Hyatt 48 Lex, a set on Flickr.
A new baby Hyatt is recently born in New York’s Midtown East. Barely three months old in mid-December 2011 when I visited it, Hyatt 48 Lex is meant to be a boutique hotel in the vein of W, except with much less luxury. The tower has a very tight footprint, having been built on a little plot where a convenience store used to be. With 24 floors, 116 rooms and suites, each floor has 6 rooms that face either the Lexington Avenue or the 48th Street, but corner rooms are lucky to see the intersection of those two streets. The rooms begin on the 3rd floor.
Room 01 and 06 are isolated from the other rooms in the floor, while rooms 02, 03, 04 and 05 are clustered together. The façade of the lobby and ground floor restaurant, as well as the 3rd and 4th floors jut out from the rest of the tower. From floor 5 until floor 24, the tower’s façade recedes; thus, as a result, rooms on the 3rd floor have the most space compared to similar rooms on the other floor. The 4th floor rooms have private balconies, thus, less room space than those of 3rd floor rooms.
Each room has a kitchenette that is equipped with a microwave, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, glass cabinet and a liquor shelf.
My first room assignment was Room 306. The hotel was full that my request for a much higher floor could not be fulfilled. At first I was excited about room 306, because this corner room was farthest from the elevator and the rest of the other rooms on the floor, but my joy was somewhat restrained when I saw the exit door right across and the linen closet perpendicular to it.
As one might expect, a 3rd floor room is also too close to the ground and traffic; therefore one can hear all the noises down below, even late at night. In the morning, the sound of the linen closet door’s repeated opening and closing (read: slamming) was enough of a reason to move; but there was a third and crucial reason why I finally requested to be moved after the first two nights.
The shower kept leaking water onto the floor of the bathroom. I looked closely to the bottom of the door, and found that there was a gap where water would seep out. I turned the shower head away as far as possible from the door, but water still found its way out. I ended up using 2 big towels to wipe off the floor, in addition to the poor bath mat that was already completely soaked.
I reported it to the concierge and thought the problem would be swiftly solved, but I was wrong. Someone did come by to drop off more towels to replace those other two I used to mop the floor; but not only was the problem not fixed, the staff did not even bother to take the soiled towels. The soaked bath mat and the two towels were left crumpled by the shower stall. Who does that?
I was surprised at the lack of professionalism and care of whoever came to check. When more towels are requested, most likely it means that towels had been used and would no longer be reused. Anyone dropping off fresh towels must have been from the housecleaning department; so I do not understand why that person did not even bother to pick up the towels off the floor.
Subsequent showers still leaked water.
After the third notice to the concierge but with no apparent solution, I decided not to report it anymore; instead, on the second day I let the water run and did not bother to clean it. Water was everywhere on the bathroom floor all the way reaching the other end of the room, where the commode was. I requested a room change, citing the three reasons above: traffic noise, linen closet door noise, and the shower leakage problem.
Reassignment was to Room 2201, an L-shaped room with much less space than 306. I did not mind it. With the shower head turned away from the door, water stayed inside.
(Colleagues of mine who stayed at Room 1402 met a similar unfortunate fate that I had encountered in Room 306. One of them was taking a shower when he heard pounding on the door. Despite the privacy sign, someone kept knocking on the door. Turned out water from his shower also leaked, but guess what? Water leaked so much that not only did it flood the bathroom floor, it actually found its way out the room door [not the bathroom door, but the room entrance door,] which explained why someone had knocked on the door; perhaps a staff who wanted to tell my friend to stop the shower.)
The staff understood that problems of Room 306 had caused inconvenience, and to that end, they sent a tray of cracker and cheese, with a bottle of wine (Woodbridge by Mondavi.) I appreciate the gesture very much.
While I was happier with Room 2201, there was one problem that came with the L-shaped design of the room: While I was in bed, WiFi signals did not reach the area well. The signal was the strongest near the entrance door and in the bathroom, but why should I do my laptop work sitting by the entrance or on a commode? Surely I could sit at the desk, but what’s the point of having a WiFi if you are tethered to the desk?
Throughout all of this, I found every single one of the concierge staff to be unfailingly friendly and courteous, with no exception. I could not emphasize enough how very helpful they were. The fact that room 306’s shower problem was never fixed was outside of their control; I had faith that the concierge did report it to the hotel handyman or what-not. Staff always make eye-contact and greet guests on their way to the elevator or out the door. Sometimes I would see a staff posted near the elevator and concierge desk; he would press the automatic double-door opener when he sees guests approaching the entrance.
At check-out, when I mentioned the internet problem, I had not requested for a refund, because even though the signals were not as reliable as I would like to, I did get to use it somewhat. Still, the staff knew and understood enough to adjust the bill by eliminating the charges. It was, after all, the right thing to do; I was glad that it was done without my even asking for it.
One has to realize that the hotel, at three months old, is still in its infancy; it will have some growing pains. In general, I am satisfied with the hotel and hope to return to it again. The hotel’s close proximity to the subway stations (51 Lexington and the Grand Central) is a plus. A Midtown East location itself is pretty much central for a nice long stroll uptown and downtown, and not too terribly far from midtown.
Hyatt 48 Lex
517 Lexington Avenue (at 48th Street)
New York, New York, USA 10017
Tel: +1 (212) 838-1234
Fax: +1 (212) 888-2900