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“Hotel that wants to be a bar or bar that wants to be a hotel?”
Review of Refinery Hotel

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Refinery Hotel
Ranked #29 of 469 Hotels in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 September 2013

We stayed at the Refinery hotel for a week in early August, 2013. I have to stress that the hotel is very much a work in progress since opening in the spring and they are learning "how to be a hotel" which threw up a lot of interesting experiences on our behalf.

We had two rooms booked, one for my wife and I, and another for my parents in law, both being on the 8th floor, one at the front of the building, one at the back. Here is my review:

The good.

Location is fantastic, right near Bryant Park which is great for breakfasts in the fresh air. It is not a touristy spot which is great, and only a short walk to Macy's and other attractions.

Rooms size is good, especially for New York.

Staff are friendly and courteous; making you feel welcome as you come and go from the hotel. They even helped us book an excursion and print our tickets out.

Gym was nice, clean, but small.

Tv was good with many channels.

Shower had good pressure.

Now here are some of our experiences.

Our bathroom door had no lock, which was fine, but whilst in the bathroom the door would creep open by 30cm or so meaning privacy was not there when you needed it. What is the point of a door that wont close? It took two handy men to look at it and the best they could do was supply door wedges.

The shower knob fell off which needed fixing.

Storage is dreadful. We are two adults, attending a wedding and spending a week in NYC, therefore bringing a a weeks worth of clothes. There was hanging space for 6 items only. When I asked for extra hangers on the first day nothing happened. Then I followed it up on day 2, still none turned up. The hanging of clothes is not the only problem, there was only on set of drawers that could fit only a few pairs of socks, underwear and 4 t shirts. Now, where are a couple supposed to put their clothes? Eventually the manager organised for another set of drawers to be delivered to the room. After asking for more hangers on three separate occasions we gave up.

Additionally one of the chest of drawers was missing a foot so rocked back and forth which was annoying, though this did get fixed.

Ice boxes are located on the uneven floors in storage rooms, but I visited all of them only to find two of them empty and the third with a bed stored in there. Front desk told me they were waiting for the ice machines to be delivered, but did get ice sent to my room...

Room service was very tasty, but it took 4 phone calls to get the order taken as no one was answering the phone, and when it did come it was in plastic containers with separate plates and cutlery. Not sure about this concept...

The hotel is a very 'hip' and trying to be trendy place. They have a lively bar which is right at the entrance to the hotel. You have to go past the bar (which is also the foyer) to get to the lobby and elevators. Young trendy office types like to come drink there, music is pumping and the chinking of glasses and chatter does not make for a relaxing entrance as you return to your hotel after a day hitting the city. The hotel also has a roof top bar that people queue up for, especially on the Friday and Saturday nights, which makes the hotel feel more of a nightclub than a hotel... If you are after a chilled, tranquil stay, then steer clear of the Refinery.

Internet is wireless and quick when it worked. The router near our room kept tripping off so Skype calls became impossible. This was only where we were though, not in the other room.

The room door was very heavy, but would not close properly unless you really slammed it. One morning security came to our room to check the we were ok as our door had been unlocked all night. Nice to know someone is watching, but would be even nicer to know the door shuts after you...

The rooms were cleanish (dust on paintings and areas of the bathroom), but the one of the days they forgot to visit our room... The bed turn down service was nice, though unnecessary.

Lighting in the room was not great, and the light is by no means cosy.

Our room was just outside the entrance to the service elevator which meant many times we were greeted in the morning by a couple of cleaners chatting outside our room.

Finally, no taxis know where the hotel is as it is so new! Make sure you write down the address.

With all of these problems and feedback I had to speak to the manager who apologised, tried to get things fixed, but he could have tried better, or the hotel needs to really think what they want to be- a hotel for guests, or a bar that has hotel rooms...

Room Tip: Avoid rooms near the service elevator
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank JHB1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2013

Thank you for your balanced review, JHB1981. We are sorry for any inconveniences you experienced during your stay and will be sure to improve our space and services with your comments in mind. We hope you will visit us again in the future.

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Reviewed 7 September 2013 via mobile

Very central hotel. Room had a very authentic feel to it with high ceilings and dark wooden floor. Very spacious for central NY and extremely clean. Staff were very friendly and obliging. We didn't use any of the hotels facilities. Only problem was the street noise. I know there is nothing the staff can do about the noise as it is NYC but it did effect our sleep. Other than that, fantastic hotel and will hopefully come back again.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank reddaithi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2013

We hope you will be visiting us again soon! Thank you for your post, reddaithi.

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Reviewed 6 September 2013

Intimate hotel just south of Bryant Park with a wonderful staff. After a hiccup waiting for the room to be ready, quickly settled in for a 4-night stay while attending a wedding that was wonderful. The amount of detail in everything was amazing while still remaining simple and subtle. The rooms were welcoming with beds that pulled you from your orbit into their gravity to the point you felt guilty getting out until you stepped into the world class shower. Foremost was the door crew, whatever title the Refinery gives these members of their staff they should also be called Knights of W 38th. I cannot tell you what it means to enter a hotel for the first time and be greeted by such a group. They were helpful to another level without being overly so, there is no better way to greet guests than with this “handshake,” very well done.

The only advice I would offer to the hotel is to find some way to open the rooftop to guests during the day. We hated to head out when we knew what was possibly upstairs.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Frankptx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 September 2013

Thank you for your post and for acknowledging our attention to detail, Frankptx. We look forward to your next visit.

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Reviewed 5 September 2013

We stayed in August me my wife and two teenage boys, we were given a room on the 10th Floor which had a great view of the Empire State Building, the room had ample space for all four of us I never felt cramped at all,the room was very nicely presented and was always kept very clean. The staff were always friendly and helpful and they always seemed keen to assist and offer advice. The only complaint I could make is the setup with the roof bar, you can't automatically use it as a guest and one of the lifts is reserved for exclusive use of the customers, you also need to be 21 to use it, the customers also used the hotel bar and in the three nights we were there I didn't see many free seats, it would be nice if they could look to offer a small guest only bar because after a long day it is nice to sit and have a quiet drink. That being said I would highly recommend staying here it is a great base in midtown between 5th and 6th avenues and close to lots of the sites.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Alan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 6 September 2013

Thank you for posting, Alan C. We are grateful for your recommendation and look forward to your next visit.

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Reviewed 5 September 2013

My wife, one of her friends and I stayed at the Refinery Hotel last week during the first week of the US Open Tennis tournament and overall our experience was very good and bordered on excellent. We had a small suite which we loved but did experience some lighting problems the first night. The bed was the most comfortable hotel bed I can remember. The staff was terrific and bent over backwards to be nice and helpful in all ways...with one exception. The rooftop bar is highly touted but we had not visited it until the last day. After spending all day in the city we got back to the hotel right at 5:00 PM and decided we wanted to have a drink on the roof before brushing up and heading back out for dinner. My wife and her friend went directly to "The Guardian of the Velvet Rope" while I made a pit stop. Everything was fine and they were told that we would be ushered through as soon as I arrived. In spite of both women companions wearing bermuda shorts and casual tops, when I arrived a minute later I was told I needed to change into long pants to be allowed to have a drink on the roof. It seemed that was a little over the top to tell that to a 70 year old, nicely attired but in bermuda shorts, thirsty, guest of the hotel at a few minutes after five, but maybe I'm just too sensitive.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank JayRWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 6 September 2013

I am sorry to hear you were disappointed with your rooftop bar experience, but happy that you enjoyed your stay in the hotel, JayRWilliams. We look forward to your return visit.

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Reviewed 5 September 2013

The Refinery Hotel located in Midtown - New York City between 5th and 6th Avenue and 38th Street is the ideal hotel to stay in New York City to experience the city's best! The location is absolutely perfect from the high street shopping one can do on 5th Avenue. Its 2 blocks from Bryant Park which is a perfect setting for a lunch / dinner with your loved ones. Its also walking distance from Times Square!

What sold me to this hotel was indeed its newly constructed rooftop bar! The drinks and ambiance make it a perfect setting to enjoy your evening offering spectacular views of The Empire State building!

From the moment I walked into the long hallway to check in I knew this was the perfect hotel to stay in! After a long over night flight into the city the lemongrass fragrance simply woke and refreshed me!

The hotel interiors have been kept minimalistic and the rustic look cum modern look adds to the beauty of this hotel! For the price you pay and the space you get midtown - I think its absolutely worth this experience! There was plenty of space given the number of bags and one found it very difficult to fall over a bag .. ;)

The staff is extremely helpful and professional and know about things to do around the hotel and the city! They are easily approachable and very prompt! From the door man opening the door each time you enter with a big smile to the staff pressing the lift button! Each time you are escorted and treated like a King / Queen!

It was even more amazing that inspite of the hotel being completely sold out - the activeness of the staff was commendable!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank RSinghal007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 6 September 2013

Glad to hear you had a fantastic experience, RSinghal007. We hope you will be visiting us again soon.

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Reviewed 5 September 2013

The Hotel is really great. It has a vintage hallway, with large and unique bedrooms. The service was really fine and also there was a concierge available every time. I could make restaurant reservations and many other things. The best thing: extremely well located in Manhattan, between 5th and 6th avenues. Totally recommended.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Joao_SIUFI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
R_Taormina, General Manager at Refinery Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2013

Thank you for your recommendation, Joao_SIUFI. We hope you will visit again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Refinery Hotel

Address: 63 West 38th Street, New York City, NY 10018-3818
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New York > New York City > Midtown , Garment District , Manhattan
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #29 of 469 Hotels in New York City
Price Range: £208 - £496 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Refinery Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 197
Reservation Options:
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