Guest Author - Julia Reed Zaic
West 44th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in New York City is the home of several hotels and restaurants. Asking a cab to take you to this street as an indication of where you are staying isn't helpful. There are at least 5 hotels on one side of the street including City Club, The Algonquin, and the Sofitel; all very popular and well traveled. In fact, you have likely passed the Iroquois many times and never heard anything about it. Here are the highlights.
Location Location Location
A short walk from all forms of transportation, Times Square, and all of midtown, this location can’t be beat. Not to mention great restaurants Saju, Zen Sushi, Triomphe, and Gaby’s. The gym is adequate, but during the temperate weather, exercise can be taken in the form of a walk or jog to Central Park. Heading south on the west side you can also partake of Hell’s Kitchen to feed your inner foodie. For the business traveler, the convenience to transportation, entertainment and great food is all here.
Service Is On Par With 5-Star Hotels
Most business travelers have enjoyed the occasional (or maybe the often)spoils of a 5-Star hotel. The Iroquois does not carry this rating, but the staff acts as if it does. The little things like the greeting by name at the door, the personalized greeting at the front desk, that certain ambiance…whatever. I checked in late after a very long cross-country flight. However, I quickly forgot about that when I was greeted by Sharon at the front desk. She was in the best of spirits at 10:30 p.m.
I had reserved an executive King, but having never stayed at the property before, and knowing the tendency for miniscule sized rooms in the city (especially in older “classic” hotels) I asked if I could upgrade to a suite for the second night of my stay. For a reasonable fee, I was told “absolutely”. She actually seemed genuinely interested in my comfort, where I had flown in from, and even recognized that my request to hold the room until the morning due to my original plans of taking a red-eye had obviously changed. Ten minutes after getting to my room, Sharon called to make sure I was settled in and made sure I wanted for nothing. Again, it was genuine.
The Rooms: Go for the suite!
My first night was abbreviated due to my late arrival. The Executive King Room was small, but very acceptable, especially for a quick overnight. Most importantly, the pillows and especially the bed were dreamy…the kind that swallows you whole when you fall into it. Fixtures a bit dated, but electronics were not, including a flat screen t.v. and an iPod docking station. The prices were competitive, although not cheap for the week I was there.
My second night, I upgraded to a suite which Sharon made especially easy. I packed my bag in the morning, went to my meetings during the day, and when I returned, my new key cards were waiting for me and my bag had already been transferred.
It was exceptional by any standards. The living area included wood floors with a large area rug; a space that would be the envy of many locals. There was an adequate work space and the bedroom had the same comfy king sized bed. The bathroom (with bathrobes) had a separate shower and Jacuzzi tub. The size and inclusion of a fold out couch in the living space made it ideal for business travelers bringing their families.
Onsite Restaurant: Triomphe
For cocktails or dinner, The Iroqouis has a wonderful onsite restaurant with something for everybody. A chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings is a wonderful feature in this quaint restaurant of about 10 tables. The bar is separate and certainly caters to the out-of-towners, although a few locals lingered about and seemed right at home. A nice mix of "suits" and jeans in a small warm space. So very New York.
Lost and Found
One important criterion that appears at the top of my list when I travel is the hotel’s ability to return what I have left behind. We’ve all done it, some of us more than others, and some of us more often than not, e.g. yours truly.
This time it was one of my favorite pairs of shoes. For women, it can be devastating, especially when they are the only pair of perfect pointy heels you can get your traveled swollen feet into, e.g., the ones yours truly left at the Iroqouis during my stay. Mild devastation set in as I dressed for a dinner in the next city and had to wear my not so stylish Aerosole boots when the perfect shoes went missing…but I digress.
A frantic phone call at least alleviated the anxiety that my fat feet would never see their perfect match again. Caroline back at the Iroquois was not only happy to help me, she had them Fed Exed the next day. Caroline, thank you, and the housekeeper who found them.
If you’ve wondered about the Iroquois, or maybe can’t get in to your “usual” place in New York, try this spot. I’m so glad I did. I now have another good recommendation, and my pointy Nine West heels live to brave the streets of my business travels another day.
Safe travels, and check your room thoroughly before you check out!