Corporate scene; little nightlife on-site or nearby
Fee for Wi-Fi (Free for Hilton Honors members)
Home to the most rooms (almost 2,000) and conference space (150,000 square feet) of any hotel in the city, the Hilton is well equipped to handle the hundreds of conventions it hosts each year. But "well equipped" is not the same as "welcoming" -- its corporate vibe make for an impersonal, generic experience. Some of the rooms underwent a renovation in 2015 and are sleek and modern, while others are still dated with classical furnishings. For more upscale rooms and less corporate atmosphere, check rates at the nearby Warwick Hotel.
2,000 rooms, 45 floors, and hundreds of major conferences and conventions every year -- all in the rapidly beating heart of corporate Midtown.
With 1,980 rooms, the Hilton is the largest hotel in New York City (just edging out the Marriott Marquis and its 1,950 rooms). What that means, as you can probably imagine, is a basketful of double-edged swords: impersonal but efficient service (I felt more "processed" than cared for); quiet rooms on high floors, serviced by slow elevators; an annoyingly bustling lobby but pleasantly bustling bar scene. In many ways, the Hilton is a microcosm of the city itself: vertical, crowded, diverse, and cash-driven.
As the host of hundreds of conferences and conventions every year (you can count on at least a few on any given day), the Hilton heavily relies on -- and caters to -- business travelers. A quarter of its guests are corporate groups; individual business travelers also represent a healthy proportion of the remaining 75 percent. Suits and pantsuits abound in the lobby and its bar, from early in the morning till late at night. All told, it's not the homiest atmosphere for a tourist.
Finally, a fun movie tidbit: On the second floor, outside the convention hall ballrooms, is the spot where George Clooney memorably confronted Tilda Swinton (who won the Oscar for her role) in the climactic scene of Michael Clayton.
Smack in the center of Manhattan, between Midtown West and Midtown East. The immediate area is pretty corporate, but many major sites, including Times Square and Central Park, are a short walk away.
Surrounded by high-rise office buildings, the Hilton sits just a dozen short blocks from one of the most tourist-packed intersections in the world: 42nd Street and Broadway, the heart of Times Square. Though it's technically within the Theater District, there is a corporate feel to the area. The extra-wide sidewalks in the area are tiled rather than paved, and the neighboring buildings feature open-air loggias conducive to smoking breaks and al fresco lunches. Street-food stands dot the sidewalks.
Not surprisingly, the neighborhood gets quieter at night than the touristy area just five minutes to the west. Still, safety shouldn't be much of an issue. The street is well lit, and plenty of corporate grinders catch cabs outside well into the night.
If you're visiting New York for fun, the Hilton is centrally located -- within 10 minutes of Midtown's most popular sites. The MOMA is right down the street; so is the Ed Sullivan Theater. Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, and most Broadway theaters are within five to 10 blocks. Central Park, five short blocks north, is equally accessible.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting into town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that are available at all three airports. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. Public transit is also available for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
Rooms are a good size for NYC, and quiet, but nothing special. The renovated rooms are significantly more modern, while old rooms are dated and worn.
The hotel has been renovating its rooms since 2010, with plans to complete them by mid-2016. Until then, guests should be sure to book a renovated room. Standard guest rooms are comparable in size to what you'd find at a NYC Marriott or Radisson.
The Classic Rooms are dated and uninspired, with drab earth tones. The Deluxe Rooms are slightly more modern, with large headboards and sleek bathrooms. The Premier guest rooms are the newest and nicest, featuring modern furnishings and accents like a clear clock with just the hands.
All rooms have comfortable bedding, a work desk, sitting area with an overstuffed chair, and flat-screen TVs. Rooms either have shower/tub combos or walk-in glass showers. Other amenities include Peter Thomas Roth toiletries, in-room safes, alarm clock radio with MP3 capability, hairdryers, and irons. There are no coffeemakers or minibars. Premier Rooms have empty mini-fridges.
Upgrading to an Executive Room or a Suite will get you into the Executive Lounge, with free breakfast, coffee, and appetizers during the day, as well as additional features like a robe and bottled water. Suites also have a spacious living sitting area with oversized furniture.
The largest conference space in the city. For non-business tourists, though, there's not much -- Wi-Fi, a business center, and a spacious gym.
The Hilton means business. As the host of hundreds of conferences and conventions a year, the hotel knows who butters its bread and has acted accordingly -- it boasts over 150,000 square feet of meeting space on the property. There's also a business center, but it'll cost you to print anything.
The highlight for non-business travelers (and let's face it, for many business travelers, too) is a 8,000-square-foot fitness center. It contains dozens of Precor machines of all kinds, plus several sets of free weights, personal trainers (available at additional cost), and personal TV screens for the cardio machines.
Wi-Fi is fast and reliable throughout the property, but it costs an additional daily fee; it's free for Hilton Honors members.
Herb n' Kitchen for meals, and three bars, including an ice bar. You're better off heading off-campus.
Hilton's restaurant, Herb n' Kitchen, is open every day from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. It serves a breakfast buffet in the mornings, coffee throughout the day, and food like flatbread, paninis, and salad. It has grab-and-go items, and room service is available from morning until late.
Minus5 Ice Bar is open from 11 a.m. to late. A novelty bar, everything is made of ice, even the glasses the cocktails are served in. There's a fee for entry.
Bridges Bar serves cocktails and small bites daily for lunch and dinner
The Lobby Lounge also serves cocktails and light plates during lunch and dinner times.
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