In a press release from mid-May, the New York Hilton Midtown dubbed itself the “Hotel That Never Rests” in a “City That Never Sleeps.” The hotel announced the commemoration of 50 years of hospitality and personalized attention to New Yorkers and visitors. “On June 26, 1963, legendary hotelier, Conrad Hilton officiated over the ribbon-cutting event when the hotel opened its doors for the first time, immediately generating awe and gathering accolades that continue to this day.”
To help mark this significant milestone in the hotel’s history, New York Hilton Midtown is planning a series of promotional activities designed around the celebration:
- 50 Random Acts of Hospitality: Throughout 2013, New York Hilton Midtown employees will engage in random acts of hospitality, where they will offer unexpected generosity to a random guest. Random Acts can include complimentary room upgrades, umbrellas on rainy days, and tickets to local attractions or events. The gift will come with a card that encourages the recipient to “pay it forward”- to perform a random act of kindness or generosity, as well.
- Insider’s Guide 50 to New York City Landmarks: Hilton New York Midtown staff will develop a list of their favorite, iconic destinations in Manhattan with “insider’s tips,” such as days when entrance is free or at a reduced rate; special features, and other little-known facts.
- newyorkhiltonmidtown50.com: New York Hilton Midtown is launching a dedicated site for the anniversary – newyorkhiltonmidtown50.com – where visitors can learn more about the hotel’s fascinating history and the special events that accompany the celebration.
Amid their celebration comes news (last week) that the hotel will discontinue room service and, in the process, eliminate 55 jobs. In August the hotel will discontinue food and drink service to all 1,981 of its rooms. In its place will be a new self-service Herb n’ Kitchen concept stocked with grab-and-go items. They may call themselves the hotel that never rests, but they’ve put room service to rest.
So is this a new trend? A Hilton spokesman said the company was evaluating its other hotels on a case-by-case basis. So there may be more hotels in Hilton Family of hotels that eliminate the service.
The hotel’s room service menu is 3 pages with items like the Pat La Frieda custom burger ($28.50), macaroni and cheese made with Velveeta ($23.50). And, as with all room service menus, the fine print notes that for every order there is an additional 15% service charge and an in-room dining charge of $5.50 per person. With prices like these, it’s not surprising that room service is on the decline. However, many people rely on room service.
I for one like staying at a hotel that offers room service. It’s handy when you arrive very late at night and don’t want to go out in a new area you’re unfamiliar with. I also like to order room service when I’m jet lagged and don’t want to go out.
So, as the New York Hilton Midtown celebrates 50 years, there are 55 few employees celebrating and many guests left shaking their heads. What do you think? Is room service essential to hotels?
Not for me. Gone are the days where room service evoked luxury — although the prices still reflect it…
Room service is essential for families too tired to get up and go and who want a quiet dinner in the room; for business travelers jet-lagged, for singles travelling alone who don’t want to eat out alone, for the business person who wants to work over a meal and can’t drag the laptop and papers to a restaurant, for a romantic weekend. So those hotels that don’t want to turn into just a place to lay your head – keep room service.