Wednesday 24 October 2007

Empire Hotel, Midtown, Manhattan, New York

Well-located near Central Park, the Empire Hotel overlooks a busy junction where drivers hoot their horns well into the evening. Inside, there is an unrelenting succession of gold and brown furnishing and fittings, including large gold curtains in the lobby and brown wallpaper, decorated with silver trees, in the corridors. The bedrooms continue the ostentatious theme with mock tiger-skin arm chairs, big flat-screen televisions and large star-shaped mirrors, but they are very compact given the $500 plus room rate. There don't seem to be any instructions in the room, so you spend a fair bit of time figuring how to turn on lamps or ring reception. Eventually, you might discover there is fast, free WiFi and plenty of other amenities available, such as an iron and razors, but housekeeping can be sluggish bringing them. In the morning, you get a basic buffet breakfast of pastries, coffee and fruit juice in a spartan dining room with no place settings. 5/10