Is The Park Hyatt New York Actually A Five Star Hotel? The Service Suggests Not…

Last night I wrapped up my third stay at the Park Hyatt New York — I stayed there opening night last August, then again the night of Thanksgiving.

My first stay was fantastic, as you’d expect, given that this is supposedly the flagship Park Hyatt property worldwide. However, my second stay was less stellar, though I chalked it up to it being Thanksgiving, and figured the “B” team was working.

So I was curious to see how my third stay was.

What defines a luxury hotel?

There’s a lot of debate as to what defines a “luxury” hotel. The way I see it, the requirements for a luxury hotel are as follows:

  • As a prerequisite, the hotel has to be physically gorgeous, whatever the design goal may be — in other words, for some hotels that means a classic look, for some hotels that means a contemporary look, and for others it means something inbetween; whichever design choice they go with, a luxury hotel can’t feel shabby/past its prime
  • Ultimately what “makes or breaks” a luxury hotel is the service — it’s all about the people, and without exceptional service a hotel can’t truly be considered five star/luxury

The Park Hyatt New York is physically gorgeous*

The Park Hyatt New York is physically gorgeous. There’s no denying that, from the “bones” to the furniture.

Park-Hyatt-New-York-18

There is one caveat, however. While the hotel is right around the corner from Central Park and in the famous One57 building, the rooms feature no views whatsoever. That’s because it’s on the lower floor of the building.

Park-Hyatt-New-York-16

And I get why it is, because if the hotel were on the higher floors I can’t even imagine how much a night would cost — a penthouse in this building just sold for over $100 million.

My point is simply that the hotel isn’t “perfect” physically. It’s nice on the inside, but the views outside aren’t that great — there are better views to be had at many hotels, and even from the Andaz 5th, for example.

The Park Hyatt New York service is completely unmemorable

For me this is the real shame. The views aren’t a deal-breaker given how beautiful the hotel is. But the service at this hotel is mediocre at best. Don’t get me wrong, this time around there was nothing actively bad about the service (unlike last time), but there was nothing I wouldn’t have also expected at the most basic Hyatt in New York:

  • When the hotel first opened they would escort you from the lower level lobby straight to your room for in-room check-in (the main lobby is located a few floors up). They didn’t do it over Thanksgiving, which I was forgiving of given that I figured they weren’t properly staffed. But the same happened this time.
  • The check-in experience wasn’t at all personal. On the plus side I was checked in in 30 seconds, but the service was exactly what I would have expected from an airport Hyatt.
  • At check-out I was just told “you’re all set, no charges.” The associate didn’t ask how my stay was, etc.
  • While waiting for an Uber downstairs I overheard the associates talking about how they needed to be reimbursed for a newspaper they bought for a guest, rather than saying bye to me.

Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t complaints, per se. But I’m just saying that this type of service doesn’t warrant rates of $700+ per night. I receive better service at the Andaz, which is typically less than half the price. And they’re also pretty good about upgrades, unlike this hotel.

As a Diamond at this hotel, the breakfast is also pretty disappointing. You get two eggs any style, coffee, juice, and toast. That’s it. So while it’s an “okay” breakfast, I’ve had better breakfasts at just about any other Hyatt property in New York (and sadly enough, breakfast might just be the best meal at The Back Door, based on the reviews I’ve read).

Park-Hyatt-New-York-21

Park-Hyatt-New-York-22

Bottom line

What’s fascinating is that this is Park Hyatt’s flagship property from the day it was opened, and Hyatt actually owns this property (they only have management contracts for a vast majority of their properties).

While the hotel is physically gorgeous, it lacks any views. Which would be fine if the service weren’t so damn mediocre.

I do have to add, though, that Christopher the doorman and Simon the concierge are absolute stars. But sadly based on my interactions, it stops with them.

I’m happy I’ve tried this hotel three times now, because I feel like I have a good sample. Here’s the crazy part — all things being equal, I prefer the Andaz 5th, I think. Even if the two properties were the same price (which they’re not) I’d choose the Andaz — it has better service, better rooms, better breakfast, and better views. While it’s not quite as luxurious “physically,” they actually try, unlike the Park Hyatt.

If you’ve stayed at the Park Hyatt New York, what has your experience been?

Comments

  1. Thank you for this. Have a 4 day trip to NY coming up, and I was debating splitting my time between Andaz and the Park Hyatt. Definitely going to split my time.

  2. My sample size was one, but I agree. I was hoping that the service would improve, or that I just had bad luck, but it sounds like not. The indoor pool was fantastic, and via room service the breakfast we had with our Diamond benefit covered whatever we wanted up to a certain amount. The service, however, was overall just cold and/or spotty. I also think I prefer the Andaz 5th, especially given the price difference…unless we just really want the indoor pool!

  3. The only advantages that PH NYC has over Andaz in my view are:
    -very nice pool and spa area to relax in
    -oversized soaking tub even in entry-level room.

    Otherwise, you are spot on.

  4. I stayed there on the opening night too, and had a very interesting experience. Even though the staff was great, I found that the management wasn’t as hospitable and interested in the guests. In any hotel that I’ve stayed at, I have found that the management usually sets the tone for the service in the hotel, from my interactions with the few at Park Hyatt New York, their performance now does not surprise me.

  5. Park Hyatt NYC also lacks overhead/ceiling lighting. Yes, the hotel is aware and has tall lamps on call if you complain. Also, there is NO dresser storage space (hello). And yes, if you call the front desk – they’ll bring you a big “trunk” to store your clothing. According to a PH staff member, doesn’t matter whether you have the grandest suite or the smallest standard room – all rooms have a closet space of about 1.5 feet in width which is too small for two people. What gives?

  6. Somehow I suspect selective memory at play. The check-in agent had to go through the normal script of confirming check out date, using points, late check out, amenity choice, breakfast options, making keys, handing over the keys (unless the keys were pre-made for pre-assigned rooms). That’s more than 30 seconds.

    Or perhaps your profile was marked as “Travel blogger/GPD/German efficient/no small talk”.

  7. Three reviews of the same hotel in six months? I feel that these repeat stay and flight reviews are “unmemorable” as well. Pick some new places to stay!

  8. Maybe they got negative feedback about the overly intimate in room check-in? I personally didn’t like it, it’s very awkward having them swipe your credit card and make your keys in the room. I’d prefer to get my keys at the front desk.

    On points the Park is 30k and the Andaz is 25k so I’d always go for the Park as it has a very nice pool. Also, I didn’t like the showers at the Andaz, they were physically nice, but it was impossible to control the water temperature. The food was bettter, however.

    Also, are you certain about the breakfast? We ordered a bunch of stuff, random menu items, mimosas, etc. and there was no charge.

  9. The ‘5 Star’ rating seems almost meaningless these days…..a lot of hotels get them, but most fail to maintain the standard consistently. Forbes and AAA are the primary rating guides in the US. Here is an interesting link to AAA’s specific rating criteria:

    http://newsroom.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/diamondguidelinesdec08.pdf

    I’m sure most reading this blog have stayed at 5 stars that don’t meet the service standards even if the rooms/facilities are nice (page 30 lists the standards if you are interested).

  10. The NY PH is all style over substance. I don’t think they are interested in paying, staying guests… It’s all about the “launch” parties for this event or that event… I’m not staying here again – I’d rather stay at the Hyatt Place. Now the PH Tokyo knows what service is all about…

  11. Not surprising. I had a reservation for the original opening night. When they didn’t make the date, management had Hyatt’s general customer service deal with the issue. The option they gave to me: rebook another hotel at hyatt.com. As you said, the service you’d expect from an airport property.

  12. I stayed last month. There was feces (yes feces, confirmed by the hotel housekeeping manager) on a couch in the living room area of the suite and the hotel could care less. The manager would not apologize for the situation. I have been dealing with Hyatt customer relations ever since just to get a basic apology they could care less. The team is mediocre, the management is beyond terrible, you are 100% correct the only saving grace is Christopher but after those first few steps into the building everything goes down hill from there.

  13. @TJ Andaz Napa did the exact same thing when they cancelled reservations due to the earthquake. No help whatsoever.

  14. Hi Ben. Stayed there myself last week. As a diamond member as well, all I could say was the service was ‘indifferent’ – everyone working there I interacted with gave the impression they could not care if I stayed there or not and in my experience this type of attitude is usually a very public result of bad internal morale in the place. I decided to move my last few days and surprisingly I moved into a suite at the Hyatt Times Sq and, though not as beautiful as a Park branded property, the staff are 100% better, approachable and engaging. It makes all the difference in your impression of a ‘Good’ stay

  15. Kate said the same thing about her stay there. Indifferent staff, slow room service and general higher-than-thou type attitude.

    Tried it to see if perhaps it would replace Andaz 5th as our go-to NYC property, but it certainly will not.

  16. Sometimes you are spot on Mr Lucky Ben sir
    Kudos for this post you renewed my faith in your assessments
    The property has an overly inflated ego and an aggressive revenue management that thinks it is the Luxury darling of them all worthy of whatever they ask
    .400 dollars for a top tier member upgrade with limited or no views? 800 plus dollars or 30,000 points isn’t enough for these greed mongers to upgrade a top tier member and build a relationship?
    From their slightly above average rooms that function poorly and have no luggage space what were the thinking?
    The breakfast was solid and would disagree there.
    Though your in the photos looks pitiful for a 5 star breakfast.Think you may have ordered poorly and the chef didn’t help matters

    The atmosphere on property is formal and stuffy which is odd
    Management is inept and hidden away from guests and clueless
    They really have a handful of fantastic folks working here but management has poisoned the well
    I’d stay at the Grand Hyatt over this luxury rip off. It might be imperfect but at least I wouldn’t fell ripped of for the investment
    Shame on Hyatt for allowing this property we all hoped would be the best Hyatt of them all
    Much better hotels than this all over the Big Apple.Only Hyatt diehards will stay here and over pay in exchange for blah average NYC experience with fancy lobby
    Spent to much money on public areas and short changed the rooms

  17. all rooms have a closet space of about 1.5 feet in width which is too small for two people. What gives?

    You did notice there were two closets, right?

  18. Other than the PH Sydney (and perhaps Melbourne and Canberra), there is no city in the world where a PH would be considered amongst the top properties in a given city. Certainly not Paris or Tokyo, and clearly not NY.

    I get it that many of the top properties aren’t readily point redemption possibilities…but if you want proper luxury, points need to be merely an afterthought.

  19. I’m laughing about this post. First, there are numerous 5 star/luxury hotels without views in various big cities. Second, there are numerous 5 star/luxury hotels where check-in and check-out can be just as quick and rudimentary (but efficient). Third, hotel elite status perks don’t define in any way whether the hotel as a whole is or is not 5 star/luxury; that is an issue for the hotel’s frequent guest program having nothing to do with the nature of the specific hotel property. After all, the FS and MO don’t offer any elite status at all to frequent guests, but I doubt the author would fault them that slight against their 5 star/luxury status.

    Finally, even the best 5 star/luxury hotels have service blunders. I’ve been to some of the best hotels in the world (Amans, Peninsulas, FS, MO, PH, StR, RC, etc). Only a few have had no service blunders. Service is as much about how smoothly operates during your stay as much as how the hotel responds when you indicate your dissatisfaction when something goes wrong.

    This article is pure fluff. If the author prefers the views at the Andaz 5th Ave property, then stop staying at the PH. If the author thinks the value of the Andaz 5th Ave is so much better than that of the PH, then why does Lucky continue to stay at the PH? If the author thinks that a human moment overheard between staff precludes 5 star/luxury status, then the author will need to adjust to the fact that no hotel is 5 star/luxury to all guests all of the time.

    Not impressive.

  20. I’ve got to agree with Brent. You have changed the content of your blog a bit. The reviews used to be the main attraction, but lately you have lost part of your interest in it, both in writing and trying new products. I think that you now produce more posts than before, but less reviews.
    Don’t get me wrong, your blog is still awesome and I love it, but you now write more about your travel lifestyle or your general ideas about the travel industry. It seems that your posts about your first impressions are kind of a way of getting rid to write the reviews. I thought that as you moved to hotels full time, that would mean a lot of reviews of new carriers, hotels, lounges and places, but that wasn’t the case, quite the opposite.
    I’m not complaining, I’ll keep accessing your wonderful blog several times a day. I just find a bit odd.

  21. I’ll pile on. Why do you keep reviewing the same hotels? It’s like airlines. Sit in coach for 13 hours review that. Review basic airport hotels. Review a train maybe or a cruise. The PH sucks yea we got that! Thanks

  22. Isn’t the name of the PH NYC rest. the “Back Room”? With a name like that one would expect a fun filled experience.

    I have learned to coach customer service personnel with every interaction. After being handed the keys to the room in a perfunctory way, one may ask:” How did your manager trained you to welcome guests?” A customer service oriented person will catch the opportunity to rectify by offering an explanation such as:”I’m sorry. Most customers are business clients and ask for expediency. I should have asked about your day so far. Would you accept this gesture to show appreciation?”

  23. Boarding Area bloggers have a fascination for Park Hyatt. Yes, it is a nice hotel and if you have the points to burn there is nothing wrong about staying there. However, with few exceptions like Maldives, Buenos Aires, Sydney there are way better hotels for what you pay for a Park Hyatt. For $700 in NYC I would have at least 5 hotels I would look before the Park Hyatt. Also, where a Park Hyatt costs the same as a Mandarin, Peninsula, Four Seasons, St Regis, it will not be my preferred hotel.

  24. In NYC, I’d rather pay cash for a new limited service hotel (Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn) or for a boutique hotel and save points for better use elsewhere.

  25. I stayed there for my 50th birthday and was not particularly impressed. Started at check-in, when I asked if I had been given an upgraded room (I’m a Diamond with 100+ nights a year). The answer was no “because all of the upgrade rooms (can’t remember what level those rooms were called) were booked” – well, actually, they weren’t, because they were still available for sale after I got to my room. So I mentioned this to the somewhat disinterested front desk folks on my way out to lunch, and they said they’d look into it. Which they never did. Keep in mind, this was for a one-night stay on a weekday, the week before Christmas, so the hotel was pretty much empty. They finally did upgrade me to a junion suite… around 9pm… while I was at a show. No clue what that was about. And while the Junior Suite was nice, it was nothing to write home about. Certainly not for price tag that room typically would fetch. The next day I checked into the Andaz on Wall Street, where I was celebrating my birthday with my family and friends. I was greeted like an old friend and immediately told they had upgraded me to the Buttonwood Suite for my four-night stay. I told the folks at the Andaz about my less-than-stellar impression of the Park Hyatt and they said “You’re not the first person we’ve heard that from.” In my opinion the Park Hyatt in NYC pales in comparison to the ones in Paris, Zurich, Washington, and Beijing.

  26. Hey Lucky,
    My wife and I have a points stay here over the weaken dog March 6th. Was wondering your thoughts on the value for using points compared to using it at Andaz 5th Ave? Especially considering the 20% back promotion going on. The location seems perfect as we are Attending the Bjork concert at Carnegie Hall
    Having read all of you recent reviews and others, it seems like a let down to stay at the Park Hyatt NYC. Bit worried about the service, compared to Park Hyatt Vendome, Vienna and DC, which were all amazing and made our stay perfect and made us huge fans of Hyatt.
    We are using all of our left over Hyatt points to do this stay and didn’t want to waste them, but paying cash isn’t an option for a hotel on this stay.
    So what are your thoughts, is it a good value for points redemption?

  27. @ Joel Parker — Given you’re trying to go somewhere on the same block as the Park Hyatt, I’d probably still stay there. With the 20% off promo it’s only marginally more expensive than the Andaz. I hope you have a good stay!

  28. Lucky, one other thought, what about the value of using 135000 Marriott points at the Essex House for three nights? Would that be a better value? Have you stayed there?

  29. @ Joel Parker — I don’t have any experience with the Essex House, but for what it’s worth I value Marriott points at half of what I value Hyatt points, so you can crunch the numbers accordingly in terms of value.

  30. I just missed you … I was there FEB 11-12. We did get the escorted-to-the-room check in and the staff was great. We didn’t use any of the in-house amenities, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *