W-here it’s at: A review of the W New York – Times Square
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To The Point
With 509 rooms and 47 suites, the W New York – Times Square is one of the chain’s flagship properties, thanks to an iconic location and New York’s specific brand of cool. Pros: low winter rates, central location for tourism, friendly staff. Cons: bungled bill and room assignment.
Some folks might shy away from visiting New York City in January, when temperatures turn frigid. I love it, though, because it offers the opportunity to stay at some of the city’s landmark hotels for a fraction of the price of busier times of year. Case in point: Room rates under $200 at the W Times Square were just too good to pass up during a recent stopover in the city. So I went, and I reviewed.
I was in New York for a brief two-night stay, so I decided to check out some of the city’s established Marriott properties during my quest to requalify for Gold elite status in 2019. I decided to sample a cross-section of brands around Times Square, so I spent the first night at the historic Algonquin Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection. For my second night, I settled on the nearby W New York – Times Square.
Rates for the evening I needed started $193 for a standard Wonderful Room with a king bed and a city view, which was lucky, because the following night, they shot up to over $300.
The room total came to $258.07 thanks not only to taxes but also a $25 destination fee, which was sort of like an urban resort fee. This one included: a daily $25 credit at The Living Room Bar, a daily $20 laundry-service credit, enhanced internet and long-distance and international calling, a choice of the Gulliver’s Gate Experience or access to the nearby TMPL Gym once per day, and a choice of gift from the W Style Lab (the hotel shop).
Given that the final tally was nearly $70 more than the room rate that first popped up, the total owed was a shock. But I figured I would get the $25 worth just at the bar and with the welcome gift, though I was not at the hotel long enough to take advantage of the laundry credit. As a Marriott Gold elite, I earned 12.5x points per dollar on the paid stay.
Alternatively, I could have made an award booking for 60,000 points for the night, since this was a Category 7 property.
I normally would have put the charge on my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x points per dollar on the travel purchase. Because I was traveling for business, though, I decided to use one of our top business credit cards, the Chase Ink Business Preferred, since that card also earns 3x points per dollar on travel for the first $150,000 of annual spend.
As its name would suggest, the W New York – Times Square was in … Times Square. That said, a lot of hotels with Times Square in their name (ahem, Moxy NYC Times Square) are actually not that close to this point of interest. That might or might not be a bad thing, depending on how you look at it, since Times Square is nearly always thronged with tourists, especially before and after shows at the Broadway theaters.
More specifically, the hotel was on the corner of Broadway and 47th Street, so it was very convenient to several subway lines. If I’d been in New York for theater, the location would’ve been ideal.
I only had to walk over to the W from my other hotel. When it was time to depart, I caught the subway from Times Square one stop to Penn Station and took the train out to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), which was under 45 minutes door to door.
I arrived at the hotel at 10am, because I had to be out and about in the city all day.
The entrance was off W. 47th Street.
From there, I took an elevator up to reception on the seventh floor, following the directions of a friendly doorman.
The seventh floor held several check-in desks, the concierge desk and a common room with various casual seating areas and a few semiprivate booths.
I’d describe the overall look as throwback glam, thanks to metallic finishes and ’70s-inspired lines.
To one side of the reception desks was the hotel’s Style Lab store. Beyond that were two banks of elevators that served different sets of floors. Opposite the check-in desks was the Living Room Bar, though I’ll cover that more later.
I checked in with a friendly front-desk agent. My room was not ready yet, which was to be expected, but a bellman was immediately at my elbow to take my bags and hold them for the day.
I got back to the hotel at 3pm, but my room was still not ready. I decided to wait in the lobby and use the free public Wi-Fi. Before I got totally set up, though, I stopped by Style Lab to see what they were peddling. There was everything from workout clothes and more fashion-forward pieces to sunglasses, hats, jewelry and flasks.
I took the opportunity to choose my welcome gift, which could have included shiny tote bags, metallic reusable water bottles, W-branded earbud headphones, a candle with the W scent and jar of gummy bears. I went for the candle, which was worth $12 — I had to earn back that destination fee.
By the time I got back to my bag in the lobby, the front desk called me to inform me my room was ready.
At that point, and I do not know why it had not come up earlier, I asked if I had been upgraded. The check-in agent looked at his computer and said that I had not but that he would see what he could do. A moment later, he changed out my key and gave me a corner room on a higher floor. I wish I’d asked earlier, since maybe I could have checked in sooner. The corner room I got generally runs anywhere from $130 to $170 more per night than the standard Wonderful Room I’d booked, so that was a score.
I headed up to my room on my own. The building doesn’t have a huge footprint, so the hallways twist and turn a lot rather than having long, straight lines.
My room was around the back of the elevator bank and in the corner.
Stepping into it, I was impressed with its size, but perhaps not the overall ambiance. Because of the room features and the orientation of the windows, it felt like an office building that had been turned into a hotel. The geometric carpet patterns and bold pink accents livened the mood, though.
The bed was a signature W king bed with white linens and a pink pillow and runner. The wall behind it was mirrored, and to either side were see-through nightstands.
One of them held a circular surge protector, a notepad, a phone and a $9 bottle of water. Note to self: Don’t wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
The far side of the room between the bed and the windows held a chaise with a small side table and a standing lamp, which was a nice place to work.
This was the view north from there.
The side of the room opposite the bed housed a long counter that included a workspace and the minibar, with the flat-screen TV mounted above it.
The desk had a pop-up panel of plugs.
Because this was a corner room, this side of the room also had windows. This was the view east, along the northern edge of Times Square.
I loved how large the windows were and that I only needed natural light during the daytime. However, the blinds should have been automated, because you had to lean way over to yank on their cords, and it was hard work getting them up and down.
The minibar consisted of a pullout pink drawer with snacks and red wine.
There were also interesting amenities like a couple’s kit for intimate moments and a facial kit so you could give yourself a spa treatment.
On the other side of the desk counter was a cupboard holding the refrigerator with a variety of beverages.
The closet was a tiny pink enclosure next to the door, which also held an in-room safe.
The bathroom was across from the front door, with a frosted-glass sliding door serving to provide a modicum of privacy. It wasn’t huge, but it held a sizable sink with plenty of counter space and a large mirror.
The shower was a walk-in that ran the width of the bathroom with a single shower head and only a partial glass enclosure, though there was a small step, so water didn’t leak out.
As is the standard at W Hotels, the bath amenities were by Bliss Spa.
The Wi-Fi worked well, though I never figured out what “enhanced” option I was entitled to as part of the destination fee … which every guest has to pay, so how can it be enhanced?
Although the gray walls and random placement of the air conditioning made the room feel corporate, the other little touches and the abundance of natural light thanks to being on a corner gave it a really pleasant ambiance for my stay.
Food and Beverage
As mentioned above, the hotel’s bar was down on the seventh floor and called The Living Room Bar. I thought the neon installation by Lite Brite Neon was phenomenal and a fun homage the bright lights of Broadway just outside.
You could sit at the bar, on various low sofas, or in cool, recessed booths.
I decided to get my destination fee’s worth with a cocktail there before seeing a play the evening of my stay. The Washington Heights Manhattan I ordered cost $18 and consisted of Woodford Reserve bourbon, house-made habanero vermouth, fresh lime juice, grapefruit bitters and black pepper. It was delicious, but more than one would have been dangerous.
On the ground floor, there’s a Dos Caminos restaurant — a New York City chain restaurant with a mezcal bar that’s open for lunch and dinner daily.
The hotel’s other restaurant, Blue Fin, served seafood and sushi, and this was where guests could also have breakfast.
I skipped it, because there were more interesting and cheaper places to eat just outside the front door, so it seemed like the only people eating here were tourists.
The hotel gym amounted to two rooms on the 10th floor that were both undergoing repairs while I was there.
One was for cardio and the other for weights and stretching.
The fact that the gym was so tiny for such a bit hotel mystified me. That said, guests could also jog along running routes picked out and highlighted in the room compendium. They could also enjoy a free spin class at Swerve.
Finally, a thought on the service. I’ve stayed at several New York City hotels recently where the staff seemed to think brusque was the equivalent of efficient. Although the W Times Square was very definitely a large hotel that was part of the world’s largest corporate chain, every member of the staff I interacted with was very friendly and solicitous. I am including the front-desk staff, doormen and bellmen, as well as housekeeping, the store attendant, bartender at The Living Room and folks in the restaurants who let me in to take pictures. Really, it was a pleasant surprise in to get such warm service in the heart of the Big Apple.
For $260 a night, the W New York – Times Square seemed like a good option for my recent trip to New York. Though touristy, the location was perfect for my needs and made getting around the city on public transportation really simple.
The upgraded room I was given turned out to be really pleasant, thanks to windows on two walls. The room was well-kept and serviceable, if not exactly unique. I’d rate it at the middle to high end of Ws I’ve stayed at in the past few years. While I didn’t have much interest in dining in the hotel, preferring New York’s interesting restaurant scene instead, I thought The Living Room was pretty cool, and my drink there was delicious. The staff elsewhere in the hotel was also personable and kind.
Overall, I would not hesitate to stay here again, though I’d try to plan it for a multiday stay to better take advantage of the destination-fee inclusions like the bar expenses and laundry charges.
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