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New York (NY)
- Modern rooms with free WiFi
- Tasty a la carte breakfast
- Breakfast set-up confuses even the staff
- No soap or gel for the shower
- Retreat to the rooftop bar
Planning a New York trip but want something 'different' to your average big city chain hotel? Hotel Hugo in West SoHo, Manhattan could be your solution: a luxury boutique property drawing on trendy industrial style to create a unique atmosphere for guests staying in its 122 rooms.
While there's no club lounge – as is the case with many New York hotels – the WiFI comes free, the rooms are modern and there's even a rooftop bar with views of the Statue of Liberty to relax of an evening.
Location & Impressions
You'll find Hotel Hugo on Greenwich Street in West SoHo, four blocks from the Houston Street subway station for easy access to Times Square and South Ferry and also three blocks from Spring Street station for those Brooklyn-bound.
Being directly across the road from a major UPS handling centre makes for a bustling neighbourhood during the day yet a quieter one at night – great for guests on the lower floors as car horns are unlikely to disturb at odd hours, and the livelier Varick Street is only two blocks away.
The small lobby sets the scene for the entire hotel, being cosy, modern and most of all, different, compared to some 'cookie cutter' hotels of the larger chains.
With rooms ranging from economising double-doubles right through to loft suites, we settled on a Deluxe King room...
... which offered views over the Hudson River into New Jersey...
... a 32-inch HDTV, a perch for tweaking your hair – or make-up, for the ladies...
... a Keurig-brand coffee maker (filtered, not espresso)...
... and a bedside music dock with a built-in iPhone Lightning connector and a regular USB port for charging older iPhones and Android devices...
... but which is located on the side of the bed that's difficult to reach on foot. As the walkway is particularly narrow, I frequently found myself bumping the artwork and worrying that it would slip off and land on my toes, despite being careful on each pass.
The bathroom offers a proper walk-in shower – not a shower tub, or 'shub' as many business travellers love to hate...
... but with an 'art-meets-industrial' metal sink that admittedly reminds us more of a public restroom than a high-end hotel.
We also weren't impressed with the lack of bathroom amenities – certainly, there was shampoo (two, in fact), conditioner, body lotion and soap for the hand basin, but there wasn't any shower gel or a second soap for use in the shower.
Attention to detail was too lacking in the hotel's automated wake-up call system, which indeed rang on time but then echoed "the recorded announcement device greeting is unavailable" over and over, rather than an actual greeting.
The rooms here come with ample working space for laptop use and views out and across the Hudson River during the day...
... with AC power points that pop up when needed but can fold away if you need the extra desk space:
Added to that, a business centre below decks also has you covered with Internet access and printing facilities...
... while the free in-room WiFi averaged download speeds of 2.5mbps, uploads of 2.97mbps and ping speeds of 4ms – more than sufficient for basic tasks although larger file transfers will take a while.
Il Principe on the ground floor is the hotel's catch-all Italian restaurant, but also where you'll find the daily breakfast.
However, no signage advises whether to take a seat or wait for a table. We stood at the entrance yet were passed by four different staff members who made no eye contact and offered no assistance.
After just sitting down, we flagged a waiter and asked whether the room-rate-inclusive breakfast covered only the buffet or also a dish from the a la carte menu, and were told we could choose either option.
Opting for the latter, a bill arrived after the meal which the staff confirmed we wouldn't be charged for – as is common in many hotels – but we found on check-out that only the limited buffet and filtered coffee are included as standard, not barista-made coffee or anything from the menu.
It's surprising that the hotel's restaurant staff wouldn't understand its own breakfast policies, although to the hotel's credit, the charge was later reversed and the a la carte 'uova strapazzate' dish (Italian for 'scrambled eggs') with a side of bacon was tasty and fresh:
That inclusive buffet, on the other hand, is rather uninspiring with a limited selection of pastries and bagels...
... juices, cereals, yoghurts and fruit.
Breakfast also doesn't begin until 7:30am on weekdays and 8am on weekends, providing little or no time for business travellers to eat, freshen up and reach the office during the busy working week.
For a drink with a view, head to Bar Hugo on the rooftop: boasting plenty of comfy lounge chairs and a balcony that looks out to One World Trade Centre and the Statue of Liberty in the distance:
Otherwise, zip down to the basement for your daily workout with both cardio machines and free weights at the ready...
... but be prepared to dodge large (and moving) laundry and maid carts as the hotel's back-of-house zone borders on the basement's lift lobby.
All in all, our few issues didn't make for the perfect stay, but as far as New York hotels go, this one's still on the nicer side... a few small touches here and there – and perhaps, a better-arranged and better-timed breakfast – would make this property a real magnet for guests doing business nearby.
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