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Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel 4.0

Midtown West, New York City, New York

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Within four-minute walk of Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and Herald Square
  • Stylish, bright rooms with coffeemakers and mini-fridges; some have furnished terraces
  • Massive Empire Suite with full kitchen and Empire State Building views
  • Digitally enhanced property with virtual concierge, efficiency elevators, and mobile check-in
  • Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub includes an 8,000-square-foot patio with a retractable roof
  • Impressive workspace and chic bar in lobby 
  • My Belly's Playlist provides bespoke room service from a seasonal menu
  • Free access to classes and equipment at 24-hour Planet Fitness in the building
  • Five sophisticated event rooms with natural light and customizable space
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Valet and nearby garage self-parking available (for a fee)
  • Club-level guests get access to lounge with free continental breakfast (weekdays) and beverages

Cons

  • Privacy shades aren't currently available between frosted-glass showers and rooms (as of our visit)
  • Neighborhood is loud and chaotic (noise not heard in the hotel)
  • No pool or spa 
  • Room service isn't available 24/7

Bottom Line

The upscale Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel opened in 2016 with a "living hotel" concept that successfully combines cutting edge-technology and, surprisingly, fashion. Its location a block from Penn Station is both a blessing and a curse, bringing fast access to trains and the hordes of tourists and chaos that come with them. Though, fortunately, noise isn't a problem inside the hotel. The 348 rooms and suites are contemporary and well-lit by natural light, plus mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi come standard. Rock & Reilly's Irish Pub serves three meals a day on an enormous patio with a retractable roof. Guests can also have a cocktail or hear a DJ set in the lobby's bar and communal workspace. Compare rates with the W New York, another stylish property with a Bliss Spa on the slightly quieter eastern side of Manhattan. 

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Scene

Technology-enhanced chain hotel with artistic nods to the historic neighborhood

Reception is located on the sixth floor of the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, but guests should make a pit stop at the virtual concierge's discovery portal located on the first floor. The portal was made in partnership with Time Out New York and includes up-to-the-minute information on everything from restaurants to shopping to events, all available by placing your feet in a certain spot and pointing at the interactive wall. Other cool tech features in the hotel include lights, music, and art that change in the lobby, hallways, and public areas as guests pass by. 

Up on the sixth floor, the open-concept lobby is staffed by roving desk agents armed with tablets for fast check-in. Every evening, a bell rings and a cocktail ritual takes place. The functional, Art-Deco space includes custom avant-garde art that pays homage to the Garment District neighborhood, such as the textured high heels installation on the wall and men's hat sculptures placed on shelves. The lobby opens onto a large lounge area filled with communal and more private clusters of seating and accessible outlets. Thread Bar is tucked against one wall and a customizable cabinet opens up into a DJ booth for evening events. The whole space overlooks the retractable roof of Rock & Reilly’s below.  

The fashion theme continues in hallways, which feature exposed concrete walls and carpets with a long, purple loose-thread pattern. Efficiency elevators are called via a touch-screen on the exterior elevator bank -- a feature that can be confusing at first but it ensures shorter wait times for traversing the 29 floors. Hotel agents provide a brief introduction to the system after guests have checked in. 

On weekdays, business travelers and tourists make up the bulk of the clientele. Though there aren't any family-specific features here, kids are a common sight. Weekends are mostly devoted to couples and families in the city on vacation, and the restaurant and bar are both popular with local office workers. 

Location

Walkable and bustling location in Midtown's Garment District 

Unless they're going to Madison Square Garden or Macy's flagship store, Midtown's Garment District is a neighborhood that most New York residents try to avoid. The transportation hub of Penn Station is both a blessing and a curse. It's usually filled with tourists, chain stores, chaos, and honking horns. Still, the area is ultra convenient for getting around the city (by foot, train, or subway) and even the New York Rangers call the Renaissance Midtown home when they're playing at the nearby arena.

  • Two-minute walk to Penn Station
  • Two-minute walk to Herald Square and Macy's flagship store
  • Four-minute walk to Madison Square Garden
  • Nine-minute walk to Times Square
  • 10-minute walk to Bryant Park
  • 18-minute walk to the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park
  • 20-minute subway ride to Chinatown
  • 24-minute walk to the Museum of Modern Art
  • 24-minute subway ride to the ferry for the Statue of Liberty
  • 25-minute walk or 11-minute subway ride to Central Park
  • 45-minute drive to LaGuardia Airport
  • One-hour drive or subway ride to John F. Kennedy International Airport

Rooms

Contemporary rooms with large windows, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers; some add private terraces 

Stylish rooms at the Renaissance are larger and brighter than the average New York hotel room. Each is warmly decorated with white-rose patterned wallpaper, wood accent walls, and fun art inspired by the Garment District location, like a sewing machine sculpture or pencils placed in a mouth-shaped holder. Black etched headboards make white linens pop on single king beds or two queen-size beds. All rooms come with a small closet, empty mini-fridge, coffeemaker, coffee packets, large flat-screen TV with internet and Netflix connectivity, telephone, safe, and free Wi-Fi. 

In some rooms, glass walls separate the showers from the bedroom, and though the walls are partially frosted for privacy, the light shining from the bathroom into the bedroom can be bothersome. The hotel has ordered privacy blinds to be installed in 2017. Otherwise, mostly spacious bathrooms include either a shower/tub combo or walk-in shower with rainfall showerhead, and spacious vanity. Aveda toiletries, a magnifying mirror, bathrobe, slippers, and hairdryer are provided. 

Some of the suites have private terraces with views of the rivers, city, or Empire State Building -- all rooms are naturally lit by large windows. 

The Empire Suite is the splashiest unit in the hotel. Striking artwork includes a chain-laden chandelier over a custom-built wood table and series of sketches displayed on shelves in the small screening rooms. The luxury suite comes complete with a full stainless-steel kitchen, wine bar, separate living area, and gorgeous bathrooms. Views of the iconic building that it's named after are on offer from the floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Features

Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub, customizable meeting spaces, free 24-hour Planet Fitness, and free Wi-Fi 

The best features at the Renaissance New York Midtown are focused on food and drinks. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub, a modern gastropub with 48 flat-screen TVs and an 8,000-square-foot patio covered by a retractable roof. It's a wildly popular spot on game days and a full bar provides cocktails and a huge assortment of draft beers. Menu items include gourmet burgers with parmesan truffle fries, seasonal flatbreads, and kale salads. Thread Bar, located just off the lobby, is a quieter spot for cocktails and wine, though it does stay busy with locals and guests. Guests can also order room service (with limited hours) from My Belly's Playlist, an outside company that provides take-out style delivery in disposable packaging from a local restaurant. Breakfast isn't included in room rates. 

Guests can take the elevator to the second floor of the hotel for free 24-hour access to Planet Fitness. Two floors provide a huge amount of LifeFitness cardio and weight equipment. Classes, like intro to free weights and ab circuit, are also free. Some travelers may be disappointed that the hotel lacks a pool and spa.

Five modern event rooms include huge windows and movable walls, allowing for customizable spaces. Audiovisual equipment, outdoor space, and catering can be arranged. Wi-Fi is free throughout. Valet parking is available for a fee, or guests can park in a paid garage across the street from the hotel. There's an executive lounge off of the lobby for gold- and platinum-level guests. Free snacks, bottled water, and continental breakfast (on weekdays) are available. 

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Address

218 W 35th St, New York City, New York 10001-2562, United States

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