But that’s exactly what New York City’s Millenium Hilton Hotel is – historic.
This all-glass hotel in the Financial District bears scars from the September 11 terrorist attacks, although invisible to the naked eye. Just steps from Ground Zero, the building was damaged during the collapse of the Twin Towers and had to be refurbished. In fact, the American flag that once hung outside the hotel on 9/11 is now on display in the lobby, recovered by hotel workers.
Today, this luxury hotel towers over Lower Manhattan, a sleek and skinny monolith with a gleaming facade. History aside, the Millenium Hilton Hotel is alluring for other reasons. Given New York’s outrageous accommodation prices, this hotel provides value with a side of luxury, offering guests oversized rooms, a superb restaurant, and a kickass location.
Stepping into a standard room, it feels more like studio apartment than hotel. Compared to the city’s standards, rooms are spacious at 300 square feet and up, all featuring 42-inch plasma screen TVs, marble bathrooms, and laptop-sized safes. The majority of guest rooms have plush king-size beds with down-filled duvets. For a splurge, book a Junior Suite for a private bedroom and sitting area separated by a bathroom.
Insider’s tip: ask for a corner room for wall-to-wall windows and stunning views. On higher floor, you can see the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor to the southwest, and Brooklyn and the East River to the east. It’s also spectacular to watch the sun set over the Hudson River, illuminating the sky crimson.
The Millenium Hilton has the best of old and new NYC at its doorstep. Situated in Lower Manhattan, the hotel is walking distance to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (a must see).
It’s also close to the Lower East Side, a borough inhabited by almost every immigrant group to NYC (Dutch, African American, Irish, Jewish, Italian, Chinese). The food scene is unreal: a smorgasbord of traditional ethnic dishes can be sampled on your stroll – such as dumplings, knishes, Italian cheeses, and fresh breads. Trust us: drop your Saks Fifth Ave shopping bag and get exploring these ethnic enclaves instead.
Upscale Comfort Food
Tucked into the third floor, the newly renovated Church & Dey Restaurant may underwhelm at first glance. It’s a quiet, casual eatery with earth-toned décor and spiffy red chairs, ideal for evening meetings or unwinding with a glass of wine. Sure, it may not have the sexy allure of Balthazar and no reservations are needed. But thank god for that: you can get a hearty meal here without being on some ridiculous VIP list.
Above all, the food is fantastic: upscale comfort food at its best. The chef uses fresh, local ingredients, including seafood and seasonal produce. On the menu, the Turkey Portobello burger ($24) is a winner: turkey meat minced with herbs and gourmet cheese, topped with mushrooms and served on a warm brioche bun. No flaccid faux chicken slapped onto bread here.
What We Loved
The sun-drenched views from every area of the building. The hotel’s all-glass body offers stunning views of Uptown New York. And there’s no risk of getting seasonal affective disorder here: head to the the heated pool with floor-to-ceiling windows for your sun fix.
If We Could Change One Thing
We didn’t love the $12.95 per day charge for in-room wifi. For some guests, it’s a steep price to pay over a few days. While free in the lobby and restaurant, it’s just not convenient for early morning or late night email. To be fair, wifi fees are common among many NYC hotels. But it’s the little things that make the difference, and it would set the Millenium Hilton apart if it was free.
Business travel. Also great for sight-seeing Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Rates vary based on season and availability, but expect $300 and up. Check for deals and you can score a room for less.
The writer was a guest of the hotel. The hotel did not review or approve this article.