I have hotels in Manhattan I like to stay in when we’re going to see shows. A different hotel might be better when I’m going to see the premiere of MST3K at a movie theater near Lincoln Center. There’s even a great hotel when we’re in New York to sing at Carnegie Hall. This trip called for something different and totally foreign to me; I needed a hotel that would be good for seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Fortunately, we planned this trip way in advance. I was able to do my research and found the best hotel for our needs and our price range. I would have loved if I could afford to stay at one of the hotels where you can see the parade from your room but I wasn’t willing to pay several thousand dollars for a package (as the places with the good locations know they’re desirable and charge accordingly). The hotel I picked was available to book with points so it was really the perfect place to stay.
Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Times Square
1033 Avenue of the Americas
New York City, New York
The Residence Inn is located on the corner of 39th St. and 6th Avenue. This is a little further south than we’d usually prefer but it was a great location to see the parade. Since we were flying into and out of JFK, the hotel was conveniently close to Penn Station (where we’d be using the LIRR to travel to and from the airport). I questioned the hotel’s use of Times Square in the marketing but we were only a five-minute walk from the area.
So the location of this hotel was its main selling point for us. We still stayed there for five nights. How was the rest of our stay?
The lobby is on the ground floor and we were helped immediately. Our room was ready, as we arrived just around the hotel check-in time. Just to the right of the desk was the grab and go pantry where we picked up some sodas. For the rest of our stay, we just stopped at the Walgreens around the corner to pick up supplies.
I’ve looked online and the best I can tell, this hotel was built in 2005 and hasn’t been renovated since. I’d believe that (and I’ll show why soon enough). The hotel has 357 rooms spread across 30 floors. I’m not sure if it was because of Sharon’s Platinum Marriott status, but we were assigned a room on the 28th floor. There were only 12 rooms on our floor so there wasn’t much noise from the surrounding rooms.
Our room was just down the short hallway and to the right. There was another room with the door straight ahead but the rooms weren’t connected in any way.
Upon entering the room, you walk into the kitchenette area. We used the full fridge to keep sodas and milk cold and to store our leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Since we only had two sets of silverware and glassware, it seemed a bit wasteful to wash our only set of forks and two glasses in the dishwasher every day but that’s what happened when housekeeping cleaned our room.
Just to the right of the entry was the bathroom. It wasn’t large but we expect that in New York hotel rooms. Sharon even said, “I can’t get a picture of the tub because there’s no room.” Turns out, we should have looked and we might have noticed that the shower head was broken.
Here’s the rest of the bathroom.
As usual, Sharon was thrilled to take a picture of the Paul Mitchell branded toiletries.
At the end of the “kitchen”, there was a bar area with two chairs. We used this as the YMMV office for the duration of our stay. The high-top bar chairs weren’t the most comfortable workspace but the access to multiple power outlets made it the best available option.
Our queen size bed was comfortable but a little hard for my taste. Having two night stands with plenty of plugs was nice for a change.
The television was placed on top of a set of drawers against the windows, one of the oddest locations we’ve seen, and made it impossible to watch from bed. Across from the bed was a sofa/bed combo and a table that we never used for the entire stay.
It isn’t until you’ve stayed in a room for a few days that you start to notice the small things. Well, it didn’t take long to see that the previous guest had a serious concern about privacy and felt the need to block the peephole with a tissue.
While that should have been removed before we checked in, some of the other cosmetic problems will only be fixed when they renovate the hotel.
We don’t sweat the small things and I’m not going to grump about nicks on the countertop and wood drawers. The room was kept clean and it served our needs for the five nights we stayed there. The room had a decent view of the intersection below.
One of the bigger problems we experienced during our stay had nothing to do with the room, but with how we needed to get to and from the room.
The Rest of the Hotel
There are not enough elevators to service the number of guests at the hotel. It’s such a problem that the hotel even mentions it in the elevator stating if you want to go the breakfast, you could go early or late and avoid “rush hour.” I’m sorry, but it’s not the guests’ fault that they want to eat at breakfast time; it’s your fault that you don’t have the ability to get them from their room to the breakfast.
We experienced a major problem when trying to get an elevator around 11 AM (check out time). Every “down” elevator stopping at our floor was already full when it got there. We found out that people were boarding “up” elevators and taking them to the top because every “down” elevator was always full. Remember, we were staying on the 28th floor. If the elevator is full when it gets to us, what about all the floors below us.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about the hotel. The hotel has a large laundry room and a gym on the bottom floor and every day they had a breakfast buffet. There was also a bar and restaurant at the hotel. We didn’t take advantage of any of these benefits but I can see how they could be a huge plus for guests staying there. Many of the other guests we saw were families and the appeal of a large room with a kitchenette in New York would be a huge draw to them.
Prices at this hotel can vary wildly going from around $175 a night during the slow season to over $600 a night during holiday weekends, like Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. While it would be worth it for the lower price, I’d be really disappointed if I shelled out $2,000 for a three-day weekend stay and had a room that’s showing its age and had to wait fifteen minutes for an elevator to get to breakfast.
For us, this was a perfect place to stay because the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade went right by our front door. We were able to leave the hotel at 5:30 AM and grab a spot on the curb. When the parade finished, we were upstairs and in our room within thirty minutes hiding under the covers trying to thaw out and get some sleep before going out to Thanksgiving dinner. What else could we have asked for?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary