The Intercontinental Times Square is a modern 607 room luxury hotel with a very good location just blocks from Times Square in Manhattan. I had the opportunity to visit last year on a quick business trip.
The Intercontinental Times Square is located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. During my brief stay, I visited Times Square which is only about five minutes away by foot and also strolled a little further down to the High Line. The subway stop is conveniently located on the corner and can bring you to just about anywhere in Manhattan within a few minutes.
Given the hotel’s location near Broadway and Times Square, there are a ton of entertainment and dining options nearby. From fancy eateries on the high-end to neighborhood pizza joints, there is something for every budget. My visit was on a night when most Broadway shows were dark, but just about every major theater is within a 10 minute walk of the hotel.
While the Intercontinental Times Square is considered to be a luxury hotel, my check-in experience was not very good. Due to space constraints, the hotel’s lobby is cramped and the waiting area is broken up by very large structural supports. One of these supports sits directly in front of the check-in desk which makes it impossible to form a line. I found that people would just sort of stand around and then others would cut in line. None of the four agents working the desk paid attention to any order. It was a bit chaotic.
Once I did reach the check-in desk, the agent acknowledged my IHG Rewards Club Platinum status and explained that I would receive $15 free from the mini-bar as a perk. Since I was using a free night certificate, I was booked into a basic room and wasn’t given an upgrade. Unfortunately the agent didn’t confirm my bed type at check-in and gave me a room with 2 queens instead of the King that I had requested, so I decided to go back downstairs to request a change after seeing the room.
Upon my return to the lobby I spoke with another agent who said no King rooms were ready, but if I returned later I could have a room on a high floor with a good view. Since I wanted to get out into the city, I left my bag and came back at 4:30PM to a King room on a low floor. It took some back and forth on Twitter, but I was eventually moved to a higher floor. It might seem petty, but the staff at a $500 hotel should deliver on what they say. Overall I found the staff of this hotel to be great, with the exception of the front desk crew who seemed rushed and were always a bit short.
While not ideal, one of the side effects of having issues was that I got to see three different rooms within the hotel. 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 of the rooms I saw was configured differently, but there was one thing each had in common. They were all fairly small, which is to be expected.
While the size and shape of each room was different, they all featured similar decor and furniture that I can only describe as “Manhattan”. Like the room, the bathroom was small but chic with a cozy shower and vanity surrounded by an attractive dark blue tile. For me the real stand out of the room was the incredibly comfortable bed. I stay in a lot of Hyatt hotels and noticed the bed in the Intercontinental Times Square was definitely a step up. It was among the most comfortable beds I have ever slept on.
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.This is truly a business hotel and is setup to cater to that clientele. While there aren’t a lot of dining options, the Intercontinetal Times Square does house Todd English’s Ça Va which is a fairly well reviewed and popular restaurant.
One way to gauge a hotel is by how the staff performs when there is a problem. In my case there were definitely issues with the rooms and communication from the front desk staff. I cannot stress enough that the front desk experience was a disappointment, but with that said I could tell that management really did care.
In the evening after settling into my 3rd room, I took a walk to Times Square and spent some time soaking in the atmosphere. 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 made up for the earlier issues. Since I was by myself I didn’t try the wine, but the fruits were delicious and the artisan chocolate was stunning.
Cost & Summary
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.
With rates at this hotel ranging anywhere from $250-$750 per night (which is expensive, but not necessarily for NYC), this is a great use of a free night certificate from the IHG Rewards credit card, but probably not the best overall value when paying cash. Depending on the rates, a points redemption might also make sense, however this property is in the top tier and costs 60,000 IHG Rewards points per night as of February 17, 2016. In the end I was let down slightly by the front desk staff, but enjoyed the location and room so much that I will be returning to the property later this year.