by Traci L. Suppa
It’s a rare treat to find a brand new hotel in Manhattan, and rarer still to find one that holds a world record. The Holiday Inn in the financial district, which opened in October 2014, is the world’s tallest Holiday Inn. It was built from the ground up where a parking garage used to be, and stands more than 453 feet tall, with 50 floors. Naturally, the upper floors offer outstanding city views, including the Hudson River on the side facing New Jersey, and the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial reflecting pools on the side facing uptown.
This property is downtown, in the area known as the financial district, which includes Wall Street, so expect a mix of business and leisure guests. From here, it’s easy to get to the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
As a home base for city exploration, this is a good choice. It’s not in the middle of noisy midtown, but rather on a quiet side street on the lower west side. What makes this property workable, if you plan to visit uptown attractions, is its proximity to the Rector Street subway station on the 1-line, which is an easy route to stations at Times Square and Columbus Circle.
The interiors are stylish and modern, with a few Asian dÃ©cor touches. The rooms share this same look, but are very compact. In fact, while you can (snugly) fit a crib in the standard rooms, rollaway beds aren’t even available. If you need a lot of space or have a large family, you may want to consider getting a suite or two adjoining rooms.
Our Editor Loves
- Downtown location near attractions
- Location on quiet side of street
- Modern property with upgraded amenities
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
When reserving your room, keep two things in mind. There are 492 rooms in this hotel, on 50 floors, all served by three elevators. To avoid a potentially long wait for an elevator, request a lower floor so you can use the stairwell. Also, some floors have showers instead of bathtubs. If your child takes baths, request a room with a tub.
Cribs are available at no charge. Rollaway beds are not available as the rooms are too small to accommodate them. Accessible rooms are available, as are adjoining rooms, which connect two rooms with king beds. The rooms do not have mini-fridges or microwaves, though a limited number are available for rent at the rate of $20 per stay.
Standard room types either have one king bed, one queen bed, or two double beds. All rooms are non-smoking, and have an in-room safe, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, and free wired and wireless high-speed Internet. The 39-inch premium TV gets more than 80 channels, including Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and ABC Family. The ability to block channels on the TV is available by calling the front desk.
Two-room suites feature one bedroom and a separate living room with a sofa bed, in addition to all standard room amenities.
Executive Club Level
The standard rooms and suites on the upper floors from 35 to 50 are considered Executive Club Level. You'll pay a premium, mainly for the views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, 9/11 Memorial and the New Jersey skyline. These rooms receive a free morning newspaper delivery, and have all the standard amenities.
I was lucky to get a room on the 39th floor facing the Hudson -- the view was incredible (and I grew up in NYC, so not easily wowed). Rooms are of above-average size for NYC, and were perfectly clean. Large selection of TV channels, multiple choices for electronics charging, solid free wifi. Breakfast is not included; however, there is a Dunkin across the street and a good two eggs, meat and bread breakfast delivered to your room is $9.50 plus fees and tax. Pub connected to hotel inside -- did not eat there but other guests enjoyed. Subway one block away. Yes, the elevators can be a bit slow, and reception can be cramped, but even when a flight crew was checking in (apparently more than one airline uses this hotel), the staff was able to serve others without fuss. If you want to stay in Lower Manhattan near WTC, this is a very solid choice.
I was pleasantly surprised by this modern, spacious hotel. The rooms sizes are good and come with a desk and comfy chair so you can work in the room (No more perching on the bed!). Although it lacks a hotel restaurant the Irish pub next door does tasty meals and will delivery to your room, so a very good option. The only downside is that the elevators can be slow sometimes!
This property caters to business travelers and leisure travelers who visit to enjoy what Manhattan and the outer boroughs have to offer. As such, there are no formal onsite children's programs offered, nor any indoor play areas or pool. The hotel's urban setting means there is no outdoor playground or green space.
This property works well as a home base for exploring downtown New York City and the surrounding areas. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is two blocks away. Battery Park, where tour boats depart for the Statue of Liberty, is less than a mile's walk south. Two other museums, the Skyscraper Museum and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, are also within walking distance.
St. George Tavern
The onsite restaurant, St. George Tavern, has much more character than most hotel restaurants, and that's because it's housed in the adjacent building, which was the former St. George's Syrian Catholic Church. It's a beautiful chapel originally built in 1812, offering an intriguing juxtaposition against the hotel's brand new interior.
You'll hear jazz playing all day, while you sit under coffered ceilings with modern brass light fixtures. The eclectic design mix, which also includes Asian vases and vintage photos, plays well with the high, dark wood wall paneling. There's a chic bar, as well.
Breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner are served here. Kids will receive a placemat and crayons with the children's menu. Kids' meals include a drink, an entrÃ©e like grilled cheese with fruit or chicken fingers with fries, and a frozen treat. Children ages 12 and under eat free in the restaurant when accompanied by an adult -- a worthwhile value in a pricey city like New York.
Room service is available 6:30 to 11 a.m., Monday to Friday, and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes appetizers, salads, soups, and entrees such as rib eye, herb chicken, and crusted tilapia. There's also a convenient Quick Start breakfast delivery option with two choices -- a continental breakfast or a hot breakfast with a Farmer's Classic egg dish.
Nearby Dining Options
This being New York City, there are restaurants everywhere, so you have plenty of nearby alternative dining options. Across the street is a Dunkin Donuts and a beer garden. On the same side of the street is Planet Gyro, Pomodoro Pizza, and CafÃ© Bravo. There are also several restaurants in the area that deliver to the hotel, and menus are available at the front desk.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
In the lobby, you'll find an ATM and a touch-screen flat panel that provides travel information, including information on local dining and attractions, as well as the flight arrival and departure times at the city airports. There are also vending machines in the lobby with soda, bottled water, and some healthy snacks, such as granola bars.
Business Center/Computer Access
In addition to a staffed business center, there are also three computers and a printer in the lobby for your use to print boarding passes.
The Fitness Center, located on the third floor, features two treadmills, an elliptical, recumbent bike and free weights.
If you drive your own car into the city, there are two nearby parking garages recommended by the hotel. The closest garage is one block away, and charges from $35 to $50 per 24-hour period, depending on the day. The other garage is four blocks away, and has a set price of $35 for hotel guests once you ask the front desk to validate your ticket.
Check-in time is 3 p.m., and check-out is at 11 a.m. Depending on when you arrive and depart, the front desk will store your luggage for you so you can go sightseeing.
The Art of Smart Timing
New York City is a year-round tourist destination, and although there is a lull in activity in the bitter cold months of January and February, that time also offers the best opportunity for value rates. The rates are highest in the spring and summer months from April through August, although the heat and humidity in July and August drive many local residents out of the city. Comparing the overnight rate of a room with two double beds in mid-February and mid-July shows the rate nearly doubles in the summer.
There are two major airports serving New York City. LaGuardia Airport and the John F. Kennedy International Airport are the closest to this hotel. Drive times to each, with no traffic, are 30 and 40 minutes, respectively. The hotel offers a private car service with special pricing for airport pick-ups and drop-offs. There isn't an airport shuttle, but there are ground transportation services available at both airports, including the Super Shuttle and the Go Airport Shuttle. Taxis will cost approximately $30.
The Holiday Inn is located one block from the Rector Street subway station, on the 1-line, which provides direct service to popular uptown stops like 42nd Street and Columbus Circle. Taxis can be hailed in front of the hotel, although it is quicker to find one on the surrounding busier streets.
For Mom and Dad
If you can get away for a kids-free evening, you could spend time at the bar in St. George Tavern next door, where there are 16 beers on tap, or at the covered, open-air Clinton Hall beer garden across the street.