Since our plans changed, we decided to stay in NYC and spend sometime with our friends. I had looked into hotels near Central Park, but I did not want to use Hyatt points so the Park Hyatt was out of the running for us. Our friends did not have a better use for their stash of Hyatt points so they went for the PH, which is almost never a bad move.

I narrowed down our options to the JW Marriott Essex House, the Residence Inn New York, Midtown East (the highest rated Marriott in NYC) and the Times Square Sheraton. The idea was to use Marriott points. The above hotels cost between 60K and 35K points per night. We thought that with so much to do and see and so little time, it would make sense to focus on one area: the financial district. From there we could do Manhattan by Sail and stay away from Times Square, we ended up at the Marriott Downtown. the hotel is rated above 4.1/5 across all the sites we checked.

When I was about to book with points Marriott made me aware of the fact that I could book the hotel using a certificate. I was not informed that I had a certificate at all, but I was delighted to cover the night which would have cost me ~$350 or 35K.

I had the most generous welcome so far: a bottle of wine.

The person at the desk told me that they would upgrade us to the biggest double room available and that I was going to love the view of because it was a corner room.

Yes, it would have been nicer to see Lady Liberty, but this view of New York Bay/ Jersey City was more than fine at this price. The Marriott card gives me one free night and a 15 night credit towards next year’s elite status for $95. This card is a keeper for this perks alone. As a Titanium, I don’t think I get anything else from this card.

The hotel was exactly what I expected. It was renovated recently, but you can still see the effect of the years and the fact that the changes seem superficial and extremely budget conscious. The hotel could have been a bit cleaner, we found a baby sock and some areas had a bit of dust. Not deal breakers, but not ideal either. However, when it comes down to what matters the hotel delivered: the staff was very professional and attentive and the location is awesome.

We ended up having 3 meals at Bill’s on the first floor. The food was better than expected, but you won’t have a problem finding great food in this area. We stopped by Eataly which is great even if you don’t eat or buy anything.

In my book this hotel is a solid 3.6/5 establishment. If you are looking for a pool or a 24/7 M Club or Concierge Lounge this is not the hotel for you. If you don’t status beyond gold, and/or are traveling with the family the Residence Inn New York, Midtown East with its nice location and complementary breakfast for all might be more of your thing. I will definitely try to stay at all the hotels I considered for this trip in the near future.

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