Broken treadmills and broken people at the W New York Times Square…

Rather than spend last night at one of the Andaz hotels in New York (both of which are fantastic), I decided to try out the W New York Times Square. I was only staying for a night and the hotel belongs to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, meaning I’d get a $100 food and beverage credit plus free breakfast, in addition to my Platinum benefits. Besides, I want to be able to review new hotels for you guys, since reading about the same thing over and over isn’t that exciting.

I’ll only briefly mention my issues with the hotel (I’ll cover them in more detail in my review), and then get to the good stuff:

  • Despite nine “Fabulous Suites” showing as available online I wasn’t offered a suite upgrade, even after asking. I wasn’t in the mood to argue after last week.
  • The $100 food and beverage credit can only be used in the restaurant and not via in-room dining, while the free breakfast can only be used via in-room dining and not via the restaurant. What the…? And the continental breakfast consisted of a muffin and coffee. That’s it.
  • There’s not a single trash can in the (bed)room, aside from a recycling bin. The only trash can is in the bathroom. There was also no way to turn on the shower without getting in it, and as a result getting soaked with cold water. I know both of these points are terribly minor, but they’re so basic that it pains me. I’ve never stayed at a Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, or Four Points where I had either of those issues, yet an upscale brand like W doesn’t seem to consider these when designing hotels.

Aside from those things, let’s get to the meat tofu of my “experience.” I went to the gym last night to work out, and it was empty. Great, nothing beats an empty gym! I got on the treadmill and started running. I go at an incline for at least half the time, and as it turns out the treadmill wobbles side to side. Fine, I’ll use the next treadmill. Oh wait, the buttons don’t work on that one. Then I tried the next one, and it had the same “wobbling” issues. Again, in all my hotel stays I’ve never had an issue with gym equipment, yet at this hotel all three treadmills don’t work? I went down to the front desk and they sent up engineering, and they figured out a temporary solution.

So I go back to working out, and eventually am joined by an older guy in the gym. About 30 minutes into my work out seven girls come into the gym, probably between the ages of 12 and 16. They’re all wearing short skirts, not wearing shoes, and have slurpies. They were all screaming at the top of their lungs and abusing the equipment. It was like Toddlers and Tiaras gone bad (and who knew it could get worse than the original version?). At one point there were four girls on a single treadmill, and the one in the front kept increasing the speed, making the others scream. More importantly than anything else, the situation was dangerous, and one of them could easily have been hurt.

The older guy and I exchanged looks, and he said “girls, are any of you 18? You could get in trouble otherwise, so I’d suggest you stop doing that.” They completely ignore him, and after a few minutes he leaves. As he’s leaving they say to one another “*&#$^&@ snitch!” I wasn’t going to say anything since if they don’t have respect for an elder (the guy was 60+) they sure as heck won’t have respect for me. I waited another couple of minutes and the screaming and horseplay got worse, so I jumped off my treadmill and grabbed the emergency phone to call security. As the girls see me move towards the phone all seven of them dart out of the gym while calling me names.

Yesterday was definitely one of those days where I’d rather not be traveling and would rather be at home just living my everyday life.

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest
  1. Your experience sums up why I’ll *never* stay in Times Square… while I’m sure there are a lot of things that would make your stay better, the clientele that would actually stay in Times Square is just iffy….

  2. Now a youtube video of their stupidity would have been great Ben! (but I bet they would have been proud of that too – ugg).

  3. Some of us are too old for the W, and some of us are too young for the W. You and I wouldn’t know ‘cool’ if it hit us over the head (if you believe what you read). Groan.

  4. I stayed there (granted it was during their “find a better rate get a free night” thing a few months back), and although my stay was fine, it definitely wasn’t anything amazing. I also noticed the no trash can thing. Weird.

    As far as the girls go, you should have pretended like you dropped something and then pulled the plug on the treadmill on them. I guess that wouldn’t exactly be nice, but I can’t stand snotty little kids whose parents forgot to teach them manners. I think I’ve officially joined the “Get Off My Lawn” crowd.

  5. I’ve stayed at that W a couple of times and have always been disappointed. The Westin and Hilton are far better choices if you want to be in Times Square (and of course there is also an Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Marriott and Doubletree nearby). But the W has always disappointed and it sounds like they are going out of their way not to honor Platinum benefits.

  6. I think the the gym experience is a one off, however more worrisome are the last 2 bullet points in the review. The $100 credit policy & continental breakfast offering is embarrassing ridiculous.

    And the bath faucet situation is absolutely unacceptable. I think this is just common sense and not minor at all.

  7. I stayed at the W New York for two nights and was similarly disappointed. No Suite Upgrade (event though they were selling several online), Room had several maintenence issues (shower did not drain, one of the blinds did not work properly) and overall I wished I was down the street at the Andaz.

  8. The Marriott that you see right outside of your Window is an awesome hotel.. I truly enjoy staying there and def FAR better than the W. If you ever visit this area, try staying there.

  9. I stayed at this hotel a few months ago and ran into the same issue regarding platinum benefits not being honored, even after informing them had many suites were available online. I’m stopped fighting with these hotels now and have just moved more of my business over to Hyatt and Hilton.

  10. If I’m to stay in times square, I prefer the doubletree. Nothing really to upgrade to, but breakfast is good as a Hilton elite, and the rooms already are pretty roomy. Service is good, and the cookie is nice.

    As for the gym experience, broken equipment at a hotel that charges that kind of rate is unacceptable. As for the tween and teen girls, not much you can do with that age. For the most part, that particular version of human keeps to itself and travels in packs, so you can often avoid it. But when you can’t, you can’t, and even the best well-parented ones when in the pack tend towards repulsivity. It can happen anywhere. Not much that can be done. Don’t think too harshly of the parents. It’s a freaking challenge.

  11. Hey Lucky, just curious how you are able to check the number of rooms available for a particular room class? When I used the SPG website, it shows me available room classes but doesn’t show the number of those rooms available…

  12. Any W in New York I stay away from….now that the Court and Tuscany are gone. Especially Times Square.

    Platinums don’t really stand a chance of an upgrade at those properties unless they are frequent guests of the hotel. I think the hotels take care of the people who stay there regularly…Platinum or not, which is good. But if you’re just a plain platinum with little hotel relationship? Forget it. I’ve found this true at most of the NY SPG properties.

  13. @ Ced — Not especially practical at 11PM unfortunately.

    @ Erik — The SPG website lets you book multiple rooms, so you can check availability for up to nine rooms at once.

  14. Was really not a fan of that hotel on a previous stay too. If you wanted SPG I would have tried the tried the Westin.

  15. Is this a “people pay a ton of $ to stay here anyhow, so we don’t care about the loyalty program” kind of property?

    Hmm…#105/431 on tripadvisor…not bad.

  16. How did your FHR rate compare to the best available rate or best promotional rate?

    I assume the continental breakfast they give was the FHR benefit not the Platinum benefit, of which there are minimum standards. Could it be an issue with what FHR negotiated?

  17. Regarding the Westin, I was a huge fan and still stay there. However, with the closing of the lounge, converting 1 bedroom suites to studio suites with Murphy beds, and a cheap “grab and go” continental breakfast, it isn’t the same. Also, small changes like switching the size of the complimentary water to the single gulp size.

    The gym, which right now has fabulous views, will be converted into rooms and the new gym will be where the lounge was.

  18. Lucky,

    In general, I like the W brand, and found my two FWN certificates well spent at the W TS back in 2010. I like the “not your traditional bland Sheraton” feeling.

    However, my biggest beef with W hotels is the location. It seems that in too many places, the hotels themselves are in crappy locations for a tourist, which generally means a no-go for me. I mean, I’ll consider paying BAR if the stars line up right, but it seems that in too many places, the location is out of the way, and that’s something I refuse to *not* pay a premium for. (Chicago, Seoul, HK come to mind.)

  19. How much was your rate? I was in NYC yesterday and saw some of the cheapest room rates I have ever seen. Decided on the Doubletree in Chelsea for $88 (the Hilton Times Sq was 130ish…assuming you would have had a better experience there).

  20. @ beachfan — I only booked a day in advance. Best rate was $251, FHR rate was $269.

    @ Chas — I’ll actually be staying there in a few weeks. Will be sure to post a review.

    @ Simon — LOL.

    @ Murphy — My rate was $269 with FHR benefits.

  21. I stayed at the W in Chicago and truthfully, didn’t get it and had a misable stay. Some things in my room were free, but others wern’t. I was afraid to touch or use anything in fear of being charged some crazy fee. The room size was smaller than the standard at a Sheraton. I just don’t get what makes the W so much more special than a Sheraton or Westin……

  22. @ Josh — Not for my stay last night, though they are paying for my stay at another SPG property for the next two nights.

  23. @lucky. Ahh. Lucky you. The Le Parker meridien is the best SPG in the city, location wise although i can’t wait for the new Park Hyatt across the street. Do you get two days at the open from them or just today?

  24. I think some of these hotel designers just want to see how much crap people will put up without complaining or stop staying there.

    Regarding the girls I had an issue at a Hilton and a sports team with young girls was staying there and they were making noise and running up and down the hallways. I complained and they lady said “Well we told the parents/guardians but they aren’t doing anything about it.”

    My thought was then call the police or throw them out of the hotel. I canceled the remainder of my stay and went elsewhere.

  25. I really enjoy the Westin right down the road. Although on really busy 8th avenue, the inside of the hotel seems quite a bit less hectic. Having a 2nd floor lobby might help with that.

    Had no idea the lounge closed, though. It had a pretty decent spread during my last visit in December.

  26. “•Despite nine “Fabulous Suites” showing as available online I wasn’t offered a suite upgrade, even after asking. I wasn’t in the mood to argue after last week.”

    They are lousy about upgrades. After corresponding with the GM, I am 100% confident saying that the desk agents/actors are told to never upgrade Plats. It is obviously hotel policy.

  27. @lucky, what a nice rate for NYC. I was there earlier in August, couldn’t get it below $339.

    I’m wondering if Labor Day isn’t a slow time there – kids back to school, Europeans done with vacation, etc.

  28. The Westin Times Square has a “spa floor” (I think it’s the 23rd floor; might be the 22nd). As a Gold I was upgraded to a room on that floor which had a very effective massage chair. One of my most memorable SPG stays :-).

  29. At first I was rather surprised that two grown men would hesitate to kick a few misbehaving girls out of the gym. Then I remembered the story of Sean Lanigan and the thirteen year old princess with a grudge who casually destroyed his career and nearly put him away for forty years as revenge for being reprimanded.

  30. I ran into a similar issue earlier this year at the W Times Sqaure. Was told there was an inventory ‘glitch’ showing rooms available online that we’re not really available.

  31. I’m surprised nobody else has asked this yet, but why didn’t you call the hotel out via Twitter like you did at W Santiago? That seems like a pretty foolproof way to get the Suite upgrade that you are fully entitled to. And it does all the rest of us Plats a favor as well when you call them out on it, as maybe they will remember for next time when we travel there.

  32. @ gregorygrady — I should have. I don’t want to annoy the SPG Twitter folks too much, so I try to limit getting them involved as much as I can. I hadn’t slept the night before so was just exhausted and wanted to sleep.

  33. Was at the ASTA expo in LA this weekend. Spoke with some Starwood Execs about this issue. General response was that anyone can be a travel blogger. Can’t trust online reviews. They also told me they believed that hotels gym was run by an outside company. Giving the impression it wasn’t their problem. I reminded him it is inside their hotel…he went back to anyone can write whatever they want on the web.

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