorkers to their lobbies. The Olives restaurant and the basement bar Lilium at the W Union Square, the most "downtown" of all the Ws, is no exception: It's hip but not exclusive.

The public areas feel just a half-step behind those at the sleeker, moodier Royalton, but they're still interesting and comfortable -- especially with free Wi-Fi in the lobby (in-room Internet costs a daily fee). As at other New York Ws, techno and euro pop play over the speakers, and there are some pretty interesting cocktails on the menu. The large windows let in a lot of sunlight and afford some incredible people-watching opportunities.

 Service

Fast check-in, a solid concierge, and quick delivery on simple requests place the W just above par for New York hotels in its price range.

Room service
Room service

The W chain prides itself on its "whatever/whenever" service, wherein guests are encouraged to ask for, as the name suggests, anything at any time, as well as other conveince services.

  • The front desk is open 24 hours, and the hotel has the noted Whatever/Whenever service, meaning that guests can make any (legal) request at any time.
  • Valet parking, for a fee
  • Cell phone rental
  • Laundry service
  • W2GO service, providing grab-and-go food and drinks
  • Business center, with printing, audio/ video conferencing, and audio/ video equipment available
  • House car and driver available 24 hours for complimentary rides around town, with W snacks avaiable, as part of Whatever/Whenever service. Reservations must be made through the conceirge

 Location

One block from a major hub, the W is a 10-minute walk from East Village bars. It also borders well-heeled, residential Gramercy and the media- and tech-heavy Flatiron commercial district.

Fittingly, the W Union Square sits on the northeast corner of Union Square, a park in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan. In the daytime and evening, the immediate area witnesses heavy foot traffic. Everyone from skateboarders to dogwalkers to well-dressed media types pass through. By midnight, though, the square's well lit but the park and its surrounding side streets thin out considerably.

A major subway station servicing eight trains (the L; the N, Q, R, W; and the 4, 5, 6), Union Square is surrounded by commercial properties, including a Regal movie theater, a Whole Foods, and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Several dormitories and buildings of New York University and the New School lay nearby. Students tend to hit the area nightspots, and activists and artists often set up shop in Union Square park, but the hub and the shopping bring people from just about every New York walk of life to the area, making for a crowded and busy daytime scene that thins out at night.

 Rooms

Rooms feature great beds, extensive minibars, and high-end Bliss bath products. Much-needed renovations in 2012 revitalized the dark guest rooms.

The Wonderful Room
The Wonderful Room

Rooms were renovated in 2012. The updated room décor has a brighter palate and tones, as well as more modern furnishings. Renovated rooms have bright pops of color and striking accent walls that give a much more contemporary look to the space.

  • Basic rooms are known as Wonderful Rooms, and come at a standard 225 square feet, and are available with one king or two queen beds. The slightly larger Spectacular Rooms are about 300 square feet.
  • Mega Rooms are between 345 and 375 square feet, and have an oversized arm chair. Fabulous Rooms are between 355 and 380 square feet, and have an ergonomic desk.
  • Studio Suites start at 440 square feet and have a pullout sofa. Cool Corner Suites are 480 square feet and have a spacious sitting area. Fantastic suites have Union Square Park views and a sectione off sitting area. Wow Suites are about 650 square feet and include Bliss Slippers.
  • Extreme Wow Suites, the highest end accommodations and the largest at 1,000 square feet, have in-room Jacuzzis, Bose sound system, and park views.
  • 42-inch flat-screen TV with DVD player and movies available on demand. The hotel has a DVD library for movie loans.
  • Signature W Beds have pillow top mattress and 350-thread count linens
  • Bliss bath amenities and terry-cloth robes
  • iPod docking station
  • Stand-along showers or bath/tub combos are available
  • W-Fi internet, for a daily fee
  • 24 hour room service
  • Minibar, with an assortment of hard liquors, beer, wine, and mixers, and Muchie Box full of snacks
  • Rooms have stand alone showers or bath/ tub combos

 Features

The W Union Square has two requisite amenities for its price range -- a great fitness center and a business center -- but there's no spa.

Great Fitness center
Great Fitness center
  • Sweat, the W chain's brand of fitness centers, as high-end machines, and there are fresh apples, a large flat-screen TV, and plenty of towels available for guest use
  • business center offers standard services such as fax, mail, and photocopies, as well as paid Internet access
  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby
  • A luxury house car and driver are on hand for free rides around the city, but reservations must be made through the concerige in advance
  • There's no spa at the W Union Square, but the hotel offers in-room treatments.

 Family

OK for families, with a children's DVD library and a kids menu for room service. But street noise and a bar scene in the lobby doesn't make it an ideal family pick.

Available through the concierge, the DVD and video library features some kids movies. The room-service menu also includes children's options like mac and cheese, crispy chicken fingers, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The hotel offers cribs on request and also can arrange babysitting services through the concierge.

Solid family amenities notwithstanding, the hotel generally caters to business professionals, plus Union Square isn't ideally located for visiting kid-friendly New York attractions such as the museums around Central Park.

 Pets

The W welcomes pets, but there's a weight limit and it can get pricey . Owners pay an additional fee per night above their daily room charge and a nonrefundable cleaning deposit.

With two dog bowls filled with treats and water at its entrance, the W Union Square opens its arms to pets. There's even a room-service menu for them. What's more, the park adjacent to the hotel features a popular dog run.

 Food

The Mediterranean-inspired cuisine from Olives, run by celebrity chef Todd English, draws a crowd. Room service, available 24 hours, is fast and ample.

Olives Restaurant and Bar
Olives Restaurant and Bar

Celebrity chef Todd English, who also operates upscale Mediterranean restaurants in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, as well as Washington, Tokyo, and Aspen, runs Olives on the W's first floor, which was renovated in 2012 and serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. English's signature molten chocolate cake was once a distinct delight, but has since become more common among many NYC restaurants.

Lilium and the Living Room serve cocktails and small bites, also from a Todd English menu.

Around Union Square, there's a host of options in almost every direction.

 Weddings

Great food, attentive service, and a beautiful reception space that blends classic architecture and modern design.

  • Wedding Size: Up to 150 guests; only one wedding at a time
  • Ceremony Location: The Great Room
  • Food and Drinks: Price vary (depending on specific menu choices and the day of the week) for a five-hour open bar, four hot and four cold hors d'oeuvres, and a three-course plated dinner. Kids', kosher, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus available upon request.
  • Honeymoon Suite: The Wow Suite is free for the bride and groom on their wedding night.

 Bottom Line

W Hotels' 270-room Union Square property greatly resembles other Ws in New York: comfortable beds, modern rooms, an excellent gym, and plenty of business travelers in the butterfly-decorated, techno-soundtracked lobby. The difference: this one's downtown, near the bar-filled East Village and media-mecca Flatiron.

Things You Should Know About W New York - Union Square

Address

  • 201 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • w Hotels Union Square
  • w Hotel Union Square
  • w New York City
  • w Union Square

Room Types

  • Extreme Wow Suite
  • Fantastic Suite
  • Mega Room
  • Penthouse Room
  • Spectacular Room
  • Wonderful Room
  • Wow Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 270
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Gramercy and Murray Hill, Manhattan
Address: 201 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
(See Map)
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