Review: Hyatt Union Square, New York

18. Feb 2016
by Ramsey Qubein

BACKGROUND This sleek hotel, housed in a historic building, fits perfectly into the Union Square neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. It is situated at 13th Street and Fourth Avenue within immediate walking distance of bustling shopping and dining districts. Its lobby features plenty of natural light and a minimalist design with small seating areas with leather covered furniture tucked into the corners and a reception desk staffed by a trio of cheerful folks working from laptops. Those in a hurry can use the check-in kiosk, which dispenses room keys after the swipe of a credit card.

Decorator Paul Vega took special care to incorporate natural elements that seem to bring the outside in. The main lounge area actually has retractable doors that can open to the street front in seasonal weather. At the center of the bar, is the perfect example of repurposing and recycling. A beautiful, long wooden table was crafted from a tree that had fallen during Hurricane Sandy.

DINING The signature American brasserie-style restaurant is located just off the lobby and features two levels with the top floor opening to the street. A massive piece of artwork was suspended from the ceiling depicting numerous beds floating mid-air, which is reflective of the dreaming that comes from the pillowtop mattresses in guest rooms here. Breakfast was buzzing with locals that seem to have made this their go-to spot in the neighborhood. The menu included everything from Bloody Marys to cappuccinos and omelets to stacks of fresh pancakes. Lunch and dinner are served here with an equally inventive, continental menu. As an alternative, Café Quatrieme nearby has every gadget and gizmo that a coffee connoisseur might recognize accompanied by trays of fresh pastries for those that want to grab and go before work.

Singl Lounge, which is hopping in the late afternoon and evening, is decorated with a beautifully modern wooden chandelier. The main draw is its extensive single malt whiskey menu that should relax the nerves after a busy day on Wall Street. AMENITIES There are no dedicated meeting rooms available, but the lounge behind reception may be reserved for private functions or receptions. The basement fitness center was well-equipped, and the staff is always happy to explain the best jogging routes in the neighborhood. ROOMS With only a few rooms on each level, there were no long walks. Inside, the hardwood floors are very European, as is the open-plan bathroom. Suites have more bathroom privacy, but individual business travel appreciate the open sense of space. In traditional guest rooms here, the shower opens directly into the room behind a vanity area. Still, they are beautiful with powerful showers and stocked with peppermint-scented toiletries.

The bed is part of Hyatt’s Grand Bed package with a pillowtop mattress, thick pillows, and soft duvet. The headboard has a vintage, flower-inspired design that matches the accent pillows. Especially appreciated are the electrical outlets bedside and alarm clock-retro stereo combination. My room, on the second floor and one of only a handful in the building like this, comes with an outdoor terrace with its own lounge seating area and beautiful city views. All rooms, however, have oversized windows permitting excellent skyline snapshots, but guests should know that the second floor units provide the best vistas. I took a peek at the Sanctuary Suite, which must be one of the coolest in this part of town. It has a terrace almost as large as the suite itself in addition to entertainment areas inside with dining and living space and two bathrooms.

Those arriving late at night or with flights at odd hours should ask about the business-friendly rate plan that allows guests to check out 24 hours after their arrival. For example, one could arrive at 11 p.m., and keep the room until 11 p.m. the following day. The desk was large enough for a cordless speaker phone, my laptop, and space for my paperwork. A host of electrical outlets and connectors for hooking up smart phone devices or laptops to the flat-screen TV were also within easy reach. CONCLUSION This is a welcome addition to Hyatt’s portfolio of New York properties, bringing with it a character that is distinctive and modern in a part of town that thrives on open space and creativity.

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