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“An Italian perspective on the Algonquin”

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The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection
Ranked #190 of 467 Hotels in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Rome, Italy
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“An Italian perspective on the Algonquin”
Reviewed 5 May 2007

It was our fist time in NYC and decided to stay at the Algonquin because a famous Italian writer dedicated one chapter of his "I segreti di New York" to Dorothy Parker, so I was curious.

We stayed for 8 nights in a 2 rooms premier suite, which was rather expensive (560USD av. per night with tax), but also nice and comfortable; the only cons was the bed sofa where our 20yrs old daughter slept: it was quite tough and bumpy, so, even if her room was elegant and spacious, well equipped with fridge, huge plasma tv set and other amenities, my daughter kept complaining. My sleeping room was a bit smaller, but the queen bed was really soft, so my husband and I enjoyed it. The bathroom was a bit small too, with a small bathtub, that looked old fashioned, with a strange draining system, and of course no bidet...but you must be really lucky to find one out of Italy...LOL
For our clothes there was only a small cabinet and a medium sized piece of furniture which was nice but couldn't be defined a wardrobe, anyhow we managed to put all our things in order.

The staff were really nice and kind: the doorman and the bellboys were always ready to be useful to us, so was the concierge, the receptionists were a bit hasty, but efficient. The maids kept the room well clean but they didn't refresh it in the afternoon as it happens in most luxury hotels.
They even have complimentary laptops, which was great for my daughter to keep in touch with her friends in Italy, but if you really need a pc, better bring yours cause they have only one or two and they are often taken.
Breakfast wasn't included in the price and it was expensive, specially since there was no buffet and anyhing you order extra the standard Continental or American breakfast they serve is added to the already high price ( 15/21 USD plus tax and tip). Nevertheless it is worth while because that Round Table room of theirs is very elegant and full of historical reminiscences, besides the waiters are fun: most of them are small and a bit fussy, strangely alike the Humpa Lumpas in the movie "The chocolate factory" with Johnny Depp.
We didn't have dinner here because in the menu there was nothing appealing to our delicate Italian palates and couldn't have tea in the lobby in the afternoon cause they explained us that it wasn't tea time, so they didn't serve any,
We were obviously struck by the beauty and charm of the wonderful Matilda, The famous Algonquin cat. She is so nice that can be caressed by any hotel guest and moves around like a real queen supervising everything.
Overall we had a wondeful time in New York and enjoyed a nice stay at this hotel, so well located quiet and comfortable, the cons were minor things that didn't spoil our holiday.
If I would come back? Maybe I'd rather stay in another area to have a different taste of New York , but...who knows...if Matilda invites us....

  • Liked — The elegant living room
  • Disliked — The sofa bed
  • Stayed May 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank Claire53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2007

I stayed at the Algonquin while I was sitting for the New York State Bar Exam in July 2006, despite the fact that I lived around the corner in Murray Hill. My reasoning was that I needed to be pampered and relaxed during this incredibly stressful 2-day exam - something that was unlikely to happen in my cramped & noisy studio on Lexington Avenue. I chose the Algonquin because of its rich literary history, the lovely ambiance, and the wonderful experiences I had previously enjoyed in the bar/restaurant of the hotel.

I checked in the evening before the exam, and was shown to a decrepit room with peeling wallpaper and stained carpeting - the room was also very noisy, despite my request for a room in the back of the hotel. I saw another queen deluxe room across the hall being cleaned, and when I called the front desk to ask if I could be moved into that room, the woman condescendingly replied that it was not in "my price range" since I had booked through Priceline - despite the fact that it was an identical Queen deluxe room - and that New York is a noisy city (I should know I've lived here for 8 years). She also stated that the hotel was booked up & I would have to stay in the room. Eventually, several phone calls later, and after requesting to speak to her supervisor, I was moved to a more acceptable room - obviously, the hotel was not in fact booked up.

I had planned on staying an extra evening after the Bar exam to relax and recuperate, but based on my unpleasant experience, I chose to check out immediately after the bar exam.

Upon approaching the valet to request my luggage (which I had left on the final morning of the exam), I was ignored while he chit-chatted with another worker. Another woman who had just taken the Bar was also with me, waiting for her luggage. The valet told us something along the lines of "you girls will just have to wait." Girls?

Unbelievable. The worst part was that I wrote a letter to the manager of the hotel, detailing my experience, and never received a response. I am thoroughly disappointed by this incredibly unpleasant experience during an already stressful time in my life. No thanks to the Algonquin, I passed the Bar, and will never recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Liked — Location & HIstory
  • Disliked — Condescending Staff, decrepit rooms
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank CityGirl42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ma
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2007

Just got back from the Algonquin. Chose this hotel for location and price. Travelzoo had a great rate of 179 with continental breakfast. We were worried about the construction next door as mentioned in recent reviews. When we arrived the woman at the desk asked if we minded waiting a few moments because she wanted to put us in a front room to avoid the noise from the construction. We did not mention anything first to her and never heard noise, except in the dining room in the morning. Everyone was very nice at the reception area. The lobby is vintage looking and my husband felt it to be depressing and dark. (It has been renovated to look this way) I liked the vintage charm. The room was pretty small and I actually had some difficulty putting my cosmetics out in the bathroom, however, everything was new and very comfortable. The bed and linens were very good. The location is fabulous. I would definitely stay here again at this rate, not sure if it was a lot higher.

  • Stayed March 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank guina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philly
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2007

The Blue Room bar has been a staple of our trips to NYC. Living in Philadelphia, we can go up on a whim. The eccentric waiters in the Blue Room bar have always been part of the charm. I was...validated...is that the word?... to read a recent review, where the customer said the Blue Room bar service is terrible and the waiters congregate around the bar and talk to each other. This is true.

BUT, the drinks are great (even at $15 a pop for a Signature Cocktail), and the free snacks are fresh.

Long live Matilda!
Cheers,
QOTD

Stayed March 2007
Helpful?
3 Thank QOTD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Memphis, Tennessee
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2007

My husband and I had a getaway to New York just after Christmas. We booked a room at the Algonquin by calling them directly. I felt uncomfortable doing it over the internet. I told the agent I spoke with about the special internet price I had seen, and he honored this price. We had absolutely no trouble checking in and getting up to our room, with excellent service. The rooms are small, but this is New York, and all the rooms are small. It was just really cozy, and all that we needed. We had comfortable beds with down comforters
and plenty of soft and fluffy pillows. We had a lovely stand in shower, with plenty of wonderful hot water. Just being at the Algonquin was very exciting, with all the dinner shows that go on, and the lounge is always buzzing with activity. The location couldn't be better, walking distance to just about everything, very close to shows, Times Square, and the New York Public Library, of historical fame. The breakfast served in the lobby was truly delicious, but ws $60 with tip, just for two people. During the rest of our trip, we at breakfast at the cute diner next door, the Red Flame, which was pefect for us. Each morning we got up before dawn to start our day of sight seeing, and the fresh food and hot coffee next door really hit the spot. If you go to New York, stay at the Algonquin by all means!!!!!

  • Liked — Pretty much everything, comfort, great area, superb service, delicious food, concierge
  • Disliked — I liked everything, but we may not be in the right financial bracket for the meal prices
  • Stayed December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank carlaroseberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2007

A stay at the Algonquin was something I had always dreamed of, being a Dorothy Parker fan, and I love the fact that the hotel has a resident cat (Matilda).

We arrived at the hotel mid afternoon, after an 8 hour flight from the UK (so were pretty jetlagged, and our bodies thought it was late evening). There was an awful noise and vibrating as there was construction work on a building behind the hotel. The receptionist assured us that it would stop at 6pm (but then confessed it started at 7am). The following day was my birthday so it was disheartening to think I would be woken up in such an unpleasant way!

The noise was not the fault of the hotel, so we decided to try and make the best of it. Our room was small and very noisy. We went down to the bar around 5pm to have some tea (it was way too noisy to have room service). The bar manager was sniffy and said "we aren't serving tea". We actually brought our own tea bags, so all we wanted was hot water and milk. I explained we were guests and that it was impossible to relax upstairs in the room. He begrudgingly let us sit in the dining area (but said "I have to charge you for tea even if you use your own tea bags..." GEE THANKS..) The noise stopped at 6pm which was bliss.

The next morning, it started up again at 7am so we ordered tea and toast from room service. This ended up costing nearly $40 which is outrageous. We had a booking to stay at the Algonquin again 2 days later, which we cancelled when we checked out, due to the noise. If the hotel had offered us a discount as compensation for the disturbance, perhaps we would have decided to stay there for the 2nd night, but they weren't interested. This experience has spoiled the whole concept of the Algonquin for me.

  • Liked — Matilda, the cat who lives in the foyer. Also the door man was incredibly nice and helpful
  • Disliked — Very very expensive and horribly noisy. If you are staying here, ring to check if the work has finished!!
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank leopard.pants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2007

I also took advantage of the Winter/2007 $179 TravelZoo promotion and wish I hadn't. I switched to another hotel that charges over twice nightly what I paid for one night at the Algonquin, and was glad I did.

All that the Algonquin has going for it comes from the hotel's historical legacies -- the renovated architecture, the legends of the Round Table and the wonderful gentlemen who run their bell service. This is a unique and special hotel offering unmatched by other hotels in NYC and indeed the U.S.

Unfortunately, the current owners have packaged this incredible American historical venue with a theme park mentality instead of with the subtlety and taste that their previous literary clientele enjoyed at the hotel in its earlier years.

Thanks to the historical sensitivity of new owners in the 1980's who did the hotel’s first major renovations, much of the hotel's architecture and style has been restored to period and remains intact and beautiful. However the current owners have reduced the cosmetic decor to a caricature of the history by putting up wallpaper with "New Yorker" cartoons. Also the white paint in the rooms, instead of the former richly colored Edwardian wallpaper, mars any sense of the period of the hotel's glory days. The rooms are so small and dated that their charm and appeal only comes from their history, so this aspect has been damaged -- although it could be reversed with new wallpaper.

The life of the hotel emanates from the legendary bellstaff, some who have been with the hotel for decades. They are the best in NYC because of their personalities.

Outside of the friendly and wonderful doorman (wonderful, authentic smile), the accomodating bellstaff, the courteous front desk, and excellent housekeeping, the rest of the service is dicey. The hostesses and waitstaff in the lobby area were inattentive and patronizing.

As other reviewers have noted, there's age discrimination at play in this hotel. The restaurant staff seemed to focus on the late middle-aged men. I don't know if the management is intentionally marketing this hotel to an ultraconservative 55/60+crowd who like to drink a lot of alcohol.

ANYC friend who came by to see the lobby for nolstagic reasons (his last visit had been when his father brought him to the Algonquin 20 years ago when he was 16) confirmed this sense I had about the odd political atmosphere of the hotel. We're both traditional and politically moderate ourselves. A mainstream media executive very familiar with the NYC media scene, my friend confirmed that the free neo-conservative, rightist newspaper offered in the Algonquin lobby "The Sun" indeed takes a well-known adversarial stance to the paper that he used to work for, "The New York Times." We thought the discrepancy between touting the hotel's legacy of its association with the liberal "New Yorker,' which the hotel provides, but hides in a drawer in the room, was rather creepy.

Also, if you're in your thirties or even forties,health-conscious, and family-values oriented, you might feel out-of-place. Much of the lobby crowd were later middle-aged people who were intoxicated. A man and woman at the table next to us made very loud and drunken in off-color remarks that were not witty like those of the Round Table Literary group, but instead vulgar and offensive. We concluded that this is not a place to have dinner with children or teenagers, or for those who prefer proper decorum.

The concierge I encountered in March 2007 was rude, incompetent, and coarse. She represented the opposite of the legendary Algonquin service and manners. She obviously did not want to help with directions.

The rooms and bathrooms are miniscule compared to other hotels of comparable price in NYC. All that this hotel has to offer on a competitive basis is its history and aspirations to the legendary service it touts. The management really needs to rethink its full utilization of the hotel's history -- changing its approach from exploitation to respect. And they need to retrain the hotel's waitstaff and find a new concierge.

This is a three-star hotel that is best suited to an older neo-con crowd that likes to drink; writers who are drawn to the history and don't mind the chasm between the hotel's past liberal literary glory days and its present; and people who don't mind the well-worn rooms and problems because they got a promotional "bargain." The rooms are not worth the full price -- there's much better in the vicinity.

Although I was drawn to the hotel's literary history, in the end the cons outweighed the pros. I switched to a hotel in the area that was in the same (non-promotional) price range but was truly luxurious (4-diamond), with a staff with consistent good manners.

There's a reason for the wildly varying opinions at Trip Advisor. Recommend reading them carefully to see if you fall into the kind of category that fits with this hotel. It's NOT for everyone.

At the same time, I hope the management gets their act together, removes "The Sun" from their lobby, and revives some of the past consistent greatness of the Algonquin, which is still alive there, in the friendly and wonderful personalities of the gentlemen at the door and bellservice. I wish them the best because they deserve it. They make the hotel along with the architecture and history.

I'll return if the management acquires the consistent chops and clear and apolitical (politics don't belong in a hotel that markets to the general public) tone like the hotel lounge's great jazz singers demonstrate.

  • Liked — history, architecture, gentlemen at door & bellservice
  • Disliked — rude concierge, poor lobby dining service, neo-con newspaper in lobby
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank Sara088
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection

Property: The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection
Address: 59 W 44th St, Between Fifth & Sixth Ave, New York City, NY 10036-6613
Region: United States > New York > New York City > Midtown , Manhattan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#60 Green Hotel in New York City
#103 Family Hotel in New York City
#114 Romantic Hotel in New York City
#127 Business Hotel in New York City
#140 Luxury Hotel in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection(R), is an AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel located just a block from the lights of Time Square and steps from Fifth Avenue shopping. We are one of the most distinct boutique hotels in the Midtown area thanks to our rich history and impeccable hospitality. The historic Algonquin Hotel provides the allure of New York City charm and has created a tradition of meticulous and prodigious service with more than a century of playing host to influential guests. Our guest rooms offer luxurious features and amenities, including complimentary wifi, 37-inch flat-panel TVs, backlit mirrors, iHome clock radios with an iPod docking station and Beekman 1802 bath amenities. Our Times Square hotel's dedicated staff will carefully note your individual requirements and preferences upon arrival to best attend to your needs and wishes while traveling. We also offer a prime location near the theater district on Broadway, fashionable NYC shopping destinations and endless attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Algonquin Hotel New York City
Algonquin New York City

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