Around the World & Nearly Dead –Intercontinental Times Square Review
In late October of last year, I embarked on a nearly three week around the world journey. Starting with a few days in Washington DC with my family, I eventually made my way up to New York before flying to Europe and then on to Hong Kong.
Some time between Amsterdam and Hong Kong, I developed a bad cough which ultimately morphed into a nasty flu by the time I returned home. (Hence the name.) Ultimately I was bed ridden for nearly two weeks upon my return, but it was still worth it.
- Around the World & Nearly Dead – Intro & First Flight
- Hotel Review – Grand Hyatt Washington DC
- Hotel Review – Intercontinental Times Square
- Exclusive Photos: Come With Me Inside of One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) On Its First Day
- Lounge Review – Korean Airlines Business Class Lounge JFK Terminal 1
- Lounge Review: CLUB S.E.A. – Sala Respighi Lounge Milan Malpensa
- Hotel Review – Grand Hyatt Macau
Overview & Pricing
The Intercontinental Times Square is a luxury hotel with a very good location in Manhattan. The hotel is fairly large with 607 modern guestrooms and features a location just blocks from Times Square. I used my annual free night certificate from the IHG Rewards Mastercard, however rates were just north of $500 for the one night I stayed at the property.
The Intercontinental Times Square is located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. As you can see from the map above, it is about a 5 minute walk to Times Square and the subway entrance is conveniently located on the corner. I found the location to be fantastic for getting just about anywhere around Manhattan.
While I was only in New York City for one night, I did find it was easy to catch the subway down to Ground Zero and I also took a nice long walk from the hotel down to the High Line. Being so close to Broadway, there are of course a ton of food and entertainment options as well.
Lobby & Check-In
While the Intercontinental Times Square looks like a luxury hotel, the check-in experience didn’t feel that way to me. First off, the rather cramped lobby is broken up by large structural supports. While I know this is unavoidable in a tall building, one of these supports sits directly in front of the front desk. This made it impossible to form a line, so people just sort of stood there waiting to be called. This resulted in a lack of order and people cutting in line.
Once I did reach the check-in desk, the agent acknowledged my Platinum status and said my benefit was $15 free from the mini-bar. Better than nothing I suppose. Since I was booked into the basic room with the free night, I was given a normal room. The agent was in a rush and didn’t confirm the bed type with me. I had requested a King, but she gave me 2 Queens without even mentioning it. When I reached the room, I decided to go back downstairs to ask if I could change.
This time I talked to a different desk agent who informed me they didn’t have any King rooms available yet. (It was 1PM, so that was understandable.) He said if I wanted to wait a couple of hours, I could have a King room on a high floor. I agreed and left my bag with the doorman and headed down to Ground Zero to check out One World Trade Center on its first day open to the public.
When I returned at 4:30 in the afternoon, I was given the key to my room and went up to discover it was on a low floor. I had decided to wait with the promise that I would have a good view. After an exchange with the hotel’s Twitter team I was finally moved up to a room with a view. While this may all seem a bit petty, these are the types of things that shouldn’t happen at a $500 per night hotel. I found the staff overall to be great, but the front desk staff was short and always in a hurry.
One of the benefits of having the issues I did was that I got to see a few different rooms. The tower narrows as it gets taller, so some of the upper floors only have a few rooms, while the lower floors have many more. Each room configuration was different, although as is typical in New York, they were all small.
All of the rooms I saw had the same decor and furniture. Just as one would expect, the decor is very “Manhattan” in a good way. I really loved the room in every way (except size), but the one thing that stood out was the bed. I remember specifically thinking about how the bed was a noticeable step up from the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC. Overall I loved the room.
Facilities & Food
The Intercontinental Times Square has 10,000 square feet of banquet and meeting facilities, a 24 hour business center, a concierge lounge and a very well equipped fitness center. The hotel is also home to Todd English’s Ça Va which seemed to be quite popular, although I didn’t get a chance to dine there.
One way to see how a staff really performs is when there is a mistake. In my case there were definitely problems with the rooms and communication from the front desk staff. While I absolutely think there is a ton of room for improvement there, I can say that management genuinely does care.
In the evening after settling into my 3rd room, I took a walk to Times Square. Upon my return I found a handwritten note of apology along with a small fruit/nut spread, some delicious chocolates and a bottle of wine. It was a fantastic gesture and one that shows the hotel’s management genuinely does care. Despite the fact that I couldn’t really enjoy the wine being by myself, I did enjoy the fruit and the artisan chocolates were amazing!
There is a lot to like about the Intercontinental Times Square. The hotel has a fantastic location, modern and luxurious decor and decent views. While I found the front desk staff really needed to slow down a little bit, the management clearly showed that they do care about the guest experience.
Considering rates at this hotel range from about $250-$750 (which is expensive, but not necessarily for NYC), I think this is a great use of the free night certificate from the IHG Rewards credit card. If you are a credit card holder, don’t expect much in terms of benefits, but you might get a modest view upgrade and $15 at the mini-bar which isn’t bad. In the end, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Intercontinental Times Square again given the right circumstances.