Review by Ron Bernthal
Before checking into the Red Roof Plus+ Secaucus/Meadowlands I tried to imagine what type of property this would be, sitting in the shadow of a busy highway overpass in the semi-industrial city of Secaucus, New Jersey, a town of about 16,000 people whose name comes from the Algonquin phrase “a place of snakes.”
To say the least I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled off Route 3 onto Meadowlands Parkway on a hot summer night and found a lovely three-story hotel surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden and interior courtyard. Across the street from the property was the Swan Plaza Shopping Center, where bright neon store signs advertised several restaurants, a wine outlet and other small businesses.
The lobby is just big enough room for a few people to register at the front desk, but the staff was friendly and after receiving my room key I moved my car a bit to park closer to my room, one of the great perks of American roadside motels.
The Secaucus property is known as a Red Roof PLUS+, the first Red Roof in New Jersey to receive this designation. What this means is that all the rooms have been recently renovated with higher-end amenities, and 100% smoke-free. My room amenities included a King bed, free high speed wireless internet access, a 32-inch flat-screen LCD HDTV television, a work desk and ergonomic desk chair, microwave and refrigerator. No, it’s not Four Seasons quality, but comfortable and clean, and the room rates make for great value.
Although I could not tell in the dark of night, I did notice in the morning that the back of the property faced the Hackensack River, and is located between the two overpasses of Route 3 (Eastbound and Westbound lanes), which is an interesting juxtaposition of the structural steel underbelly of a highway bridge, and the somewhat pretty, urbanized/natural view of the 45-mile long Hackensack River. The river, which used to be one of the most polluted waterways in the country, has been cleaned up in recent years and before I left the hotel in the morning I actually saw some folks fishing.
It must have rained during my night at Red Roof Plus+, in the morning the grass, shrubbery, and groomed trees around the hotel and in the center courtyard were glowing green with moisture, and combined with the summer heat and humidity it looked and felt more like southern Florida than a community in the shadow of Manhattan.
My wake-up call at 5:30 am was on-time, and I checked-out without going into the lobby for free coffee. I also noticed that some of the rooms had stickers on them that advertised the property’s new Premium rooms, which mine was not. In those rooms, I later learned, guests receive special plush pillow-top mattresses, a spa-inspired bathroom with multiple shower heads, and a mini-fridge stocked with high-end snack treats, orange juice and water, as well as a larger TV. There is a small surcharge for the Premium rooms, but they seem well worth the additional expense.
And why would a guest stay in Secaucus more than one night? Believe it or not, there are many reasons, some I knew about, like the proximity of the Meadowlands Sports Complex and MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. Others I learned about later, like several large, nearby outlet malls, a boat launch and docking area, and a riverside picnic area on the property with several barbeque grills. There are also natural attractions as well, tucked into spaces between highways and light-industrial plants, like Snipes Park located nearby in the rear of Osprey Cove, with two pedestrian bridges that lead into the park. And located just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel is Schmidts Woods Park, a 14-acre multi-use park containing one of the last remnant woodlands in the Meadowlands District. Who would have thought you could see Trout lilies (a field of yellow delicate wildflowers), Yellow-crowned Night-Heron nests, or the spring migration of Black-and-white and Yellow Warblers, Brown Thrashers, and Red-winged Blackbirds and Ruby-crowned Kinglets all within close proximity of major metropolitan highways.
Perhaps the best reason for multi-night stays in Secaucus is the New Jersey Transit Railroad Station that is just a five-minute taxi ride from the hotel. I believe that many of the guests at this property are really visiting New York City, and are taking the NJ Transit commuter line from Secaucus Station into Manhattan. It’s the next and last stop after Secaucus, a ten minute ride, and with frequent service throughout the day and night. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of low hotel rates, and free overnight parking, to be so close to Manhattan.
In March, 2015, Red Roof Inn received the #1 ranking in the ReviewMatrix Customer Satisfaction Index Benchmark survey among economy category hotels for the 5th consecutive year. With the 208-room Red Roof Plus+ Secaucus/Meadowlands, I believe that its overall quality, location and price offer great value for many travelers to the New York metropolitan area
RED ROOF PLUS + SECAUCUS/MEADOWLANDS
15 MEADOWLANDS PARKWAY
SECAUCUS, NJ 07094