- The Private Room
- SQ26 SIN-FRA-JFK Suites
- Luftansa Senator Lounge
- New York Marriott Marquis
- The Ritz Carlton New York Nomad
- Kimpton Eventi New York
- Conrad New York Downtown
- SQ25 JFK-FRA Business
- The Westin Grand Frankfurt
- Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Centre
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
- SQ25 FRA-SIN Suites
Where does a New York noob stay? Times Square of course.
Okay so the strategy was to find a spot for a NYC first-timer convenient enough to explore sufficiently, and most of my research turned up Times Square, the ever-buzzing heart of New York. And I settled on this property because they are newly renovated, seem to have decent sized rooms, and has a M Club to settle breakfast and dinners in. The plan is to spend the first four of my nine nights here as a base for exploring the Big Apple.
Address – 1535 Broadway, New York, USA 10036. Website.
Contact – Tel: +1 212-398-1900. Email: email@example.com.
Location – Literally smack in the middle of Times Square, which is good and bad. You get shopping, eats, touristy stuff at every corner of the hotel, especially so if you are into Broadway stuff. But you also get crowds, noise, and bright lights everywhere you turn. Getting out and coming back to the hotel every involves patiently weaving yourself in and out so you are warned.
The New York Marriott Marquis is centrally located on West 46th and Broadway in Times Square, at the intersection of culture and convenience. Destinations like Central Park, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Hudson Yards, and the Javits Center—plus hundreds of restaurants, Broadway theaters, and entertainment venues—are all within a mile of the hotel. Grand Central Terminal, Port Authority and all major subway lines are just minutes away.From hotel website.
Price – USD585++ = USD709nett booked for a Renovated Deluxe King under the Amex Biz Card Member Rate + 3x 50k Free Night Awards topped off with 42,000 points in total. Okay, I know the cash rate is crazy but it is a weekend I am landing on, but I do believe that this is excellent value for my FNAs and I don’t have to move hotels for the first 4 nights!
Pre-arrival – I received a mass sent generic email a few days prior containing general info about the property.
Getting There – An uber from JFK cost me USD75 with tips. Gah. Journey itself took about 40mins with sight traffic closer to the heart of Times Square. Pardon this Singaporean for not being used to prices like this.
Check In – I arrived at the hotel about noon and went straight up to the lobby for check in located at level 8. There are 2 separate check in sections with one clearly marked for Elite members. It was a short queue before I was attended to there – I requested for a room with a Times Square view was informed that if so, there is no available rooms til later. I decided to wait as it’s a 5-day stay after all and it’ll be nice to have a view of the buzz. I was also given a temporary card for M Club access before I got my keys proper. There were also no issues linking my 1st paid night with the 3 redemption ones.
Part of the formalities includes being given a card on the daily $30 destination fee and what it includes – a very useful touch because there is constant confusion about what the fee can cover. While I don’t agree with the destination fee / resort fee practice, it is what it is and I was just glad to have something in writing for reference and avoid any miscommunication.
I ended up quite taking full advantage of this feature by redeeming tickets for the Big Bus Tour from City Experts each day which allowed me to explore my touristy check list plus save on transportation/too much navigation. The bonus is that the nearest Big Bus stop to the hotel is about 5mins walk away.
After completing the formalities, I was given a printed card with a note on your room wait, alongside an account number to quote for expensing anything at the hotel, complemented by a list of recommended activities to do while waiting for the room to be ready. I really appreciated this thoughtful gesture as my waits for rooms usually involves sending you off after scribbling you an account number.
Meanwhile, The lobby is a huge huge space buzzing with activity and dotted with plenty of sitting spots equipped with charging ports – feels very much like a too-lively co workspace cum tourist waiting area.
This huge lobby also contains some of the hotel’s F&B (Broadway Lounge, Revel & Rye), a souvenir shop of sorts (?), and the newly renovated M Club (more of this later).
Room (website) – I finally got my room at close to 4pm and I believe the room type I got was the Renovated Superior with Times Square view (35SqM).
I was actually a little disappointed when I first stepped into my room as it didn’t feel as new as it should. Is it the old school floor tiles? Is it the liberal use of grey in the space? Perhaps even the unfortunate but no-choice retention of its past life.
Stepping into hallway from the door is a section with tiled floors – this area is where the bathroom and wardrobe is. The wardrobe is no frills – no bathrobes if that matters.
The bathroom is also quite basic with a single sink set up though plenty of countertop space, an open concept toilet, and a standing shower space. Toiletries are thisworks branded – a tad too dry for my hair.
You then step onto carpeted floors marking the bedroom area – rather generous but the grey is a little depressing for me.
You do get a decent king bed flanked by 2 bedside tables – no USB here so prepare your US 2-pins if you want to charge your devices bedside.
The rest of this space is your living area – a 2-seater couch with coffee table, a round sitting sofa by the window (strange but cute).
The window sees indeed a view of Times Square whic was quite nice.
Then a work desk area + chair (with US 2-pin ports) leading onto another section containing your TV, mini bar, and fridge. You do get a non-branded coffee machine with its pods but I never tried.
A useful thing to note is that bottled water and bedroom slippers are not provided upon arrival but they’ll be happy to send over upon request. The slippers are comfy and the water quantity generous (and replenished throughout my stay).
I was so stoned after my flight AND having to wait for my room so I used my destination fee to order their version of room service called Fresh Bites (menu) – the chicken cesar salad was superb but the brussels sprouts a soggy salty mess. The food was delivered in a takeaway style instead of proper in-room dining so in case it matters.
M Club – Space and F&B (website)
This lounge is located on the 8th floor (as per lobby level) and is newly renovated – I had not seen alot of reviews about this space prior to my trip so I was excited to check it out.
The space is huge – One of the biggest lounges I’ve seen with plenty of seating options available regardless of group size: cosy living room -esque couches, sofa chairs, high tables, and many variety of 2-seaters. Multiple TV units also dot the entire space so you almost always have something to watch regardless of where you sit.
There is also a proper bar area which is staffed during evening cocktails hours.
Access is only available to Bonvoy Platinums and above, but they also offer paid access at SD75 per pax per day (via this website), even accessible to people not staying at the hotel. There is a staffed counter checking eligibility at the entrance but otherwise eligible in-house guests get access via their key cards.
Opening hours are as follow (ie if you arrive on a Saturday afternoon after 2pm, you won’t get to check it out til next morning breakfast)
- Sunday – Thursday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
- Saturday & Friday: 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM
In terms of food, they are available during these hours
- Breakfast: 06:30 – 09:30am
- Evening Cocktails: 6:00pm – 9:00pm (hors d’oeuvre from 6:00pm – 8:00pm)
Breakfast – I am an early riser so there are days I’ve gone at 6:30am and it was really peaceful. Closer to 8:30am is when the space gets a little crazy with lines for the food. Food wise, I actually really like the variety and once I decided what I like, it was easy to enjoy it throughout my stay despite the fact that there is no rotation of options.
But there is so much carb variety (breads, muffins, toasts), hot dishes (eggs, sausages, bacon, waffles, french toast, potatoes), cold nosh (smoked salmon, quinoa salad), healthy stuff (yoghurts, muesli, fruits – with freshly prepared berries a big plus) – do you really need a rotation?
Evening Cocktails – this session is where the space transforms into a chillax spot pf sorts – plenty of guests nursing their wines / beers and the bar area being a hot spot for drink orders. Unlike the Marriott Marquis SFO which I’ve been to, wines and beers are complimentary, with the bar (spirits, cocktails etc) chargeable. I actually ended up spending my daily destination fee of $30 here every evening ordering 2x bar items (required a bit of a top up which is fine).
The nosh during this session is a small selection and much lighter than what you get in Asian properties (which tends to be a full buffet) – but they were certainly decent bites with hot and cold options: cheeses, cold cuts, salad, and hot snacks like spring rolls, mac & cheese balls, sausage rolls. A small selection of sweets and cookies were also laid out after the food is cleared which was a nice touch. These was sufficient to make up my dinner each night but I can see how they won’t for those who need ‘proper’ dinner food.
Off-hours sees a variety of snacks and drinks which was more generous than I thought.
Facilities – The Marquis Fitness Centre is located on level 23 and opens 24hrs with access by keycard – I really appreciated having an option to workout when time differences wracks your schedule. You can’t miss the gym – it sits in the middle of the interior corridors, brightly lit in orange hues.
The space is I thought was super well equipped – and they have a rowing machine! Yay.
Lift Access System – Alot has been talked about the lift system here, mostly negative, and unfortunately, I agree with those comments. I mean for a big property, I kind of understand why they need to somehow distribute guest flow but the user experience is frustrating! For those who need to know, you need to go the keypad located at the lift lobby, punch in the level you wish to go to, and if it’s a in-house guest only floor, you have to tap your keycard for verification. Then the screen will assign you a lift code (A,B,C etc) and you head to that lift and wait for it to open.
There are maybe 8-10 lifts but only 2 keypads so there is at times a queue to even press your desired floor. And the system does not factor in load so it may over allocate more pax than the lift can hold so the ones who don’t manage to squeeze in will have to go back to step 1. If you take the lifts more times in a day or you have a long stay, the system does start to feel like a chore.
Service – Overall service is mostly decent, with housekeeping requests sometimes taking longer than expected due to the sheer size of the hotel – 1,966 rooms is no joke! Patience is very much required here.
While most parts of my stay were uneventful, I found my room not cleaned up at the end of day 2. I asked front desk if housekeeping is only upon request but they said nope, shouldn’t be. So they called housekeeping on the spot and housekeeping’s reply is it was probably because I had my D&D sign hung outside my door. I know that’s not true because I never did but there wasn’t any reason to argue so I just told them to please come by the next day.
I also ended up leaving my spectacles in my room upon departure and only realized after I checked into my next hotel the same evening. I called them immediately and was told that Lost & Found is closed (it was 6pm+ on the eve of Thanksgiving) and to call back again the day after, on Fri. Perhaps I had undue expectations, but I had thought that such departments should be more available to guests?
Check Out – Painless although I would have preferred to be able to check my bill as I had charges to review but as soon as I approached a desk for check out, they simply said oh for that you can just drop off your key in the box. I ended up having to call the hotel for clarification thereafter as the pending amounts I saw on my card did not tally with that on the invoices.
Did not regret my choice to spend my first 4 nights here – it was a generously sized room with decent enough elite benefits (breakfast + dinner). The location of the property and availability of the Big Bus tours as part of the destination fees made me super efficient in checking off my touristy stuff – in fact I finished them ahead of time! A good base for a NYC first timer indeed but prices can be scary during peak periods, so plan ahead if you feel like trying this property.
Onwards to my next property 🙂