Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel Concierge Lounge

On my recent stay in New York, I split my time between two hotels, once which was amazing (The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection hotel, with Geoffrey Zakarian's The Lamb's Club restaurant on site, where I had delicious breakfasts, stay tuned!), and, The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, my first experience at a Marriott owned property, which, my Starwood alliance is now part of.

The property was a different class of hotel entirely, so I don't want to compare.  And this is Julie's dining club anyway, you just care about ... the food!

The Renaissance did feature a Concierge Lounge, which I had access to given my status.  Its food serving hours were not great (seriously, who ends breakfast at 9am?)!, nor was the food itself, but, the space was nice to spend time in in the evenings.
For food, I visited only for breakfast, three times, one time only to grab coffee.

The coffee was horrible, the offerings meager, but, they try.


The lounge, like the entire hotel, is modern and new, only 2 years old.

The lounge serves breakfast Mon - Fri, only until 9am.  They also serve some kind of evening snacks, but only Mon - Thurs, and only 6pm-7pm, so I wasn't ever able to check that out.  The rest of the time though, the lounge is accessible by key card, for guests with access to use as they please.
Main Area.
The main area is wide open when not a meal service, but the entire breakfast spread (and I assume evening) are laid out on the bar during service, with drinks along the back side.
There are several types of seating, including one L shaped couch.

The couch is actually really quite comfortable, and given that my room furniture was not, I took to hanging out there in the evening.  I was generally the only one there, but the TV was blaring, and no remote (nor on-screen controls) were available, which greatly decreased the enjoyability.
Counter Seating.
Most seats are bar height counters along the window.  This is where I usually perched to quickly scarf some breakfast.
Drinks & Yogurt.
The other nice thing about the lounge is the drinks, available 24 hours a day.  Not that fancy, just basic Coke products, bottled water (still or sparkling), a few flavors of Peligrino, grapefruit, apple, and orange juice, milk (including chocolate), but also a few flavors of yogurt.

While no one else hung out in the lounge, people did come in and out all night long grabbing drinks, this was clearly a very welcome amenity (and likely easier on the staff than providing even just water bottles in the rooms).


Breakfast is continental.  And like I said, served only Mon - Fri, and only until 9am, which, honestly, is just stingy.  And wow, when they say 9am, they mean it.  EVERYTHING was cleared away at 9am On. The. Dot.
Breakfast Setup.
Breakfast was lackluster in looks, and in variety (only 1 item changed every day), but, the quality level was higher than immediately obvious at least.
The only coffee available is from the brewed carafes. No espresso beverages, not even a robot machine.

The coffee was *also* removed right at 9am.  This area also had hot water for tea and oatmeal.  No kettles are available in room, so if you want hot water/tea after 9am, no luck.

The coffee was awful.  The regular was not good, but the decaf was truly the worst hotel coffee I've ever had.  And I've had a lot of bad coffee.  It was incredibly sour.  Every single day.

Really truly horrible.  Undrinkable.
The fruit lineup didn't inspire me to try it, just apples and oranges, and a mixed fruit salad.
Also uninspiring was the cereal, all served from those annoying dispensers, and only 3 kinds: raisin bran, cheerios, and lucky charms.
Oatmeal & Toppings.
Bags of flavored Quaker oatmeal were available for hot cereal, using the water from the carafes.  Some decent enough toppings (sliced almonds, granola, honey) on the side.
Pastries, Bagels.
The bagel and pastry line up was ... yeah.  Equally uninspired, but actually, uh, better than expected.

The top row had generic looking bagels (although points for blueberry bagels!), and there was a toaster nearby.  No bread for regular toast.  The bagels actually turned out to be pretty good.  I was in New York after all?  I went for the blueberry, and was pretty thrilled by how perfectly it toasted up, nice shine and snap to the exterior, and it was loaded with berries.  Not stale, I think actually fresh from somewhere local?  Great with butter and sugar, or cream cheese.

The middle row was what looked like mini lemon poppy muffins.  I didn't try them.

The bottom was croissants and danishes, all mini size.  I normally wouldn't have tried those either, but ... I recognized one.
Pecan Braid.
Yes, this little danish looked just as sad as the others.  But it also looked like one I deemed the "pecan pie danish" when I had it at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo, NY, which I adored.  I grabbed one at last minute.

It was indeed the same.  I love it.  Even though its awful, I know.

The pastry isn't fresh, it isn't flaky yet it is crisp, and it is ridiculously buttery, in a fake sense.  That I like.  And the filling?  Oh, man.  Its pecan pie in all its glory: that is, corn syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup.  Sweet and sticky.  And on top?  A few token bits of nut so you believe it is pecan.

Go ahead and judge, but I like these.
Raisin Danish.
The next morning I was excited to snag another pecan braid, but alas, there were none.  I settled for the raisin danish.

It wasn't nearly as good, but had a couple essential elements the same, that is, sweet gooey filling, fake buttery pastry, and a strange softness and crispiness that made you wonder how it was possible, but also, kinda like.  If that makes any sense.

Low brow as can be, I know loaded with preservatives, but hey, I like these.
Bagel Toppings.
For the bagels, there was butter, cream cheese, peanut butter, and jam.

While I've been critical of the quality, of the breakfast in general, I will give them credit for the Bonne Maman rather than Smucker's jam, and I do love Skippy peanut butter, it is what I grew up wtih.
Thursday: "Waffles".
Every day there was one rotating item. On Wednesday morning, nothing was in this slot when I visited  But on Thursday, waffles!  On Friday, breakfast burritos.

Ok, I hesitate to really call these waffles.  They weren't.  They also wren't warm, but were under a heat lamp, kinda?  They came 4 mini waffles to a piece, all stuck together as one, like the size of a large piece of bread.

They seemed to be whole grain, kinda hearty.  Crispy.  Very ... different.  "Waffles".

But big points for the sides, which I didn't notice originally: little bowls that had whipped cream, fruit compote, and syrup.  At first glance, I thought the bowls were the cream cheese and jam for bagels, and the syrup honey for oatmeal.  But then I realized that there was the packages of cream cheese and jam, and that these bowls were for the waffles, so I tried them all.

The fruit compote was mediocre, no clear fruit to it.  The pancake syrup was clearly fake, but I like that.  And the whipped cream just standard, but, come on, whipped cream!
"Waffles" with Toppings.
I'll admit, that slathered with enough syrup, and topped with whipped cream and crispy bacon, these "waffles" weren't half bad.
Bacon & Eggs.
They also technically had bacon and eggs.

The eggs were hard boiled, room temp.  Many were strangely missing their yolks.
They did also bacon most days  It wasn't warm, but it was nice and crispy.  Really not bad.
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