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Mandarin Oriental - New York, New York

Beautiful Views, Seriously Lacking in Service


Mandarin Oriental Hotel - New York: Overlooking the lush and iconic Central Park and offering a glazing view of the famous Manhattan skyline, Mandarin Oriental Hotel is an award-winning luxury five-star hotel that features plush, expansive suites with gorgeous vistas from every corner of the room. Cosmopolitan, prestigious and lively, the Mandarin Oriental New York is symbolic of the city that it resides in. On this trip to New York we visited the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Peninsula Hotel New York and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park so that we could compare some of the top five-star hotels in New York.

First Impression/Lobby: We were promptly met at our car and had our bags secured for transfer to our room. The lack luster exterior and the unadorned entrance of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel do nothing to notch up the first impression of the property. However once you take an elevator up to the 35th floor, it’s a completely different story altogether! A huge glass art piece was the center focal point of the reception lounge, flanked on either side by the concierge desk and the reception desk. Ultra tall ceilings and huge windows across the far wall that looked out over Central Park, gave the hotel an elegant, spacious and high-class feeling.

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Reception: Service at the reception was speedy, efficient and easy. Within minutes we were up to our suite, escorted by the bellman. We were off to a good start.

The Suite: We reserved a corner Central Park View Suite, which needless to say offered a spectacular view of the overlooking the park. The feeling was extremely warm, comforting and soothing, with gorgeous views of the colossal landscape of New York City and Central Park.

The living room was decked out with a large gray couch with orange pillows for accent, a day bed, long stool and dining table for four. The dark hardwood floors and area rugs gave it a feel of both elegance and warmth. There was a lot of bright natural light streaming in from the large windows that reach across the expanse of the room.

The angled bedroom had windows across the end and another one along the side of the bed; very ingeniously designed to create a well-lit and spacious feel. The king-sized bed was perfectly placed to enjoy the views. Off the bedroom was a large walk-in closed, providing ample storage space.

The marble bathroom features a single basin sink, a deep bathtub perfect for relaxing at the end of a hectic day and a stand-alone shower.

Large flat screens are in both the living room and bedroom and while Wi-Fi (rather slow) internet access in the room is not free, there is an IPod docking station plus a neat powder room near the entrance of the room; a bonus if you are entertaining.

The Central Park View Suite is spacious yet sports a warm, comfortable and intimate vibe.

The suites were renovated early 2010, see the updated pictures at the end of all the pictures.

Our Experience: We were enjoying our time at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and New York so much that we actually extended our stay.

The day after we extended our stay, we went out in the city for the day. When we arrived back in the room at around 5 PM, sufficient time to rest a bit and then change and go to dinner, there was an unpleasant surprise in store for us. We were informed that we would have to move rooms as they were going to start renovations on our floor the following morning. So without prior notice (absolutely unprofessional), we had to pack everything and move out. To say I was disappointed would be a blatant understatement.

We had already been at the hotel for four days and apparently they found out all of a sudden that they were remodeling? How was this possible? To top it, they didn’t offer any help in packing and moving. This wasn’t five-star service at all. I’ve faced similar situations where I had to change rooms (for other reasons) mid-stay, and they have always stepped up their service and have either moved us completely or sent someone to help with the move. Mandarin Oriental completely messed it up with their poor planning and horrible service.

Room Service: Taking advantage of the view from our dining table in our suite, we spent many mornings enjoying breakfast in our room. Three days our breakfast order was incomplete or incorrect and one day it was delayed almost thirty minutes. The days they got it all wrong, we had to have the order remade; making us eat at different times and get a late start to our day.

Room service charged $8.50 for delivery, even though the menu says there is a six dollar delivery charge. When I asked them about this they said they charge an extra $2.50 to set up the table in the suite. The funny part is that of the seven times that we ordered room service, only four times did they actually put on the table cloth and set the table like they were supposed to.

In a complete antithesis, the room service at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park and the Peninsula Hotel New York (and even the Four Seasons which I’ve reviewed on a previous trip) was top notch; they did everything in line with five- star standards. The food was good, the table was perfectly laid and the servers were extremely professional. In contrast, The Mandarin Oriental just missed the mark.

Housekeeping: One fine day we came back to find that our room had been serviced, however our breakfast dishes were still messily lying on the table. I know there is a different department that handles In-Room Dining dishes, but how difficult is it to call Room Service and have them clear the dishes to lend it a neat appearance.

Other than that they did a fine job of servicing our room, but not a single day went by without them calling (despite the do not disturb prominently on) to see when they could service the room or perform the evening service. This was from invisible service.

The Housekeeping service at the Peninsula Hotel New York was perfect, and the at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park it was amazing, with a delightful packing and unpacking service included.

Concierge: We contacted the concierge (of all hotels) prior to our stay for a few restaurant recommendations. The concierges from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel New York sent us a tiny list; with an even smaller description of the restaurant (the Peninsula Hotel New York's list of recommendations on the other hand was much more detailed and elaborate with better suggestions and extensive descriptions).

Nevertheless, the concierge department was prompt with their correspondence and secured us tables both in advance and even when we made some last minute changes. They hit the bull’s eye with Spice Market, Del Posto and the superlative Le Bernardin. One of their major misses was wd-50 Restaurant. Overall the service was top notch.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park also had a very professional Concierge desk, following up well and completely clued in on what they were talking about. The Four Seasons Hotel was probably the very best with Courtney providing the best off the beaten track recommendations.

Restaurant: Asiate, sitting pretty on the 35th floor, is a chic, contemporary cuisine serving restaurant with heavy Asian influences. The setting is replete with large windows offering a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. Watch out for the beautiful branch sculpture dangling from the ceiling and a mammoth wine wall boasting of a collection of more than 1,300 bottles.

A buzzing, energetic and stylish cocktail place, MObar serves a trendy assortment of cocktails in a spirited ambiance. The plush leather seating in snug corners along with classy top tables split beautifully by velvet walls adds to glitz of the bar; a nice, fashionable and intimate place for an evening with close buddies.

We visited the Lobby Lounge twice, the first time after waiting to be seated and no one greeting me, I seated myself near the window and waited and waited for some service. I caught two servers shooting a glance at my direction, however as soon as they saw me looking they disappeared.

A few minutes later the manager later asked me if I had a reservation and told me to move away from the window to the other side of the lounge since the table was reserved (there was no reservation sign on it like the other tables) and even asked for my room number, making me feel absolutely unwanted. I was assigned a waitress who didn’t know whether they had a Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne. She checked with the manager but she didn’t know either. The Sommelier who has already left for the evening had to be summoned to attend to our strange request (that’s how the manager explained it to him). He obviously knew that it was readily available. It made me wonder why the waitress or the manager didn’t know what Champagne they actually carried

Finally the fourth person to wait on us in that one evening, our new server Tony, made the rest of our evening and the next evening perfect.

Pool/Spa/Activities: Mandarin Oriental New York has a sprawling 75-feet lap pool on the 36th floor with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. The property also boasts of a luxurious, state of the art spa along with a well-appointed 6,000 square foot fitness center.

Overall Impression We have been to the Four Seasons New York, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York, Central Park, the Peninsula Hotel New York and the manner in which the Mandarin Oriental functions; I can honestly say that the five-star property has a lot to learn and a very long way to go before it achieves the same level of perfection as the other three hotels. All four properties are categorized as five star luxury hotels, but the service at the Mandarin Oriental fell terribly short of five-star standards and just did not compare to the others. The location, view, décor, suite design was bombastic! But, the service, not bombastic! The overall rating is between bombastic and not.

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