A tradition of upscale and business travel has come to an end, at least for one hotel: According to the New York Times and other sources, the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan will no longer offer food and drink service to its 2,000 rooms as of August. In its place will be a new self-service "Herb n’ Kitchen" stocked with grab-and-go items.
A spokesman for the hotel cited declining demand for room service as the reason; some hotel industry experts see the elimination of the labor-intensive amenity as a way for the chain to save money.
The decision to cut room service at the New York Hilton, reported by Crain’s New York Business, comes as other large hotels have cut back menus or reduced hours in recent years, and many newer boutique hotels have opened without offering it at all. Some hotels have even made arrangements with nearby restaurants to act as surrogate kitchens and deliver food to their hotel rooms.
The announcement has, understandably, generated plenty of buzz among travelers and industry insiders alike: Maria-Chiara Della Valle, a visitor from London who came to New York ith her husband, said she counted on room service when she arrived late at night and was jet-lagged. She said she would not be returning to the Hilton if it discontinued room service, wondering why she should pay the same rate with fewer services. Aldo Della Valle, for his part, said that he might come back — if the Hilton offered a 10 percent discount off its room rate.
Federico von Sanden, meanwhile, owner of Federico von Sanden Travel, told Travel Agent that he was about to book the Hilton for next Monday, but the announcement changed his mind: "Looks like they are saving money," he mused in a Facebook post, wondering what other service areas would be cut next. "I will book something else now," he added.