by Lissa Poirot
A luxurious hotel located directly across the street from the Waldorf Astoria, The Benjamin holds its own in terms of service and amenities that appeal to the most discerning travelers. But this doesn’t mean the hotel isn’t suited for families. Au contraire! Each of the hotel’s 209 guestrooms and suites features a fully equipped kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, dishes and glassware and a mini bar, making the hotel an ideal place to retire after a long day exploring Manhattan. Select a suite and you’ll have a living area to sit back and relax tired feet and cranky toddlers while making snacks, reheating leftovers and sipping on wine.
The Benjamin works hard to ensure your family enjoys a good night’s sleep, including the Winks’ Kidzzz Club and a Sleep Program that includes sound machines, nap kits and even a selection of 12 pillows such as lullaby pillows with built-in speakers for iPods, prenatal pillows for expectant moms and snore-no-more pillows to help snorers sleep better so non-snorers can sleep. Even pooches get pampered with a Dream Dog program.
Our Editor Loves
- Fabulous location near Central Park and 5th Avenue
- All rooms feature kitchenettes with full refrigerators
- Sleep menus to promote a perfect night's sleep
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The Benjamin's 209 guestrooms and suites feel more like a private condo in Midtown with galley kitchenettes in all rooms featuring a full refrigerator, microwave, serving and dishware, and counter space for preparing small snacks and dishes. Rooms are equipped with iPod alarm clock/radio, high-definition flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi access (included in the hotel facilites fee), a multi-outlet station, and luxurious 500-thread count Egyptian cotton bedding.
Guestrooms are the smallest, at 250 square feet and only one queen bed, but deluxe studios offer two queen beds in 325 square feet.
One-bedroom suites with a choice of queen or king bed, range between 450 and 550 square feet and feature a separate living area with sleeper sofa. These rooms provide two flat-screen TVs, a work desk and chair, and comfortable chair for relaxing. One-bedroom Deluxe Suites provide even more space with 550 to 820 square feet, but it's the VIP Suite that is the largest. At 1,620 square feet, the two-bedroom suites offer two bedrooms, a separate living area with sleeper sofa, a dining area, kitchen, and two terraces with outstanding views.
This historical hotel is a mix of regular hotel rooms and suites. We stayed in the ADA Queen 1 bedroom suite.
The suite is lovely and don't really have any complaints about it.
But I do feel that the listing for this room should clearly say it does not have a wheelchair accessible shower/tub. They have grab bars, but it IS a tub. And depending on which end of the tub you enter, it can be slippery because it's as a tub retrofitted with grab bars. The open end is very slightly elevated (so the water drains properly). If you are depending on the security of the grab bars, it can throw you off a little bit if you are not prepared for the elevated slope. Entering at the shower head area is also awkward because the shower head bar is not really designed to be a grab bar, it was only designed to hold the shower head.
Ideally, they would put in a shower in the space where the tub currently is. Since it aims to be an ADA room, I would suggest converting it to a wheelchair accessible shower which benefits everyone!
The room does have visual fire alarms in the bathroom and bedroom, but can't recall seeing it in the living room.
We enjoyed our recent stay and recommend The Benjamin. For details, read on....
We are a family of 3; two parents and one tween daughter and took advantage of the 'suite-sale' rate for a high floor 1BR suite with a king bedroom, kitchenette, and pull out sofa in front room. This was a personal family trip for an event located nearby. This is a very central east-midtown location literally next to the 6-train.
The room is very comfortable, the bed is very comfortable (make or break item), the toiletries are not little bottles but full size pump bottles in a tidy wall mount (this makes so much more sense), the kitchenette has a ton of snacks and drinks at typical hotel prices, and the restaurant The National is solid - but given the area options, not the focus of our stay. The staff is motivated and very accommodating. We asked for extra pillows and towels and these and all other requests met with a friendly and kind quick-delivery. The staff are trained pros - they also own The Surrey* uptown which is a step up on the fancy scale *but same general full-service-boutique model. I think this is key if they cross-train or use a similar model because the feel at that hotel too, in terms of friendliness and helpfulness is very similar.
We were in town for an event and by comparison friends attending same were staying at the Sheraton next door which despite being a long time east-side staple, was not as nice on all levels, at the same general price point, albeit no Starwood points at The Benjamin. Also the Maxwell literally next door was the long time W that hosted the USTA for years and that too has fallen from grace. And the Grande Damme Waldorf Astoria across Lexington is under substantial renovation and not open. Plus numerous other hotels and this is what is keeping the room rates down (evidenced by both Marriott Sheraton and Maxwell clearly cutting expenses in their operations). The Benjamin is making the right moves to be the best operation in the immediate area. I think the closest luxury hotel is The Palace and that is much larger with a totally different feel and price structure.
50th & Lex: There are Walgreens (Duane Reade) all over the area, closest one a block away selling the same Fiji water and whatever else for substantially less than the in-room rate obviously. There is a Starbucks and Irving Coffee (local) next to the lobby and a great diner which we liked. The location is on the 50/50 line between business neighborhood and residential neighborhood so a walk 2 blocks east and you step out of corporate pricing and into local resident options on restaurants, etc. depends what you are looking for. We walked cross-town to/from a Broadway show through Rockefeller Center it was very pleasant and reasonable distance for our 11 year old.
In sum, I had planned to stay at The Surrey because we went to Cafe Bouloud for Mother's Day before our flight out, but the opportunity to get a suite at $342 / night avg was too good to pass up and we really enjoyed our stay. Truly a very comfortable hotel and the bed and pillows are making a huge difference. The Benjamin is focused on the right things vs the fancy toiletries linens and towels they actually have a 'sleep doctor' and understand the importance of the entire reason you are there - offering great mattresses and pillows. In sum, the staff, the room, the location, the mattress and pillows make The Benjamin a terrific option for a midtown visit to NYC.
A typical Manhattan hotel, the Benjamin does not provide onsite family amenities, but rather a quiet, comfortable place to retire after a day exploring New York City. The hotel is located at 50th and Lexington, walking distance from the shops of 5th Avenue, Central Park and Times Square.
Winks' Kidzzz Club
Winks' Kidzzz Club promotes a good night's sleep for children with a free program for kids 2 to 12. Children receive an organic wool-filled toddler pillow to sleep on, kid-sized robes, a Winks the Owl doll (one per reservation, additional at cost), a Winks' Kidzzz Club Sleep Certificate awarded upon check-out, and a lending library of favorite bedtime books to borrow for bedtime story time.
For adults and big kids, an in-room sleep menu provides a selection of 12 pillows on which to sleep, a selection of sleep machines, lavender turndown service, slippers, satin sleep masks, black-out shades and more are provided by a Sleep Concierge guaranteeing a good night's sleep or they'll give you a free night.
The Benjamin's onsite restaurant is the James Beard Award-winning The National, open from 7 a.m. to midnight for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunches. The cafe/bistro-style restaurant is a favorite of the businessmen lunching or grabbing a meal after work and didn't feel too kid-friendly to me, but the restaurant also provides the hotel's room service menu so you don't have to miss out on the food for fear the kids won't be welcome. The kids' room service meal is lacking but at least offers chicken tenders, grilled cheese, pasta and French fries so you don't have to dine in a restaurant.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and in-room Wi-Fi is included in the hotel's facilities fee. Pets are welcome here for a fee and they are greeted with a special welcome package.
The Art of Smart Timing
There is never a bad time to visit New York, which remains vibrant during all seasons. With it's Midtown location, the area can be busy with businesspeople during the weekdays, and a little more sleep on weekends and evenings, but the location is within walking distance of Times Square and Central Park.
The Benjamin is located on East 50th at Lexington Avenue, and approximately 30 minutes from both LaGuardia and JFK airports, and an hour from Newark International Airport.
The hotel is situated just one block from the subway. Taxis are also easily available.
For Mom and Dad
The hotel's third-floor Wellness Spa provides four treatment rooms for massages, body treatments, wraps, facials, and the Benjamin's signature Sweet Dreams treatment, a head-to-toe hot stone massage and mini facial with Lavender essential oils to promote sleep.