Now, back to our stay. To our surprise, when we checked in, we were immediately upgraded from our planned Bronze King to a Platinum King (what one concierge referred to as a "quadruple upgrade"—thanks Dream!), which basically means more space (a Bronze has 285 sq ft, a Platinum has 480 sq ft) and unobstructed views. Furthermore, ours was a corner room in the north tower's eleventh floor. Sweet!
The disappointments: Rooms are narrow. It's sad, but true. Under the dazzling "Platinum" moniker lies a rectangular box room just wide enough to fit the King size bed. Where the bed stops, the living room (two leather chairs, a TV, and a white leather love seat) begins. And there's barely any closet space at all. The sole designated clothes-hanging cabinet was a laughable three-foot-tall cubbyhole which barely would have contained our winter jackets. If this was an actual ship, then we'd probably be charmed by all the miniature-ness, but this is New York City, on dry land, and guests need to feel they have room to walk around.
The assets: Speaking of New York, the uptown-facing views here are nothing short of awesome. Yes, we had to make sure the silver curtains were tightly drawn when we went to sleep, so all that natural light wouldn't catch us off guard at 6am. But we also spent a good portion of our Saturday evening perched on the sill of our circular window, just gazing west towards the sunset. Yeah, we got a little dreamy, but that's the whole idea. The room's bright white fixtures, silver curtains and silver dotted wallpaper leave you feeling refreshed, especially against the backdrop of eight (count 'em) different-size portholes.
The bathroom: Small, iridescent penny rounds make up an elegant mosaic along the spacious bathroom walls. Unlike the bedroom, the bathrooms boasts plenty of open floor space. So when you eventually step out of the steel square tub and into your white bathrobe, you know you've got some room to maneuver. And if you want to listen to some TV while you dry off, a small knob by the toilet controls the bathroom speaker volume. Swinging doors (each dotted with a—you guessed it!—porthole) help divide the bedroom from the bathroom, but without a lock, they never achieve full privacy.
How did we sleep? OK, so the bedside radio alarm clock started going off at around 6:30am, so that was kind of annoying. But we have to give props to the Sealy Posturepedic king mattress, upon which we slept like a log. Seriously, if checkout had been pushed back to 4pm, we would have clung to that bed til about 3:57pm, only to drag ourselves reluctantly through the motions of packing up and heading out of the hotel.
How to book it: Keep in mind that the room we originally booked was a Bronze King, for which we paid $265. When you call in to check rates, make sure they connect you to the reservations center, whose "promotional discounts" are much more reasonable. We called twice in a row, and were quoted $35 more the second time ($299)—that is, until we made enough of a stink to get back our initial promised rate. Pool access, of course, is included in the price, though watch out for those drawn-out Saturday night parties. We tried to peek the coveted "beach area" pool deck, but quickly realized we weren't penetrating the 100-plus crowd.
[Photos: Jakob Layman; Video: HotelChatter]