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Westin Jersey City - Newport Review
4/5 479 Washington Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ, 07310
(201) 626-2900
Rating: Chopsticks of Pleasure
A nice new SPG Cat 4, a potentially cheaper option to a Manhattan hotel
To get to this hotel from the south, Google Maps told me to take Washington St, but it turned out to be one-way southbound so I had to go west to Marin Blvd north and then approach from 6th street. When I arrived at 1AM, there was no valet in site (much like the W at Union Square) and there were also a lot of people loitering outside. Apparently there had been a false fire alarm so there were a lot of disgruntled vacationers milling about the lobby slowing things down. I requested a Westin Workout room upgrade and was initially told they were all booked but they managed to find me one anyway.

The room was cleanly and tastefully decorated with typical classic Westin styling. The room was large and pretty new too. The bathroom was pretty big and had a nice double shower-head. My Westin Workout room had a treadmill, exercise ball, free weights and exercise bands. The Westin Workout rooms are on the lowest guest floor (6 in this case) so as not to disturb others which allowed me to get a run in the comfort of my own room at 1AM without fear of angry complaints.

The hotel does not have a shuttle to take you around Jersey city but despite the dodgy valet drop-off, valet service was much better. At $28, they usually had my car in 5-10 minutes since the garage was in the same building. Due to a mix-up, they only charged me for one night instead of two.

Overall, this was a very nice Westin and I would definitely return if staying in Jersey City. It's a viable cheaper hotel option for Manhattan as well, though you would need to allow extra time for Holland tunnel traffic.
Posted 08/19/2009 10:47 PM in New York, Reviews, Travel
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W New York - Union Square Review
3/5 201 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10003
(212) 253-9119
Rating: Chopsticks of Indifference
Facilities live up to SPG Cat 6 rating but service lacks polish and valet parking is poor
This was my first hotel in NYC and I expected a big silver W in front like they have in some locations so I drove right by the hotel. I had to circle the block once before I saw the W flag a few stories up. Service wasn't quite what I expected from a SPG Category 6 hotel, though I did arrive at 3AM so I can't fault that. The only way to tell who the employees were was from a small W pin they wore. The valet assumed I was already checked in, but I was not and he had to get the attendant for me. The systems were down at that time and they couldnít merge my two reservations so after 2 nights I had to get my key re-coded. The one time I went to the concierge to get a map, there was no-one in sight so I just used Google Maps on my phone.

In typical W fashion, the lobby is dark. The double sided elevators open into a similarly dark hallway leading to the rooms. My room has typical dark and modern W styling but nice big windows to let in lots of natural light. The room was clean and the W bed was super comfy. The bathroom was nice, though a tad small with the shower door hitting the sink. My one complaint was that the A/C was a little off. THe room was nice and cool but it felt clammy and humid. I like the Bliss toiletries so I kept them as I canít stand the ginger stuff that I get at the Marriott I'm currently staying at in Hartford.

And now for parking... First, valet service is a whopping $55 per night, plus tax. When you call for your car they say 10-15 minutes, but I never waited less than 20 minutes. When I checked out, they hadn't billed me and correcting that took a long 10 minutes. Due to my dual-reservation problem they also mixed up the valet tickets and brought me a black Hyundai Sonata (I had a Grey Elantra). 15 minutes later they showed up with a Silver Hyundai Accent, saying it was the only other Hyundai they had. The bellman told me to go to the garage so after the valet shoved a bunch of someone's stuff in the Accent out of the way, I rode in awkward silence with the valet to the garage where I had to find my own car. When that was finally cleared up, I was 45 minutes late leaving the city to go to work.

Overall, I think the W in Union Square is a good hotel with nice rooms. Their service could use some polish and I guess that people who are paying big bucks may expect more but as a business traveler I'm ok with that. I would recommend this hotel if you don't have a car, however, if you do have a car, you may want to find a garage and park it yourself
Posted 08/10/2009 07:03 AM in Cars, New York, Reviews, Travel
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