Hotel Review: A Standard Room at the Hyatt Centric Times Square
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To The Point
The location of this Hyatt Category 6 hotel is incredible, making it a great value when rates are low and a good award option when rates are high. The Pros: spacious, modern rooms and great service. The Cons: the food in the restaurant needs work.
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In December, I visited New York to attend the TPG holiday soirée and connect with the team. My home-away-from-home for this East Coast jaunt was the Hyatt Centric Times Square, one of the more recent additions to the new brand. The hotel proved to be a solid value and a great location for anyone looking to jump into the fray of Midtown Manhattan.
Like other hotels around Times Square, prices at the Hyatt Centric vary dramatically and you can often find rooms around $200 per night during off-peak times, even on weekends. However, those same rooms can cost $600 per night or more when demand is higher or when you’re booking very close to your stay date.
The Hyatt Centric Times Square is a Category 6 property, so you can book award nights for either 25,000 World of Hyatt points or 12,500 points and $150 using the Points + Cash rate. Award nights are a good value when prices are high, and there’s usually availability — even at the last minute — apart from the busiest holidays. When prices are low, however, you’d be better off paying cash or redeeming fixed-value points.
Since I made my reservation less than one week out, my total came to about $580 per night after taxes. At that rate, award nights would have offered an excellent return of 2.32 cents per point, which is well over TPG’s latest valuation. However, since this was a work-related trip, TPG ended up booking my stay with HotelTonight HT Perks credits instead (thanks, TPG!) Had I been paying for the stay myself, I would have used a travel credit card — like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which gives you 3x points on travel or the Citi Prestige, which lets you book a 4th night free — to get the biggest return.
Check-In and Lobby
The hotel is located on 45th Street, about half a block east of Seventh Avenue and Times Square, and about as central as you can get, since you’re within easy walking distance of major sites like Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, the Empire State Building and Central Park. The downside is that the area is especially noisy and crowded, and traffic is an obstacle if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly by car.
The hotel’s advertised check-in time is 4:00pm, but I called shortly after 12:00pm and was told my room would be ready for me upon arrival. I don’t have Hyatt elite status, so the early access was unexpected — and much appreciated. I got to the hotel around 1:00pm and was greeted by its sharp but understated entrance.
Through the revolving doors, I found a small (but not cramped) lobby. There was no line to check in when I arrived, but the front desk has only four workstations to service 487 rooms. As a result, I witnessed what appeared to be a lengthy wait several times during my stay.
Fortunately, the lobby has a comfortable seating area nearby. It’s a nice spot to meet a friend, wait for an Uber or just let the line subside. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer plenty of natural light and give you a clear view of the street, making it easy to see when your ride arrives.
I was given a View room, which is simply a Standard room above the 20th floor. View rooms aren’t always listed separately during booking, but when they are, the price difference starts at around $25 per night. That’s an upgrade I wouldn’t typically pay for, but I appreciated the better view and somewhat muted street noise up on the 38th floor. At 350 square feet, it felt surprisingly spacious.
That’s not to say it was particularly spacious, but the efficient layout kept the space from feeling cramped. There’s a healthy distance between the two queen beds and walls so each guest has some personal space and room to maneuver. The beds themselves are adequate but forgettable — though I’ve had less comfortable sleeping arrangements, the beds certainly aren’t the main attraction at this hotel.
The nightstand in the center houses a cordless phone and alarm clock, while the ones on each side have electrical outlets and reading lights. Strangely, the drawers in all three nightstands are only about an inch deep, so they’re impractical for storage.
The desk, dresser, and most of the room’s other amenities line the opposite wall. They’re slim enough so they don’t monopolize the space but still deep enough to be useful. The power strip on the desk had a built-in plug adapter to accommodate international travelers, which I thought was a smart addition.
The left third of the dresser is occupied by a small refrigerator — maybe a bit too small, as I had to perform surgery on a box of leftovers in order to close the door. The middle third houses a digital combination safe and a coffee maker, leaving just the three drawers on the right to serve as an actual dresser. That’s not much room for storage, though there’s a fair amount of space to hang clothes in the closet by the entrance.
The TV has an excellent picture, but without a swivel mount, the only way to watch comfortably is by sitting on one of the beds. Meanwhile, the full-length mirror, bench and coat hanger all came in handy when I was getting ready to go out. At the end of the room is a small lounge chair and table — a good spot to enjoy the view.
My room, 3807, looked northeast toward 46th Street, with Columbus Circle and the periphery of Central Park in the background. The lights of Times Square were plainly visible in the daytime and an occasional annoyance at night — in particular, the giant LED screen on the nearby DoubleTree was bright enough to wake me up. The curtains don’t block out the flickering light even when fully drawn, so I’d recommend bringing an eye mask.
The bathroom is much like the rest of the room: clean, comfortable and efficient. There’s plenty of sink space and a wide shelf to store your own toiletries, in addition to the Timeless bath products offered by the Marilyn Monroe Spa downstairs. The shower is spacious and has a towering showerhead that I fit under easily. My only complaint about the bathroom is that the towels are thin and leathery. Hyatt could stand to make an upgrade there.
The room also had a few smaller features that I liked. First, the trash can under the desk has a separate bin for recycling, something I can’t recall seeing in other New York hotels. Second, the room has several panels that allow you to turn all the lights on or off at once so you don’t have to go hunting for individual switches. Finally, the room has a few peripheral decorations but is otherwise free of clutter, like fake plants or brochures.
The Hyatt Centric Times Square has two restaurants. The first is T45, which sits adjacent to the lobby. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves as a combination cafe/bar/eatery for all your mildly overpriced dining needs. The image below doesn’t show it, but there’s plenty of room for seating toward the back of the space.
T45 is also the hotel’s de facto room service and doesn’t offer a traditional plated meal on a cart; instead, your order is simply delivered in a to-go box with an 18 percent gratuity charge. Delivery is prompt — the hotel guarantees it within half an hour, but in my experience it took only 10 to 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, the food isn’t very good though. Of the five dishes I ordered, only one — the kimchi fried rice — wasn’t a disappointment; the rest ranged from mediocre to bad. With so many other dining options in the area, I’d recommend skipping T45 unless you’re in a rush. Below, the kimchi fried rice (left) tasted much better than it looked, but the fried calamari (right) was somehow worse than it appeared.
The other dining option is Bar 54 — named for its perch on the 54th floor. Once it opens at 4:00pm daily, you’ll find an extensive list of cocktails and other libations, along with a short menu of snacks and shared plates. The view is impressive and includes clear shots of One World Trade Center and the Chrysler Building. There’s an outdoor deck that was a bit frosty during my December visit but would make a great spot to hang out in the summer.
On the third floor is the Marilyn Monroe Spa, which offers an extensive menu of services ranging from haircuts and styling to massages and waxing.
The hotel also has a respectable gym on the fourth floor, with an assortment of treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes, accompanied by various strength-training machines and free weights. The windows let in a decent amount of natural light and all the equipment is well maintained. I’m a regular at hotel gyms, and this one definitely passes muster. My only complaint was the awful holiday music being pumped through the room’s speakers during my stay.
There’s a small business center on the main floor if you need to get online or print documents. Finally, the Hyatt Centric has several rooms available for meetings or other private events. The space pictured below caters to the business crowd, but others had more charm and would be suitable for a birthday party or other small gathering.
The Hyatt Centric Times Square didn’t blow me away, but I would gladly return. Apart from the T45 restaurant, this hotel is a cut above what I’ve experienced at others in the area, and the quality of service was high despite my lack of elite status. The location is incredible, which helps make this hotel a great value when rates are low and a good award option when rates are high. If you’re looking for luxury, you’d be better off at the nearby Andaz 5th Avenue, but if you just want a comfortable stay at a relatively affordable price, the Hyatt Centric Times Square is a good bet.
Have you stayed at the Hyatt Centric Times Square? Tell us about your experience, below.
All photos by the author.
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