Yankees versus Red Sox: The greatest rivalry in sports (hotel edition)

by Ben on September 23, 2010

The Yankees

The Red Sox

Most would agree that Yankees vs. Red Sox is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. For fans, every advantage their team can get is important — including the quality of its accommodations on the road. While neither team officially lists where they stay, our lovely fan fanatics on the internet have provided us with some pretty reliable intel on their favorite hotels. While in Boston, the Yankees stay at the modern and newly remodeled Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, and while in New York, the Red Sox stay at the Midtown East icon, The Waldorf Astoria.

So which team scored the nicest hotel? On Oyster.com, The Ritz earned 4.5 out 5 pearls, edging out The Waldorf’s 4 out of 5. But only with a comprehensive comparison can we settle this rivalry. The Yankees only have 10 games left in the regular season, and six of them are against their arch-rival Red Sox, so now is as good a time as any to settle the score. It’s a battle of old vs. new, classic vs. modern, New York vs. Boston.

LOCATION WITHIN THE CITY
Ritz-Carlton: On Avery St. in the heart of the Theater District and a short walk away from Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and The Freedom Trail, The Ritz is certainly in prime Boston-tourist location. Newbury Street, The Public Gardens, and Boston’s Back Bay are all also within walking distance. Most importantly however, is proximity to the ballpark: Traffic permitting, The Ritz is only an eight-minute drive from Fenway Park.

Waldorf: The Waldorf also has an excellent location within Manhattan. Located on Park Avenue, it’s within walking distance of Times Square, The Museum of Modern Art, Fifth Avenue Shopping, Radio City Music Hall, Broadway Theaters, and The United Nations. But its proximity to Yankees Stadium in the Bronx is its downfall: Without traffic, it’s 20 minutes away, and with traffic it could be an absolute nightmare.

Winner: Ritz-Carlton

Street View from The Waldorf Astoria

Street View from The Ritz Carlton Boston Common

PHYSICAL STRUCTURE

Ritz-Carlton: Remodeled in 2008, The Ritz has a very fresh, business-like look to its outside which is surrounded by connecting windows. But however pleasant looking, the architecture and appearance are nothing Derek Jeter is going to remember when he leaves Boston.

Waldorf: The Waldorf is an icon of New York City. The stunning 47-story, 1232 room, art deco landmark has been standing on 301 Park Avenue in Manhattan since 1931. While other aspects of the hotel have become outdated, the building is still a true classic beauty.

Winner: The Waldorf

Front of The Ritz Carlton Boston Common

The Front of The Waldorf Astoria

ROOMS

Ritz-Carlton: The rooms at the Ritz deliver the quality you would expect from the Ritz-Carlton name, but nothing about them really stands out. The extravagant marble bathrooms are the highlight — it’s too bad designers didn’t put as much thought into the actual sleeping space! At least the beds are luxurious, with Frette linens, down featherbeds, and comforters. And the rooms start at 425 square feet, so there’s plenty of space to stretch out after a long day at the ballpark.

Waldorf: The Waldorf is an old hotel and an icon of New York City, but with that title comes the risk of becoming a little outdated. At 200-225 square feet, the standard room at the Waldorf is almost half the size of one at The Ritz-Carlton, and doesn’t really make up for it with much. It looks less like a comfortable place to crash and more like a museum.

Winner: Ritz-Carlton

Deluxe "Queen" Guestroom at The Waldorf

Deluxe Room at The Ritz Carlton Boston Common

FITNESS CENTER/SPA

Ritz-Carlton: The Ritz-Carlton does not have an on-site fitness center, but for $15 a day guests have access to Sports Club/LA Boston, a 114,000 square-foot gym that has squash courts, an Olympic pool, fitness classes, and its own spa and salon. The club is easily accessible from the same elevator that takes guests to their rooms, and its front door is visible from the hotel entrance. If you are truly concerned about fitness (as the Yankees should be), you wont mind that the gym is technically “not on-site.” However, the spa doesn’t hold a candle to that at The Waldorf.

Waldorf: The fifth-floor gym costs $15 a day to use and is rather small, but has all new cardio and weight equipment. But $15 seems steep for a gym this basic. However, the Waldorf’s 14,000 square-foot Guerlain Spa is one of the nicest (and most expensive) in the whole city. It’s the perfect place for David Ortiz to get a nice massage after a night of striking out.

Winner: TIE!

The Sports Club/LA Boston

The Guerlain Spa at The Waldorf

HOTEL FEATURES

Waldorf: The Waldorf has almost everything guests could want during their stay in New York City. The hotel lobby alone has a florist, a hair salon, a shoeshine stand, and a couple of jewelry shops. And to top it off, there are over 40 different banquet and special event venues throughout the hotel, which means there is never a shortage of interesting happenings around the Waldorf’s hallowed halls. But lots of features means more distractions, and potentially less time getting much-needed shut-eye.

Ritz-Carlton: The Ritz doesn’t have nearly as much going on. It has two 24-hour business centers, as well as a bath menu of themed baths prepared by a personal attendant (good for relaxing those muscles.) But The Red Sox are having a blast without ever leaving the lobby.

Winner: For a baseball team the night before the big game, less is more. We’re giving this one to the Ritz.

Meeting Room at The Ritz Carlton Boston Common

The Illustrious Guests display in the lobby of The Waldorf

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Ritz Carlton: The Ritz Carlton’s one restaurant, Jer-Ne, isn’t exactly a hot spot — you probably won’t see The Yankees here blowing off steam after a game. Luckily the surrounding area provides plenty of quality dining.

Waldorf: If there is one reason to visit The Waldorf, it’s the in-house dining options. Inagiku was the first sushi restaurant to open in New York in 1974 and is considered the most highly regarded of the hotel’s eating spots. Bull and Bear Steakhouse, which is covered in rich mahogany and leather, is the perfect spot for a post-game steak and scotch. The Waldorf is also home to Oscar’s American Brasserie, a very causal breakfast and lunch buffet, and Peacock Alley, a popular spot for evening drinks and Sunday brunch. Guests may also want to check out the Cocktail Terrace, which sits right above the Park Avenue entrance and features live piano on Saturdays.

Winner: The Waldorf (by a landslide)

The bar at Inagiku, Waldorf Astoria

Jer-Ne, Ritz Carlton Boston Common

FINAL VERDICT

The Waldorf Astoria looks like the perfect backdrop for players from the old days of baseball (we can easily picture Micky Mantle sipping a scotch here), but this 1,300-room, tourist-ridden property hardly provides the quiet, low-key setting required of today’s 162-game schedule. The Ritz-Carlton delivers the modern comfort and elegance that today’s professional athlete looks for. Most importantly, the rooms are nicer, and provide a better place to rest and prepare for a game. Sorry, Red Sox — you may be in the center of it all at The Waldorf, but the Yankees will be well rested and focused when they play next week’s games in Boston. No wonder they’re first in the AL East.

Winner: Ritz-Carlton Boston Common

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeleine Ludlow September 24, 2010 at 10:31 am

This one is really great, but do I detect a slight bias towards the Yankees? I am forwarding this to my icky Boston fan relatives.

Steve Jenks September 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Good stuff… I’ve spent a ton of time in Boston and describes the Ritz well. Go Sox!

Heidi Hamilton September 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Great twist on the rivalry. Love it, except for the outcome.

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