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Manhattan: Park Central Hotel

870 Seventh Avenue at 56th Street, Phone: (800) 346-1359, (212) 247-8000

Reviewed by: Doru from Canada (moderator), review #1868

When: May 2007

I recommend this hotel mainly because of its location. I also believe it is good value considering the location. But I have some reservations; read along.

We reserved our room at Park Central Hotel based on a review in the Washington Post which recommended 10 Manhattan Hotels under $200/night. ( Article here ).

Location is important to us because most of our activity and interests are around Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the MOMA, MMA, etc. Its proximity to the Central Park is also an attraction, and we could reach all these locations from Park Central Hotel on foot.

The price was actually $197.10 each for the first two nights and $287.10 each for the following three, plus taxes. The total cost of stay, taxes included, was $1,440.94, a saving of circa $750 over our usual home in New York, the Sheraton Hotel and Tower, which is a couple of blocks South on 7th.

We arrived before noon and were asked to leave our luggage with the concierge, complimentary free of charge, a savings of $3 per piece of luggage, and advised to return by 2 p.m. with the hope that the room would be ready by then.

I must mention that I was aware from previous telephone conversations that parts of the hotel were recently renovated and so, when I made the booking a couple of months ago I asked to receive one of the renovated rooms. I was assured it would be taken into consideration.

At about 1:30 p.m. the room was ready. Our first impression, which was to be reconfirmed throughout the stay, was the excessive use of aerosol deodorants on the corridors and in the room.

The room itself was acceptable in size, with two good double beds as booked, and plenty of pillows. A good TV, a table and two chairs and a high speed Internet hook-up completed the furnishings of the room. The bathroom was sufficiently large, and appeal was made to us to save water by managing our towels and linen, which we approved and appreciated.

However, this was definitely not one of the renovated rooms (I later found out that these were at much higher floors) and I suspected also that the use of deodorants has something to do with masking the smell of cigarette smoke, but maybe I am overly suspicious.

I attempted to change the room but I was turned down, ostensibly because the hotel was very busy, with some hundreds of school children, teachers and parents who were in New York as participants in a major choral event at Carnegie Hall.

The first night proved that the street noise did not disturb us. Unfortunately, not the same can be said about noises coming from adjacent rooms or from that above. The walls of the hotel rooms are not very thick, as we were able to hear every time our neighbours used their washrooms, as well as the energetic pacing in the room above.

Fortunately, this lasted only for the first night. By Monday morning the children, teachers and parents were gone and the hotel became eerily quiet. Of course, we must have been fortunate to have the rooms around ours unoccupied, although one afternoon we had to call the front desk because one of our neighbours left the phone in the room off the hook and the busy signal penetrated through the wall.

The front desk service was generally indifferent, but the room itself was well and promptly taken care of, including the refreshment of deodorants, which bothered us only for a few minutes, 'til we got used to them. Fortunately, we are not allergic to these compounds and so we didnít suffer, but had to think that the hotel has a long term problem in its walls and carpets.

The reader should note that I have given the hotel a neutral review, which is based on the in-hotel experience. The question, in conclusion, is whether we would return to this hotel. The answer is: most likely yes, because of location and, to some extent price.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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