I wanted to leave a quick note about lunch yesterday (Thursday August 7th). Nina is going to write a more detailed report so I'll keep this brief.
I met Nina as planned at The Grand Central Hyatt http://www.grandnewyork.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp
Nina is a very sweet, very pretty woman and, I am so happy to have her as our Cunard board host and to have her associated with Cruise Freek Forums. She is extremely professional so I want everyone to rest assured you are in excellent hands when booking any of Nina's groups or using her services for your personal reservation needs.
We were met by Nicole, a member of the The Grand Central Hyatt (New York) sales department and, we were taken around to see the various facilities of hotel and different styles and levels of service available. Being from the area, I always assumed there would be lots of noise from both outside traffic and the trains below. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out this is not true - the hotel is extremely sound proof and, it's truly a beautiful hotel as well. As you enter the hotel, it's like entering a sanctuary, you are greeted by a gentle water fall and marble surroundings and, the lobby is very large and airy. The lobby features self-check/check out kiosks for those who are comfortable enough to take care of themselves and there is also an ATM inside the lobby as well.
The rooms are very tastefully decorated, surprisingly large (for New York hotel rooms) and all feature amenities such as a work station/desk, in-room safe, windows that open (that's a huge thing in NYC, most window's don't open) and feature Portico bath products. The Regency Club level rooms have access to the a private lounge that includes private concierge, continental breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres. It is truly worthwhile to upgrade to this level of service.
After our hotel inspection, we had lunch right in the hotel and it couldn't have been nicer. The Manhattan Sky restaurant offers some excellent views and good food. There is another restaurant in the hotel which is only open for dinners (Manhattan Sky is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner). And, there is a coffee bar located within the hotel lobby that uses Starbucks brand coffee.
After lunch we took a fast walk across the street to a Duane Reade pharmacy - Nina had a can of hairspray confiscated at the airport and needed a replacement. After she made her purchase we took a very fast walk around the immediate area as time was moving forward and Nina had to get over to Brooklyn to board QM2 for a Transatlantic sailing.
We returned to the hotel and collected Nina's things that the hotel was holding for her. We went outside, told the doorman that a cab to Brooklyn was needed, and, instead we were directed to private car service that was only a little more than a cab would have ran.
Our time together was way too short but, highly enjoyable. I know the Hyatt Grand Central will turn into a favor for both groups and individuals on the board due to it's location and quality. Even as a jaded local, I was very pleasantly surprised and I recommend this hotel without hesitation.