from Washington, DC
Submitted on 11-10-2016
My star rating would be higher, but for the Kitano providing me "voucher" coupons for 3 breakfasts, and then charging me $25 per breakfast at checkout. There was no mention of any charge on the "voucher" at all, and I hadn't signed anything, nor even provided my room number, at the time I ate my 3 buffet breakfasts. I merely presented the voucher and left a gratuity for the server. This bait and switch behavior was very inhospitable, having led me to believe that my meals were included in my ...
My star rating would be higher, but for the Kitano providing me "voucher" coupons for 3 breakfasts, and then charging me $25 per breakfast at checkout. There was no mention of any charge on the "voucher" at all, and I hadn't signed anything, nor even provided my room number, at the time I ate my 3 buffet breakfasts. I merely presented the voucher and left a gratuity for the server. This bait and switch behavior was very inhospitable, having led me to believe that my meals were included in my stay, only to charge me with no basis for doing so. Many reviews mentioned that the Kitano added breakfast as an amenity, so it seemed like a nice touch. I was in a hurry at checkout and hence did not ask to speak with a manager; however, I felt quite hoodwinked by this incident, as it just wasn't right!
The Kitano is a property that caters to Japanese visitors to New York, and hence it offers a traditional restaurant with servers in geisha attire that has some very good sushi and sashimi offerings. You need venture no further if you are looking for a very good Japanese meal. The rooms also have culturally attentive built-in bidet/toilets, so I suggest that you just unplug this attached device if you're not going to use it.
While the Kitano affords guests four-star amenities such as towel warmers, top notch sundries, 100% cotton towels, terry slippers, lightweight robes, and great shower pressure, it similarly stoops to two star service by lack of a doorman, personnel who don't open the door if they are standing right there, bellhops and maids who regularly preempt the two very small passenger elevators for luggage and linens, and staff who clean elevator rails with caustic cleaners while guests are on board dodging them to preserve their clothing! I phoned to confirm that my request for a room on a high floor away from the elevators was to be honored a couple days before my arrival, yet this request was not noted by the check-in clerk, who had to reassign me from her initial room choice. Details are often overlooked at the Kitano, and front desk staff often defer to someone not immediately present who knows an answer to a rudimentary query.
The location of the Kitano places you near Grand Central, the theaters, Lord and Taylor, and Times Square, while situating you in a quiet Park Avenue neighborhood. The windows are soundproof, but doors closing in the hallway make pronounced thuds. Included in your stay, but not mentioned, is a membership to the New York Sports Club at Madison and 36th, which has fitness classes and standard gym equipment on two floors. Torello, the 6:45-7:30 a.m. Monday spin instructor is fun and challenging if you're looking for a good workout. Bring your own headset if you want to watch TV on the individual machines. You pick up a pass at Kitano's front desk on your way out to the gym. Check the NYSC website for class information or to look for the locations with pools.
Yuki at the front desk is the only Kitano employee I encountered who was friendly, resourceful and thoroughly professional. She recommended a fantastic restaurant nearby the Kitano, Nirvana, a Zagat Indian restaurant one block over on Lexington between 39th and 40th, about a 5-minute walk. The lunch buffet is only $15.30 including tax, and a full course dinner runs around $40-$50 a person. The food is absolutely delicious and far exceeds one's expectations, based on the rather plain red and white surroundings. The garlic naan and saag paneer were particularly delicious. There is a market and convenience store at 39th on the other side of Lex, if you need to pick up some bottled water or anything else. There is a small area of refrigerator space for your use in the Kitano mini bar, and some yogurts or other small containers would fit for breakfasts. I would urge you to clarify any "vouchers" presented to you at check-in, so as not to be surprised with some hefty unexpected charges.
I was in room 1012, and the Empire State building view was very nice on the west side. The bed was the worst part of the Kitano; the mattress was lopsided, so one needed to sleep along the top of the abyss to escape the cavernous end. If this were representative of the entire property's bedding, the hotel is in serious need of mattress replacements. If you join iPrefer, your WiFi charges will be waived. However, WiFi is spotty and unreliable in the rooms. TV reception on the large flat screen is also sometimes interrupted. There was no mirror in my room except in the bathroom, and no lighted makeup mirror there. The electrical outlet is too close for comfort to the sink for your hairdryer on the very small counter space. Lighting is dim in the room and very bright in the bathroom. There is a safe and umbrella in the closet. Beware of the little shop on the corner connected to the Kitano lobby. No prices are attached to the jewelry, and the owner sizes you up before making outrageous price offerings. I found the same piece, presumably consigned from a "unique" NYC artist, for less than one third the price online.