w-new-york-union-square-featureFinding accommodations in New York City can be tough. Research shows that in 2012, New York City welcomed a record 52 million visitors and that the city has 91,500 hotel rooms. So if you’re planning to visit the Big Apple and scoop up one of those in-demand rooms, you have to do your research and book early if you can!

On a recent visit to New York City, I stayed at the W New York, Union Square. (It’s a Starwood property, which makes this an even better option if you’re a Starwood member.) It’s located at 201 Park Avenue South and is conveniently situated between uptown and downtown NYC. The hotel is in a historic, landmark building, the Beaux-Arts Guardian Life building, constructed in 1911 and mimicking the style of architecture popular in Paris in the 1890s.

There’s definitely an air of whimsy at this hotel. The rooms are brightly decorated, modern and comfortable.

The Rooms
The hotel has 270 guest rooms and 16 suites. What’s your style? Are you looking for a room that’s wonderful, fabulous, spectacular? At the W New York, you can choose from all of these options. The rooms have cheeky names like ‘The Wow Suite’, ‘The Cool Corner Suite’, ‘The Fabulous Room,’ ‘The Wonderful Room’ … you get the idea … There’s definitely an air of whimsy at this hotel. The rooms are brightly decorated, modern and comfortable. The downside: The Wonderful Room, though wonderful in some ways, was pretty small. I found it difficult to maneuver my small carry-on suitcase through the room and there wasn’t a lot of space to unpack and get comfortable. (Of course, there are larger rooms too. The Wow Suite is 650 square feet; The Extreme Wow Suite is 900 square feet.) The bathroom was also a little tired. Standard, nothing special. Kind of reminded me of a Holiday Inn from the ‘80s. The Bliss bath amenities are fab though!

The Lobby
As soon as you walk into the hotel, you’ll feel a definite New York City vibe – music thrumming and lots of chic, stylish types coming and going. At the W, they don’t call their lobby a lobby – it’s the Living Room, an open concept space with comfortable chairs to sit back, wait for your date, enjoy a cocktail, see and be seen or just take a load off after a long day. It was one of my favourite parts of the hotel. The hotel doesn’t have a grand entrance when you pull up out front but when you step inside, there’s a sense of arrival. It’s a place where you know instantly that you’re going to have fun.

The Location
Second to the lobby (I mean, Living Room), the best part about the W New York Union Square is the location. I know this can be said of many New York hotels, but it still has to be said about this one: Step outside and there’s so much to do. There’s tons of shopping and restaurants within walking distance but my favourite place to stop by is the Union Square Greenmarket. The year-round market opened in 1976 with just a handful of farmers but today can have as many as 140 farmers, fishermen and bakers and is always teeming with locals and tourists alike who want to support local agriculture. You don’t think farmers markets when you think of New York City – it’s the nature of the unexpected that makes it even more fun. The Union Square Park is a great place to sit and relax and watch the hustle and bustle of New York City pass you by. Stop in at the nearby Whole Foods, grab some lunch and eat it across the street in the park. Then once you’ve refueled, you’ll have plenty of energy to continue shopping and exploring the area!

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