Right at the heart of The Big Apple sits the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, boasting over 2,000 guest rooms, New York City's largest hotel fitness centre, a private Concierge Lounge exclusively for top-tier Marriott Rewards members, and more.
With views towards Times Square from selected rooms, Australian Business Traveller put the hotel through its paces on a recent visit to NYC.
Location & Impressions
Situated between Broadway and West 45th/46th Streets, you really couldn't ask for a better location in New York City: Times Square is at your doorstep, and even if you've done the 'tourist' thing before, you're right in the middle of the city's vibrant theatre district.
All Broadway theatres are within walking distance of the hotel, especially if you're seeing The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre, which is literally across the road from the hotel lobby:
Once inside, the hotel itself is huge, with over 2,000 rooms and a network of lifts getting people where they need to be. Because there are so many guests always coming and going here, you type the floor you're heading to into a keypad, and you're directed towards a specific lift, so that you don't have to stop on every floor.
Even in the priority line, it takes about 10 minutes to reach the check-in desks – because in a city like New York, you're far from the only guest in the hotel with elite status – but once there, my arrival is processed swiftly.
In recognition of my Marriott Rewards Platinum status, which usually provides access to hotel executive lounges, I'm also handed a key to the on-site Concierge Lounge, and information on breakfast and the lounge's other services:
My stay was on business, which meant arriving on Sunday night and departing on Tuesday afternoon, which aligned well with the Concierge Lounge opening hours – but if you're staying on Friday and Saturday nights, the lounge will unfortunately be closed: shutting its doors at 2pm on Friday before reopening from 5pm on Sundays.
That has to be disappointing if you're taking a weekend away, not to mention the absence of breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings for eligible elite members, although on those days, the hotel provides 1,000 bonus Marriott Rewards points to compensate.
I'd booked into a Superior room with Times Square views, which provided the usual facilities along with a lounge area:
The king bed here faces Times Square and provides fixed bedside lighting...
... with the room's lounge space suitable for relaxing or perhaps a quick meeting:
Other amenities include coffee-making facilities and an ice bucket...
... while additional AC power points can be found at the desk area next to the TV – just don't forget your USA-style travel adapter, because you'll only find local sockets here, and no USB power:
There are no easily-accessible power points by the bed, and while there is an iHome music dock where you can plug in Apple devices, it only accepts those still using the larger '30 pin' connector, which Apple discontinued when the iPhone 5 was launched back in September 2012, some six years ago.
To say this needs an update is an understatement, because in 2018, it's highly unlikely that guests staying here would still be using Apple devices with 30-pin connectors, and while you can pack a Lightning to 30-pin adapter to attach newer iPhones to the older plug, you shouldn't have to travel with extra gear just to make it work at the hotel, especially one like a Marriott Marquis.
In the scheme of things though, that's a smaller detail – and one that's irrelevant for Android and other smartphone users anyway – so continuing with the room, the bathroom provides ample bench space for amenity bags and the like...
... with a shower tub in the same space:
Of course, the real excitement here is the view of Times Square, which is just below you...
... and from where I am on the 32nd floor, the views outward aren't bad either...
... and when standing at the window, it's also possible to catch a glimpse of the Hudson River:
When the hotel room becomes your office, the desk space beside the TV proves a good working area...
... although it's not every day you get a view of Times Square from your workspace, so I took the chair to the window with my tablet, and brought over the coffee table from the lounge area to use as a mousepad:
Available exclusively to Platinum Elite and Platinum Premier Elite members of Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, the hotel's Concierge Lounge also provides for a good working hub throughout the day...
... with the seats by the windows offering access to AC and USB power:
Again, this isn't included by default with a Superior room – or indeed, any other room at the hotel – and while most other hotels around the world sell Executive-type rooms that include hotel lounge access, here in New York, you'll only get inside with that top-tier Marriott status:
Since the revamp of the Marriott Rewards program, hotel lounge access is no longer provided to Marriott Rewards Gold cardholders, but there are ways to speed up your journey to Platinum if you're not already there.
Continuing with the Concierge Lounge, breakfast is served here from 6:30am-9:30am on Monday to Friday, where there's a decent selection of hot and cold items, fresh juice and machine-made coffee...
... although it can get quite busy here, especially as the morning progresses – so the hotel also provides a separate 'grab and go' breakfast near the elevators on level 31 for members with Concierge Lounge access, offering things like fruit, pastries, juices and coffee: useful to escape the crowds, or when you're short on time...
Non-alcoholic drinks are available in the lounge throughout the day, with an evening service from 5pm-7:30pm Sunday to Thursday, offering a range of lighter bites such as salad, chips and cheeses...
... and while you'll spot a wine list at the bar without any prices displayed...
... all alcohol here is chargeable, and a tip is expected on top: generally US$1 for a quick pour or US$2 for something more complicated. That's different to most hotel lounges across Asia Pacific and many in Europe, where standard drinks are generally free.
I put together a tasty Caesar salad and paired that with a glass of Pinot Grigio, which, including tip, cost about A$17 for a 9oz pour – essentially two glasses of wine served in one large glass, which avoided lining up twice when the lounge was bar was popular:
Having said that, almost all room rates here attract a US$25/night "daily destination fee", which includes US$25 of food and beverage credit per day which can be spent at the Concierge Lounge bar (among other venues) – so it goes without saying, but if you're visiting on business and your employer or client is covering the accommodation bill, your glass of wine in the evening may end up being "free" after all.
Other on-site venues include The View Restaurant & Lounge, Broadway Lounge & Terrace and Crossroads American Kitchen & Bar, although there's no shortage of food options nearby, and when the weather permits, why not enjoy a bite in what's often called The Centre of the Universe?
There's no swimming pool here, but given the hotel's strong appeal to business and executive travellers, much more appropriate for the property is a comprehensive fitness centre for those living life on the road...
... located within the property's central atrium, which the hotel also claims to be "New York City's largest hotel fitness centre":
When you're ready to depart, you can check-out in the traditional way, or simply use the Marriott mobile app to do so. It's a handy piece of kit, because it also handles your late check-out request – which, for top-tier Marriott members, is a guaranteed 4pm departure.
I've visited New York countless times before on business, but have never previously stayed at Times Square – I'd ruled it out long ago as being too noisy and touristy, instead leaning towards properties in Midtown, SoHo, the Financial District and the Fashion District, which all seemed just a little quieter.
While that 'noisy and touristy' description may be true of some Times Square hotels, particularly when staying on the lower floors where noises like car horns and sirens are more audible, I didn't find that to be the case here on the 31st floor, and ended up enjoying the bustling vibe at the heart of The Big City. I'd easily stay here again.
Chris Chamberlin was a guest of the New York Marriott Marquis hotel.