I love New York. That sounds a bit kitschy, I know. But, I grew up there and never miss an opportunity to go back. We wanted to take the kids to a Yankees game at the new stadium, so a trip to Manhattan was in order. There are plenty of rooms in Manhattan but it’s not the easiest city to find family-friendly lodging in. When we travel with our kids we usually get two connecting rooms. We can afford this luxury because of our collection of hotel points (something I strongly recommend). I know, great problems to have!
I started looking into Starwood properties. They have lots of rooms in Manhattan and represented the best chance of guaranteed connecting rooms. But, even with the help of my Platinum Ambassador (a benefit because I stayed 100 nights last year), I wasn’t really getting anywhere.
I dropped a quick e-mail to my Hyatt rep (a benefit Hyatt extends due to my loyalty as well) and she very quickly found a property that would guarantee me connecting rooms. And, it was the brand spanking new Hyatt Union Square. I’ve stayed at most of Hyatt’s properties in Manhattan, and especially enjoy Andaz 5th Avenue and Hyatt 48Lex. Neither of those properties really has any connecting room inventory so I didn’t suspect they’d be likely candidates. As it turns out, Hyatt Union Square only has a handful as well, but they also have a great rooms manager who was happy to help.
Fast forward to my day of arrival and I received an e-mail from the rooms manager. He wanted to let me know that he could upgrade both of my rooms to better accommodations, but that they wouldn’t be connecting rooms. I was thrilled that he took the time to reach out to me and offer, but we really did need connecting rooms. I did ask him if it would be possible to view some suites when I was there so I could share pictures, and he was happy to do so.
I ended up taking a whole host of pictures of the suites, so those are at the bottom of the post. The information you need about the property will be consolidated around the first set of pictures in case you don’t want to look through the whole collection.
The rooms manager shared with me that the standard suite upgrade for Diamonds is either to an Urbane Sky room or a Junior Suite. The Urbane Sky rooms are just about the same size as the regular King rooms but have floor to ceiling windows that open up a bit as well. The Junior Suite is pretty nice and the hotel has two larger suites that it sometimes will upgrade Diamonds to, based on availability. More details and a gaggle of pictures at the bottom. The hotel has roughly 2 dozen rooms of various types to upgrade to iirc, so this represents a pretty solid upgrade opportunity for Diamond members using suite upgrade awards or regular members using points.
The property is located on 4th Avenue at the corner of 13th Street. It’s reasonably visible but you still have to hunt for it a bit.
As soon as we pulled up to the curb there were two hotel employees there to help us out. They don’t wear name tags and are dressed casually, but they have a small Hyatt pin on their shoulder. A third gentleman in a suit also came out to assist. Shortly after we got inside we realized that the gentleman in the suit was actually the rooms manager. We had 3 people helping us get checked in and entertaining the kids. It was a completely seamless experience . One of the employees offered to take my wife and kids up to our rooms and unload the suitcases while I finished checking in. Easy as pie.
The guest rooms are very nicely appointed. While not large, they are sizable by NYC standards. There was a ton of power, including multiple outlets on the desk and 2 outlets at each night stand. Conveniently, you could also control all of the lighting in the room from the bedside as well.
We had a king room that connected to a room with 2 queen beds. 2 queen beds is something of a rarity in NYC, so if you’re looking for that, these rooms accommodated 2 queen beds fine.
There’s a wall and door between the bedroom area and bathroom in the 2 queen bed rooms but the bathroom is more a part of the bedroom in the Kings. I don’t necessarily love that, but since the sink area is very tastefully done it actually worked in this setting. Both rooms had showers that were easily big enough for two people and awesome water pressure. Robes were a standard amenity in the bathrooms along with Bigelow soap and shampoo.
The lobby and bar are sizable and inviting, though we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the bar this time. The way the property is configured, there are two bars, one restaurant open for all 3 meals (The Fourth) as well as an intriguing dinner option on the lower level with a great wine list and an open kitchen. Again, we didn’t get time to visit but I did look at the wine list and would definitely consider it for a future visit. The Fourth is a great place to sit for breakfast, tons of natural light and people watching via floor to ceiling windows up front or more secluded seating in the back.
As for Diamond members, the breakfast benefit is in The Fourth. It’s $50 per room. That’s plenty for a decent breakfast. We ended going over by a few bucks because we ordered smoothies for the kids and a couple of extra items, so I can imagine it would be fairly easy to enjoy a solid breakfast for less than the $50 max. The choices are imaginative, like a pancake soufflé-ish type dish and an imaginative french toast presentation. I don’t normally like imaginative when it comes to breakfast, but the smoked salmon and bagel I had were just fine. The french toast was pretty darn good as well. The only mild disappointment was no good old fashioned pancakes, which is a bit of a Sunday tradition for our family.
The Fourth (Brasserie/Breakfast Restaurant)
The fitness center is larger than I would expect for a property with less than 200 rooms. As expected, all the equipment is new.
And, if you’re looking for alternate methods of exercise/transportation, they have that too.
If you’re trying to redeem points for a weekend away in NYC, this property should be readily available. They do a good bit of business during the week but don’t fill up on the weekends right now. The property is a Category 5 in the Hyatt Gold Passport program, which is 18,000 points a night. I consider that imminently reasonable considering the market. Hyatt frequently draws comparisons from SPG which has equally nice properties in Manhattan. When I look at the Category 5 properties in NYC that cost 12,000-16,000 points a night (couple of newer Four Points and an Element, forget about the Sheraton), I’d pick Hyatt USQ over all of them. As for SPG Category 6 properties (generally 20,000 points a night), I’m fairly certain I’d take Hyatt USQ over all the W properties and certainly the Westin Times Square.
I found all the staff at Hyatt USQ to be very welcoming. The fact that our arrival was greeted by 3 staff members and a manager made for a smooth start and set a tone for a service-oriented stay. I asked for milk at the bar a few times for our son’s bottle and was happily given it at no charge. I had a few small requests of the front desk that they were able to handle easily. It was a very enjoyable 3 days and I would highly recommend the property for anyone looking for a quiet hotel for either a romantic trip or family trip. The property seems very capable of handling both.
Now, for some extra info on suites. First, pictures of the Junior Suite. These rooms are oddly shaped but still nicely appointed. When you walk into the room there’s a couch and some soft seating as well as a small table that doubles as a desk and a good spot to eat room service breakfast. A sharp right hand turn takes you past the bathroom into the bedroom area. There are plenty of windows and lots of natural light. In square footage, I’d say this room is just shy of double a standard room.
The hotel has two larger suites that are a potential score for upgrades. They are both dramatically different from each other as described to me by the hotel staff, but I only had time to tour one. And, it was an incredible room. You enter into a dining room area with a table for 4. There’s a bar area that transitions to a living room with some eclectic furnishings. There are floor to ceiling windows throughout most of the space that let in a ton of natural light. That was a prevailing them for the entire property and something I’m a big fan of. There’s a sizable half bath off of the living room.
The bedroom continues the theme of natural light though it does have blackout drapes that do a fine job. And, the single best feature of the room is the beautifully landscaped patio. The entire room is L-shaped and the patio runs the full length of the room on both sides. It would be perfectly feasible to have a cocktail party for 50 of your closest friends out there. Plenty of furniture and not a ton of road noise (though I was out there on a Sunday afternoon). The only thing missing is a firepit, which is certainly an understandable omission.
Lastly, the bathroom is pretty kickass as well. The vanity is plenty big enough to share, but the shower is what makes this bathroom special. It could easily accommodate 4 or 5 of your closest friends (though I don’t recommend). A massive rain shower (a personal favorite of mine), and special tiles in the floor that massage your feet as the water runs over them.
Each of us has our own priorities when traveling. A luxurious suite is pretty high on my list. Because of the many options at this property and the chance (albeit I’m sure small) of getting one of the two awesome suites, Hyatt Union Square is my new go-to property in NYC. When you combine a great room with impeccable service, it’s an easy choice.