Returning to Le Parker Meridien New York

Le Parker Meridien in New York didn’t participate in Starwood Preferred Guest until December 2008, when it entered the program as a category 6 hotel.

In February 2009, with the annual re-categorization of hotels, it dropped to category 5 — making it a great value for points stays in New York. Most of the year it was just 12,000 Starwood points, which considering that New York hotel rates can often be high (and most chains have most of their decent hotels in the top redemption tier or close to it) was a pretty good value.

That, and that Starwood’s Platinum members could usually rely on getting a junior suite, made it truly recommendable.

Sadly with the February 2012 recategorizations it jumped back up to category 6, most of the year 20,000 points per night, and no longer a redemption value — especially when you can find sub-$300 rates.

In my May 2009 review of the property I highlighted ‘Burger Joint’ the restaurant in the hotel that serves decent and cheap-for-New York burgers and fries. It gets busy, it’s hidden from view by draperies, and can suffer long lines at peak times. During my 2009 stay though I called down from my room to pre-order and skipped to the front of the line to pick up my food.

I didn’t return to Burger Joint on this visit, nor did I make a stop at the hotel’s famous spot for breakfast Norma’s.

The hotel was just a room to me, the second place I stayed after the Grand Hyatt (which got pricier the second night, and which I had a bit of trepidation about since the previous time i had stayed there — in 2006 — it was quite noisy).

I checked in at 4pm and was given a junior suite on the 9th floor. Walking into the room the smell of smoke immediately hit. Looking straight ahead at the window in the living room, water was dripping down. That’s where the air conditioning was, and the condensation was collecting and making a mess. There was mold at the ceiling by the window.

I went back down to the front desk (one of the notable things about the elevator is that there is a television with old cartoons playing) and explained that I had just checked in “but we were going to need to try again.” I was given the same room but on the top floor, no smoke and no mold. It was a connecting room but I never heard anyone next door.

The room was fine, bathroom had Peter Thomas Roth amenities which I had first tried here in 2009 but has since rolled out across Hilton.

The battery was dead in the remote control for the television, a quick call and fresh batteries were delivered. The television is on a swiveling stand that turns around so that you can watch the same TV from either the bedroom or the living room. I was told by maintenance that they were in the process of changing out televisions to have flat screens. The picture quality on this older one was definitely showing its age.

The room looked just as it did 3 years ago, the television certainly needs a re-do and perhaps there’s more work at the hotel to be done than that since the agent at the front desk suggested that the mold is a problem they’ve had from air conditioning condensation in a lot of the rooms.

But overall it’s a good and comfortable hotel, and one that’s priced a lot lower often times than comparable quality properties in the city. It’s just a shame that it’s no longer category 5 for Starwood Preferred Guest redemptions, I’d be surprised if I ever would use points here as a category 6.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In 2009 and 2010….it would always have been 12,000 points as Starwood suspended high season rates (e.g, 16,000 for a category 5) those years for SPG redemptions

  2. Thanks for the update. I stayed there several years ago, and it seems nothing has changed. I found the main annoyance to be the VERY dim bulbs in the VERY tiny flexible lamps to the left and right of the bed (visible in picture 4). These made it literally impossible to read in bed, VERY bad design. I never did find the Burger Joint–didn’t know it had been hidden away behind curtains! Thanks for solving that minor mystery too!

  3. Go back and have those pancakes at Norma’s. They’re tied with Clinton Street Bakery on Clinton St on the lower east side. Yum.

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