HOW MANY ROOMS? 439 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Dramatic Manhattan views, upgraded rooms and a one-of-a-kind landmark lobby
PRICE Internet rates for a king room start at $269
CONTACT Millennium Hilton One UN Plaza, One UN Plaza, New York, NY, 10017, Tel +1-212-758-1234 hilton.com
VERDICT: Walking into the lobby of the UN Plaza Hotel was a total blast from the past for me. But beyond that I found a thoroughly modern property that gets high marks for Midtown convenience, accommodating service and stylish comfort.
BACKGROUND: The UN Plaza Hotel opened in the 1970s as part of the United Nations Plaza complex built by the city of New York a block from the UN headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan. Extensive renovations have been done by current owners Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, with management of the property handed over to Hilton 2017.
WHERE IS IT? Nothing in Midtown Manhattan is very far from anything else, so the hotel’s location on 44th Street and 1st Avenue is convenient to just about everything. It’s still a pretty good hike to landmarks like Times Square and the Empire State Building, but there’s plenty on this side of town to keep visitors occupied, and it provides fairly quick access to JFK and LaGuardia.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Originally housed in a single 40-story skyscraper, the property was expanded in the 1980s to add a second matching tower – thus the appellation One UN Plaza and Two UN Plaza. The two towers share a common lobby and access to the Ambassador Grill restaurant below. Decked out in dark marble, mirrors and sparkling lights, the original interior design of the lobby and restaurant, which hasn’t been touched since the hotel opened, has been variously characterized as “spectacular” and “luxurious” or post-modern juke box “glitz rather than glamour.” Whatever you think of them, the 1975 interiors by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo will be around for a while; in 2017, they were assigned New York City Landmark status.
ROOM FACILITIES: It had been years since I’d last stayed at the UN Plaza Hotel, so to say I was pleasantly surprised by the upgrades to the rooms is something of an understatement. In fact, the recent renovations have elevated both the style and the quality of the accommodations, giving them a high-design feel. My two-room suite was truly expansive by New York standards, with a super comfortable king size Serenity Bed and a sleek, roomy bath stocked with Peter Thomas Roth toiletries. Most of all, there was the stunning view across the United Nations complex and the East River.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS: The Ambassador Grill is rather a jewel among East Side restaurants – or at least feels like one thanks to its Landmark status marble-and-mirror décor. The menu seemed to be a bit limited with fewer international dishes than I’d expected, given the restaurant’s proximity to the UN. But my food was excellent and the service was swift and congenial. For casual eats throughout the day, the UN Café offers snacks, salads and sandwiches.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The view out the windows of the 24-hour fitness facility is enough to make even the most committed couch potatoes among us want to get in a workout. The facility is well equipped with a variety of machines and free weights. The hotel also features an indoor lighted tennis court. Unfortunately when we were there, the pool had been closed for repairs and no date had been set for reopening.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: This is first and foremost a business hotel, so it offers an array of meeting and event services. There are a total of six meeting rooms ranging in size up to 2,000 square feet, two of which can be divided. Internet access is available throughout the hotel and the meetings facilities come with state-of-the-art audio visual and business center support services.