Hotel 50 Bowery Review – A Hyatt Joie de Vivre Hotel in NYC
My Hotel 50 Bowery review comes after a recent stay at this Joie de Vivre hotel in lower Manhattan. Part of Hyatt’s independent brands, my wife and I stayed at Hotel 50 Bowery and enjoyed it. Having previously lived in NYC, staying at hotels there was a new experience for us. My Hotel 50 Bowery review will cover the location, the hotel room, perks & amenities, and the rooftop restaurant/bar. I’ll also cover service from the hotel employees. First, how we wound up at this hotel, since we hadn’t originally planned to stay here.
We stayed here for 2 nights. As I’ve mentioned before, to take advantage of the Hyatt Brand Explorer perk, my wife and I book separate nights in each of our names. This helps us each get credit at a new brand with Hyatt. This was our first stay at a Joie de Vivre hotel, with 1 night in my name and 1 in my wife’s name. This was my 10th brand, so I also earned a free night from this stay.
We paid cash to stay here. From an Amex + Hyatt promotion, we got $60 back from using my American Express Gold Card to pay cash for this stay and a stay at the Hyatt House Jersey City earlier in the trip. My wife did the same, and we each paid for 1 night at each property, which added up to just over $300, triggering the credit for each of us.
If I divide that credit across the stays proportionally, we paid $97.40 per night to stay here. That includes the daily “$13.77 destination fee” (gripes about that fee are found below). I found this to be a great deal, since this is a category 5 property. It’s 20,000 points per night to stay here. If i’d used points, I’d only get half a cent per point, and we value Hyatt points much higher than that. Total cost: $97.40 per night x 2 = $194.80.
How we wound up here…
As with my Wyndhurst Manor & Club review, this property also was not our first choice for a stay. We really wanted to stay at a Hyatt property during this time, so we could take advantage of the double nights promotion. I earned Globalist status because of these stays. We also wanted to stay at a brand we’d not visited before, so we booked the Park South Hotel (also Joie de Vivre). However, they closed their doors until April 1, 2021, so we changed to Hotel 50 Bowery. It was between this and some vanilla Hyatt properties around NYC. Since there are no Joie de Vivre properties outside the US, we figured this brand would be harder to check off later and went for Hotel 50 Bowery (the only JdV property open in NYC right now).
Hotel 50 Bowery Review
How was the stay? What was good, and what was bad? Would I recommend staying here? We’ll cover all of that in my Hotel 50 Bowery review, including the location, the guest room we stayed in, and the rooftop restaurant/bar. I’ll also talk about amenities on site, which includes the “daily destination fee” we had to pay.
Hotel 50 Bowery is located at…50 Bowery! That’s the address, so the name is pretty simple. It’s in the Bowery district of southern Manhattan, or “Lower East Side” if you’re familiar with the regions of Manhattan. Hotel 50 Bowery sits along a main road in the northern part of Chinatown, near the boundary of Little Italy.
There are multiple bus stops nearby, and you’re 3 blocks from the Grand Street subway stop. The hotel is 5 blocks from the Canal Street station. It sits right at the edge of the Manhattan Bridge, which goes over the East River to Brooklyn. In fact, our room looked out over the Manhattan Bridge, and we really liked this view.
Welcome Letter / Explanation Of Policies
At check in, we received this letter letting us know what’s open and special rules at the hotel during this time. We were surprised that most of their features were operating as normally as possible. Nothing was closed during our stay.
Speaking of surprises, I’m always surprised when nicer hotels don’t offer any type of breakfast. They have tea & coffee only, but there’s no breakfast–not even for purchase. This tea & coffee is part of the destination fee, the benefits of which are listed here.
What did we get for that fee? Access to newspapers that I don’t want (I can get them in my Twitter feed), “premium internet” wasn’t premium at all, and access to discounts on tickets for some NYC locations. Sure, the destination fee wasn’t a ton, but I find it quite silly. You’re charging me a fee for things that other hotels give for free and charging me for access to discounted tickets. The fee is small enough that we didn’t complain about how silly it is, and that’s probably how they get away with this fee that really isn’t justifiable.
The lobby is spacious within the limitations of Manhattan crowding/space premiums. There’s ample seating, which is really convenient when waiting for a taxi/Uber/food delivery. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in a lot of light, and the revolving door keeps out the cold air when people come in/go out.
The elevators are spacious, and there are 4 elevators, so we never had to wait long. I will say that the elevators on one side have different decorations inside than the other side. The right side (in the photo) elevators were much darker inside than the left elevators.
Guest Floor Hallways
We stayed in room 1114 on the 11th floor. The hallways aren’t wide, but they aren’t cramped. Boutique lighting and art at the end of the hallways complemented the Chinatown location and helped the hallways (with no windows) not feel dark.
Additionally, the doors have only a sensor and no obvious “lock” on the doors. We thought the details and designs throughout the hotel complemented the neighborhood and vibe of the hotel really well. The back side of the room key shows a map of the local area, including subway stops.
I remember when my parents visited us while we lived in Brooklyn years ago. They stayed at a hotel where the room was the size of a shoe box. Not kidding, you couldn’t open the door to the room if the bathroom door was open, because they’d hit each other. Their room had no chairs, because there was no space for that–you had to just sit on the bed. We wondered if our experience would be this miniature.
Happily, our room at Hotel 50 Bowery was much better than this. My overall review would be that the room is a good size for a “standard” room, since we booked the most basic option. There was ample space in our room, despite being in a city where space is hard to come by. I’ve seen bigger hotel rooms in NYC, but they come at a price, and we were satisfied with what we got–especially for the price.
The layout of the door to the hallway (center), split doors to the closet closet (left), and a sliding door to the bathroom (right) meant none of them hit each other.
The bed is described as a king, and my wife & I disagree about whether it actually was a king size. That being said, we slept well. The bed is comfortable and doesn’t eat up the room. There’s still space to get around it comfortably. If the bed size matters to you, maybe measure it to see if it’s really a king before you unpack your stuff & settle in. (I think it’s a large queen. My wife thinks it’s a king.)
Unfortunately, the pillows were worthless. Put your head on one and it sinks into nothingness. I put 2 of the bathroom towels under my pillow to make it not disappear into the void.
As stated, our room looked out over the Manhattan Bridge and Confucius Plaza. This is technically a step up from the standard room and a step below the “City View” room. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in a lot of light during the day, yet there was no draft or cold air coming in.
The bathroom, while not large, maximized space well. The sliding door allowed for getting in and out without any weird gymnastics or hitting something with the door. The sliding door also opened/closed easily without force but also without banging at either end. The bathroom has ample counter space and good lighting.
The shower was as big as it can be in the limited space. While not grand, you also didn’t hit your elbows on the wall at all. Shower pressure was very good. Hot water arrived quickly and didn’t run out.
A drawer under the sink includes a hair dryer and is large enough for anything you want to put in there. There’s ample counter space around the sink. There’s a movable beauty mirror and good lighting on the mirror. The toilet works well and is located in really the only spot possible, but it might feel cramped if you’re a large person.
The closet was more than sufficient for us. Since we only stayed 2 nights, we didn’t even put anything in it. Put better: it would’ve been sufficient if we’d used it. There are no fancy robes or slippers, but it did have a safe & an umbrella for use. I also was impressed that there’s a steamer for getting the wrinkles out of your clothes when unpacking.
Desk & Drawers
There’s a large desk in the room. The desk also has 1 drawer for storage. Given that the room doesn’t have a dresser at all, there isn’t a ton of space to put your stuff if you’re staying for a long time. With the closet and 1 drawer, you’ll likely get dressed out of your suitcase.
Above the desk, there’s a big TV and a big mirror.
Inside the desk, under the 1 drawer, there’s a mini fridge. The mini fridge doesn’t come with anything (free or paid), but it’s useful for bringing snacks and storing items. Remember that the hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, so we found this useful.
On top of the desk, there are 2 outlets and a USB port.
Room Amenities & Internet
Above the bed, there’s artwork on display. I wasn’t crazy about it, but the 2 historical photos were interesting. The designs on the wall were nice, which helped avoid a boring or institutional feeling from plain walls.
Everything in the room worked well, which is how it should be. All of the features and technology that we used were very intuitive. Everything was user-friendly.
The toiletries smelled AMAZING. I would buy these. They’re citrus + sandalwood, and we really liked them. The shampoo & conditioner in the shower were good. The soap was good enough that it didn’t give you that weird filmy feeling on your hands like many hotel soaps do after use. The lotion was great quality against the dry skin NYC winters give you. And the smells were awesome.
After staying at 2 previous Hyatt properties within the past week, the internet here was a bit of a let-down. To be clear, I didn’t have problems doing any tasks I needed to do. However, you couldn’t multi-task online at all. Hyatt House Jersey City had speeds of 100+. Wyndhurst Manor & Club had 150+. The internet speed at Hotel 50 Bowery? 4.5Mbps. That could definitely use improvement.
Each side of the bed had a night stand with drawers. On my side, I also had a clock-radio-alarm that included a USB port for charging devices. You can also play music this way or use your music for the alarm.
Behind the night stand, there is a light switch and 2 outlets. Both sides of the bed have this. There also is a reading lamp on both sides of the bed. It folds up & turns off automatically when stashed. The light comes on automatically when you pull it out, and the head turns into left/down/right positions very easily.
Hotel 50 Bowery has a rooftop restaurant & bar, including outdoor seating. Obviously, no one is sitting outside right now. The chairs are covered with snow, and it’s cold. The employees made a little snowman, which makes me think they have a lot of free time. Restaurant must not be that busy.
The indoor area is open (reduced capacity with current regulations). You must get your temperature checked to enter the restaurant & bar. The lighting inside the restaurant area is that level of dark that I find weird when restaurants use it. In fact, the picture I tried to take didn’t even turn out, because the lighting was too low.
The views from the outdoor area are excellent, however. In the summer, this would be a great place to hang out and watch the sun set or take in the evening. For comparison, I also took a picture looking down over the Manhattan Bridge (compare to the view from our room).
We didn’t eat at the restaurant, but there’s a good selection of drinks and food on the menu. Doing it again, I’d visit when the outdoor area can be used.
Hotel 50 Bowery Staff Review
How was the staff at the hotel? Let’s look at the Hotel 50 Bowery staff and our interactions with them before, during & at the end of our stay. The best description for my review of the staff will be “laid back”.
Prior To Arrival
Prior to our arrival, we emailed the hotel and never got a reply. I reached out to Hyatt’s Twitter team, who gave me the hotel’s email. I left a credit card at a store a few days prior to arrival and had Chase send it to the hotel. Once I had the tracking number from Chase, I emailed to advise them, and they never replied. I was nervous.
At check in, the employee at the desk was really friendly and very laid back. We had a rental car from going up to Massachusetts for snowboarding and would drop it off right after check in. They had a “loading zone only” sign out front of the hotel. I pushed the suitcases in the door and turned to leave, telling my wife to check in and resolve stuff while I returned the car. The employee told me that it wasn’t a big deal. He’d keep an eye on our car and make sure we didn’t get a ticket while taking our stuff to the room.
We also asked about the envelope from Chase, and it was right nearby. I will point out that he didn’t know it was there, so clearly they didn’t have a system to know packages are there & deliver them at check in. We had to specifically ask for it and describe what to look for, so that could be more organized on their part.
They didn’t have staff to help with luggage (not that we wanted it, and I always try to avoid this service). Instead, they pointed us toward a bellhop-style cart we could use, if needed.
During The Stay
We found the employees helpful and friendly throughout our stay. We ordered food using our $60 Door Dash credit, and they called us faster than I could get downstairs in the elevator. When we asked about late check out for a late flight, it was no problem. They sought no-contact service options wherever possible, simply hanging a bag with our 2 free bottles of water on the door handle each day (a Hyatt members’ perk). When we went to the rooftop restaurant, a friendly employee took our temperatures and tried to guide us to a table before we explained that we just wanted to take pictures.
At check out, the friendly & laid back approach continued. “Hi, we’re checking out from 1114.” “We have your payment info on file, I’m sure. You can just drop your keys in the box to be sanitized.” It was literally that simple.
It was only at check out that I noticed a paper near the front desk talking about the NYC travel restrictions. “You cannot check in until…” you prove that you are exempt from quarantine, you’ve completed quarantine, or you have measures in place to quarantine at the hotel without interacting with anyone. And you can’t check in until proving you’ve filled out the NY travel health declaration. Literally no one asked us about this, and we went into “too laid back” territory if this is supposedly a mandatory policy that no one ever mentioned to us. We had completed the requirements, but no one checked at any point during our stay.
Final Bill Problem
After they emailed the final bill to us, I found that it was wrong. I sent a message to Hyatt on Twitter, and they forwarded my info to “the billing team”. It turns out this was just the general Hyatt customer service. The lady who was supposed to help me was … trying her best to make things more complicated. Despite telling the hotel at check in that we had 1 night in my name then a 2nd night in my wife’s name, the check-in employee had simply checked me in for 2 nights. Thus, the hotel billed my wife for a no-show. The email lady told me that was our fault basically.
I gave up on the email lady and called the hotel. They figured this out in about 20 seconds and sent my wife a bill showing the refund. The refund processed to her credit card 2 days later. The guy I talked to on the phone was super friendly and apologized this wasn’t done correctly the first time.
What’s funny is that writing my Hotel 50 Bowery review actually improved my opinion of the hotel. I had previously described it as “OK”, but my opinion has changed after looking at the positives. The staff were friendly and easy-going; some hotels are too much in your business, but they were laid back. The location was very convenient. Our room was better than expected in most regards. Sure, the internet speed could be better, and they were supposed to ask us about the health forms/quarantine rules, but we had a good stay. I’d stay here again and would definitely recommend it to others.