In a city like New York, you have hundreds of hotels to choose from (okay, so there’s more like thousands but realistically, half of them you probably wouldn’t want to stay at). I had no idea where to stay since so many choices is obviously overwhelming but I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want to stay in midtown, aka Times Square, aka the Theater District, aka tourist central. As I’ve mentioned before, I visited New York a ton growing up and for the most part always stayed in midtown save for one stay in Lower Manhattan thanks to a college visit and another in midtown East when I had to apply for my Spanish visa (we wanted to be close to the Spanish consulate). I know I don’t make it to New York too often anymore but Times Square straight up is a living, breathing form of hell between the mobs of people and the lack of anything unique and charming (i.e. it’s nothing but chain stores and restaurants anymore).
And that’s how lower Manhattan called to me. Okay, so not official lower Manhattan (i.e. the Financial District, Battery Park, the World Trade Center), but below the 30s. I did used to frequent the Macy’s at Herald Square quite a bit but south of that, well, that was new territory for me. And I loved everything about it.
I hemmed and hawed but ultimately settled on the Hyatt Union Square. New York hotel prices are ridiculously expensive to the point of absurd but the Union Square location had prices I could at least stomach (well, barely). But as I’m (still) on a mission to one day book a week’s vacation either somewhere domestic or abroad using Marriott or Hyatt points, a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. (Private message me if you’d like to know what I paid per night.)
If you’re not too familiar with Manhattan geography, Union Square is in Lower Manhattan on the eastern side of the island, closer to, you guessed it, the East River. The hotel is only a block from the famed square and is served by numerous subway lines at the Union Square station (also known as the 14th Street station; I found that when I asked if trains stopped at the Union Square station, people gave me an odd look until they asked, “oh, the 14th Street station?” Well yes…) The trains that stop here are the 4,5,6, L, N, Q, R, and W trains.
And if you’re up for a tiny walk and don’t feel like transferring lines, you can catch Red Line trains (1,2, and 3) at the 14th Street station at 7th Avenue. All in all, subway wise, it was a perfect location. And walking too; sights in the village (both the West Village and East Village where we went for Georgian food) were no more than 20 minute walk.
The hotel’s public areas
The hotel itself is on the newer side; less than a decade ago, it didn’t exist. And being New York City in an area as hip as the Village, well, there’s nothing “Hyatt generic” about it. Instead of your traditional and often stolid check in desk, the front desk staff was housed behind a table with chic, modern looking computers to match.
As we were in one of the greatest culinary cities in the world, I wasn’t about to partake from the hotel’s restaurant, Bowery Road. However, I do regret not grabbing a drink from the bar, especially since its name is the Library of Distilled Spirits. My brother and his wife did so while they were waiting for us and said drinks were good (albeit with slow service). I just loved floor to ceiling rows of all the alcohol.
We got to the hotel about 2PM and thankfully our room was ready which is always a plus no matter the destination or travel time involved in getting there.
The last time I was in New York prior to earlier this month was 2012. And somehow I had forgotten how tiny New York City hotel rooms can be. Granted, the cake for smallest hotel room ever will probably always go to the hotel I stayed at in Paris on my last visit but this was pretty close. So, somewhat of a letdown considering how expensive the room was to begin with, but you cope or in the case of New York, you’re out of your room more than you’re in it.
I always am a fan of having the sink separate from the toilet in the bathroom (smart engineering in my opinion). The shower featured clear doors, a nod to the hip ambiance it’s striving for. Thankfully since the shower looked right out onto the bedroom portion, there was a sliding door you could shut that completely blocked the bathroom from view.
We didn’t have much of a view but honestly, that was for the better since then it was never noisy. My only critique of the room was the floors’ lack of carpeting. I know that non-carpeting is better and cleaner. However, this was the first time I had ever encountered this outside of Latin America. And frankly, if there isn’t Spanish colonial architecture just outside, I don’t know if I care for it…
We did have noise issues with the room next to us the first night, so I called immediately to complain. Someone came up moments later and the issue ceased. Thankfully, the occupants of that room checked out the next day.
Yes, it’s a chain hotel and yet I liked how different and unique the Hyatt Union Square was, although I’m sure being located in a hip/college area (New York University is “all around”) in one of the most popular cities in the world surely helped. Yes, it was expensive but you don’t want to go to New York and have less than a memorable time, especially where your accommodations are concerned. If you’re looking to break out of the proverbial “New York tourist bubble,” then I can’t recommend staying in the Village enough. It was fun and neat and the exact opposite of everything Times Square and trust me, that’s a good thing!
Hyatt Union Square
134 4th Ave | New York, NY | 10003
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