The Plaza Hotel, NYC
I think its safe to say that The Plaza is one of the most famous Hotels in the world. Regarding my stay I have good and bad news. Let’s start with the good news first.
Let’s be honest, when you stay at The Plaza, you’re almost wishing someone would ask you…”So where are you staying while in New York?” It was my first stay at The Plaza so my expectations were very high. Who has not heard of The Plaza Hotel? Well at least one NY subway attendant when I needed directions but that’s another story.
The Plaza Hotel in NYC is iconic to say the least. As you know, I try to do all things travel on the cheap. But I can imagine you are squinting right now saying “but Sacha, how in heavens does one do The Plaza Hotel on the cheap”.
Yes its true, accommodations ending with the word ‘room’ begin at about $800. And suites well, you can guess or just check out their site here
Remember that post I did on my trip to Dubai? I applied for and used the Fairmont Chase Visa card at the Fairmont Hotel there. One of the main reasons I got the card was for the amenities like free 2-night stays per year at Fairmont properties. (Update, the Chase card has been discontinued)
I used my 2 free stays for The Plaza in the spring so instead of paying $800 per night I paid whatever the taxes were. I went once in late March and the end of April.
Palm Court Restaurant
This Palm Court is a very beautiful grand venue and lived up to my expectations. They had Saturday breakfast here and it was fabulous. Narrowing down my selection was very difficult since the menu sent my head spinning with a variety of favorites. The food was perfection and seriously fresh. I didn’t hold back since I was using my Fairmont Chase dining certificates aka more freebies. Either way this is not the place you want to hold back. I’d advise you to go for it since I doubt that you will be disappointed with anything from their kitchen.
The Caudalie Spa is located on the 4th floor of the hotel and it is fabulous and expansive. The setting is contemporary and very relaxing. My treatment consisted of a pedicure only since I had a mani scheduled here www.tenoverten.com later. The mani and pedi area is nicely understated with one mani table and two pedi stations near the entrance. The polish selection is just right in that there are not too many colors to choose from which sometimes is a little overwhelming. I scored a few Caudalie products while at the spa. Their French milled soap is the best. It feels very creamy and makes my skin so soft.
When seated I was given a heated wrap for my neck which melted me like a snowman. It was about 2 degrees that weekend and I’d been walking around that city all day so it was a nice touch.
Check out the site:
The hotel has a great location at Central Park South and within walking distance of shopping on 5th, Madison and Park avenues. The hotel is also very close to the 57th & 5th Ave subway stop which I used coming in from Amtrak.
The setting is very beautiful and the food left nothing to be desired.
Now The Not so Good News
Okay, I pride myself on fair and honest opinions so please understand my first beef is a personal preference so therefore not necessarily negative. …..it’s the Plaza Hotel décor.
My preference is modern contemporary chic, not like George Washington slept here. I actually think they had a portrait of GW on my floor near the elevator or some old dude from the Wig Party. I don’t really require embroidered or tasseled anything. In my opinion it’s just another place where dust can cling. I think the suites are a bit more traditional but the rooms are nothing special.
Please expect a very severely conservative decorative theme for the rooms. I think the suites are a bit nicer but the price will blow your top off.
Maybe I’ve spent too much time overseas because the US properties are really beginning to excel at underwhelming. Wait, now just because I say this does not mean that I don’t love my country, its just a little tough love. I expected to be wowed when I walked in the door but I think that my stay at the Kimpton Drake property in San Francisco made a much better impression. Another area where the US hospitality industry needs attention is the service. When I was at the Dubai Fairmont a door man I never saw before greeted me by my last name. There were smiles all the way around and they seemed genuine. Everyone seemed ‘proud’ to help you and make your stay special.
When I approached The Plaza, granted I was on foot and was not dripping with diamonds but the welcome was ho-hum. The two doormen were talking and didn’t even say hello or welcome.
When I entered it was not evident where to check-in so it would have been nice if they gave a little direction to the front desk. There was only one person to check folks in but luckily I was the only one there. I don’t think the guy gave me very much in the way of eye contact and did not ask me anything about the preference as far as floor or location for the room or the view. Don’t get me wrong I was not looking for a good butt kissing just a step above the Sheraton and up to that point I just wasn’t feeling it.
The room was smaller than just about any US standard room I’ve had before. The bathroom was a 10 out of 10 though. It was almost as large as the sleeping area with marble everywhere. There was no tub, just a large shower with huge shower heads and great water pressure. The toiletries are Caudalie so plus plus there. The French milled soaps make your skin so soft.
After the 3 hour train ride from DC and walking all day from store to store I was plenty tired and just wanted to grab a snack and get to bed. For my first stay, the view from the room partially faced a building façade and a roof top, nothing to see at all. I think each floor has a dedicated attendant because when I arrived to my room, before heading out, an attendant stopped by to let me know how to reach him if I needed anything. Later, when readying for bed, I was unable to get the iPad remote control working and I had a few other questions. I called the attendant but no one showed, so then I called the front desk for help and they said they’d send someone. About 20 minutes later someone showed up and after looking he said that what I already knew that it needed to be charged but I looked everywhere and could not figure out where the charging station was located. He began to look and couldn’t find anything either. He said maybe the person before me took it. Well that was the last thing I would have thought. Instead I figured I was just looking in the wrong place but this was frustrating because I was so tired and had to wait for someone to show up before I could shower, kick my shoes off and relax. In other words, no stellar service or attention to detail. Whoever prepped the room for my stay should have made sure the devices where charged and ready for use.
Then finally in bed I started to hear some construction or trash trucks on the streets. This was not just a little low noise, it was loud and under normal circumstances I would have requested a different room but again, I was too tired to move and didn’t have confidence that the move would go quickly or smoothly. I can imagine that the folks who paid full fee for their rooms must have been very disappointed but I guess this it’s expected to some degree being in the downtown area.
For my second stay in April when checking in I made sure to mention the awful experience I had with the noise etc and received a room with a view of the park.
Its difficult to believe that anyone out there is paying upwards of $800 per night for a room at this hotel. Yes, I know staying in MYC is very expensive so if I am paying that kind of money it wouldn’t be at this property. Sorry just my opinion.
The food court on the lower level was disappointing. Although maybe impressive for De Moines it was not for depressing for NYC. The food court is fine for a snack but not for a meal.
Please, save your time and appetite for someplace else but if you must grab-n-go, don’t forget to request your discount as a hotel guest.
Chase Fairmont Visa (Discontinued)
The main, no the only reason for my visit to this particular property was that it was free! Yep, you heard that right, a normally $800plus room was free.
Here are the actual benefits for Fairmont Visa card holders and Presidents Club members. See, Fairmont Visa cardholder you are automatically ranked as Presidents Club member.
Okay let me break this down. Last year I made a visit to Dubai via Belgium and Amsterdam. Prior to the trip I saw a promotion for the Chase Fairmont Visa Card. I used the card to pay for my stay in Dubai which qualified me for the promotions above. There was a minimum spend required within a certain length of time. The spend limit was pretty low too. The card gets you the Visa certificates above and automatically gets you President Club status with their loyalty program. With President’s club status you also get the second tier of certificates. Hey what can I say….. it was a good deal so I jumped on it.
Normally Folks Pay:
Room 1 night: $750
Spa Pedi: $65
Room 1 night Comp: $0
Breakfast Cert: $0
Spa 2Cert: $15