Booking a hotel in New York City can be a bit of a minefield...there are many to choose from but finding one at the right place in the right location can be tricky.
When I planned my latest trip to New York last year I opted to book a package via Expedia which included flight and hotel. This enabled me to get a better rate on hotels and after browsing what was on offer I decided to stay at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Manhattan Chelsea as the price was right and so was the location.
The hotel is located on West 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, meaning it's just a short walk from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden on 7th Avenue and an equally short walk to the Empire State Building and the shops at 34th Street on 6th Avenue.
The area is known as the Flower District due to the number of wholesale plant outlets in the vicinity.
There are two subway stations nearby - on the corner of 28th Street and 7th Avenue you can catch the number 1 subway or you can walk across 6th Avenue to Broadway and catch the N and the R line. Both stations are local stops meaning you have to make sure you get on the correct train - for instance if you take the red line only trains numbered 1 will stop at 28th Street.
Buses run up and down the avenues too - you can take the M5 bus from 6th Avenue uptown or walk along to 5th Avenue to take it downtown.
~~First Impressions & Check In~~
I mentioned the hotel is located in the Flower District and during the day the front entrance is surrounded by a plethora of plants and flowers. The aroma hits you almost immediately and I have to say I absolutely loved it.
The main lobby for the hotel is small but perfectly functional. On one side is a small waiting area with four large comfy seats and a TV showing local news. On the other side is the reception desk.
I arrived with my daughter just after 2.00 pm and any concerns I had that our room wouldn't be ready were swept aside with a warm smile from the receptionist.
When I booked the hotel I had opted for a standard king size room, as I felt I couldn't justify the extra cost to ensure I got a city view. I was glad I didn't pay extra as much to my delight when the receptionist handed us our two keycards she told us we had a city view anyway.
We were shown towards the two elevators in the middle of the lobby area and made our way up to our room.
Our room was directly opposite the lift but first impressions were very good. When you enter the room the bathroom is located on the left hand side and there is a wardrobe on the right. I was pleased to note the wardrobe had a door which closed fully as I really am not a fan of the open wardrobes so many hotels offer these days.
The bed was massive - certainly bigger than the kingsize bed I have at home! There were five pillows on the bed and a table with lamp at either side.
Facing the bed was a chest of drawers which had two particularly good deep drawers for storing clothes. On top of this was a huge 42" flat screen TV. The chest also housed tea and coffee making facilities. Finally there was a desk and chair beside the window.
The window offered a wonderful view of the Empire State Building and I have to say it was wonderful to be greeted with this view every morning.
The theme in the hotel seemed to be black marble - the unit on which the TV sat had this effect as did the bedside table surfaces. All the wood, including the headboard for the bed, was a deep, dark brown shade.
This marble theme continued in the bathroom in the surface around the wash hand basin. I liked how the basin sat on a dark wooden unit which had cupboards at either side. One cupboard stored a hairdryer, the other was empty and perfect for storing toiletries and make-up.
The bath was the usual low style you get in American hotels making it easy to step in and out of for a shower. The shower was located over the bath and was powerful with plenty of hot water. The only thing I felt spoiled the effect a little was the fact there was a shower curtain around the bath - a screen would have looked a lot nicer.
We were given three bath towels in our room along with two face towels and two flannels. I would have preferred bath sheets but that's a small criticism. We got bath soap and hand soap along with miniature bottles of Pantene shampoo and conditioner and a Vaseline body lotion.
The wardrobe wasn't particularly large but there were several wooden hangers inside along with a room service folding tray holder. There was enough room for me to store two suitcases on the floor and two holdalls on the shelf above. I didn't really mind that there were no spare pillows as they weren't needed, nor that there wasn't an iron or ironing board in the room either but I really would have liked a room safe - that was my only real gripe with the room.
The bed I have to say was incredibly comfortable. As my daughter gets bigger I do try to book rooms with two beds but once again the price at this hotel for a larger room which provides two beds was more than I wanted to pay. Fortunately because the bed was so huge my daughter and myself felt perfectly comfortable in the bed and there was plenty of space for both of us to sleep without bothering the other.
The TV was brilliant too, and while it didn't offer hundreds of channels it did have 45 to choose from, with about half of them being in HD, meaning the picture quality was fantastic.
Maid service was very good with our room being cleaned each morning which meant every time we returned from a day out we didn't have to wait for the room to be serviced. When I used the "Do Not Disturb" sign on our final day the maid respected it.
It does have to be said that the room itself isn't particularly large but that's to be expected in New York where space is at a premium. If you want a large room here sadly you need to pay for it!
The deal I got for the room meant it cost us £126 per night, including breakfast, which is a good rate for a Manhattan hotel. The rack rate, which was advertised on the room door is $1,499!
I have to say I really like this hotel and certainly would consider staying here again if the price was right.
The hotel has 18 floors; there are 7 rooms on each floor with the exception of the ground floor and the top floor, which contains a roof terrace. The terrace offers nice views across Manhattan but nothing to beat the views you can get from the top of the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center.
Breakfast is available in the lobby area each morning. It runs from 6.30 am till 10.00 am during the week and from 7.00 am until 11.00 am at weekends.
Like so many US hotel breakfasts this is a continental buffet style breakfast with cereals, yoghurts, fruit, bagels and other delights on offer. There are hot sandwiches available too, with choices changing every day. I tried a ham, egg and cheese muffin one morning and a turkey sausage, egg white and cheese bagel another. These are pre-wrapped and require a 45 second blast in the microwave but are remarkably tasty!
Generally the service was good although I noticed that food was replenished far more quickly on the weekdays we stayed than at the weekends.
The hotel has free wifi throughout and is accessible via a code given to you when you check in. There are two computer terminals in the restaurant area for guests to use too, and I found this particularly useful when I wanted to check in online for our return flight home as there is a printer linked to them which enabled me to print off our boarding passes.
If you need ice for your room there is a machine located in the lower lobby basement, which also houses a fitness suite which is open 24 hours a day and vending machines. There are restrooms here too.
Check-out time at the hotel is 12.00 pm but as our flight home wasn't departing until evening I asked about keeping the room later and the helpful reception staff said I could hang on to it until 1.30 pm at no extra charge. After then they were happy to store our bags in a secure area until it was time for us to head to the airport.
Both my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Fairfield Inn Manhattan Chelsea. The location was perfect for us - close enough to the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan without being right in the thick of it. The room too was wonderful, with a stunning view, effective air conditioning and an incredibly comfortable bed to rest on.
The staff at the hotel were fantastic too - they were friendly and helpful. I only had to call reception a couple of times and was impressed by the response each time. The wifi at the hotel dropped one night and this was dealt with quickly, as was a remote control which failed to work for no discernible reason (yes, I checked the batteries before calling!).
I appreciate if you love Times Square and the choice of bars, restaurants and theatres you may be put off by the fact this is a 14 block walk south, but if you like to be away from the real Manhattan crowds, Chelsea is ideal as there are restaurants and local stores nearby (including a drugstore at the end of the street) and the subway can take you where you want to be quickly and cheaply.
In conclusion I can highly recommend this hotel for location, service and comfort, never mind the absolutely amazing aromas to be had from the flowers outside!
116 West 28th Street
New York, New York 10001
Hotel located in the Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea in New York