*** Please see update at bottom of post
I had reservations at a Hilton in New Jersey, but upon arriving at EWR I discovered my plans had changed and it would be better to stay in Manhattan. Much to my surprise and delight there were several Hilton’s available in New York City and the Hilton Fashion District had a very low rate (under $100). I stayed at this hotel last December and was not overly pleased with my stay then, but with a rate this low and the ease of getting there from the Newark airport (and it’s proximity to Penn Station – (5 blocks)) it was an easy decision to give it another try. The hotel is located at 152 West 26th Street, just off 7th Ave.
The lobby of the Hilton New York Fashion District is very small (and warm – I saw temp. gauge saying it was 77 degrees). There is a very small concierge desk and a small reception desk. There were two people working at reception and there was one person ahead of me. Still check-in was relatively quick (under 5 minute wait) and the girl checking me in was pleasant. I asked about breakfast and the Internet and she gave me the necessary information along with a little bag with a bottle of water, a Candy Cane, and a pack of M&M’s (plus a card asking to post a review on Trip Advisor) in it. Last December they had little cakes from a local bakery on the reception desk for guests to sample (I did think this was nice touch). This year there was a small popcorn maker and some candy in Christmas jars to sample (also a nice touch). The reception and lobby area almost has a feel of a boutique hotel.
As I was walking to the elevators I realized there were no signs saying HHonors check-in and I remembered why I was not crazy about this hotel from my stay last year. There does not seem to be much advantages for HHonors Gold or Diamond members here outside of the free Internet and free breakfast. My room was on the 5th floor (I’m sure not an HHonors Floor) and as I entered the room it reinforced my memory that I received the same small room with no view last year (I also remember having a problem with getting a late check-out last year as well). That being said it is New York and rooms this size are the norm. I was sharing the room with a colleague so in this case I would have liked a little more space. If I was alone I would have been fine with the size (it was actually cozy). The room did have two beds as I requested. Mounted on the wall was a good size flat-screen TV. Underneath was a small desk that contained a mini bar and coffee maker on top. Plenty of outlets to plug in computer and charging your phone. The one nice thing this room had that most Hilton’s don’t have was an iHome docking station for the clock radio. Rather then their standard clock radio. So I was able to listen to my iPod on this MP3 player.
The Bathroom was also a little small, but was clean and felt new. It had a walk-in shower with glass door. The towels were very good quality and had the usual Hilton toiletries and soap from Peter Thomas Roth. The only thing missing was a make-up mirror.
Breakfast was on the ground floor in the hotel’s restaurant Rare. It is not the coziest place to eat breakfast, but the one plus was that unlike most Hilton’s in the USA The Hilton Fashion District gives a choice of ordering off the menu or choosing the buffet with the complimentary breakfast. My colleague selected from the menu and I chose the buffet. He liked his french toast and while the buffet selection was very sparse, the quality of food items was very good. I will gladly take good fresh food over a larger selection anyday. The orange juice was fresh and eggs and bacon very good.
As I said, The Hilton New York Fashion District has more of a boutique hotel feel than a full service hotel. However, the hotel does have all services you would expect from a Hilton. There is a Restaurant called Rare that has a nice lunch menu (specializes in hamburgers). In addition, the restaurant has a lounge/bar located adjacent to the lobby and a rooftop lounge that opens in the evenings. Now that was a little bit of a pain as they use one of the three elevators exclusively to the rooftop lounge. The hotel does have a 24hr. business center and fitness center, but does not have a pool. The Internet connection was good and free to Gold and Diamond members. Otherwise it is $14.95 per day.
Overall for the rate this was a great stay. But that being said the best part of this hotel is it’s location to New York Fashion Institute, Madison Square Garden, and Penn Station (especially if you fly into EWR). The rooms are nicely decorated and feel new, but are small. Diamond and Gold Members get their basic perks (free Internet and Breakfast), but little else. This was my second stay and twice I was on a lower floor with a view of the office across the way. Would I stay here again? Probably!
***** A few weeks ago (Dec. 2017) I again stayed at the Hilton New York Fashion District and while most of what I wrote above remains the same, there were a few differences worth noting. Both the room and TV seemed bigger this time and unlike the room I stayed at last time, this room did have a makeup mirror (I do not think the prior room was an Hhonors room). I believe Wi-Fi is now free for all guests, but at the very least it is free for Hhonors members (that book directly through their site) and as a Diamond member I received premium Wi-Fi. With most Hilton properties this is a joke because the Wi-Fi is terrible, but this time I was happy with the speed. The biggest change was to the breakfast. It is still in the restaurant Rare, but now, Gold & Diamond Hhonor members get a special menu you can order off of. They still have the buffet I spoke of above, but the cooked to order breakfast was much better. In fact, I would say it is the best breakfast I have had at a Hilton hotel in the US. I got the “All-American” (bacon & eggs) and a friend I was traveling with got the buttermilk pancakes (which he also liked).