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My review of the Conrad New York Downtown hotel

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This is my review of the Conrad New York Downtown hotel.

Over in New York this week, I was back at Hilton’s Conrad New York Downtown.  Recent changes in the area around the hotel have made this an even better place to stay, as I will explain.

If you have a stack of points with Hilton Honors and IHG Rewards Club – which are the two dominant schemes for Head for Points readers – and are looking for a luxury New York hotel redemption, you will probably end up choosing between InterContinental Times Square (my review), InterContinental Barclay (my review) and Conrad New York.

Last year I tried the reopened Barclay and was a little underwhelmed.  I am also underwhelmed by InterContinental Times Square.  Even the Conrad isn’t perfect.  Basically, these are all bed factories.  You will look in vain for swimming pools, huge amounts of public space, multiple restaurants (The Barclay hasn’t even got a proper restaurant) etc.

They are very pleasant bed factories, don’t get me wrong.  But they are bed factories.

And if you want a bed factory, you want one with a big bed.  Conrad New York Downtown is an ‘all suite’ hotel.  There are no duff rooms here.  You are guaranteed a suite of at least 43 square metres with a decent sized bedroom:

Conrad New York Downtown review

…. with a separate living area:

Conrad New York Downtown review

….. a huge shower:

Conrad New York Downtown review

…. decent bathroom:

Conrad New York Downtown review

…. and a good size desk (from where I am typing this) and a Nespresso machine.

If you have status, you may even get a view of the Hudson out of your window, as I did:

Conrad New York Downtown review

Some background

Conrad New York Downtown used to be an Embassy Suites, Hilton’s midscale family brand.  The building is owned by Goldman Sachs and is connected to their HQ building.  Amusingly, Goldman Sachs found that its clients and staff refused to stay at the Embassy Suites so it was converted into a Conrad.

The ‘all suites’ nature of the hotel was forced on it because of the previous Embassy Suites layout, where all rooms include a kitchenette and sitting area.  Even now, the Conrad rooms include a sink in the living area which is a little odd.

The hotel is in Battery Park, a very short walk from World Trade Centre.

If you haven’t been in the area for a couple of years, there have been massive positive changes.  The shopping mall – Brookfield Place – opposite the Conrad has been totally rebuilt and is now a luxury mall with a decent food court.

There is also, at present, a little outside bar at Brookfield Place overlooking the yachts in the harbour.  It is pleasantly quiet, as you’d expect at $10 for a can of beer including compulsory tip.

Brookfield Place outside bar area

From Brookfield Place, you can now walk underground into the astonishing new PATH train station and Westfield shopping mall, called Oculus, designed by Santiago Calatrava.  A bargain at $4 billion, just $2 billion over budget, but you can see where the money went:

Oculus World Trade Centre

You can access the subway at Fulton Centre via Oculus.  There is no need now to cross the huge road which separates Battery Park from the WTC site.

What else should you know?

The hotel has a small rooftop bar, although it was booked for a private event on one night I was there.  It is heavily used by locals.  There is also a small bar on the ground floor:

Conrad New York Downtown review

… as well as a little used restaurant.

The building contains a cinema and in the same block – although not accessible from inside the hotel – numerous other bars and restaurants, including a Shake Shack.

It is worth mentioning breakfast.  Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members can get a $20 credit towards the a la carte menu (there is no buffet) or pick one free item from a short list.

I had this scrambled eggs bruschetta twice and it was a pleasant change to yet another buffet.  Filter coffee is included.  It is a civilised way to start the day.

Conrad New York Downtown review

If you want a newspaper, you can pick up a free New York Times or Wall Street Journal in the restaurant or at the concierge desk.


To be honest, if you are blowing your bonus and are coming in Summer, my preferred New York choice is still Soho House with its superb rooftop pool and vibrant events list.

If you are using points and want a luxury experience, Conrad New York Downtown is still my preferred pick.  You need to be happy with the Battery Park location but that is not a major issue for me.  The ‘4’ or ‘5’ express subway lines get you to Grand Central in 3 stops and Central Park in 4 stops anyway.

In terms of cost …… I booked Conrad New York Downtown before the Hilton Honors changes took place earlier this year.  It cost me 70,000 points per night.

It now seems to be 80,000 points per night – you rarely see it lower even with the new Hilton Honors policy of reducing reward prices on cheap nights.  This is because a ‘cheap’ night at the Conrad still isn’t really cheap – you are looking at over $600 including taxes midweek.

Of course, you can argue that New York is about going out and you won’t be in your hotel much.  In that case, feel free to stay elsewhere.  If you’re looking for a good luxury option to use your Hilton Honors points, I recommend the Conrad New York Downtown.

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card comes with a limited time bonus of 60,000 Amex points (converts to 120,000 Hilton Honors points) until 2nd November 2021.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (34)

  • Genghis says:

    So what were the Diamond benefits received? Room with view and $20 breakfast credit? No lounge? No free drinks? No canapés?

    • Rob says:

      Correct. But I have been here before so knew that.

      Hudson view is the best perk you can expect.

    • Chris Cannon says:

      Lounges in the US are pretty terrible to be honest, free drinks rapidly becoming thing of the past, both New York and Chicago various Hilton properties charge for alcoholic drinks. As previously mentioned on this site, Diamond Status means very little in the US because there are so many of them

    • Catherine says:

      I’m a HH Diamond, I stayed two nights last year and received no benefits whatsoever – we weren’t told about the breakfast credit, they refused to give us late checkout and we overlooked a high rise office block – lovely. I even mentioned that it was my friend’s 30th birthday while we were there and they didn’t even bother to leave a bottle of bubbly or anything. Luckily I’d taken balloons and banners with me so decorated the room etc.

      I wasn’t impressed and after staying at the Conrad in Singapore in May and once again getting no upgrade, not even to a better view, (the free buffet breakfast was a great brekky though), I won’t be staying at a Conrad again. Really disappointed with the brand. I only ever get room upgrades with the normal Hilton brand, and although it’s obviously a ‘nice to have’, even an upgrade to a nicer view would be much appreciated!

  • Dan says:

    We loved this hotel so much we decided to cancel a planned move up to the brand newly opened IC Barclay…was even available for decent (for NYC) points and cash rates under the old scheme. The location is a nice break from being around Times Sq. and ideal for the boats to the Statue of Liberty.

    With a baby, the “kitchen” (read sink and countertop) area was very useful and the suites are much bigger than the rooms at the IC Midtown or the big Hilton up near Central Park. Would be our first choice for NYC next time.

  • James says:

    Good review Rob, thanks. I’m interested in the breakfast situation as I am staying in the Hilton Conrad in London (St James’) this Sunday. What is the situation with the breakfast there? I’m Hilton Gold. Will breakfast be free?

    • Genghis says:

      Free in restaurant IIRC for Golds

    • Jack says:

      Yes, have got full breakfast free on all my stays there as a Gold.

      It’s a nice hotel, enjoy your stay.

    • Simon says:

      Yep, continental breakfast.
      If you don’t fancy that the cellarium cafe at Westminster abbey does a mean salmon and scrambled eggs. And it’s nothing like as touristy as it sounds ( esp at breakfast) as it’s a bit hidden around the back.

      • James says:

        Thank you to all the quick responses everyone, sincerely appreciated.

    • Alan says:

      There’s an extremely useful FT thread which has been running for a few years now and covers all properties worldwide (well at least those that fellow FT users have posted about!) – I’ve found it pretty reliable and have updated the wiki with any changes I’ve found…

      (obviously doesn’t include Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, etc. where benefits are standardised)

  • Marc says:

    Tonight the Conrad is only 51,000 points. I’ve stayed there for just 40K in may.

  • Biffin says:

    Is that Frankie Boyle on the telly in your room?

  • Anna says:

    Slightly OT – when you redeem a free night voucher from the HH or IHG cards, or use points to book, are there any family room options, or are they willing to add an extra bed? I get weary of being fleeced for travelling with a child – at a recent stay in a lovely Welsh castle, we were charged nearly £100 for a rollaway bed and breakfast for our 11 year old!

    • Mr Dee says:

      They should have let you take the bed away with you for that price or you could have brought a camp bed for less!

      • Rob says:

        The Marriott in Venice charges Euro 130 per night per camp bed if the kid is 12 or older!

    • Mr Dee says:

      Depending on the hotel they may allow you to have a extra bed in the room, worth emailing ahead of the booking to explain, I am not sure but I think you can get the hotel to book the free night certificate for you and they would be able to confirm there and then.

  • JamesB says:

    Rob, any tips on best way to book Soho House please? Looks cool and we will be in NYC or DC on our anniversary next year so I should make a better effort than a bed for the night.

    • Rob says:

      Needs to be booked direct – might be on Mr & Mrs Smith but probably not Expedia etc. The small rooms are small, the suites are huge.

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    Personally, my best stays in NYC have been at The James (Soho) and Hotel Americano (Meatpacking). Latter is in Design Hotels and accessible via SPG. I’ve also recently tried the new Arlo NoMad, which was great. I ended up really liking their ‘micro room’ concept.

    • Martin Barber says:

      The only positive thing about the Hotel Americano is that it is very convenient for Sleep No More next door, (which is highly recommended). Otherwise I would avoid at all costs. The rooms are tiny, not much bigger than the mattress on the floor that constitutes the bed.

      Down one side of the bed, the route into “bed” was blocked by a tv sticking out from a side wall. On the other side, the route was blocked by a light suspended two feet from the floor.

      A plastic bean bag and a kid’s stool were the only places to sit, as the mattress was too low. In Winter, the bare concrete floor of the room was stone cold to walk on.

      There was no usable shelf in the bathroom and no plug in the sink. The light from the bathroom area streamed into the bedroom through holes in metal/glass partition. The shower curtain was not wide enough for the shower.

      The duvet was too thin for Winter and too narrow for the bed.

      Bizarrely, the windows are covered on the outside by vertical chains that obscure the outlook. Last year, there was much noise from the building development opposite.

      No tea or coffee is provided in the room. The inclusive breakfast for SPG Platinums covered only one drink and hot item. It was not possible to have juice and tea/coffee. A gratuity was not included and was automatically added to our account without notification. Breakfast service is a la carte and very slow.

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