Close-Up: The Tech-Friendly Hotel

Close-Up: The Tech-Friendly Hotel

Gregory Han
May 28, 2009
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Let me first explain that I normally don't cavort around in luxury hotels in my personal life...you'll normally find me in the morning in the lobby nabbing those plastic sealed danishes during "continental breakfasts" and sleeping under bedding with thread counts lower than my body weight. But when invited to stay and experience how the "other" side lives over at the Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park for a single night stay over, I would have been a fool not to take the opportunity to check out their renovated suite which have been designed to cater and appeal to the tech-loving guest (a "technology butler" at my beckon and call!?)....

I was recently in New York for the ICFF show for a single night, invited to tour and experience the Ritz-Carlton's newly renovated Battery Park location, one of their premiere locations which saw a $10 million renovation just completed this May. The results are specific to the guest rooms, where the stylish suites sport 42" LG HD flat panels, ONKYO DVD players, Bose Wave clock radios, dual line cordless phones, fast wi-fi access (we've experience crippled wi-fi all to often; none that nonsense here), surround sound audio and access to a DVD and CD library for those with Club Lounge access (love the exclusive feel with the card required to reach these areas). In regards to getting work done, this might have been the most tech friendly hotel accommodations we've ever stayed in, with an excellent work desk with all available plugs and ports for our laptop trotting needs, not to mention the "tech butler" we didn't have the chance to ring up, but who is available for any hardware or software issues one may face while staying as a guest. The classic Herman Miller Eames task chairs are a notable step up from most hotel task seating and two roadwarriors could easily work face to face. The floating cabinetry aligns with the updated modern aesthetic throughout, though figuring out the lighting is somewhat a task considering all the available lamp options (a single control console would improve in such a large space).

When we weren't busy working, we were enjoying a marvelous view from our window using a Tele Science telescope to stare in awe at that beautiful lady of our nation, the Statue of Liberty or watching a Spike Lee joint about Kobe on the fat 42" HD display. A huge king sized bed and individual climate controls combined with a tomb-quiet interior really made us wish were affluent enough to afford this sort of experience regularly (don't get us wrong, one night was a blessing). The service was especially top notch, from the front desk to the doorman, the Ritz-Carlton experience in Battery Park is exactly what you'd expect from AAA Five Diamond establishment, so we're not exaggerating when we say the stay was exemplary.

Although the interior decor of the rooms themselves are more than pleasantly updated, a handsome mix of yellows, grays, whites and dark woods, there is a bit disconnect with the rest of the hotel. The 1920's Art Decor inspired design meets West Elm vibe works well at giving the hotel a contemporary, updated, but stately appeal. Everything is well coordinated within the room/suite, but we couldn't help notice that the design didn't yet extend beyond the guests rooms themselves. The dichotomy between the guest's modern space and the traditional themed lobby and dining areas seem in need of more harmonious execution. It's a small quibble considering we were otherwise more than pleased with everything else we experienced during our stay, but one we need to make considering the overall design impression of the hotel.

My biggest regret was only having a single night to stay at the Ritz Carlton, Battery Park...once you taste this sort of service and comfort, a budget traveler like myself has to admit to feeling the inklings of discontent with settling for anything less than this afterward. It's like eating a meal at Peter Luger's after a lifetime of Sizzler's naugahyde steaks. And we barely got to scratch the surface of a myriad of amenities available during our abbreviated stay, so we could imagine an extended stay only reveals better impressions. So if you can afford it, do it...there would be hardly a regret if comfort, luxury and service are at the top of your list for traveling needs. If anything, we just loved being able to say for the short while that we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton. It certainly has a nice ring to it.

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