- Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th St.
- InterContinental Times Square
One of my friends convinced me to come up this past weekend for Restaurant Week, while we are also planning an event in Miami for April. Since this was the weekend before my birthday I decided I might as well, since it has been 3 years since I've been to NYC and decided to stay in the city for the first time. Thus it brought me to the dilemma of where to stay. While I knew I wanted to have one night in a fancy hotel, the other night could be in a standard hotel. I initially figured I would have to book both nights on points, when I really did some searching a few days before, I found this hotel listing a $109 rate on the Hilton website. Fortunately because I am a AAA member, I was able to knock another 10% off the rate to bring it down to this:
At that price, it was a no brainer, since it is rare to find any points paying hotel in a desirable location that cheap in New York. I mean there are many Hampton Inns that are more expensive here. The other thing that caught me by surprise was the upgrade opportunity for the room. While I have seen this previously at some other higher end hotels, I have never been offered this at a Hilton Garden Inn. So out of curiosity, I clicked on the offer, and here were the options presented:
If I was staying for a week, I would probably be tempted by the paid upgrade to a larger room, but since I was planning to spend the evening out on the town, I saw no reason to spend anything more.
Check-in was fast, and I was given the standard welcome amenity of two bottles of water. The main difference was that these bottles were in a Hilton Garden Inn bag. Overall, I found the lobby quite small and cluttered, with no room to maneuver if there were a bunch of people needing service from either the front desk or concierge.
I knew not to expect much from the room because this is a prime location in New York. The room was small, but there was enough room to move around and the bed and amenities were standard HGI stuff, but that is all one really needs for a room. The room was neat and clean and the noise was not overpowering, though I could still hear some of the noise from the street (from the 24th floor). The internet did get bogged down some, but that is to be expected with the number of guests. Overall, the room met my expectations.
And one of the important parts of a hotel in Manhattan, the view:
This is where I had one minor issue with the hotel. While the elevators had a decent speed, they were incredibly small, and the doors in the lobby lead you to believe the elevators are going to be much larger than they actually are. Also, they had signs posted all over the lobby signaling that the bar was closed while they awaited renewal of their liquor license. For me this was not a problem, as I tend to avoid hotel bars because of their inflated prices, but I know many travelers consider this an unforgivable sin.
The hotel has a perfect location, located right across Harold Square from the Macy's and next to one of the entrances to the 34th street Harold Square subway station. And Just on the other side of Macy's is the Penn Station subway station. It is within a reasonable walk to Times Square, but you don't have to worry about all of the bright lights.
Not the best HGI I've ever stayed in, but a great value, and great way to avoid using points in NYC.