Monday, January 05, 2015

Day Five and Time to go Home :(

Those few day flew by and day five arrived and we had yo start making our plans to get home. The one thing I haven't talked too much about is the Hotel we stayed in. When we were booking we were trying to find a reasonable priced hotel. We did look at Trip Advisor and the one we chose - Remember this one ....... Hotel PENNSYLVANIA , had very mixed reviews, we weighed it up and watched the reviews for a bit and there was no reviews saying it was average it was either fantastic or really rubbish. That should have rung a few warning bells, but the price was right and the location was fantastic so we took a chance. The closer we got to the holiday the worse the reviews got, by then we were unable to change it without incurring a cost, so we went and took our chances. 
As I have previously said our room was clean but very dated, The shower was like a power washer and the bathroom door could not be closed because it was soaking wet from the shower, it was also rotten on the bottom with manky bits of wood falling off and at least 100 coats of paint trying to deal with the problem.  I felt on balance we had a 'reasonable' room by the standards of the Hotel - I mean we didn't see any cockroaches (doesn't mean there wasn't any!!)

This is a view of the reception area that the Hotel promote, I can tell you that we never saw it like that the whole time we were there!! On checking in on the first day we were subjected to 90 minute wait to get to a receptionist. The hotel has 1700 rooms and although it was now check in time she tried to tell us that they didn't have a non smoking room available. I thought first of all she was trying to get us to pay for an upgrade, but no she simply hadn't got a room. She tried to tell us to come back again and queue again. We refused and stuck to our guns and stayed at the desk until they allocated us a room. The whole time we stayed there the was never a time that there wasn't a queue at reception. 

During the stay we had a notice in our room advising that they would charge us 250 dollars if we smoked in the room, which was a bit rich as it turns out. We were on floor 8 and everyday when we came out of the lift to go to our room we walked into a a very pungent cloud of cannabis fumes !! It was like being back at work, we are subjected to the same smell when they are bagging cannabis up when they have raided houses!!These fumes were coming from the staff rest room on the 8th floor!!! This has also been reported on trip advisor by other disgruntled guests!!

On the morning that we tried to check out we were faced with another queue for reception. there were no notices advising how left luggage was dealt with so everyone went down to the luggage room only to be told to go to reception and buy a left luggage ticket, which cost 5 dollars a bag!!! Hence another huge great big queue. So whiling away the time in the queue I watched what was going on. There was a bloke sitting at desk with the title of 'Bell Captain' I have no idea what one of those do, he had a team of other blokes dressed in black suits, who I guess must be 'Bells' as he was their captain! So while the family were queueing, I went and asked him if anyone could get us luggage tags to prevent such a long time queueing, he assured me we would have to wait. I continued to watch and one of the suits magically produced some tags which he 'sold' to some folk at the back of the queue, so I went and asked to buy four for our bags, he was happy to sell me tags as long as I was prepared to give him a 2 dollar a bag back hander!!!! I was not impressed.   

Eventually we got to the front of the queue some 90 minutes later, having watched a lady come from reception and empty the 'quick check out; box full of keys. A while later she returned with a bunch of labels, I asked her why she didn't bring them out earlier and was told that she hadn't seen any queue, well to say things got a bit heated was an understatement, she was very rude and told us to stop complaining we were at the desk what was our problem. She then went on to tell us she was the manager!!! Quite clearly she hadn't finished her customer service module of her management course.

I was fuming, Simply the staff at the hotel do not give a toss, the reason they don't give a toss is that the don't have to. The hotel is in very poor state of repair BUT it is right opposite Madison Square Garden and people will continue to book it on location alone! We read the reviews and felt that they were 'okish' but clearly people had been telling the truth!! So if you are visiting New York, do not stay at this hotel!!!

Once we finally left the hotel we headed (very late at this stage) to The Rockefeller Centre, to visit the Top of the Rock. We had pre-booked and put the trip off until the last day so that we could go with Tom. Once we got there we were upset to find that they had timed tickets and due to our altercation at the hotel we were too late to get a ticket for the morning, in fact they were offering tickets for 8pm 30 minutes before our flight left Newark! We spoke to a couple of members of staff who said sorry we can't help, its timed tickets . I could have cried with the frustration of it all, when a lady said to ask a particular member of staff call Tom, so I explained out predicament and he arranged for us to go up straight away. He radioed ahead and all the staff knew we were on our our way and we whisked through the crowds and security checks! I could have kissed him, but in the end being British I shook his hand !!

We posed for the 'sitting on the girder' shot!!

We walked around and had a great view of the city (during the day) and Central Park. We were also lucky enough to have a bit of a snow flurry, so we could at least say that it had snowed while we were there!! I am so pleased that Tom took pity on us and let us go up hours and hours early. The are clearly some very nice and efficient Americans to balance the complete idiots who work at the 'Hostel' !!!

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