This is our review of The Martinique, a Hilton Curio Collection hotel in New York
Shortly after Christmas, I visited The Martinique Hotel, a historic New York hotel and, golfers take note, the birthplace of the PGA. Formerly a Radisson, Hilton added the hotel to their Curio Collection in 2019 and undertook significant renovations.
I had never visited The Martinique when it was a Radisson, but judging by some of the pictures available online, it has certainly improved. Gone is the tired laminate furniture and depressing foyer and instead, a great deal has been done to restore this beautiful building to the glory of its Beaux-Arts heyday.
It’s also been a little while since we’ve reviewed a Curio Collection hotel. Anika really enjoyed two Curio stays back in 2017 – Ames Hotel in Boston and Gran Hotel Montesol in Ibiza, so we were keen to see if The Martinique lived up to expectations.
Curio Collection – the sub-brand has its own website here – is a collection of upscale independent hotels which have joined the Hilton ‘system’. The hotels are not run by Hilton and do not have to adhere to strict brand standards, except that a certain level of quality is required. Full Hilton Honors benefits are given and you can earn and spend Hilton Honors points for stays.
Hilton offered us a free night at The Martinique to take a look. I was in New York anyway and all other costs relating to the trip were paid personally.
The Martinique website is here if you want to find out more.
Arrival, location and parking
For a theatre buff or newbie to the Big Apple, you can’t get much more conveniently located than The Martinique. Situated in the shadow of the Empire State building, just a few minutes’ walk from Broadway and walkable to top sights like Times Square and the Flatiron Building, there’s a lot on the hotel’s doorstop.
We used the hotel’s parking garage as we had driven into the city. Yes, driving around New York seems like madness, but as we were there for just a night and moving on, it was an essential requirement for us. The hotel offers parking at a rate of $37 per 24 hours (there’s a $10 surcharge for SUVs) but if you go even a minute over you pay the full rate again, so beware!
For those travelling by subway, the hotel is steps away from the 33rd Street subway and approximately 5 minutes’ walk from Penn Station which connects to Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.
The Martinique has recently undergone a renovation as part of its move to Hilton’s Curio collection, but the lobby and entrance areas remain very much in keeping with its early 20th Century heritage. There is lots of tastefully incorporated gilt and a lot of the original marble features.
A special note has to be made of the stunning glass chandeliers in the lobby, which were rather eye-catching and made a lovely tinkling sound when any wind blew in as the door opened. I struggled to get photos of these amazing chandeliers and the reception area however, as it was incredibly busy on every occasion I was there, even late at night.
I don’t know if it was the time of year or simply bad timing, but the busyness of the lobby did give it a bit of a manic air. The receptionists were friendly but clearly rushed off their feet. However, the doorman was an absolute joy, welcoming everyone with such warmth and I noticed he genuinely recognised guests, which I found impressive given the volume of people that must come through the doors.
The rooms at The Martinique
Having previously stayed in hotels in New York in a similar price range to The Martinique, I was very pleasantly surprised by the size of my King room. Even by normal hotel room standards, it was decent, but by New York proportions it felt palatial.
Now, there’s always a trade-off with these things and what I gained in room size was lost in views and natural light. This particular room had a small, recessed window with an inspiring view of a brick wall and air conditioning unit.
The pictures you can see may look like I took them at night, but were actually taken early afternoon, so it’s not exactly light and bright. However, this is common in New York hotel rooms (in this price bracket anyway) and did have the benefit of having zero street noise – which given we were on the 3rd floor is a genuine bonus in noisy NYC.
The hotel has had a recent facelift and the room reflected this – it felt fresh and new but with some nice nods to art deco styling. The bed was incredibly comfortable, with enough pillows and soft sheets and there were charge points next to the bed, along with a great little clock radio/music speaker. Coffee and tea facilities came in the form of a coffee maker and some bottled water.
It would be nice to start seeing more from chains like Hilton to shift towards sustainable amenities such as cartons of water (as I experienced recently at Aloft Madrid) rather than plastic bottles and plastic cups in plastic wrappers, but I do know that these things take time to change.
The hotel has chosen to save space by only providing a small cupboard area to hang clothes and I think this was a smart decision. City breaks are rarely longer than a few days and there was still plenty of room to hang up a couple of shirts or dresses. A decent iron and ironing board were also provided.
Now, I have to mention the only oddity of this room – the TV and desk area. The desk was sizeable, but tucked into an alcove in the corner, behind a structural beam. This meant it was a gloomy area at best, but without any additional desk lighting in already dark room, so not ideal if you did have to do work. This structural beam also meant the TV was semi-obscured if watching from the bed!
I appreciate given the location, it’s unlikely this is a hotel you’d choose if you had serious work to do and there are much, much better activities in New York than watching TV, but it was a bit of an oversight by the hotel design team in an otherwise well-thought-out bedroom.
The bathroom was more in-line with my expectations of size – it was fairly teeny – but efficiently designed with a nice, strong shower.
The towels were plentiful, a decent size and pleasantly fluffy and the amenities provided were the standard fare, by the brand ‘Pure’, plus a mini mouthwash which I always think is a good touch.
The breakfast buffet takes place in a mezzanine area above the lobby. It is windowless, apart from the glass entry doors which I found a bit of a strange decision by the hotel, but has been part of the renovations so is bright and fresh. There was a substantial array of food arranged around the room including an omelette station, hot breakfast items, pancakes, cereals and fruit. There were plenty of staff around to help get seated or make food.
There’s another restaurant connected to the hotel called Petit Poulet, which offers French bistro inspired food. If you have booked room only, but wanted breakfast on site, this looked a good alternative option and the ambience was definitely improved by windows. Petit Poulet is also the main eating option for room service and dinner at the hotel and houses the hotel’s bar. You can find it behind the main reception area.
There are plenty of dining options nearby too. The hotel is on the edge of Koreatown, so there’s some excellent Korean options on the same street as The Martinique, along with several diners, coffee shops (I loved King’s Street Coffee on W 30th Street) and many bars just a stone’s throw away. Ultimately, you’re in the heart of New York, so fantastic eating options are always going to be available nearby.
There’s a fitness suite with the usual array of weights and a couple of treadmills, cross-trainer and bikes. There is an ongoing renovation of this area, although I understand the facilities will continue to be available throughout the works. It is quite small at the moment, however I believe part of the renovations are to expand this area so it is likely to look quite different in a few months.
Conference and events areas
With a ballroom and several smaller meeting rooms, there’s quite a bit of space for events at The Martinique, and they can manage events up to 500 guests.
Should you stay at The Martinique when in NYC?
The best places to stay in New York very much reflect your purpose for being in the city. This might not be the right choice for regular business travellers to the city but for first-time leisure visitors to the Big Apple, The Martinique is a good option. Slap-bang in the heart of the tourist sights and offering very respectably sized rooms at a decent price, the hotel has been vastly improved by its recent renovations.
For the standard and size of the room, I think the hotel is decent value – there are weekend nights listed at the end of February from $180 including taxes via hilton.com.
Reward rooms with Hilton Honors cap at 80,000 points per night although you will often find it for less on nights when cash rooms are cheap. On the night where it was $180 for cash, the points cost was 50,000 – at 0.36 cents per point this is a little worse than our 0.33p valuation of a Hilton point.
You can find out more or book a room at The Martinique here.
Thanks to the Curio Collection team for arranging my stay.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (January 2022)
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.
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 (20,000 bonus points), 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).
(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.)