By Terry Trucco
A hotel with room service, 24-hour movies, a big soaking tub and a comfy lobby lounge doesn’t strike us as a bad place to be in a storm.
“I’ll watch the hurricane through my hotel room hot tub window,” writes a guest at The Out/NYC on the Hotelchatter website.
Still, Scary Sandy, or #sandynyc if you’re following Twitter, is doing what hurricanes do – making a mess of things for thousands of people, including those at New York City hotels.
Worst hit were those at hotels in the low-lying area’s of New York’s southern tip, or Zone A, where flooding is most likely to occur. Just 14 months ago, Mean Irene forced a coterie of hotels at the tip of Manhattan to evacuate guests and close until the storm blew over.
Once again, Andaz Wall Street, the Marriott New York Downtown, the Ritz Carlton New York Battery Park, the Wall Street Inn and the W Downtown are shuttered for the storm, their guests moved to hotels farther uptown on Sunday.
This year, the Conrad New York which opened this spring, joined the group, shuttering its
463 rooms. The result: more than 1,700 rooms blown off the market, at least temporarily, during peak demand season for hotels in New York.
Guests were moved to affiliated hotels uptown, same as last year. Calls to the Marriott Downtown were rerouted to the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. And downtown hotels just outside Zone A reported brisk business. Rooms at the Millenium Hilton a block away from the shuttered W Downtown, were sold out when we called Sunday afternoon.
“We are packed,” said a desk officer at Gild Hall, situated one block away from Zone A.
As with Irene, New Yorkers uprooted by the storm checked into hotels.
Still, as of mid-day Monday, rooms were still available. The Mark tweeted “We are obviously open for business, for those in downtown #NewYork consider us a safe haven from #Sandy.” And Hotels Tonight, an app that offers last-minute hotel rooms, tweeted a fresh supply of rooms on the market at reduced prices.
As for price gouging, we haven’t heard anything egregious like Brooklyn’s Hotel Le Bleu, which charged $999 a night for a $250 room during Hurricane Irene (a check of their website showed no such behavior this year). At Kimpton, which runs four New York City properties, guests get a 20 percent discount during the storm (use promo code SANDY).
Additionally, early departure and cancellation fees have been waived by most hotels. If your hotel doesn’t do this, tell them to get in line with others like Ritz Carlton, W Hotels, King & Grove and Trump SoHo and drop those nasty charges.