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The Chatwal – The Unbound Collection by Hyatt in New York City [In-Depth Review]

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James Larounis

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If you’re headed to New York City and going to Times Square to see top-notch shows, there’s no better location for a hotel than The Chatwal, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Just steps from every major Broadway theater, you’ll find an upscale hotel that commands a hefty premium when you redeem points.

I was visiting New York City on a 1-night trip to see 3 Broadway shows closing soon, so I wanted to select a property convenient to where I needed to be. It turns out that The Chatwal was an amazing choice, and I got a lot of bang for my buck, thanks to several credits offered to me.

Location

When it comes to Times Square, The Chatwal is ideally situated on 44th Street between Seventh Avenue and Sixth Avenue. The ever-popular TKTS booth (where you can purchase discounted show tickets) is only 1 block away, so you can definitely tell this hotel is a theatergoers’ paradise.

Chatwal Entrance with Lambs Club
The Chatwal is located steps from Times Square.

Built by legendary Beaux Arts architect (and infamous murder victim) Stanford White, the structure was originally a theatrical club called the Lambs. It opened in 1905, and you can tell from the building’s exterior that the property has some cool history.

Originally, the upper floors housed club members and the lobby, and the first floor spaces had a billiards room and hosted social gatherings. The Lambs cater to important people in show business, and members have included John Wayne and Fred Astaire. Eventually, the building evolved into what it is today: a 5-star luxury hotel.

Chatwal Exterior Plaque
The Chatwal is one of New York’s most historic hotels.

While the hotel is ideal for theater maniacs, it’s also undoubtedly an excellent location for exploring other parts of New York. It’s about a 15- to 20-minute walk to Penn Station and Moynihan Train Hall and about a 15-minute walk to the southern end of Central Park.

The Times Square-42nd Street subway station is about a block and a half away, connecting guests to almost every part of the island of Manhattan, so even if you’re not attending your favorite musical, this is a great jumping-off point for almost everything else in New York City.

Booking

The Chatwal is a Category 8 World of Hyatt property, meaning it can cost 35,000 points during off-peak periods, 40,000 points during standard times, and 45,000 points during peak calendar days. This puts it at the same level as the famed Park Hyatt New York (on 57th Street just south of Central Park). Without question, this hotel is not as fancy as the Park Hyatt, though you pay more for The Chatwal’s location. Interestingly, the Hyatt Centric Times Square is just 2 blocks away, right in the Times Square area, too, yet that hotel is only Category 6.

I mention this because redeeming 40,000 points for a night at The Chatwal may not be in your best interest, especially considering the other properties around. Rates at The Chatwal consistently seem to hover around $500 to $600 a night, so while the rates are expensive, you can save a significant amount of points by staying at the nearby Hyatt Centric instead.

The Chatwal is also a member of American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts, so if you book through that program, you’ll get several added benefits, including:

  • 12 p.m. check-in
  • 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Upgraded room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary breakfast for 2
  • A $125 experience credit to use anywhere at the hotel

If you don’t have Hyatt elite status, the benefits through American Express provide equally good treatment.

I booked this hotel through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts on The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with up to $200 prepaid hotel credit for booking through that platform. The rate for my stay was approximately $430, so when you subtract the $200 discount, I only paid around $230 in cash, which I thought was extremely reasonable for this hotel. I also earned 5x Membership Rewards points for the reservation.

If I hadn’t booked through the Fine Hotels + Resorts platform, I would have reserved it using The World of Hyatt Credit Card since this hotel is a member of World of Hyatt. This card earns up to 9x World of Hyatt points total for Hyatt stays – 4x Bonus Points at Hyatt hotels and 5x Base Points as a World of Hyatt member.

Check-In

Chatwal Entrance Angled
Don’t try opening these doors with one hand — they’re extremely heavy!

When I arrived at the hotel, no one was in line at the front desk. However, only 1 agent was working. She told me to hang tight for a few moments while she finished something she was working on, though it did take a few minutes for her to complete whatever the task was. I didn’t find this to be an incredibly warm welcome to a hotel that can command a hefty price point, so I hoped things would improve.

Chatwal Front Desk Angled
The front desk was rather small, but this hotel only has 76 rooms.

As I had booked the reservation relatively late with American Express, a welcome letter wasn’t already printed for me, though the agent explained my benefits during my stay. I was upgraded to a 1 King Bed Deluxe room facing the street.

After a few minutes of check-in formalities, she told me the room wasn’t quite ready yet but would be soon, so I took a seat in the lobby and waited. I would have appreciated the agent offering water or another beverage, as is customary in a 5-star hotel. After about a 10- or 15-minute wait, she approached me with my key card packet and directed me toward the elevators.

Chatwal Lobby Wide
The look of this hotel is so cool with its retro vibes throughout.

Elite Benefits

In addition to booking through American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts, I’m a World of Hyatt Globalist. Most of the benefits you receive with American Express are similar to what you receive as a Globalist. However, stays booked through American Express count as an eligible stay and qualify for elite benefits you may not have otherwise.

As part of my Globalist membership, I’m entitled to:

  • 4 p.m. checkout
  • An upgrade to the best available room, up to a standard suite
  • Complimentary breakfast in the restaurant
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary bottled water

Using both the American Express and Globalist benefits, I could have had a stay filled with various perks, though most guests at this hotel likely don’t have 2 sets of benefits to pull from.

Chatwal Lobby Chairs
The Chatwal’s lobby was bustling for most of my time there.

Amenities

The Chatwal Hotel featured several on-site amenities.

Fitness Center and Pool

The fitness center at the hotel was rather small for this property but was open 24 hours a day. There was essential cardio and weight equipment inside, though you shouldn’t expect anything over the top if you come here.

Chatwal Fitness Center
It’s a small, basic fitness center, but it gets the job done.

In addition to the fitness center, there was a saltwater lap pool, open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, staffed by a lifeguard. Off to the side was a Jacuzzi, as well.

Chatwal Pool
The Chatwal features a lifeguard-attended pool.

Down the same hallway as the fitness center and pool was a “wellness center,” though this turned out to be merely a quiet room with some nice chairs to relax in. Off to the side of this room was an area where you could book a private massage, which needed to be reserved through the concierge.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi at this hotel was fast, and I could download several movies and work on my laptop without much fuss. Globalist guests get free high-speed internet, though this hotel only seemed to have 1 option, which was high-speed for everyone.

Parking

Parking in New York City is notoriously expensive, and this hotel was no different. It would’ve cost me $75 a night to have a valet park a car and $85 to valet a truck or SUV. I saw a bellman at the front door every time I went outside, so it should be easy to have them get your car when needed.

Pets

Pets were welcome at this hotel, and there was a special dog treat and toy menu you could choose from to spoil your furry friend. Bringing your pet along will cost a whopping $200 per day.

Coffee Service

Right next to the elevators on the lobby level was a complimentary coffee service hosted each day from 7 to 10 a.m. Decaf and regular coffee were on hand, as well as hot tea.

Chatwal Morning Coffee
Complimentary coffee was provided each morning.

Room

My Deluxe King room was on the hotel’s sixth floor, a few rooms down from the elevator. Though it was an upgrade, it didn’t seem to be any larger than something I’d find in any other hotel in most cities in the U.S., though this room certainly was bigger than others I’ve stayed at in New York City.

Chatwal Room Overview
This room was an upgrade but felt like a normal-sized hotel room in any other city.

The room definitely had a retro vibe to it, similar to other parts of the property, though it almost seemed dated in some respects.

Entering the room, I walked down a small corridor to the bedroom and living area. A king bed was in the center of the room, flanked by 2 nightstands. Only 1 of these nightstands had a power outlet, so this was the side of the bed I stayed on so I could charge my devices.

Chatwal Bed
The bed was comfortable, though I would have appreciated a heavier duvet.

Opposite the bed was a closet with a luggage rack, shoeshine kits, a shopping bag, and other odds and ends.

Chatwal Closet Overview
The closet included laundry supplies and other accouterments.

To the right of the closet was a minibar and refrigerator. Of course, all the items here came with extremely high price tags. This minibar area featured a small refrigerator stocked with drinks, though there really wasn’t any area to store anything I brought in myself, which I find really frustrating in a nice hotel like this.

Chatwal Minibar
There was a fully stocked minibar on hand for the munchies.

On the other side of the bed was a small sitting area with a couch past its prime.

Chatwal Sofa
It was a comfy couch, but definitely on the more used side!

Opposite this was a chest of drawers and a desk. One odd thing about this desk is that there didn’t seem to be a way to turn off the built-in light unless you completely closed the lid, making it awkward to charge any devices overnight — they’d be contained under the lid.

Chatwal Desk and Drawers
There was a small desk and a chest of drawers.

Bathroom

There was no escape from seeing yourself in this bathroom, which was covered with mirrors. Literally. The entire wall on all sides had mirrors on it. I’m not sure if this design was popular 50 years ago, or maybe people actually like this kind of thing, but having absolutely nowhere to escape in this bathroom definitely made it awkward to use the restroom.

Chatwal Bathroom Mirrors
There was no escaping yourself in the bathroom, thanks to all the mirrors!

The vanity had various soaps and towels, with the shower at one end. I appreciated the handle to this shower, which was on the entry side, so you didn’t have to get wet to turn on the water.

Chatwal Shower
The shower was nice and large, which is almost unheard of for NYC bathrooms.

Food and Beverage

The only food and beverage establishment at The Chatwal was The Lambs Club (named after but not related to the theatrical club, whose clubhouse is now on 51st Street). The restaurant was open daily from 7 to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, and then dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. The bar was open until 11 p.m.

Lambs Club Tables Wine
The Lambs Club is a fairly dark restaurant set off of the lobby.

As part of my American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts booking, I was entitled to complimentary breakfast and a $125 on-property credit, which I used for dinner.

Breakfast was served in a dining room just beyond the bar. While the host was very friendly, it was apparent that the dining room was extremely short-staffed. It took over 10 minutes to get a menu and then another 10 or 15 minutes for someone to even approach to take my order. Even besides these hiccups, there were lots of shortcomings with the service. For example, I was given no spoon to stir my coffee.

Chatwal Breakfast Menu
As a Globalist and Fine Hotels + Resorts booking, I could order 1 entrée, juice, and coffee from the menu.

I was told I could order any entrée from the menu, and I selected a breakfast that included a Greek yogurt parfait with fruit, a bagel with cream cheese, orange juice, and coffee. This was the perfect breakfast for me, though there were heartier dishes.

Chatwal Breakfast Overview
My breakfast was fresh and healthy!

The main dining room was filled at dinner, so I was seated near the bar area on the second floor, still part of the restaurant. Like at breakfast, I almost felt like an intruder rather than an actual guest, and the server who greeted me almost seemed frustrated when I asked questions about the menu.

Chatwal Lambs Club Bar and Tables
A bar and seating area was just above the main Lambs Club restaurant.

I ordered a shrimp cocktail that cost over $30 (hey, I had a credit to use!), a $40 burger, and then an ice cream sundae. It cost about $110 with tax and tip — an extremely high price for these items, but something I certainly wasn’t surprised to see in New York City.

Chatwal Burger
It was a great burger, but at $40, it was definitely on the pricier side.

One thing I found incredibly cool was that when I ordered an Arnold Palmer, the ice cubes were frozen iced tea. So, as the ice melted, it didn’t dilute my drink. I thought this was incredibly thoughtful.

Chatwal Iced Tea
Frozen iced tea cubes are a sign of a great bartender.

Service

Service at this hotel was hit or miss, and the staff carried a New York attitude about them. When checking in, I was told to wait while the agent finished up something, and then, at both of my meal experiences, I essentially felt forgotten. If there’s 1 area this hotel could definitely improve, it’s having its staff be far more attentive and welcoming.

Chatwal Lobby Towards Front Desk
The hotel was lovely but needed some polishing up with the staff.

Final Thoughts

The Chatwal is all about location, and few hotels match how close this property is to Times Square and the numerous theaters in the surrounding blocks. This was the perfect place to stay for a theater geek like me, though the price seemed quite hefty for a not-so-refined experience. I would return to this hotel if I had a credit to bring the price down a little bit, though I might look at cheaper places nearby if I didn’t have such a credit to use.

The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many rooms does the Chatwal have?

The Chatwal Hotel only has 76 rooms, making it a somewhat boutique property near Times Square.

What hotel is The Lambs Club in in NYC?

The Lambs Club is in the Chatwal Hotel, which is part of the World of Hyatt portfolio of hotels.

What is the dress code for The Lambs Club NYC?

The Lambs Club doesn’t have a strict dress code, and nice jeans are certainly acceptable for men, as is a blouse and pants for women.

What is the history of The Chatwal New York?

The building housing The Chatwal was originally a theater club, home to the Lambs. It was built by famed architect Stanford White and dates back to the early 20th century, and the property has hosted numerous famous faces both on and off Broadway.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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