W Union Square New York: Good Enough for the Neighborhood

I do realize that lukewarm titles are the worst thing you can do when writing a blog. But that’s more or less the way I come away feeling after a one night stay at the W Union Square.

  • It was a very serviceable hotel, generally clean and comfortable, and the staff were friendly.
  • The room wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t outrageous by New York standards either, and it was very convenient for where I wanted to be that evening.
  • In similar circumstances, I would return.

New York City hotels are priced pretty high, though there are some reasonably decent hotels that can represent a good value. I love the Andaz 5th Avenue, of course.

Since the last thing I was doing Wednesday night was the Amex Everyday launch party and I had a morning flight out of New York, I decided I wanted to stay close to the party. That way I could just walk back quickly, go to bed, and get up early for my flight.

The event was right at Union Square Park, more or less. I considered the Hyatt Union Square but prices were high, I wasn’t wowed by the hotel last time I stayed there, and I wouldn’t have time to reap the benefit of the restaurant breakfast I’d get as a Diamond.

The W Union Square was even closer to the event, and pricing cheaper especially with a good corporate rate.

Points weren’t an option. Most SPG property are category 6, meaning 20,000 points a night (more for high season dates). Getting ~ 1.5 cents a point in value doesn’t especially appeal to me. I rarely see cash and points awards available in Manhattan with Starwood, and that wouldn’t have made it a great deal anyway. So I paid cash.

I had booked a ‘Mega’ room as it’s the cheapest room type that had a single bed available without being an accessible room and that’s what I was given, on the 8th floor, although the check-in agent acted as though the room type itself was an upgrade.

Perhaps the view of Union Square Park was an upgrade, though I don’t think it’s an especially attractive view. It’s not bad, just doesn’t appeal more to me than buildings. But I like buildings.

I’m just a Gold with Starwood (really considering bumping back to Platinum) so that was fair. I was asked for my choice of amenity at check-in and I chose internet, but I’m still fighting to get the $14.95 charge taken off my bill.

The room was a good size by New York standards and reasonably stylish.

Other than the toiletries, the bathroom wasn’t very “W”

There was a ‘W’ stamped onto the roll of toilet paper, though it could have been done more artfully.

And housekeeping might have paid better attention in the bathroom when they were getting the room ready.

But otherwise it was fine.

There was a complimentary bottle of water placed with the minibar.

The bottle of water beside the bed, though, not so much.

The most W-ish things about the hotel were splashes of color.

The lounge area gets pretty packed in the evenings, but is much more peaceful during the day. It’s surprisingly small, to me at least.

Staff were friendly, and certainly by New York standards, and there was complimentary coffee available in the morning in the lobby. So I was happy with my stay and would return if I needed to be in that spot in the city.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. With all of the details you provide — right down to the toilet paper — why is the price not mentioned? (Just curious.)

  2. You got through a whole post without talking about food. I am surprised we didn’t hear about a meal you ate in Union Square in 1994.

  3. @mark – having left New York only a few years prior I don’t actually recall visiting Union Square in 1994. Oh, and the post did mention coffee . .

  4. that toilet paper holder reflection is… something else. It made me click through from the reader to see if there were any comments.

  5. W Brand doesn’t hold the same appeal as it did in 2001. It just feels like it was cheaply furnished at IKEA to me now. Not sure what they need to do with it.

  6. @Nick try the W Hong Kong or W Seoul and — though these were more cutting edge in the last decage than today perhaps — they give a totally different feel.

  7. Of course it was just OK. The property’s name does not rhyme with “Wyatt”.

    #SnarkySaturday :p

  8. @CW there are definitely some Starwoods that I love! And some Conrads. And I even rather liked the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (Marriott)

  9. Wow. Gary can we get any sort of comment re: the status of your shirt in that reflection?

  10. You mentioned you’re only gold, but any idea what the platinum breakfast option there is currently?

  11. This hotel has a severe elevator problem. They’re slow. There are not enough. If you’re on a low floor, you’ll wait a long time to get down, as the elevators are all full. Unacceptable.

  12. I only meant to comment on it to give him the chance to take it down if he hadn’t noticed!

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