INTRODUCTION

This Element Hotel (with a ridiculously long name) is part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts chain of hotels and takes after Westin Hotels’ targeting of relaxing stays.  Indeed, the bed used in Element Hotels are the same as that in Westin Hotels.

The hotel itself is located in Manhattan, New York, on 39th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in the Garment District.


CHECK-IN

The check-in desk was staffed by two people when I checked in late in the evening for a one-night stay.  Check-in staff were friendly and efficient and the whole process took about 3 minutes.

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At check-in, I was also provided a welcome care package as a SPG Platinum member.  Flyers detailing the the gold/platinum breakfast and hotel amenities were also provided to me.  Note an evening reception is provided on Mondays to Thursdays between 5:30pm-7:00pm where appetizers and drinks are served.  I did not attend this though.

I stayed using a free night certificate I had received as part of an SPG promotion and did not receive an upgrade from the standard Deluxe Room reserved.  However, upgrades are not a platinum benefit at Element Hotels so I did not ask for one.

One initial gripe I felt was the slow elevators at this property.  There are a limited amount of elevators for over 30+ floors of guestrooms.  As a result if you are staying on a lower floor, you may have to wait a long time until you can get in an elevator with space when coming down.


THE ROOM

The room was very compact at about 20m².  The floor uses dark wooden floorboards, which in my opinion, makes the room dark and slightly dirty.  It was a far cry from promotional photos and the brand image of Element Hotels as being for relaxation.

Blackout blinds are available which are effective at blocking out light when sleeping.  There is still some road noise here, which can be distracting, although not really unexpected for this part of Manhattan.

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There is a large work desk which is actually quite useful for productivity and adequate wall sockets for charging devices.

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There is also an armchair next to the work desk with an accompanying ottoman.  However, the pleather of the ottoman is being chipped away which points towards poor maintenance of property assets.

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There is a functional kitchenette complete with a fridge, microwave, electric range and dishwasher, as well as crockery and cutlery.  I didn’t use this as I was only staying the one night, but would be useful perhaps for extended term stays (although the room itself is quite depressing so you probably wouldn’t want to stay too long!).

There is no mini bar per se, but there is complimentary tea/coffee.

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The wardrobe had a safe, ironing board, iron and hangers.  No bathrobes or slippers.

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The view from the window overlooks a construction site next door, but the New York Times building is also visible.

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BATHROOM

The bathroom was quite compact and had no bathtub (and one was not expected).  The shower had two different shower heads, one mimicking a rainforest shower, but not quite being a direct vertical poor.  The other being a handheld shower head.  However, the shower was on a weird plasticky elevated platform, which certainly felt cheap and hostel-like.  Shampoo, conditioner and body wash were also dispensed from wall-bolted pump bottles.  This is brand standard though and was expected, although I’m not a fan of these.

Separate body soap and lotion were provided.

One major gripe during my stay was that the water coming from the shower took an extremely long time to warm up – about 10 minutes.  The water coming out of the tap was also searingly hot and could not be cooled down.  This made brushing teeth in the morning an awkward and painful exercise.

Another gripe was that mould was clearly building up around the shower platform and really needs to be dealt with.  While I recognise that mould around showers is a common issue, this took the cake a little.  A simple scrub of the area would be an easy fix.

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BREAKFAST

Breakfast is served in a ground floor dining area next to the front desk.  A breakfast order form must be filled out and dropped off at reception for later pick up.  As the dining area was full, we were asked to sit and eat in the lobby waiting area – not really ideal and felt awkward to eat there.

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Breakfast was brought by front desk staff in brown paper bag.  I portions for two people are in the picture below.  Pretty standard sort of breakfast and nothing to call home about.

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OVERALL

While this is a 3-star hotel, I felt that the standard of services and the room provided were sub-par.  While additional amenities such as the evening reception would be appreciated by some, the dirty rooms, issues with water temperature and slow overcrowded elevators is a major turn-off.

While Manhattan properties are well-known for being quite expensive, rooms at this Element Hotel regularly go for over USD 250 per night, which I feel is way too overpriced for the offering.

Unless there is absolutely no choice, I don’t think I will return.

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