It’s that time of year: Tennis fans are descending on the Big Apple to catch the 2011 US Open Grand Slam tournament, taking place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Aug. 29 to Sept. 11. If you never miss a televised game and have posters of Roger Federer and Dinara Safina taped above your bed, this might include you. If you don’t know much about tennis but think Andy Roddick and/or Maria Sharapova are oh so dreamy, and want to mix tennis viewing with Broadway shows and great restaurants, this might include you, too. We compiled a list of hotels for every type of fan, and they’re all convenient to the 7 subway line that heads to the tennis center (get off at Mets-Willets Point Station in Queens).
The Grand Hyatt is our top pick for hard-core fans. Not only is it on the same block as the Grand Central stop on the 7 subway line, it's also a good place to rub elbows with your favorite tennis stars, as players have stayed at the hotel in the past. (HotelChatter previously saw Lexuses with "Official Car of the U.S. Open" printed on the sides in front of the hotel, and guests have commented on the stargazing opportunites as well). The hotel decorates the lobby with oversize tennis rackets and balls during the tournament.
If you enjoyed the steamy chemistry between Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany in "Wimbledon", combine your love of tennis with a little romance at Library Hotel, which we rated as one of the most romantic hotels in New York. (Be sure to ask to stay in the love room or the erotic literature room, and indulge in the free wine and cheese from 5 to 8 p.m.) It's a short walk to the Grand Central stop on the 7 subway line, but the subway hub is also convenient to other fun tourist destinations in the city should you weary of tennis.
The Dylan Hotel is located on East 41st Street, about a five-minute walk away from the Grand Central stop on the 7 subway line. It's also within walking distance of the famous New York Public Library and Bryant Park. Free Wi-Fi, a sleek design, a great on-site steakhouse and a price tag often under $200 a night make this a great pick for travelers on a budget (buying lots of tennis tickets can sure get pricey).
If you like to play tennis as well as watch it, the Millenium UN Plaza is your best bet, as it's the only hotel in Manhattan with its own indoor tennis court. If you're lucky, you even might see some tennis stars practicing here; the Williams sisters were spotted warming up on the court before the US Open a few years ago. Fortunately, you don't have to trade convenience to the games for these bonsues; the hotel's Midtown East location is about a 10-minute walk from the Grand Central stop on the 7 subway line.
The Waldorf Astoria is not only one of the top luxury hotels in the city, it's also home to one of the city's best spas. If you're looking to mix tennis with high-class pampering, this is the spot. Even though you probably didn't strain your muscles in a grueling match, even watching the players is exhausting, and the 14,000-square-foot Guerlain Spa offers a wide range of indulgent (and pricey) treatments. Grand Central is within walking distance.
If you're bringing the kids along on your tennis tournament vacay, we recommend the Affinia 50. It earned a spot on our family-friendly roundups for its safe, convenient location (near the famous FAO Schwarz toy store), its laid-back lounge with plenty of board games, and its popular "Jet-Set Kids" promotion, where young guests receive a New York City guidebook for kids, plus NYC stickers, a scrapbook, and even a digital camera. The Grand Central stop on the 7 subway line is about a 10-minute walk away.
We rated this homey boutique hotel as one of New York's hidden gems for its wonderfully warm staff, free coffee and popcorn, and free daily wine and cheese. It's in Manhattan's hottest tourist destination, Times Square, and that means there's plenty to see and do when the tennis matches are over. The Times Square stop on the 7 subway line is only a few minutes walk away.
After the tennis matches are over, it's time to head to the shows! The Hilton Times Square is within easy walking distance of both the Times Square stop on the 7 subway line and Broadway's hottest plays, so it's convenient for enjoying both. The Hilton also has a lot to offer for a midrange hotel: It's stylish, has a modern, 24-hour gym, relatively large rooms, and perks like a minibar and plush bathrobes.
Watching exhilarating tennis matches can sure get your appetite up, and luckily New York is home to some of the world's best restaurants. Major foodies might consider booking a room at The New York Palace, which houses inventive New American restaurant Gilt, winner of two Michelin stars. Diners can enjoy menu items like squab breast with foie gras in an ornate, cathedral-ceilinged setting and discuss the tennis highlights of the day. Grand Central Station is approximately seven blocks and one avenue away.