Review: W New York Union Square

Full disclosure: This experience is in conjunction with the Starwood AmEx Stars program I’m participating in, courtesy of the Starwood American Express. They covered the cost of my flights to New York, my two night stay at the W New York Union Square, and tickets to the American Express card member event at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. That being said, all opinions expressed are my own.

I arrived into JFK on American at around 2PM, and took the AirTrain/subway to Union Square, which took about an hour. The W Union Square is just a couple of blocks from the subway station, so very easy to reach. The first thing that struck me about the hotel was that it was in an older building, which doesn’t feel very W-ish (and for me that’s a good thing).


W Union Square exterior


W Union Square entrance

In the lobby I immediately asked myself whether I was in the right hotel, because there were no disco lights, loud music, etc. It felt much more like a Luxury Collection property than a W.


Lobby


Lobby

I was immediately assisted by the friendly associate. I asked about the possibility of a suite upgrade as a Platinum member, and after looking at availability for a couple of minutes she found me a “Cool Corner Suite.”

I took the elevator up to the 7th floor, where my room was located. The suite consisted of a living room at the entrance, with a couch, two chairs, desk, and a TV.


Living room


Living room

The living room featured great views of Union Square. It’s always nice to stay in a “greener,” more relaxing part of New York, as there’s not as much street noise.


View of Union Square

The hallway led to the bathroom and bedroom.


Hallway

The bathroom was a good size with a sink, shower, tub, and toilet.


Bathroom


Sink

The shower was simple, well designed, and had great water pressure and temperature control.


Shower


Bathtub

The bedroom featured a king W Signature Bed, chair, and TV.


Bedroom


Bedroom

The biggest surprise came when I walked over to the TV and noticed an empty box of condoms sitting out in the open on the table. It’s not like they were hidden somewhere, they were just out in the open. If this was an oversight it’s a pretty bad one, since it makes you wonder what else they missed. So I almost have to believe it was a disgruntled housekeeper or something.

I’m not (quite) so prudish that it offended me, but I still called down to the front desk to let them know, since I think it’s in everyone’s best interest for them to talk to the housekeeper. They said they’d send up a manager, and about 20 minutes later someone showed up. They asked if there was anything they could do for me and I said there wasn’t, but rather just that I wanted to be sure they knew about the situation so it doesn’t happen again.


Condoms

Around the same time (so unrelated to the condom situation) I was sent a super-sweet (literally) welcome amenity, consisting of a bunch of chocolate, raspberries, and juice. Very nice touch!


Welcome amenity

Much like at the W New York Times Square, Platinum breakfast could only be had via room service, so I had juice and English Breakfast tea, and was also served a basket consisting of a croissant, two muffins, and a pastry.


Breakfast


Breakfast

The hotel had a nice gym in the basement, which I used all three days of my stay.


Gym


Gym

On the whole this is probably my favorite W I’ve stayed at, mainly because it doesn’t really have a W vibe. On the whole I found the service to be very good and I thought the rooms were functional and nicely designed. I also liked the location at Union Square, given that it offers easy subway access to most parts of the city and is a relaxing area. I was a bit shocked by the box of condoms just sitting on the counter, but I guess it has to happen sooner or later if you travel enough.

Anyway, this hotel typically goes for $450+ per night, so I’d consider using “Cash & Points” if I were to return, which makes it 8,000 Starpoints plus $150 per night.

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Comments

  1. It’s your favourite W hotel because it’s the least W hotel type you’ve ever been to?
    So in conclusion, you don’t like the W hotels.

  2. I actually live on the corner of East 11th and 5th Ave. Can’t say they were my condoms though haha.

    I’ve actually been wondering what this hotel looks like from the inside for some time now though. When I emerge from the 14th st subway I always notice the bright orange ‘W’ sign. Thanks for the info!

  3. We stayed here a number of years ago… upgraded to the similar suite (absent the box with absent condoms)… I like the Union Square location and the fact that the lighting in the halls and public spacess in this W is a little above darkness

  4. This used to be an office building and I had an office on the 12th floor overlooking the park. Now I work downtown and I wish I was still in union square. It’s a great area.

  5. Nice review, you are on a roll! Relevant review for me as I have avoided the hotel because I didn’t think I was hip enough.

    Did you check out Eataly, which is nearby?

    And kudos for your gym dedication while on the road!

  6. Ben, When staying at the W, the bottom drawer under the TV is always stacked with “personal” amenities. One of which are condoms. It could be that the housekeeper was stocking them and simply forgot to take it with them. It still doesn’t mean they were right in just leaving it there.

  7. Did you really just call Union Square a “more relaxing” part of New York? Pretty sure you just lost all of your non-tourist cred. For the 95% of New York City that isn’t Midtown/Times Square, USq is as busy as it gets.

  8. Lucky it seems you very seldom have positive reviews of Ws (or their showers at least!), which begs the question why you continue to stay at the chain?

  9. I’m guessing he’s trying out as many of the Ws as possible. It seems like he finally found one he’d return to here. Condom issue aside, it does seem like one of their better properties (unless you’re really a fan of the W’s style).

  10. @ Will — This stay was two weeks ago and the hotel was booked for me.

    Also, at the end of the day I’m happy to try just about any hotel once. It was a quick stay and I’d rather experience a hotel and be able to make decisions based on that in the future than only returning to the same places.

  11. @ Lucky- So, in general, would you recommend the W chain, or avoid it? I find a more pleasant atmosphere at Westins almost always. The only reason I would choose a W is if I was trying to party with a group of friends or stay after a concert/event. I can’t imagine it being appealing as a business hotel, in general.

  12. @ Will — While there are some exceptions (and I quite liked this hotel, for example), I try to avoid the chain on the whole. Far prefer Westin, Le Meridien, and St. Regis.

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