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Last year, I made a reservation for an accessible room at the Renaissance New York Hotel 57, but an oversight on a sold-out night left the hotel unable to fulfill my reservation. As compensation for that experience, I was offered a complimentary two night stay and an opportunity to review the property in the future. I was able to take advantage of that offer earlier this month, and am happy to share this review of one of Midtown Manhattan’s nicest hotels.
The Renaissance 57 is located on the corner of East 57th Street and Lexington Avenue, just a few blocks away from the shopping bonanza that is Fifth Avenue. Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall and the newly restored St. Patrick’s Cathedral are also within walking distance. Wheelchair users can easily use public transportation in New York City and two bus stops on the corner of 57th & 5th Avenue will take you to many of the city’s popular tourist attractions. The M5 goes to Lower Manhattan, the World Trade Center and Wall Street, and the Q32 connects to Penn Station.
Reservation & Check-in
Since I was taking the hotel up on its offer of two free nights, I made my reservation with the hotel’s general manager via e-mail. If you’re interested in staying at the Renaissance New York Hotel 57, you can do so through the hotel website. The property only has one wheelchair accessible room with a roll-in shower, so you’ll need to request that through the website. Once you’ve made your reservation online, call the hotel at +1 (212) 753-8841 to confirm that room #707 has been blocked off for you.
Check-in was a breeze and occurs on the hotel’s lower (street) level. The hotel’s front doors are large and heavy, but can be operated electronically using a push button. Once you’re armed with your room keys, you’ll need to take an elevator up to the lobby level (pictured above), which contains a restaurant/bar, seating area and the executive lounge. Elevators to the guest rooms will be across the hall. The elevators are small, but there was still plenty of room for my power wheelchair.
Wheelchair Accessible Room #707
The hotel has multiple wheelchair accessible guest rooms, but only one with a roll-in shower. That room is located on the 7th floor, number 707.
The room’s entry door opens into the room, and after turning to the left (the only possibility), you’ll see the queen size bed at the end of a short hallway. The room is small – likely around 300 square feet, but it was navigable in my power wheelchair. Access was only possible on the left hand side of the bed, due to the lack of space between the bed and windows. A desk and cabinets were located opposite the foot of the bed, and a TV sat above the desk area.
The photo above shows the queen size bed from a different angle, that better captures the nightstands (topped with lamps) on each side of the bed, as well as the limited space to the right. The bed sits atop a platform, and would thus not be accessible to those using a hoyer lift. The lamps on the nightstands were within easy reach, and both held a power outlet. I was able to use this outlet to plug in and charge my power wheelchair. It is always nice to have access to power at the bedside.
As I always say when staying in a Marriott-family hotel – the beds themselves are very comfortable and an absolute dream to sleep in. I’ve never had a nightmare while snuggled up in a Marriott bed, with that incredibly soft down comforter surrounding me.
The room had a nicely designed desk space, with plenty of room to roll a wheelchair under. The room was absent the desk chair, which was great because I didn’t have to struggle with moving it away. The desk was a great place for me to work, and had six total power outlets either built-in to the desk itself, or on the nearby wall. Video connections were available, so I could have plugged my laptop into the TV and watched my Netflix there. The view from the window was nothing to speak of, but it did prevent me from becoming claustrophobic.
The wheelchair accessible bathroom was generally accessible, but the location of the toilet is an example of a problem that has become all too common in hotels. Tucked between a wall and the sink, there is no space for a wheelchair alongside the toilet – only in front of it. The grab bars around the toilet are useful, but the toilet itself was not truly accessible. For people with more significant mobility impairments than mine, the acrobatics required to access the toilet are simply not possible. That, coupled with the rather sharp corner on the sink’s countertop could potentially make transfers dangerous for the mobility impaired.
The sink area itself was accessible, and it was easy (and safe) to roll my wheelchair underneath. A recessed sink would have improved accessibility, but I did not generally find the sink to be inaccessible (to me).
The roll-in shower was beautiful and clean, with tiles that reflected the room’s lighting. A shower bench folded down from the wall, and the water controls and handheld nozzle were within easy reach. A grab bar was available on the wall opposite the bench, but the shower space could have used one on the wall directly beside the bench.
Towels were located on a larger seat (you can see them in the bottom-right corner of the photo above), which made accessing them quite easy. I always move the towels to the seat of my wheelchair while I am showering.
A curtain would have been nice, because I typically use that to block stray water from reaching my chair. While I recognize that the addition of a curtain would take away from the aesthetics of the bathroom, I am more concerned about accessibility and protecting my very expensive power wheelchair from stray water. Heaven forbid I drop the showerhead and water sprays everywhere!
While the bathroom’s elegant design put me in a good mood, I’d like to see a few simple changes to improve accessibility. I intend to share this review with the hotel directly, and perhaps they will act on my suggestions.
Manhattan is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world, and space is at a premium. Hotel rooms are smaller, but they can still be very accessible. The Renaissance New York Hotel 57 has done a good job in making their historic building accessible to wheelchair users, but a few more steps would make it perfect.
The location is great, and I have always loved staying in Midtown when visiting New York City. It is within striking distance of everything, and close to some of the most important tourist sites. If the accessible room I’ve reviewed here will met your own personal needs, I recommend giving it a try! My two-night stay was fabulous, and I’ll definitely keep the Ren 57 in mind for my next trip to the Big Apple!