New York (NY)
- Excellent Midtown location
- Spacious rooms, particularly for New York
- Great views from many of those rooms
- Comparatively slow WiFi, with tight in-room working space
- Dining and service at Gaby Brasserie Française are top-notch
Blending a flagship New York location with French-style dining, service and style, the Sofitel New York hotel invites its guests to "live the French way" during their visit to Manhattan.
Location & Impressions
Located at 45 West 44th Street in Manhattan, the Sofitel New York is well-positioned for guests visiting on both business and leisure, with the buzz of Times Square just a block away at this Midtown address, and Grand Central Terminal a few blocks in the opposite direction.
Situated on the same street as several private clubs including the Harvard Club, Yale Club, Princeton Club, the New York Yacht Club and the Penn Club of New York, icons of the city are within easy sight and reach, such as the Chrysler Building which can be seen from many of the rooms:
The closest subway stations nearby include 42 St-Bryant Park (B/D/F/M), 5-Avenue Bryant Park (7), and with a slightly longer walk, Grand Central-42 Street (S/4/5/6/7), and in any case, guests enter the property by walking through its upmarket lobby...
... and proceeding past this winding staircase to either the reception desks on the left, or the elevators straight ahead:
There's a Parisian and broader French style and theme to the decort, but with a hint of New York mixed in, such as artwork depicting the Brooklyn Bridge:
Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Accor's Le Club loyalty program are offered a complimentary welcome drink at most hotels, and the Sofitel New York is no exception, with a voucher tucked inside my key packet after presenting my elite membership card during check-in:
For Platinum members – who would normally receive access to hotel lounges, where available – just note that there's no Club Sofitel facility at this hotel.
Staying in one of the hotel's Luxury King rooms, the first thing I noticed on arrival was how spacious the room was, given its central New York location: this being a city where even in many higher-end hotels, floor space is often highly limited.
Classical music also greeted me on the Bose sound system by the bedside, where conveniently-placed AC and USB power points were available, too.
The bathroom offered plenty of room to move as well, with a separate bath and walk-in shower, and both Hermès and Lanvin amenities:
You'll also find an iron and ironing board in the closet, and I was pleased to spot a separate recycling bin in the room too, which you don't see in every hotel.
When there's work to do, you can set up shop at this bench next to the TV, although to make full use of the 'desk', I had to move the compendium, phone and notepad out of the way, and found it most comfortable to shift the bin that was also underneath this space, so that I could shuffle the chair over and away from the TV:
Still, desk-level power is available here, with complimentary WiFi offered throughout the hotel. Speeds could be a bit zippier through, with tests showing average downloads between 1.5-4.5Mbps, and average uploads around the same, at 1.5-5Mbps.
On the download front, that's broadly comparable to an entry-level ADSL connection, being fast enough for basic tasks like web browsing, although more data-heavy tasks like downloading large files or attachments takes some time.
Nothing starts the day like a good hotel breakfast, and at the Sofitel New York, that's available at Gaby Brasserie Française: and rather than picking over a buffet, all dishes are served à la carte, even if you have breakfast included with your room.
As part of the service for the inclusive breakfast, waiters offer a selection of pastries, teas, coffee, juice and water, and you select a main course from the menu supplied.
Being a two-night stay, and looking for something beyond the typical Eggs Benedict (which is still available here), I opted for the 'NY Bagel' with smoked salmon, cream cheese and accompaniments on the first day, and 'The New Yorker' the next, being a sirloin steak with two fresh eggs your way (poached, in this case), served with baby marbled potatoes, parsley and onions, both of which I enjoyed.
While coffee makers are not provided in guest rooms by default, they can be requested at check-in – although all guests regardless of their breakfast inclusions are offered complimentary coffee between 6am-11am each day via a self-serve counter, set up just next to the restaurant in the adjacent bar space, so do stop by and help yourself:
Gaby Bar then opens for regular service at 12pm daily...
... and is where you can redeem the drink voucher provided to Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Le Club, which I turned in for a glass of Venetian Pinot Grigio, served with complimentary nibbles:
Back at Gaby Brasserie Française, the restaurant offers normal lunch and dinner service, as well as express 30-minute business lunches for those on the move, and an evening 'theatre menu' where food is also served promptly for guests dining before a Broadway show – all Broadway theatres being within walking distance of the hotel.
I began with a cocktail – The French Southerner's – mixing Grey Goose vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon and lavender, served with a spray of lavender oil at the table, which was a nice way to unwind after a busy work day...
... and from that set theatre menu, selected the burrata as my starter, with Serrano ham, confit tomatoes, pesto, and mini grilled baguettes: beautiful and fresh...
... continuing with the Filet Mignon, a 6oz grass-fed petit filet, with caramelised cipollini onions and vegetables in a cognac peppercorn sauce. The meat was delightfully succulent, and paired well with a glass of French Pinot Noir:
For dessert, it's hard to walk past a great crème brûlée, and Gaby's comes vanilla-flavoured with fresh berries on top:
The theatre menu is also affordably-priced, being US$39 – plus taxes, tip, any beverages and a US$5 add-on if ordering the Filet Mignon – between 5pm and 7:30pm, and US$49 (also plus the extras) from 7:30-10pm.
You won't find a pool at Sofitel New York – which perhaps explains the hotel's official four-star rating, given pools are often required by rating bodies to nab that fifth star – but the on-site fitness centre comes well-equipped...
... and stands open 24 hours a day, offering a variety of weights, exercise balls and cardio equipment:
All things considered, this is a comfortable hotel in a great location, and ticks most of the boxes for both leisure and business travellers – but of course, faster WiFi and a better-organised in-room working space would be welcome improvements to help guests remain productive on the road.
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the Sofitel New York hotel.