There are some hotels that make you happy and others that make you sad. The latter category is usually reserved for an overnight stay when I don’t stay in the room that long and want to save money. I had the choice for my weekend in New York to pick a hotel that made me happy (more expensive) or sad (cheap, clean, functional). With no reward options available I had the opportunity to try a new hotel. So did I want to be happy or sad? I chose happy with The Muse Hotel, a Kimpton property.
For years, I’ve recommended the Kimpton hotels to my business travelers based on their boutique hotel product, high level of personalized service and it doesn’t hurt that they have a complimentary wine happy hour social for guests. The Kimpton group is quite active and responsive on social media – I follow them on Facebook and Twitter and the individual properties, where applicable. In New York, there are four hotels but with a theatre ticket, I decided to stay in the theatre district at The Muse hotel.
I tried to book online, had a bit of an issue and had to call central reservations. The agent was extremely helpful and the booking made with ease. I then, as I do with most hotel stays, emailed the concierge with a few queries for my stay. The concierge, Ronaldo, contacted me three days later, apologizing for the delay and listed a few options for tours and nearby bakeries (it’s for dessert research of course!)
The Muse Hotel – Arrival
Upon arrival at the hotel, the lobby while small is quite nicely decorated in warm woods. Ronaldo was at the front desk to check me in (the other two girls sort of stared past me while Ronaldo was chatting with another guest), he acknowledged me, finished with the guest and checked me in quickly. As a Kimpton loyalty member of their Inner Circle program, I was entitled to a room upgrade, if available (it was – I was told that it would have a balcony which intrigued me), free internet usage and a raid the mini-bar credit of $15 for the stay (NYC is higher than the $10 in other cities). These benefits are standard – this was my first stay and I was still entitled to receive them. When I told him the secret word for January (which was posted on facebook), he asked “red or white”? Red, of course and was presented a bottle of wine (nice surprise!). I was also provided a welcome envelope full of maps, brochures and discount coupons which were of interest to me based on my email to him. So armed with my bottle of red, I proceeded to my room.
The Muse Hotel Suite Upgrade
The elevator was a quick ride up to my floor and I was easily into my room which was L shaped. I walked down the long hallway to the closet to hang up my coat and saw the classic Kimpton robes – leopard and zebra themed along with socks (for purchase) and amenities such as an umbrella, laundry bag and very clever – a fedex envelope.
Then I turned to face the room……. and just laughed out loud. This is what I do when presented with an awesome room that I wonder how did I get this? How did I luck into this treat. For context, I’ve stayed in many a NYC room that was me, my bag and a platform bed on the floor and my bag and I struggled for room. Other rooms where the width of the room was the length of the queen bed – for those taller people you need to sleep on an angle. So here I am in this large king room with a chaise lounge sitting area and a door out to what Ronaldo called the balcony.
I’ve stayed in hotels with a balcony and my assessment that this qualified as a rooftop balcony party space for me and my closest thirty friends. As this room (I will call it a suite since it seems that big to me) adjoined another, the roof could be opened even further. As it was, there were two chaise lounge chairs and a table for four and a view of the street and the surrounding buildings, including the Westin Times Square where I’ve stayed more than once and had considered for this visit. In warmer weather, I’m sure it is decorated a bit nicer but for winter it was a bit bare but still lovely to have fresh air and a view in New York.
After a quick once over of the room, all of its buttons, bathroom (nothing spectacular) – I headed down to the lobby for the complimentary wine social. There were about twenty people in the lobby area (you could not use the bar) so it was a bit crowded and as a solo traveler not that conducive to meeting other travelers so my glass of Malbec and I went back to the room. I asked Ronaldo how many levels of upgrade was my room as I knew it clearly was not a normal upgrade. He laughed and said a few (in my head I figured four or five) – I’m not sure I wanted to know what the normal room size would be – I was happy to be living my suite life which then got a bit sweeter…..
A Sweet Suite Surprise at the Muse Hotel
The knock on the door prompted me to run down the dark wooded hallway bare with one photo on the wall – a contrast to the colorful and highly decorated room I encountered. I was greeted by a hotel server who was delivering an envelope, a bottled of prosecco, water and a dozen Baked by Melissa mini-cupcakes (a favorite NYC treat). If I hadn’t felt like a rock star before with the room, the secret password bottle of wine and enormous balcony, I did now.
I realized that my choice to pick a hotel that made me happy despite costing more was a fantastic turn of events. I thanked the server and asked if this is a normal delivery for guests and he wasn’t sure. As I wouldn’t drink the prosecco, I asked him to take it back and not waste it. So I opened the secret word wine and quickly popped a few mini-cupcakes before getting ready for dinner and the theatre.
The Muse Hotel Restaurant
I didn’t venture far deciding to dine in the hotel restaurant. I had looked at the dining menu in room but didn’t realize there were a few differences until I sat down. No worries, I had the chicken option which was so flavorful in a way that you want to have bread to soak up the juice (etiquette aside as I was dining solo, sadly no bread basket to oblige me). Sitting in the warm corner of the bar my service was attentive (as measured by my ability to never finish a glass of water as it was continually attended to). So off to The Book of Mormon for a bit of fun.
One of my travel conveniences is the hotel breakfast of $30 (a standard joke of mine that no matter the buffet or ala carte, it always seems to add to that price), the Muse Hotel breakfast was $16 which was refreshing and when a juice $6 is added (I’ll never understand how any diner or hotel decides this is a good price for juice not fresh squeezed or requiring added effort, I should have raided the mini bar and did a BYOJuice to breakfast) bringing the total to $22 which while still a bit high was convenient with my timing and food allergy. Point of reference, there are numerous cafes, fast food, etc. in the area to save money but I was on a time crunch to get to the NY Times travel show. Again, service was attentive and there isn’t much to say about bacon & eggs other than it’s a nice treat to have someone make me breakfast.
The point of a hotel that makes me happy is knowing that at some point while traveling solo, I will spend a bit more time in the room whether I come back early from dinner or decide to dine it so it is important to have a level of comfort. I did not use the Muse Hotel room service but after my posh steak dinner at Del Frisco’s, I came back to the room early and finished my cupcakes with wine outside on the balcony (I had to use it at least once, can’t waste it, even if dressed for winter with gloves, coat scarf). By the way, I did text every friend within a bus or train ride away to come stay in NYC after I saw it – it’s so much better to share. Sadly, no one was able to last minute jump on my offer. Since Ronaldo was working all weekend during my stay, when he saw me come back Saturday night early, he called to remind me that my booking included a dining credit so make sure that I use it. Wow, I didn’t know about that but explained that I had dined in the restaurant so all was good. It turned out to be a $50 credit which covered dinner.
The Muse Hotel NYC – Final Thoughts
Sunday was checkout – it was with a bit of sadness to leave the sweet (suite Muse Hotel) room, especially after sleeping in late (checkout is at noon) and knowing that my bedroom at home is not so nicely decorated (I may need to change that soon) or as big. While I was hesitant initially to book the hotel near Times Square – the location ended up being fantastic -it was a nice walk to the Javits center, quick to theatre and around the corner from Rockefeller Center. If it had been warmer, I would have enjoyed the walk to Central Park. I will definitely come back to the Muse Hotel – I may not experience that amazing room again but for a little bit of time, I felt like a rockstar living the suite life in New York (if only I had moved that lobby wine social to my rooftop!).