Adios Room Service

I have stayed twice at the New York Hilton Midtown.  The largest hotel in the city, it occupies almost an entire city block on Sixth Avenue, between West 53rd and West 54th streets. It has almost 2,000 rooms.

From August, 2013 there will be no room service. Instead it will open a cafeteria-style restaurant called Herb n’ Kitchen which will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. This follows other Hiltons that have done the same thing. Not that I would notice, having never ordered room service at any NYC hotel! With a whole city of amazing late night food options, why stay cooped up in a hotel room eating there?

In a statement by the hotel group:  “Like most full-service hotels, New York Hilton Midtown has continued to see a decline in traditional room-service requests over the last several years”. Today’s Hilton guests are looking for something that is faster, cheaper and more convenient.

Of course, one  big driver is costs. Crain’s New York Business publication were told by John Fox, senior vice president of PKF Consulting “I don’t think anyone makes a profit on room service because of its labour costs”. And indeed 55 people will lose their jobs.

I have never been a big user of room service. I either bring snacks or grab my own meals to the room from a nearby take away or force myself to acclimatize by walking to a restaurant close by. I think I may fit the demographic of today’s consumer: “modern visitors, who have active, cas­ual lifestyles”. We want speed, we want value and we don’t want to have to deal with delivery staff while in our pajamas!

What about you? Where do you fit? How do you feel?



  1. Have only ever ordered room-servic while cruising, and it was less than desirable. I’d just prefer to get it myself.

  2. No need for room service when you can walk up the street and get breakfast for $3… Late night walk across the street and get the halal chicken rice for $5. It’s nyc! Food is a plenty, cheaper and faster to walk the street then to wait for room service.

  3. I too am not a ‘big’ user of room service. That said, for the hefty prices we now pay for in-city business hotels, some basic edition of Room Service is essential. Get the not-rare picture: One, two or three of us arrive late at night and, despite Premium Cabin tickets, were offered NOTHING to eat on the airplane. (Sorry, a few nuts with the cocktail do not count.) Even in NYC, it is late and we have to toss a big pitch at 0900. We NOT want to tour late night eateries, just cram down something warm and sleep for a few hours. Sadly, this is not a rare kind of trip. With Hilton now killing room service, you can bet that we will find a different hotel, one who will gladly meet our needs. If the Hilton chain continues eliminating normal, expected services as they’ve done for the past few years, we might as well stay with Accor’s Motel 6 group! Many accommodations provide clean rooms, crisp sheets and functional showers, but we have looked to Hilton for years, to provide a bit more – including late night room service meals. Even if the menu is limited, having a modest HOT meal available when we get there is simply expected. At those late hours, we do not want to go ‘out,’ don’t even eat together, but still need a little food. Good hotels make it happen, even if I ‘dine’ in my shorts, just before diving into bed. If Hilton cannot accommodate us, we’ll find another house that will. Hotels, by nature, are supposed to accommodate their guest’s needs. When we arrive at 0030, tired and hungry, we do NOT expect the dinning room to be open. We DO expect some hot food to be available, something slightly better than a microwaved sandwich. To hell with Hilton!

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