As frequent travelers to New York, we’ve always opted to stay in one of two areas-Times Square or Central Park.Last month, for a change of pace, we decided to try the Westin New York Grand Central Hotel and see how family friendly it is.The property with over 700 rooms and suites is close to Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building in Midtown Manhattan. Based within walking distance to Times Square’s shopping and dining venues, the hotel is moderately priced (for Manhattan standards), and a convenient location for guests arriving into town via rail. The hotel also has event halls for conventions and weddings as well as a rooftop garden where the hotel grows its own herbs.
The outside of the 41-story building is contemporary looking with glass walls, and metallic-colored pillars at the entrance. The lobby and public spaces sport a neutral upscale looking decor in tones of cream, brown and tan accented by splashes of color in cushions and the artwork on the walls.
My husband and son arrived a day earlier than I did and experienced a smooth, quick check-in.
I arrived at 4 AM the following morning on a red eye from Europe and managed to get lost while walking a few blocks in the dark from the airport shuttle station to the hotel. When I called the hotel, a staff member not only explained how to get to the hotel but stayed on the line (for a good five minutes) making sure I was alright. Now THAT was great service!
We were allocated a king bed with opening sofa room on the 32nd floor. We were a bit leery about getting a room facing the 42nd street, but we heard very little noise.Our carpeted room was reasonably spacious, clean and comfortable. Storage was no problem in the room with both closet hanging space and a large chest of deep drawers. There was also a decently sized work desk, nightstands and a mini sitting area compiled of a chaise and ottoman.
The bedside reading lights ,decent sized safe and large mirror at the entrance to the room all added functionality to the room. There was a proper distribution of power outlets throughout the room which is good for a family who have multiple electronic devices that need charging at once. The large screen TV proved challenging to watch from the opening sofa since it couldn’t be moved but didn’t bother us too much as we were busy sightseeing and meeting with friends.
The hotel supplied bottled drinking water and replenished it daily. There was also a coffee machine with complimentary coffee and tea. At our request, housekeeping provided a no-charge fridge we could fill with snacks and refreshments we purchased for our son. There is a surcharge minibar that is well stocked but be aware that when it comes to the contents you should know that if you move it you pay for it.
The bathroom was moderately sized and well-lit with a granite-like, sturdy countertop and tan colored tile and wallpaper. It featured a combo bathtub and shower with a handheld attachment as well as an overhead showerhead that was placed a tad too high up for me.
This bathroom featured a convenient safety grab bar, magnifying mirror and a typical amenity kit with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion.
Though the hotel itself had only one restaurant with a limited menu, there are various dining options for all budgets in the immediate area: from fast food to elegant sit-down restaurants.Be sure to stop by Grand Central Station and check out all the food venues there :especially those offering desserts.
Autism Travel Tips
- The hotel windows are all fitted with are special locks that should be reassuring for safety – in particular on the upper floors of the building.
- If your child is light-sensitive, there are double curtains that effectively block out the light.
- Request a feather-free room if your child has feather allergies
- Though the property has built-in grab bars, we brought our non-slip mat as a backup
- Be sure to ask for extra foam padding to place on the sofa bed if your child feels the mattress is too stiff.