Spunky and Affordable: A Review of the Moxy NYC Times Square
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To The Point
The Moxy Times Square is a great new choice for folks who don’t have the cash or points to splash on a costlier hotel. Pros: It’s a low price point for New York, and it has swanky if simple décor. Cons: Rooms are small and loud.
The cheapest hotel rates in New York City regularly start at over $200, so imagine my surprise when I found rooms available at one of the city’s newest hotels, Marriott’s Moxy Times Square, for just $110 on the one night I needed a room.
I decided to book it mostly because of the price point, the central location and the fact that Marriott Rewards is one of my main loyalty programs.
I traveled to New York during the last week of January and needed to find a room for the final night of my trip, which happened to be a Friday. Because I’m a Marriott Gold elite and Starwood Gold elite, I focused my search on those two chains.
One of the options I pulled up was the new Moxy NYC Times Square, which opened at the end of September. Moxy is Marriott’s newish, millennial-focused brand. This property in particular was the brand’s 15th property overall and the first of five planned openings in New York City. It was also first one I’ve personally gotten the chance to experience.
For the night I was looking at, prepaid rates started at $110 per night (about $123 after taxes) for a room in the starter category with a double bed. Queen rooms were $119, king rooms were $124, and the rooms I’d read about with two twin bunk beds each were $179.
The hotel was a Marriott Rewards Category 8 property where award nights cost 40,000 points each.
Since the rates were so low and I was just going to be there a single night and not spend much time in the room, I decided just to book a double room at the paid rate. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card to earn 3x points per dollar on the travel purchase.
The Moxy Times Square was not, in fact, located in, or even that close to, Times Square. The hotel was on the corner of 36th Street and Seventh Avenue. That said, it was a few blocks from Times Square straight up Seventh Avenue, and close to several subway lines. While not the prettiest part of the city, it was definitely convenient for getting around. A cab to either New York-JFK or LaGuardia Airport would’ve taken me about 25 or 30 minutes in light to moderate traffic.
The landmark building Moxy took over was originally the New Mills Hotel, which opened in 1907 as “a place where working-class men could find affordable accommodations,” according to this New York Times piece. As a working-class man looking for an affordable room, I decided it certainly fit my bill!
While it had 1,875 rooms back in the day, the hotel was down to a still-numerous 612 thanks to the architectural firm Stonehill Taylor. The building was shaped like a U, with the main wing fronting 36th street and the two side wings facing each other.
I arrived at the hotel in a Lyft after a meeting nearby. The hotel’s main entrance was on 36th Street.
I did not see any bellmen and walked right into the lobby, where there were check-in podiums, for lack of a better word, on either side of the entrance.
There was also a bright candy cart from which you could help yourself to bags of sweets.
The reception area had a sky-lit atrium that opened up to the floor above, where the hotel’s main public areas were.
It was not busy when I arrived at about 4:00pm, and a friendly agent waved me over immediately when I walked in. He pulled up my reservation and thanked me for my loyalty, noting that I had already completed check-in online through the Marriott app and that I had been upgraded to a King Corner Room. The room would have cost $152 if I’d paid for it, so my elite status got me an extra $42 in value.
I asked about keyless entry, since the Marriott app told me I could access that function by checking in through the app. The agent told me that now that I’d checked in in person, he could activate my mobile key so I would only have to use my phone to access the elevator and my room. It never ended up working, though.
Design firm Yabu Pushelberg oversaw the interior design of the rooms and public spaces at the hotel. Rooms ranges from 150 to 350 square feet; I’d put mine right around the middle of that range, at about 225 square feet.
My first impression was that it was small, but cute and intelligently laid out.
There were three windows along the length of it, and one overlooking 36th Street next to the bed. The sink and vanity were right in the entrance next to the door to the bathroom. The counter was made of glazed stone, while the mirror frame and faucet fixtures were more industrial brushed metal. The sink was narrow and shallow, but there was just enough counter space for my things.
There was a sliding, frosted-glass door to the bathroom, which contained the toilet and a shower.
The aesthetic was like a classic city public pool with glossy white tiling on the top half of the walls and smaller, mosaic-like green tiles covering the bottom half of the walls and the floor, complete with a depth indicator.
The bath amenities were by a brand called Muk and came in full-size containers anchored to the shower wall.
The rest of the room felt like a camping tent that had been set up permanently with stark but stylish, space-saving fixtures. On the wall were pegs with hangers rather than an actual closet. There was a collapsing table, which you could remove from the wall and unfold on the floor if you wanted to use it, and a luggage rack.
The king bed was flush against the far wall of the room and had drawers built into it. While this maximized space, if you were staying with another guest, you would have to climb over him or her to get out of bed.
Next to it was a nightstand with a colorful rotary phone and a wall-mounted reading light. There were regular power outlets and USB ports for charging various devices. I found two sets of 3M foam earplugs on the nightstand, which were an ominous sign of how loud the room would be that night.
Across from the bed, an HDTV was mounted on the wall, and you could stream your own Hulu, Netflix and YouTube content on it. There was also a tall beanbag chair in the corner, but I didn’t find it to be very comfortable.
As the hotel advertised, the Wi-Fi was free and fast.
Because my room was on a corner of one of the side wings, it looked right across at the other wing. I could see into other guests’ rooms and they could see into mine, so I left my blinds closed for privacy the whole time.
The hotel was loud. I didn’t hear fellow guests in other rooms or out in the hallways, but the street noise was persistent and distracting, since the windows were not soundproofed at all, as far as I could tell. There was loud music playing somewhere (probably the hotel’s rooftop bar) until about 2:00am, so those earplugs definitely came in handy.
Food and Beverage
The hotel’s food and bar outlets were overseen by the Tao Group and were designed by another well-known hospitality design firm, Rockwell Group. The main bar and restaurant were both down on the second floor looking down over the lobby. There was a massive chandelier hanging in the atrium that looked like a bear from certain angles.
Bar Moxy was both a cocktail bar and lounge serving small bites. The bar contained a glassed-in grab-and-go counter called The Pickup. Bar Moxy was meant to be the hotel’s social center, but the bar area itself was not that large.
There were, however, seating areas around the second-floor elevator landing and along the length of part of the building where folks were huddled together working and socializing. The hotel planned this as a space for guests and visitors to come and work with free Wi-Fi and plenty of charging outlets throughout the area.
There were also three meeting rooms with AV equipment that could be rented out for meetings or parties.
I didn’t have anything to eat or drink at Bar Moxy, but there were bottles and cans of beer, various wines by the glass and a selection of specialty cocktails, all of which cost $16, and which included something called a Got Moxy with Bacardi Dragon Berry rum, lime juice and black-cherry puree.
On the other side of the elevators from the bar was the hotel’s restaurant, Legasea. As you might guess from the name, the menu here focused on seafood with classic American and Continental dishes such as a lobster roll, a prime New York strip steak and moules frites.
Down on the ground floor, Egghead served mostly egg sandwiches and was open for breakfast and lunch until 3:00pm daily.
Finally, the hotel had a huge rooftop bar and lounge called Magic Hour that you accessed through a separate elevator at the back of the lobby and to the left. After 9:00pm, you had to get here through a separate entrance on Seventh Avenue. Access was subject to space and availability, but hotel guests got priority. I was not there in the evening, but snuck up soon after it opened at 4:00pm to have a look.
Magic Hour was billed as an adult amusement park, and it definitely had a circus-like atmosphere, thanks to touches like gilt elephant-head sconces, borderline obscene topiary, a putt-putt course and even a mirrored carousel with booth-style seats on it.
Though cool, I wouldn’t personally go for this option, as it did not seem enjoyable to be drinking while constantly spinning.
There were two main lounge areas, one to the west overlooking Seventh Avenue and one to the east looking out toward the Empire State Building, though that side was closed when I was there.
The menu included small dishes like chicken satay, ribs and fish tacos, while the cocktails included items like a Cool Smoke with mezcal, yuzu bitters and mint.
There was no room service. The hotel could arrange delivery from nearby restaurants, though.
The hotel had a small fitness center in the basement. I didn’t have the chance to use it, but it looked like it had at least the basics for a workout. The machines were all new.
The hotel hosted a changing calendar of fitness classes up on the rooftop at Magic Hour. They were denoted by the hashtag #SWEATAtMoxy on the digital calendars up on displays by the elevators and on the hotel website. In February, POUND Fitness was offering cardio jam sessions, while previous hosts included modelFIT.
The property also offered special events like a beauty pop-up, game nights and special guest DJs at its various outlets.
Despite a few shortcomings, including a high ambient noise level in both the guest rooms and the public spaces, as well as my room’s form-over-function layout, I’d consider the Moxy Times Square a welcome addition to the city’s hotel scene.
The décor was vibrant, fresh and streamlined. The public spaces, notably the large living-room-style area adjacent to the bar on the second floor, were comfortable and inviting for both socializing and working. The staff I interacted with were all enthusiastic and helpful. Despite the fact that there were over 600 rooms, it never felt crowded or overrun.
But the hotel’s prime selling point was its price. Finding a room at a new hotel in a central location with free Wi-Fi and standout food and beverage options, all for just over $100 per night, is a truly tremendous value in New York City. I am curious to see what the future Moxy locations in New York City are going to be like, and look forward to staying in them too. I’ll bring my own earplugs just in case, though.
Images courtesy of the author.
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