Guest Author - Julia Reed Zaic
My travel schedule has been a bit overwhelming recently. This has resulted in a lot of hotel reviews since that is where I spend most of my time while on the road. A good hotel can make the difference between contentment and frustration when your schedule is tight and the road has been your home for a few weeks.
As summertime approaches in Manhattan, it can be difficult to find a decently priced hotel because this time of year coincides with graduations and initial summer vacations to the city. Because the weather is often so pleasant, and not yet beastly humid, the city becomes a desired location for company retreats and business meetings too. Bottomline: I didnít have much choice of rates for a three or four star hotel, so I decided to try one that Iíve heard so much about as a business traveler.
Hotel Giraffe is located at the corner of 26th and Park Avenue South in the Northern Grammercy Park area. This East Side location makes it convenient to bridges and tunnels if you are traveling via JFK or La Guardia, i.e., you donít have to fight the cross town traffic when trying to get to the airport from the hotel.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by an absolutely delightful doorman who was a champ at obtaining taxis whether I was coming or going. Also, Madison Square Park was within walking distance of the hotel which featured laid back and informal live music. There were also several restaurants within walking distance, including a French bistro next door.
Service and Amenities
I found the staff at Hotel Giraffe to be friendly, but very business-like. They seemed to take their jobs seriously. In other words, this is not a vacation-type hotel, which is great for the business traveler. Most of us want to be treated well, but basically be left alone. On vacation, pampering and doting is nice, but when while traveling for business, leave the over-the-top niceties behind the desk. I'm in a hurry and I have a job to do.
I arrived at 2pm, and there was no opportunity for an early check-in due to the busy nature of the hotel. Fortunately, the lobby is equipped with tables and chairs that are easy to set up shop and work on the laptop, including ample outlets. But the best part was the complimentary espresso/cappuccino/coffee/tea bar available to guests all day. Lemonade, water, fruit and cookies are also complimentary. I didnít mind the wait, I actually got a lot of work done in the meantime. Unfortunately, my room wasnít ready when promised, and I had to wait an extra hour, but this was the only negative aspect of my stay.
The lobby amenities continue into the evening. A wine and champagne bar is offered with fruit and cheese, and a European continental breakfast (bagels, muffins, fruit, coffee/tea) is served in the same space in the morning. All complimentary.
I reserved a king room with a Juliette balcony that was perfectly adequate for my one-evening stay. It was about 300 square feet total. For the business traveler, sometimes a room is just a place to sleep, and that was really the goal of this trip for me. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom was big enough that I didnít leave with bruises from bumping into the fixtures or door, and the balcony was a sweet little feature that made for a nice few minutes of people watching down below. The style was modern and comfortable, a mixture between a Westin and a Kimptom property.
The rate was steep for the accommodations, about $361.00. But like I said, it was mid-June, an expensive time to stay in the city. Considering the complimentary amenities that I certainly took advantage of between breakfast in the morning, afternoon coffee and cookies, and wine and cheese at night, what I would have paid for all three of these certainly offset the price a bit.
Overall, I can understand why this property is so well liked by business travelers. It literally appears at the top of the favorite list amongst those who have provided reviews to TripAdvisor.com - rivaled only by its sister property, The Library. The location is convenient to mass transit and commuting in and out of the city. Plus, it borders on the quaint area of Murray Hill which is full of tree-lined streets to walk along as the temperature cools in the evening. There are hotels I prefer in New York City, but I was impressed enough with this one that I would certainly stay there again if the opportunity presented itself.