Scene of the crime: The Hudson Hotel, New York…
We’re generally very easy to please here at the GSTP team, and if anything we’re quite often accused of being too easy on reviews. Truthfully, we love to travel, so as long as some major snafu doesn’t occur, we keep it light. But that won’t be the case here today. One hotel has frustrated and scorned us for the very last time – and in our books, it’s the worst hotel we’ve stayed in, in a long while. Funny enough, it’s related to one of the only other hotels where we had a similar, dreadful experience.
It all started at the Hudson NYC with a sleek and polished check in. Unfortunately, the only thing sleek and polished was the extremely manicured hair of the check in agent. Though he seemed innocuous enough at check in, he’ll reappear in this story. After incorrectly reading my ID, and asking if we were sure of our stay, we politely informed the agent where to find the last name on this widely accepted form of photo identification, which assisted in locating our reservation. It’s a passport card, by the way. Our room had been prepaid, so we were told that a card was needed for a $75 incidental charge. Standard, no biggie. Frankly, we were just happy they had our reservation in the end. Our last stay at this hotel involved a dramatic search to find our seemingly non existent reservation. Which did of course exist in the end, over an hour later…
After a walk down the hallway littered with rubbish and decay, which may have recently featured as a crack den in a gripping Hollywood thriller, we made it to our so called “room”. We realize that the comparison may be see as highly insulting to fine crack dens around the world, but we digress. Lets shift gears and use the word “room” very loosely here. You’ve undoubtedly seen TripAdvisor reviews for many hotels stating “small rooms”, but have you ever stayed in a room where you could touch virtually all walls of the room, simultaneously, from any point?. The most miraculous thing about standard rooms at this “four star” New York City hotel, is that they were able to get the beds in. That’s an actual, “I need to know how they did this” miracle. This is a feat of true modern ingenuity. A shame they used up their greatest feat before even opening the hotel.
No minibar, no desk space, no amenities other than shampoo and no useable space for luggage. This room would be fantastic for small docile dogs or parakeets- they rarely require storage beyond a water bowl, but for any traveler, this is poor on every level. Don’t get us wrong- they advertise that it’s small, but this is like… jaw dropping small. It’s quite literally the smallest room we’ve ever been in, and you’ll absolutely need to enter single file. The air conditioning could wake the dead, and unfortunately so could street noise from the city outside, and any sounds through the paper thin walls next door. It sounded like the people next door had a lovely time, if you catch our drift. Perhaps most feng shui, the television was arranged such that you had to lay sideways across the bed to view it. A marvel of a thought, putting the innovation of the iPhone in serious jeopardy. But that’s where the positive, debatable points of our stay end.
After scouring the room, looking for standard amenities which travelers frequently need, like a corkscrew, we resigned to calling guest services. The call went something like “hello, I may be blind, but I can’t find a corkscrew, is there one, or can we get one?”. To which the agent passively replied “we don’t have cork screws, if you want anything opened, you can go to a restaurant and ask them to open it for you”. “Well, can we get an ice bucket?”. “Sure, I’ve placed that order for you”.
45 minutes later, a child’s flower pot turns up with a few ice cubes. By now, we need to venture out, so the perfectly sized ice bucket for airplane mini bottles would have to be put on hold. It was soft plastic, just FYI. After a thrilling evening in the city, seeing Liam Gallagher at Terminal 5, we hit the hotel. Tired and hungry, we came to find out that there is no room service, despite having three restaurants on the premises. Oh well. To the vending machines – yes, vending machines we went, for a simple bottle of water. No complimentary bottles of water can be found anywhere in this hotel. At this point, we’ve seen better hostels. This is theoretically a four star hotel.
Staying countless nights each year in hotels, we’ve become desensitized to the folio under the door, or on the television screen. They’re almost always neat and tidy, and rarely require more than a glance. But this one was WRONG. The pre paid room had not been accounted for, and we were being charged for the room all over again. Incorrectly thinking “surely, any competent agent will immediately correct this” we ventured back to our friend whose hair was perhaps even sharper than the day before. If only he could back it up with his wit. He not so politely informed us in not so distant terms that we were morons, the room had not been paid for, the card we used for incidentals had been charged for the whole thing and if we had any problems, we could go find another tree to bark up. Not a smart tact, as someone reading this is probably preparing to cringe. He suggested that if the card used for initial payment was the one we wanted to use, he could just switch back to that. He did, but incorrectly, again. By now we had three separate charges, all covering the room rate. So in theory, we’re simultaneously on the hook for three rooms, only one of which is billed correctly.
Smiling and asserting that we’d revisit this, we headed off to Central Park for a morning jog. The one thing this hotel has going for it is location. Actually, it has an Umami Burger too, so two things – but one of them you can’t get delivered to your room, which virtually cancels it out. Upon returning we sorted through card statements to prove once and for all that we had been charged, our reservation was entirely pre paid, the $75 for incidentals was the only thing that should’ve been charged.
Finally, we found Jade. That’s not a metaphor for utopia, just a person who should be immediately made in charge of everything at this cluster of an establishment. Jade immediately saw the room was pre paid, should never have been charged, and how her colleague had failed to rectify this. He of course choose instead to add a venerable mix of arrogance and gasoline to the fire, by charging my card for a third (incorrect) room charge. In the end, Jade sorted it with expert proficiency, apologized on behalf of the hotel, got the folio properly sorted and comped $14.95 in Wifi as a gesture. I’d hate to think how this review would’ve gone if not for her gesture and absolute professionalism. Depending on the season, a bench in central park may offer very similar amenities, and certainly less time spent checking credit card charges. We hear the burgers are great though – it’s just too bad you can’t get them delivered to your room.