The Final Verdict
3.5
Location
Check In
The Room
Service
Overall

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. Oh, joy.

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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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13 Comments

  1. I’ve stayed in this hotel a few times and I agree that the check-in staff are generally too cool for school (they are clearly accustomed to guests complaining about the tiny rooms!). The standard rooms are uncomfortably tiny and not suitable for two people with suitcases. For a more comfortable stay, you need to book one of the larger rooms, at least 250 sq ft in size. The only way I’d choose the standard room is if I found a hugely discounted rate and I only needed a place to crash, or there were no other options available. Heads-up: this hotel charges a ‘resort fee’ on top of the cost of the room.

  2. It seems like the name was intentionally left out but in the interest of us not wasting money, do you care to share?

    Otherwise, good bad review.

  3. I stayed at the Hudson Hotel a few years back. The 3/4 door to the washroom was freaky. No way this hotel is 4 Star. Thanks for saving other souls from staying at the disaster area.

  4. Great review, though I had a smaller room at the Windsor HIX (well it did have room for a small,table so maybe not). I will say it looks much worse than the Manhattan Comfort Inn where I stayed almost 3 decades ago.

    But I mean given the price and the tripadvisor rating, what did you really expect? TA is sometimes wrong at the top of the rankings, but almost always right about the bottom 50%.

    In America, as elsewhere, you often get what you pay for. Even the fine NYC hotels are IMO notoriously disappointing so a good place to burn points, given the rates.

  5. I nearly made the same mistake as there was what seemed like a good deal on. Fortunately found a cheaper hotel with better reviews (hopefully ok though I haven’t stayed yet) and 8000 Avios with Kaligo. Lucky escape for me it seems!

    Though I can see your small room and raise you…. a room so small they couldn’t fit a double bed so you had to pull what looked like a second very small camp bed out from underneath a bed so small a 7 year would find it snug. Funny enough that was NYC too. Took one look and checked out!

  6. when the hip hotel opened many many years ago it was to go to the bar and you could only do that if a guest. when it was no longer for the cool kids and celebrities it still thought it was the place to be. still looks same design/fixtures from when first opened which was to be small cruise like cabins to sleep in

    I stayed when my employees wanted me to add it to our hotel program and it was not only small but that “bed” was more futon IMO. the services are nil and the staff were a mixed bag.

    there are too many great MYC properties to chose from so I never stayed again based on room, outside noise and staff treatment – the Hudson never made my preferred list and I don’t recommend it either

  7. This hotel is a scam. There is not an ice bucket in this room. There is no microwave. There is no breakfast like they falsely advertise. The bathroom is so small I have to sit sideways to go. Do not book with them especially through someone else like Expedia. And only if you have no where else to go.
    Their resort fee has left me without funds for the rest of my trip. “Read the fine print” is what one of them said to me. I was aware of the fee. I requested to pay upfront and for some reason that never happened. I have had to call several times. I had to make two reservations because they wouldn’t just extend it over the phone not even within 24 hours after booking. My mistake. I booked a day less than I needed on accident. Non-refundable room but I did get insurance, that was useless. Don’t get insurance.
    Hudson wouldn’t do anything because I booked through Expedia. Called Expedia. They wouldn’t do anything because they needed to call Hudson. On hold for 30 mins. I was told I can book another room but it would be different. I would have to move my stuff and switch the last day AND pay more as the price had changed.
    This whole experience has been a joke. So unpleasant.
    Alfonso is the director of rooms. I expressed the issues to him like I had to many times already to many people at this point. I explained that I tried to pay all of the fees in advanced. I was clearly lied to. I paid a total of $1300 for my stay of 6 days. For zero amenities.
    I was put in a really bad situation upon arrival when they asked for my card for an additional $180 in fees. I explained that it should already be paid for. I specifically requested to make that payment in advanced to avoid any embarrassment. When I was back and forth on the phone with Expedia and Hudson.
    I managed to speak to a gentleman over the phone, Peter, that was able to credit my account for the first booking of $125 due to the inconvenience and genuine lack of funds. I went downstairs to checkout and back in because they refused to just extend my first reservation. I was able to keep the same room in the end. They unfortunately and honestly took my last dollar. I already paid $50 for security deposit for the first reservation that was not refunded. Then $83 for another deposit and fee for the second reservation.
    Now I am stuck in this room. With zero amenities and zero dollars for another night and day in New York across the country from San Diego.
    Alfonso looked at my account and said “they are taking care of their end of the contract by providing the room and they did nothing wrong”. As I cried to him and another woman over the phone in frustration, I asked for $10 for something to eat later because that was literally all I had. So embarrassing. He told me he wished me the best of luck but “they are taking care of me”. He wished me the best of luck because I cursed over the phone while I was crying to him because I just can’t even believe I managed to get myself in a situation like this. He did say “sorry you can’t have $10”, apologized for nothing else, and then hung up on me.
    In the end this is my fault really. I should have listened to the other poor reviews. Mainly, I shouldn’t have travelled to a “paid” room with only $150 for meals for a week I guess. It is just sad to ask for help and be embarrassed after investing over a grand with a company. No empathy, no humanity these days.
    I will not be booking with Hudson ever. It is not worth your money. Reasonably the room should be at most $75 a night for the very little they have to offer. Oh! I mean there is a nice chandelier over the front desk.
    No one is there for your comfort or hospitality. No one is there to support you. They are only about their hidden and unjustifiably fees. They don’t care if you go hungry to get it. Please save yourself at least a headache and I guess at most your dignity. Don’t stay here.

  8. Yes, a conference I was attending was at the Mandarin Oriental – $1,400/night. Oh hell no. The conference offered alternatives and the Hudson was the closest so I booked it.

    Walking down the hall to my room, I know I was in for it. I was reminded of History Channel shows about the Special Housing Unit at Pelican Bay Prison. The actual room would be perfect for the sort who books a below the waterline stateroom on a low budget cruise line and, upon entering, is hit with an attack of agoraphobia. No chest of drawers, knees touch the opposite wall when on the toilet… Need I say more about the size?

    I arrived on Sunday and thought I’d catch a football game. The Television (at right angles to the bed as described) said “no input signal.” I called the front desk on the 1980s vintage phone and was told by a pleasant lady that she’d send someone right up to take care of that. When I left this morning (Friday), the alleged “someone” still hadn’t arrived.

    The air conditioning didn’t work the first night but I didn’t bother to complain. The rest of the nights it had somehow started working. But it was so loud that every time it kicked in it woke me up. And, apparently, the duct was too far removed from the thermostat so that the thermostat thought it was 71 degrees and I was looking for frost on the stuff by the nightstand.

    The work station consisted of a tiny four legged table with a card table chair. I used it a couple of times and, I suppose, it worked.

    The molding around the door was rotting and the paint was peeling.

    The only good thing I can say about it is that it had plenty of electrical outlets.

  9. How about the fact that Hudson Hotel has a transparent white sheet between bathroom and room instead of wall?! You can see and hear everything. It’s disgusting. I had to go to lobby to use bathroom. I had to leave room when my fiancé needed bathroom to give him privacy. Disgusting!! I’ve been trying to fight the 300$ for the night charge with MasterCard for months.

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