Millennium secures place in city with U.N. Plaza hotel

Travel Weekly hotels editor Grant Flowers checked out the Millennium Hotel New York, U.N. Plaza. His report follows:

NEW YORK -- Two years ago, U.K.-based Millennium and Copthorne Hotels had a bit of a visibility problem in the U.S., where it operated only one property, the Millennium Broadway in New York. With the purchase of a number of properties from Regal Hotels in 2000, however, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, the newly created North American division of its U.K. parent, took a giant step forward in its development, taking over management of 14 hotels in the U.S. These include reflagged properties in cities such as Anchorage, Alaska; Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minneapolis, and St. Louis.

The acquisition also expanded Millennium's presence in New York, giving the company its second-branded property in the market, the Millennium Hotel New York, U.N. Plaza, formerly named the Regal U.N. Plaza. Although Millennium has managed the 427-room property since the acquisition, the company did not rebrand the hotel until last April, following a complete room renovation.

The Millennium U.N. Plaza occupies 12 floors, starting with the 28th, of the U.N. Plaza building on the corner of 44th Street and First Avenue. The United Nations sits across from the hotel. Unfortunately, the property's chief drawback, the lobby, is the first part of the hotel guests will encounter.

Unless you're one of those people who likes to see themselves from 45 different angles, there are far too many mirrors. Combine that feature with reflective black marble and myriad small lights, similar to those lining the walkways of movie theaters, and you have the definition of 1980s gaudy.

Also, the reception desk is placed in a relatively small, octagonal room, and, with the aforementioned decor, even waiting in line can feel claustrophobic. Things get better upstairs, where the hotel completed a renovation of all guest rooms. Because the accommodations begin on the 28th floor of the building, the views are good.

There's ample space to move around in the rooms, and the contemporary furniture features light woods and frosted green glass for desktops and bathroom counters. Light is plentiful, provided by a variety of trendy-looking fixtures. Guests can get comfortable by using colorful throw pillows while watching the healthy-sized television.

Most importantly, the beds are comfortable, with more pillows than one person could realistically use. Bathrooms are stylish in design, the translucent green glass counter, lighted from beneath, being a particular pleasure. Room amenities include two-line phones with data ports and voice mail, an iron and ironing board and a daily newspaper.

Guests can use the Millennium's fitness center as well as an indoor tennis court on the 39th floor, the only one of its kind in a Manhattan hotel, according to the firm. The property's largest meetings room is a 2,250-square-foot ballroom. The hotel has a total of 7,000 square feet of meetings space shared among six rooms. As one might think about a property adjacent to the United Nations, these rooms come with very particular names: Javier Perez de Cuellar, U Thant and Trygve Lie, all former secretaries-general of the U.N., who have lent their names to the meeting spaces.

Through the end of December, the Millennium U.N. Plaza is offering a weekend rate (Fridays and Saturdays) of $149 per night, double. Rack rates start at $299 a night Sundays through Thursdays for standard rooms. Rack rates for two-level duplex suites begin at $509.

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