New York is a sprawling city. Therefore, it is important to base yourself somewhere central. Once you have decided on the neighbourhood, the next thing to do is decide on your accommodation. A quick booking.com search will reveal that there are hundreds to choose from. Hotels in New York can be expensive and that fact may actually put people off visiting the city in the first place. Having been to New York on a number of occasions I can honestly say I have never actually spent a long period of time in a hotel room there, apart from when sleeping. With so many things to do and see both during the day and at night, I personally do not require 5* luxury and all the extra facilities that come with the rating, as I simply would not have the time to use them. For me, the main things I look for are location and value for money and having stayed at The Wellington Hotel TWICE now; I believe it is the perfect hotel for people who want to have a comfortable stay in the heart of Midtown without breaking the bank.
The Wellington Hotel is a 3* hotel and holds a prime location in New York on 7th Avenue and West 55th Street. From the hotel you can reach Times Square, Central Park and 5th Avenue in less than 10 minutes on foot, together with a number of other top attractions including the theatre district. Making it a perfect base if walking is your thing, but with a subway station right next door and buses and taxis easy to pick up outside, if your plan is to explore further afield then it’s not a problem and with a choice of transport available, it’s easy to do.
History and culture of the Hotel
The Wellington Hotel is the oldest, continuously operated hotel in New York City (the name has never changed) and once inside the building you can instantly feel the history and the old-time glamour, if only walls could talk I bet the walls at The Wellington Hotel would have a tale or two to tell. New hotels in New York are popping up all the time, yet people return to this hotel time after time, us included, proving that this hotel has something special in an over saturated market. We first visited 8 years ago and fell in love with The Wellington Hotel; it has an extremely homely feel even in the middle of The City That Never Sleeps. With approximately 450,000 guests passing through its doors every year and it running at around 97% occupancy all year round, it’s obviously not just Mr ESLT and I that have a fondness for this hotel.
As much as tourists and business travellers enjoy staying at The Wellington Hotel, it is evident that the staff enjoy working there too. When the last General Manager left he had been there for 39 years and with the average time in position being 20 years. The ‘family’ bond can be seen throughout the hotel from the jokes between the doorman and the bellman to the friendly chatter amongst the receptionists. I personally like that sort of thing, it proves that they are human and not robots and portrays approachability and friendliness.
Reception and Lobby
The reception area and lobby at The Wellington Hotel are quite decadent, with thick carpets and huge sparkly chandeliers. However, with an overhaul on the cards this summer, fingers crossed those lovely touches, which add character to the building, will not be lost. Within this area we also found the bellmen’s desk. I’ll admit, during our stay we did not have need to approach it apart from our last day when we needed our luggage storing. Check out time at The Wellington Hotel is 12 noon, however our flight was not until 10.30pm, therefore we wanted to make the most of our last day without our big suitcases in tow. The process was very simple – we handed our cases over, we received a receipt in return and when we wanted our cases back we simply handed the receipt back and they were returned to us.
Within the lobby area we also found the Business Centre with three computers, again we didn’t need to use them as we had our iPhones and laptop with us. However, a great addition if you needed to check your emails or check in for a flight and you didn’t have the necessary equipment with you. It is available 24 hours every day. There is a minimum charge of $3 for 15 minutes. Thereafter, the charge is 25 cents per minute. A valid credit card is required. If you choose to use your own devices, like we did, then it’s important to note that wifi is chargeable, yes even in 2017(!)
Check in time is from 4pm, however we arrived at The Wellington Hotel at around 10.00pm, the hotel lobby and reception area were very quiet which meant we were checked in very quickly. We simply handed over a credit card which was swiped for incidentals, our key cards handed over and our bags whisked away from us. We were led to the elevators and up to the 26th floor.
Our room (2642) was, by New York standards, huge and after a full day of travelling was very welcome. With seating area, desk and big bed, there was certainly enough room for the two of us plus lots to spare. Our bathroom was quite small but perfectly functional. As Mr ESLT has recently started a new mediation that needs to be kept refrigerated, I had called the hotel just prior to our stay to ask for a refrigerator in our room. This was not a problem and the request was met. We therefore had a small room off the bedroom with the refrigerator, a sink area and a microwave. The decor of our room was very much in keeping with the lobby area of the hotel, with thick carpets and wallpaper covered walls. I think it’s important to point out that this is not an ultra sleek modern hotel with Ikea style furniture, it is a homely and cozy and most of all comfortable. A lot of the beds and all of the bedding have been upgraded at the hotel recently, which coupled with the amount of walking we did each day, meant we slept soundly every night. As we were on floor 26 of 27 we didn’t hear any street noise and if you have visited New York before you will know how noisy the streets can be, especially 7th Avenue. Another benefit of having a high floor room was the amazing view we had of Central Park.
With a million and one restaurants in New York City it is understandable that a number of hotels do not offer room service anymore, many consider that there isn’t the need for the service. However, The Wellington Hotel does. Therefore the first thing we did as soon as we arrived, well second thing after kicking off our shoes, was grab the room service menu. After travelling all day and it being nearly 11pm, we just could not motivate ourselves to get showered and changed and head into the night to forage for food. We simply called down and order. When it was delivered, I simply signed it to the room and paid on departure. Room Service is available from 6am to 1am every day.
Visitor Centre, Shop, café and restaurant
The Visitor Centre is connected to The Wellington Hotel and together with the gift shop is located on the 55th Street side of the lobby level and is open seven days week. The gift shop sells a selection of gift items including New York t-shirts, picture frames, mugs, glasses, bags, basic toiletries, small electronic items and an assortment of snacks – we made a daily Pringles stop here, there is also an ATM and all are available 24 hours a day. The concierge desk within the Visitors Centre is open from 8am to 8pm every day and can arrange different forms of transportation, recommend and book Broadway shows and New York’s hottest attractions. We never used the concierge service, however the desk was always busy when we visited.
The Christmas Cottage Holiday Shoppe is as the name suggests a shop selling only Christmas decorations. It is oldest Christmas shop in New York City and it’s open all year round. The perfect place to pick up a special souvenir.
The Park Cafe is open 6am to 2am every day and offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-theatre snacks, the food offered on the room service menu also comes from the cafe. Our hotel package did not include breakfast, although packages are available and it can be added on at check in. We did however grab breakfast there twice. We had eggs, sausage and home fries on both occasions and because of the hearty portions, it kept us going all day. It’s easy to see why this cafe is a favourite with both hotel guests and locals.
Molyvos, one of New York City’s finest Greek restaurants, is on the lobby level. From noon Monday to Friday traditional Greek dishes and grilled fish are served. On weekends Molyvos opens at 11am and offers a brunch menu as well. From 3pm to 5pm every day a Cafe Menu is available. Dinner is from 5pm to 11pm seven days a week. Unfortunately, we never got the chance to eat here, but it is definitely on the list of restaurants to try on our next return visit.
We love The Wellington Hotel, we wouldn’t have returned for a second time if we didn’t, especially as there are so many hotels to choose from in the city. The major pull for us is 100% the location as there are so many attractions, restaurants and shops in walking distance. It is an ideal hotel to stay at if you are a budget traveller or would like to allocate more of your cash to visiting attractions, like we do, rather than on your accommodation. It is important to remember that The Wellington Hotel is a 3* hotel and even though the hotel is great value for money, you do in reality get what you pay for. The hotel is clean and comfortable, yes it is missing a few facilities and amenities that higher rated hotels may have and it may not be as modern and contemporary as other hotels in the city, but it has a special something that I just can’t put my finger on, but you can feel it from the second you walk through the door. New York is a buzzing cosmopolitan city nicknamed the ‘City That Never Sleeps’ however at some point you will have too and with its amazing location, great price point and homely feel, The Wellington Hotel could be the perfect choice for you too. This mid range hotel gets big thumbs up from us and we will certainly love to stay here again in the future.
- Thank you to The Wellington Hotel for hosting us.