The American Airlines flight was only 50% full, which was a rare treat and made the trip very relaxing. It was smooth sailing through clear blue skies. Both the Marketing Guru and I had empty seats next to us and were able to spread out for the 3 1/2 hour Dallas - NYC trip.
Since the convention was at the Hilton Hotel on 54th and 6th (Avenue of the Americas), I decided to try yet another new hotel from my regular rotation of NY properties. A Google search turned up the Elysee Hotel, a charming European style hotel which has won kudos from the famed Michelin Guide. It was also a short walk from the Hilton right down 54th street.
After a fab flight and a prompt, courteous pick-up from Executive Car Service, the Marketing Guru and I were greeted by one of the front desk clerks (Richard) who was from Plano, Texas. What a nice coincidence. Richard was very helpful, warm and welcoming.
Even better news - although we arrived about one hour before official check-in time, our room - #46 on the 4th floor - was ready for us to occupy.
The room was well appointed and beautiful with really comfy matching beds and two large windows facing right out onto 54th. Because the hotel is an older property, we were disappointed to discover they didn't have Pay-Per-View Movies, a favorite way to pass travel time. They did have cable and a VCR library of movies but no DVDs. Certainly not the hotel's fault but still a disappointment.
The hotel also has an amazing Club Room that serves a superb morning buffet. All of the New York papers and the USA Today are available to scan while enjoying New York style style bagels or other yummy treats like yogurt, croissants and muffins.
High quality coffees and teas were always available 24 hours a day in the Club Room. Wine and cheese was offered in the late afternoon. It was definitely a wonderful setting.
The Marketing Guru and I hung out regularly in the spacious club room on large comfy couches for meetings and pre-convention planning. The hotel had a complimentary tower with Net access for checking email or printing boarding passes.
The bad news? Sleeping was extremely difficult during the entire visit due to the constant activity of construction related trucks. The monster vehicles seemed to only show up after midnight and were traveling along 54th, right adjacent to the hotel.
Don't get me wrong. New York is an exciting place and I love the city's vibe and non-stop energy. Unfortunately, even with the hotel's windows closed, the noise of the huge trucks, sounding their deep horns to announce their arrival, was deafening.
Every night I tried sleeping with an extra pillow over my head which was completely inadequate for blocking out the deep growl of the construction truck engines. I also hooked myself up to my iPod and played music at ear splitting volumes to try and drown out the various truck noises.
Nope. It didn't work. There was no real reprieve from the constant comings and goings of the various trucks, their deep froggy horns and the sounds of drilling until after daylight.
Tuesday night was kicked off by a loud NYC garbage truck at the restaurant across the street from the hotel, followed by a loud crash which at first appeared to be one of the construction trucks crashing into a building nearby. Whether that's what really happened or not, the sound was deafening.
Would I recommend the Hotel Elysee? Absolutely. It's charming, clean and beautifully appointed. The front desk clerks were extremely helpful (especially Richard) and courteous, except for one day clerk, who appeared less helpful when the Marketing Guru inquired about arranging for a UPS pick-up of a package we needed to send back to Dallas.
As a result of the front desk clerk telling the Marketing Guru that he couldn't help her arrange a UPS pickup, we set out on foot to the nearest UPS Store and handled the errand ourselves.
I will admit I was a little surprised that the UPS pickup service wasn't available. I have stayed at a wide range of New York Hotels from the famous Caryle to the quaint little Inn At Irving Place. All easily handled my UPS package pickups and deliveries (I often ship my clothes back to Dallas to avoid checking in luggage).
Other than the non-stop noise every night and the UPS snafu, my stay at Hotel Elysee was lovely. Next time though I would request a room as far away from the street as possible.
It's true the Elysee Hotel management can't be held responsible for the fact that New York really is a city that never ever sleeps. Sometimes a City that is up all night can be fun, exciting and thrilling. Except when you need to catch some much needed Zzzzzsss.
The answer to my latest noisy NYC conundrum?
Always ask a hotel, before booking a room, if there's any construction anywhere near their building, what hours the construction is performed, and whether they can book you a room that blocks out the noise. If they can't guarantee you absolute quiet for sleeping, click your mouse to the next lodging option.Do I still love New York? Absolutely. When you love NYC as much as i do, you're always willing to forgive her for everything. At least I always do.
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