We just returned from a long weekend trip to New York City, where our plans for the weekend centered around going to see the Classic East concert at Citi Field in Queens. When I was looking for a place to stay, there were not many options in Queens by the 7 train line that goes right to the ballpark. I saw that after leaving Queens, the 7 train’s first Manhattan stop is at Grand Central Station so my hotel search focused in on that area. There were several chain hotels in the area but when I looked at TripAdvisor, one independent hotel stood out – the Fitzpatrick Grand Central, originally built in 1916.
Fitzpatrick Grand Central
141 East 44th Street, New York City, NY 10017-4006
Here is a description of the hotel from their website:
The Fitzpatrick Grand Central is a hotel located in central Manhattan, New York City that provides warm Irish hospitality in an elegant atmosphere. The hotel recently completed a full renovation of guestrooms, corridors, and public spaces. Situated on East 44th Street directly opposite the Grand Central Terminal and close to Times Square, our 155 rooms and suites are the perfect location for a business trip, a weekend getaway or a family vacation to the heart of New York City.
The hotel was in the perfect location for this trip, looked like it was well kept up, received great reviews and I got a great price. Every week or so I checked around to see what else was available but always decided to stick with my gut decision and I’m glad I did.
For this stay, I booked the hotel through Travelocity (I still call this website Travel-o-city, anyone else?) Since it’s not a chain hotel, I wouldn’t lose out on any benefits by booking with a third party website. I stacked a couple of discounts together for my final price:
$524.34 – Room cost for 3 nights
+$80.85 – Taxes
-$47.19 – Save 9% off $300
$558.00 – Total Paid for 3 nights
Thank You Points earned by using Citi Prestige – 1674 (x 1.25 cents/point) = $20.92
Ebates rebate (4% back excluding taxes) = $20.98
Final relative cost = $516.10
For that price, I was already feeling pretty good about the booking considering that the TripAdvisor listing for the hotel was #50 of 468 Hotels in New York City.
Upon entering the lobby, we were invited to sit down at a desk for our check in procedures.
A very pleasant Irish host welcomed us to the hotel. We chatted for a bit and I mentioned that we would likely be out late at night due to the concerts and would like a quiet room so we could sleep in. She gladly looked and found us a room that wasn’t on the street side of the hotel (our two windows in the room looked onto nothing in particular and that was just fine for us). We were informed of the hotel policies, breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant (not included), and Wi-Fi (free in the lobby and seating area but $15 for 24 hours in the room for up to four devices).
We headed up to the room in a very nice marble floored elevator with wood and leather accents. The whole time we were saying to each other that this hotel was so much better than what they were charging for it.
Upon reaching the fifth floor, we headed to room 504. We headed down one hallway.
…. then turned a corner to be met by three doors, two of which could be closed off to make some sort of mini-suite. Our room was the door straight ahead. The whole atmosphere had a sense of Irish charm and nothing like a typical New York hotel.
Upon entering the room, we faced a desk and the bed. The TV was on the same wall as the entrance door and a cabinet was under the wall mounted television.
The bathroom was a good size and passed the shower curtain test (The curtain was not blown into the shower by the air conditioner vent in the bathroom.
For those of you who care, we were provided toiletries. For me, I was happy to see bar soap. Sharon doesn’t care (she brings her own liquid soap) so she’ll only take pictures of them if she can be in it (Edit from Sharon – I bring my own pillow, too, thank-you very much. And you hush – it took me 7 tries to get this shot and it’s still not straight!).
The room did have a proper size desk to work at, albeit with a very squeaky wooden chair. There was one plug on the front of the lamp so we could plug in the the computer. The next plug was against the wall but just close enough to the desk so I didn’t have to charge my phone on the floor.
The room had a good sized closet which was nice, as there was no where else in the room to put any clothes. There was also a safe, but we didn’t use it. I guess researching how UNsafe hotel safes are wasn’t a great idea.
The most interesting feature of the room was the cabinet under the television. It appears that it used to house a mini-fridge that has seen been removed. I guess we could have stored our suitcases in there?
OPINIONS OF THE HOTEL
We were really impressed with this hotel. The staff were all pleasant, helpful and seemed to be truly concerned about the guests. All guest requests were handled by the lobby associates, which could either be a wonderful system or a horrible one if the staff never followed through. One evening, we returned from the concert after eating a meal of hot dogs and french fries. We were going to be thirsty and only had warm sodas. I asked the front desk for some ice and she asked if she could bring some to our room in a few minutes. In five minutes, the same woman was at our door with a full bucket of ice (from the bar of the restaurant). This was not an isolated event but an example of how were treated the whole stay.
One more example was that as we were leaving the hotel in the afternoon, we noticed two managers walking the floor with a clipboard and checking on empty rooms to make sure they were ready for guests.
There were a few things about the room that were, well, annoying. The main one was that the room air conditioner was loud. No, like really loud. We can deal with white noise and if it was just constantly loud that would be fine. Not this one. At random times throughout the night, the unit would cycle off, but ONLY FOR TWENTY SECONDS!!!!!! and then cycle back on to full blast. Why stop for only twenty seconds, and yes we did count several times to make sure it was 20 seconds. Don’t judge ;-).
I also mentioned in the photo above that the curtain would fill like a sail and blow into the room whenever the air conditioner was on. Luckily, there were black out curtains that we used at nighttime but when we wanted some light in the room during the day, it was an interesting visual. I wish we had taken video.
The shower always had hot water. Only hot water. Or freezing cold water. The temperature valve was extremely sensitive so after the first time, you learned to change the setting while not standing under the shower.
This room was obviously not designed recently and the lack of outlets was noticeable. Sharon had to charge her phone on top of her suitcase across the room from the bed. I had to charge mine on the desk across the room. Not having an outlet or USB charger on a nightstand is a huge oversight nowadays.
I thought the bed was extremely comfortable. I don’t always sleep well on hotel beds but this one was just fine. Two pillows of differing support levels were provided – that was nice, and I managed to get a good night’s sleep for our nights there.
The location can’t be beat for access to Grand Central Station. It was less than a five minute walk from the front door. There was also a Pret A Manger and two Starbucks less than a block away so we were set for coffee and sandwiches. We also had some great food at the Urbanspace Vanderbilt that was much like a very high quality, trendy food court. All of these places were within a 10 minute walk to the hotel.
The E train from JFK airport goes to Lexington Ave/53rd St which is only a 10 minute walk from the Fitzpatrick Grand Central so you can get to/from the airport for the cost of a subway ride. We did take an Uber to get to Penn Station to take the train to Newark Airport to get home, so it’s a little less convenient getting to/from there.
I know that most people who write for miles and points websites would have looked at the location near Grand Central Station and immediately booked a room at the Grand Hyatt New York. It’s right next to Grand Central and it’s a Hyatt so you can earn points and stay credits. It’s also rated #323 of 468 Hotels in New York City by TripAdvisor and was more expensive for the nights of our stay. If you want to read reviews of that hotel, check out links here and here. Just another thing I love about not having to worry about accumulating nights at a particular hotel chain is being able to stay wherever I want with no regrets.
If this hotel was a bit closer to the Broadway area (it’s about a 20 minute walk to the theaters) I’d consider it for our usual NYC trips, especially if I would be able to repeat getting such a great deal. Don’t count out a hotel because it’s not part of a huge chain. You may miss out on some great deals or hotels with something special to offer.
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