Intercontinental Westminster London

THE HOTEL: It's in a fab location on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, near the UN, housed in a 140-storey classical building and one of the grand dames of the city


THE CHECK-IN: There were no queues at check-in as the desks were well manned. The lobby is on a grand scale and akin to a sprawling living room with a dramatic circular glass ceiling.

THE ROOM: My room had old-fashioned decor and dated and dark furniture and fixtures – even yellow resin sockets. There are four bedroom designs and this was General Mahogany (the others being Normandy, Colonial American and Louis XVI). Modern amenities saved it somewhat, such as the flatscreen TV, coffee machine, real hangers, laptop size safe and highspeed Internet. The bathroom was very small and had the sort of ineffective built-in hairdryer I thought had finally disappeared from hotel rooms.

THE BUSINESS: A business centre in the lobby includes two workstations and is open round the clock, and there's lots of meeting space including two ballrooms, Astor 1 and 2. The combined Astor Room is the grandest. Flooded with natural light, it has high ceilings and offers event space for up to 300 guests, while the Whitney Room can take up to 150. There are 18 meeting rooms in total, spread over the second and third floors, the latter housing the smaller, boardroom-style spaces.

THE FACILITIES: There's the Barclay Bar and Grill in the lobby for all-day dining, a fitness centre on third floor (which doubles as a shower facility for early check-in/late check-out) with sauna, steam room, aromatherapy and massage treatments, ice machines on each floor, car parking and a combined chemist and gift shop.

THE VERDICT:This is a good business hotel in a convenient location, but it needs updating to match the good service levels and charming staff of the hotel.

THE DETAILS: 111 East 48th St, New York 10017. Rates for a queen superior room including breakfast are from around $414 per night plus 14.75 per cent tax. Tel: 001 212 759 5900; for more information see:

Reviewed by Gillian Upton (2013)