|The Long Way to New York|
Hotel Review: Hilton San Francisco Financial District (Double Double Executive Room with Bayview)
Ah. New York City. The concrete jungle with many iconic landmarks. The Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre, Trump Tower 😉 (allegedly?), Brooklyn Bridge.. the list goes on.
And then you have Times Square on the famed 42th Street. Big billboards nestled in the city that never sleeps. One might argue that Times Square is the most iconic of them all! Thus, I made it a priority to experience a stay along the famed 42nd Street with Hilton hospitality. And indeed, the Hilton Times Square was a welcome stay right in the heart of NYC, for any type of traveller.
Coming out from the underground maze that is the NYC subway, my friend and I quickly made out our way to the room because it was the US Open Final. Now, because of the excessive signs every store has on 42nd Street, it was not easy to locate this property. In fact, I might have passed it by unknowingly a few times before finally arriving at the entrance.
Not wasting time, we headed in looking forward to check-in, but what we got was a lift to get you to the hotel lobby on the 12th floor. Looking back, the first floor was rather badly lit and cramped as well. Furthermore, there was only one lift servicing 200 over rooms; the other lift was down and needed repair.
I went on the express queue for check-in and I was informed I have received an upgrade to a King Bed Deluxe Room High Floor room. The staff assured me that a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline was guaranteed. Before leaving, the staff mentioned that 500 bonus Hilton points will be credited to my account just for staying here (who doesn’t like free points) and the credit confirmation would be done by his colleague standing by the lifts. At this point, I was tempted to just head up to my room, but the other phamplet that was handed to me lured me in.
I was invited to a Hilton Grand Vacations presentation by Hilton Club. on 57th Street the following day for more information about the worldwide Hilton Grand Vacations properties. As the name suggests, they tend to be more luxurious, and they are located more in North America, with both Disneyland resorts in Orlando (which i’ll be visiting in the summer of 2020) and Los Angeles playing host to Hilton Grand Vacations properties.
The catch was to sit through a presentation (otherwise known as a timeshare properties after I read up on it) for about 2 hours, in exchange for 40,000 Hilton Honours points (more free points!) – I duly signed up my name and headed up.
Located on the 25th floor, the room was larger than expected. The room was furnished with a leather armchair with leg rest, compact work desk, a king sized bed, a bathtub in the toilet along with some fancy art in the room. I was expecting a smaller room, perhaps due to my sub-consciousness of Manhattan apartments being small after watching too many sitcoms, but this was a welcome, spacious touch!
We settled into the US Open Final while indulging in some Five Guys across the street. During the evening turndown service, we were given some chocolate and handed bottles of water (very much required after that heaty meal). After non-stop entertainment for a good 4 hours, my friend went to do some work while I explored the property.
There was a decent gym with new equipment that hardly had anyone inside. The gym was rather big in my opinion based on the rooms available in this property, but given that its a full-scale Hilton in one of the grandest city on Earth, you could understand why Hilton stopped at nothing to invest in its facilities.
I then headed down to check out the lobby once more. Considering that it’s on the 12th floor, the ceiling was rather low, making it feel rather cramped. There was also no clear distinction between the lobby and the hotel restaurant, making the lobby on the edge of unbearable with loud conversations at every corner. However, the plush sofas were so comfortable and I settled in while checking in the aftermath of Nadal’s 19th Grand Slam title. I then went to ask for a late checkout before heading to bed.
After a morning run to Central Park (up 17 streets from the 42nd to 59th), I returned for a hearty breakfast. The restaurant/bar that was crowded the previous night transformed into a casual breakfast area. Table service was prompt and the staff was diligent in topping up pastries and bagels for breakfast eaters.
After my unfamiliar experience at Hilton San Francisco Financial District’s breakfast policy that left more to be desired, I was happy to find out that there was no distinction between continental and hot breakfast between guests. Everyone who had access to breakfast was given the same wide spread. A good thing too: I was starving after that run!
Besides the hot food, Danish pastries, pancakes with condiments, fruit juice were available as well. A great start to the day!
Following a shower after breakfast, I took some quick shots of the Manhattan skyline with my iPhone XR from my room. There were so many iconic buildings! And if you knew where to look, you could see the Statue of Liberty..
The Hilton Times Square scores top marks for its prime location and service, but I regard it very much as a hotel for business. Given my purpose for travel, I could appreciate the functionality and ease of access it provided. The location meant you could soak in Times Square’s Midnight Moment in a few steps before heading to bed if you wish, or catch a theatre show located just a few buildings off Hilton Times Square. It normally commands a rate of U$300 pre-tax, but I managed to snag it at US$102!
However, with the plethora of Hilton properties (30+ in Manhattan alone), or if you are a Marriott loyalist (over 50 properties in Manhattan), there are just so many options for you to choose from in NYC!
For families, you could elect to reside in the Embassy Suites’ under Hilton’s portfolio on 37th street, a hotel brand I have really grown to love after my stay at Walnut Creek with Embassy Suites (more on that here!), or even stay along the Hilton New York MidTown on 54th Street, which has the additional bonus of having an executive lounge. Or if you want to feel the rush of Wall Street, you could reside in the recently renovated Millennium Hilton New York Downtown, which should get you near Lady Liberty via the free-to-access Staten Island Ferry and amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge
New York City, you have been spectacular. Treating me to my first live match of Rafael Nadal, walking through the concrete jungle.. I can’t get enough of you.. i’ll be back soon!