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We try IHG’s new EVEN ‘wellness’ hotel brand in New York – is it worth a visit? (Part 1)

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Rob writes: We were recently invited on a Virgin Atlantic press trip to New York.  As neither Anika nor myself could make it, the job went to Jamie.  Some of you will have met him as he was the photographer at our last two Christmas parties and also did a hotel review last year.  He travels extensively with his day job as a leading aquarium consultant and underwater photographer, working for clients around Europe and the Middle East.

This is part one of my review of the EVEN Hotel New York – Midtown East EVEN is a new IHG brand which has not yet made it to Europe but you may want to consider it if you’re heading to the US.  It is likely to heading our way soon.

I recently visited New York for several days as part of a group of journalists invited by Virgin Atlantic to try out their new Economy Delight offering.  I will be covering this in future articles.

Following the flight, I decided to stay in New York for a few days instead of heading straight back.  Rob asked me if I would mind taking a closer look at the newest and perhaps least known IHG brand – EVEN Hotels. I was happy to oblige, so Rob booked me three nights using his IHG Rewards Club points at a cost of 45,000 points per night. This compared to a cash price of around $350 plus taxes per night, making it a very good value redemption.

What is the EVEN hotel brand about?

There are currently eleven hotels in the brand, all of them in the USA. Three of them are located in New York: Brooklyn, Times Square and mine at Midtown East.

EVEN’s philosophy is based around minimising the disruption to your wellness routine whilst travelling.

All EVEN hotels are designed to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst on holiday or a work trip by encouraging you to ‘keep active, eat well, rest easy and accomplish more’.

All rooms are kitted out with fitness zones to enable you to continue your exercise routine in comfort. Staff are described as being wellness savvy and food and beverage offerings are promoted as heart healthy, good for you, natural choices.

The brand also has a website, wellwellwell.com, with articles about fitness, lifestyle and the city.

Location

I was staying in the Midtown East property which was one of the first EVEN hotels to open in November 2016. It is a newly built tower located just off 3rd Avenue on 44th East and has 230 rooms.

The location is very convenient for those looking to explore the classic Manhattan attractions. The Empire State Building, Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza are all within a 20 minute walk. The art deco Chrysler Building is just two blocks away. It is only a five minute stroll to Grand Central Station with access to several subway lines.

From the outside it is a fairly unassuming place, another tall building lost amongst the multitude of other skyscrapers.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

The entrance corridor is pleasant enough with a living wall of plants to welcome you. There are two lifts which take you up one floor to the reception.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

Check in

The reception area was small but clean and neat. At times over the three days I found it quite congested when a family or group were just arriving or leaving. Staff were friendly and check in was carried out quickly. I was given a room on the 11th floor.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

My room

I wasn’t expecting my room to be huge, this is New York after all, and on entering I found this to be the case. However, my first impression was that it was perfectly acceptable. Indeed it was much bigger than the boutique SoHo hotel I had stayed in with the Virgin team the previous night.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

The room felt modern, new and clean with plenty of natural light. It had a fairly neutral colour scheme offset by a colourful carpet. There was just enough room to navigate around the bed.

The bed itself was very comfortable and I enjoyed a good nights sleep. The window was covered with a light net curtain illustrated with a tree which added a little flair.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

There was also LED mood lighting built in above the bed headrest. This could be changed to ‘suit your mood (relax or energise)’ using a remote control at the side of the bed!

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

There was a small but powerful bluetooth speaker/alarm clock at the side of the bed which I appreciated and used to play music from my phone.

A small desk was located at the foot of the bed with a familiar looking chair. I’d seen exactly the same model in turquoise in the Hampton by Hilton in Bournemouth last year.

There were plenty of power outlets, both at the desk and either side of the bed. Above the desk was a 40” flat screen TV. Free wifi was offered throughout the hotel and was a very good speed.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

In one corner there was a coffee/tea maker and several pots of Green Mountain coffee and English breakfast tea. Below the machine was a small (and empty) fridge. Above it was a small glass terrarium containing living succulent plants which I thought was a nice little touch.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

The view from the window was nothing exciting – more blocks of offices, apartments or hotel rooms across the road.  For a premium you can book a room on one of the higher floors, called an ‘Even Better City View’ room.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

The bathroom, located on the left as you walk in, was relatively spacious with a large walk in shower and rain type shower head.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

Toiletries were own brand products in dispensers. There were two shower gels – energising grapefruit and mint and calming coconut and vanilla. Both were fine. I don’t have a great deal of hair so cannot vouch for the sweet orange shampoo or citrus and geranium conditioner.

There was also a bar of grapefruit and mint soap and a tube of body cream by the sink. A hair dryer was located under the sink along with spare towels.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

In between the bathroom and bedroom was a small open wardrobe with eight clothes hangers. There was also a shelf for your luggage. Below this was a good sized safe and below that were four wooden baskets which I assumed were replacements for normal drawers (there were no other drawers in the room).

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As I mentioned earlier, the EVEN brand is all about wellness and maintaining that active healthy lifestyle that we all lead. And this is why my room also contained some quite unique items which I certainly had never seen before.

There was, weirdly, a stediball down one side of the bed. It didn’t get in my way but may have if a couple were staying in the room. It also didn’t get used during my stay.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

Next to the desk was a host of fitness related paraphernalia! This included a yoga mat and block, foam roller and disinfectant wipes. None of this equipment looked like it had ever been used.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

There was also a purpose built post with several ropes and a ‘superband’ hanging from it to perform particular exercises. I was not familiar with such exercises but thankfully there was also a comprehensive training guide to refer to! You could actually take it away with you for $150 ……

If the training guide was not clear enough, there were also 19 TV channels dedicated to working out!

Possibly the most bizarre item I’ve ever seen in a hotel room was situated above the exercise equipment. If you pulled down a wooden cover, it revealed a white board along with marker and wiper. I think this is intended to be used to plan your work out routine.

Yes, the hotel really does take its commitment to wellness seriously!  Whether this is a ploy to attract more business guests I’m not sure.  Most of the guests I saw around the hotel were clearly tourists like me.

EVEN by IHG hotel review New York

The hotel also left a complimentary branded water bottle in the room which came in handy when walking around Manhattan in the sun. Next to reception there was a handy water station where you could fill it up with one of two different flavoured waters or just plain still water.

Part Two of my EVEN Hotel review – also published today and found here – looks at the dining, drink and fitness options at EVEN Hotel New York – Midtown East.  This has not been emailed, so if you read HFP via email you need to click here to read it online.

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

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

Bits: could you host a HFP Summer Party?, Flybe / Avios luggage quirk (or not), 10% off Qatar flights
We try IHG's new EVEN 'wellness' hotel brand in New York - is it worth a visit? (Part 2)

Comments

  1. Looks like an absolute gimmick to me! Doesn’t seem to be enough room in there to even lay down the exercise mat.

    IMO they would have been better off making a best-in-class separate gym and swimming pool which would have welcome in New York .

    Had there not been the exercise stuff in the room this is no more remarkable than some Holiday Inn properties around the world.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Agree on the gimmick and they would have been far better off with a great gym, possibly with trainers, and the ability to borrow some equipment for in room use.

      Of course a bigger room in other US/European cities might be able to house/accomodate all that equipment

  2. Charlie says:

    Slightly unrelated – but this email came through in a smaller, beater font. I much preferred it. The others were the normal 1.5 lines spaced with larger text. On an iPhone if that means anything.

  3. Out of interest, how did you go about booking a room for somebody else using your IHG points? I’ve booked a room for my wife + mother-in-law next month but she’s already nervous about checking in and the fact that there was no way for me to change the name on the booking for a reward night.

    • Book for 2 adults. There is an option later in the process to ‘Add 2nd guest name’ – put the real guest there. In comments, add ‘Reward night for Mrs X who will check-in’.

      • Thanks Rob! And no need to worry about hotel staff being jobs worths and requesting to see my ID? Should the mother in law hang back perhaps and then go direct to the room once my wife has successfully checked in? FYI it’s a UK booking and so I don’t think passport is a requirement for anyone on the booking.

        • UK booking is fine, obviously no passport will be required. I had trouble in Spain once with this method when the hotel started to insist the first named person had to be there (I had booked off my wife’s account for Accelerate purposes) but since then I have done a couple of redemptions for Anika in Spain with no trouble.

      • Marcw says:

        I once did that… and failed. However it was slightly different, because I was staying as well, only that my bf arrived at 2 pm while I was arriving at 7 pm. It was a Hilton Garden Inn in NYC and I wrote in the booking: “second guest will check in first”. But no chance he could check-in, luckily they´ve allowed him to store his luggage, so it wasn´t that dramatic.

        “Technically” in Spain, all named people on a booking have to be present for check in (and passport or id scanned as well – later given to police). So I wouldn´t be surprised if they don´t let you check in.

    • Gavin says:

      I booked 8 UK reward nights for in-laws / wedding guests from overseas. I emailed the hotel direct to request the rooms be placed together as much as possible and to inform them who was in which room – handy when 75% of the guests all had the same surname

  4. Alex Soares says:

    I really liked the EO branded bathroom products, have seen them for sale in some department stores in the USA, and also surprisingly at a Tkmaxx in London.

  5. Mr L Watson says:

    Is that a standard room or a premium executive etch whatever even call them

  6. ChrisC says:

    ‘light net curtain’ ?

    What about a proper curtain? How was the light leakage?

    Plug sockets are so old school. Were there any USB charging points – handy when you forget your travel adapter and charging plug but remembered your spare lightening cable!

    Empty fridge is a real benefit – handy for keeping your beer and deli bought stuff cold. I wish more hotels offered a fridge rather than a mini bar.

    • Gavin says:

      My wife forgot her EU adaptor at a HIX in Rotterdam and used the USB socket and was able to charge her phone.

      • Genghis says:

        I remember last year I forgot my adapter going to Paris but had my lightening cable and the only way to charge my phone was to plug it into the tv and keep the tv on whilst I slept…

  7. Lady London says:

    That Stediball looks like a health hazard if you trip over it.

  8. CountryKerry says:

    Very good review. Perfect depth and good pictures!

  9. Do you travel with Clorox wipes? Would love the hear the room check-in routine. 🙂

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