Hotel New York Review

Hotel New York Exterior

Hotel New York is a hotel at Disneyland Paris, designed by Michael Graves and occupying the top tier of Disney hotels at the resort. This review features room photos from the hotel, along with thoughts on its quality and my experience of staying at the hotel. Hotel New York is about a 10 minute walk from Disneyland Paris, making it the second-closest hotel to the parks after Disneyland Hotel. With regard to class, Disney categorizes it as a “4 keys/stars” hotel, making it the second highest priced and second nicest in terms of their tiering.

Of late, there has been a rise in theme park lands that give guests the opportunity to step into their favorite stories, and be an active “participant” in the scene. With the hit 1990s sitcom Friends recently finding a brand new audience via Netflix, I think now is the time for Hotel New York to really cash in and be the first hotel that allows guests to step into the story. There is (probably) a huge segment of the population that pines for the opportunity to set foot in Central Perk, dance in a fountain with their BFFs while The Rembrandts play in the background, and otherwise partake in the golden age of the Big Apple: 1994. Marketing genius that I am, if I were in charge of Disneyland Paris, I would change the name of Hotel New York to “Friends Season 1: The Hotel.” Now, I realize Hotel New York’s design actually dates before 1994, but I think it can pass for that glorious era.

This would obviate the need to update this woefully dated hotel, and hit that huge niche of people who want to go back in time and be a part of that amazing time in the Big Apple for those mischievous friends. Change the name on the marquee, maybe offer some Central Perk brand coffee, have the male Cast Members die their hair like Gunther and the female CMs get “The Rachel” haircut, and call it a day. Done and done. Maybe there could even be some Seinfeld tie-ins. Pirate shirts in lieu of robes in every closet!

In all seriousness, the datedness of this hotel is its principle problem, in my eyes. Judging by TripAdvisor reviews, almost none of which mention this issue (with most being resoundingly positive), perhaps I’m more sensitive to it than other travelers.

You can judge for yourself if you think the datedness of the hotel is a big deal in the photos here, but know they only tell part of the story…

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The circa-1992 style is apparent as soon as you get to the check-in desk. The apples on the back wall have a style that look like they’d be a perfect fit for the opening scenes of Saved by the Bell. Now, you might think that this is a minor thing and it doesn’t look that bad. Keep in mind that this is purportedly a luxury hotel where rooms start at the equivalent of around $500/night. For that price point, it is wholly unacceptable for it to still be stuck in 1992. That’s nearly 25 years without any substantial updates to many areas of the hotel.

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Other areas of the lobby don’t look as bad, and have the distinct look of something designed by Michael Graves. It’s probably hard to tell from this photo, but there is this interesting, Art Deco meets neon look to much of the hotel. I don’t know what that’s about, but I suppose there are worse styles…

Hotel New York Mets

There are Mets and the Yankees logos on the floor of the lobby, and nods throughout the hotel to various aspects of New York City. This is all pretty cool, and if I were a European who had never been to New York City, it would probably be pretty cool to see all of this.

Aside from the New York City Bar, where I ate dinner each night after returning from the parks, I didn’t sample the other restaurants in the hotel. I did enjoy New York City Bar, and found the service there to be impeccable.

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Outside of the hotel at Christmas there is ice skating in the style of Rockefeller Center, which is a nice touch. I’m actually a fan of the general style of the exterior. While it does look distinctly like a Michael Graves creation, and has a certain coldness to it, so long as “New York” is the theme, I don’t know how else the hotel could be designed to that theme.

It has a certain post-modern and almost abstract look that does effectively evoke that look. Perhaps it could use a refresh in terms of color scheme and a good power-wash, but I think overall, the exterior works. It’s not my personal cup of tea thematically, but I can’t knock it.

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My room in Hotel New York was one of the “Empire State Club Lake View” rooms. For my stay, the approximate cost of this club level room would have been around $650-700/night. (In the interest of full disclosure, I did not pay for my room.) Club level gets you exclusive check-in, access to the Empire State Club lounge for breakfast and snacks, VIP FastPass, and “additional services,” whatever that means.

To start, I am not a proponent of club level or concierge at any Disney hotel, and would never book this category of rooms if paying myself. As compared to real world hotels, I think Disney concierges don’t offer the same level of service and expertise, nor do they have connections to “hook you up,” as the kids say. Likewise, club level lounges often lack the amenities found in their real world counterparts.

With that said, I went in with an open mind, but Hotel New York vindicated my thinking on this. While the Empire State Club served a nice selection of light snacks, meats, and cheeses, it felt like a slightly upscale version of the breakfast normally offered at the hotel. I think club level here offers poor value for money, unless you have a large party and you’re going at such a busy time that those VIP FastPasses will come in handy (crowds were so light that I didn’t even use them). Now, you might say that anyone shelling out $700/night for a hotel room isn’t concerned with value for money, but I’d counter by saying that many well-off individuals didn’t get to be that way by spending recklessly. I suppose your mileage may vary.

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As for the quality of the room, I think it pretty well speaks for itself in these photos. Worth noting is that the bedding and pillows were extremely nice. This was the high point of the room, and a stark contrast to the hard bedding found at Sequoia Lodge in our previous stay there. Based on photos I’ve seen of the rooms previously, I’d say the bedding has been redone in the last year or so.

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Aside from the bedding, the room felt dated. The furniture seemed worse for wear, and the general style and visual motifs (those darned apples!) looked like it was stuck in 1992. Even the television was old! (Presumably because modern LCD televisions are widescreen and wouldn’t fit in the cabinet. On the plus side, there was an excellent little espresso machine in the room. That was probably the second best part of the room after the bedding.

The third best part about the room is the ’10 Things to Know Before You Go’ with Sophie, who is basically the Disneyland Paris version of Stacey. This station was always on whenever I was in the room. SORTED!

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The bathroom was likewise dated, albeit clean and well-maintained. I’m not sure what the deal with it was, but the bathtub was incredibly deep. I had to take a running start and leap over the edge just to get into the shower. Kidding, but I really have no clue why this thing is so deep. I’d say perhaps it’s a French thing, but I haven’t noticed it elsewhere in France.

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To the room’s credit, it was incredibly clean and even though the style felt like it was straight out of the early-90s, aside from the furniture, it was all very well maintained. Either a good job is done with maintenance, or these rooms have been refurbished with the same design retained. I’m not sure which, but I guess kudos in that regard.

Overall, I think Hotel New York offers the absolute worst value for money of any Disney hotel, anywhere. Even the overpriced Grand Floridian is significantly better in that regard. Hotel New York is simply too dated and doesn’t offer a compelling “hook” to make that datedness forgivable. The hotel does have potential if it receives a top-to-bottom refurbishment (as seems to be the trend with Disneyland Paris hotels), so maybe within the next couple of years it can modernize and really offer an urbane and contemporary take on the Big Apple…because the cutesy little apples everywhere in the hotel simply don’t do the trick.

I hate to be so hard on the hotel, especially given that Disneyland Paris is a common whipping boy for so many Disney fans, but this hotel just doesn’t pass muster for me. Despite all of its faults, I actually am a huge fan of Disneyland Paris, and I am rooting for it to turn a corner and become the world-class destination I know it can be. For those wanting some practical advice, rather than staying at Hotel New York, I would book a room at Disneyland Hotel (if money is no object) or Sequoia Lodge (I’m a big fan of that hotel–read my Sequoia Lodge Review for more info). The former offers an unparalleled experience and has really grown on me as I’ve explored it more, and the latter is a great hotel, especially after its recent refurbishment. Disneyland Paris discounts are abundant, so it’s unlikely you’re going to pay the rack rates I’ve listed here, but I wouldn’t stay at Hotel New York for even half those prices–and if Hotel New York is offering discounts, so too will the cheaper and superior Sequoia Lodge.

For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Report!

Your Thoughts…

Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Hotel New York? What did you think of it? Planning a stay? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about Hotel New York at Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!


12 Responses to “Hotel New York Review”
  1. Heather March 3, 2016
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