Marriott International introduced its Moxy Hotels brand in 2014. There are now nearly 50 open, with another 100 in the pipeline. Built in 1907 as a 1,885-bed, single-room hotel, the property was converted into offices before opening as Moxy Times Square in 2017.
What’s it like?
Very trendy. Check-in is via a series of kiosks, although there are staff to complete traditional check-in as well. The lifts are controlled by a screen with a number of preselects, so you choose “restaurants” or “rooms” and then, if the latter, you specify what floor you want, touch your card and are then directed to a particular elevator. It works well once you’ve got the hang of it and means queues are minimised. There’s lots of quirky artwork, polished concrete floors, distressed brick walls and unfinished ceilings exposing the pipework. A barber is located at the rear of reception.
Where is it?
485 Seventh Avenue, on West 36th Street. It’s close to Times Square, and from here you can take the subway pretty much anywhere, including New York JFK from the 42nd Street-Port Authority station (it takes about an hour).
The 612 rooms come in many shapes and sizes, even within the various categories, which start at Double (14 sqm) and move up through Queen (18 sqm) and then rooms with twin beds, bunks, family rooms and suites. All have been designed by the Yabu Pushelberg agency and are attractive and witty. To make the most of limited space, they have folding tables and chairs hanging from wood panelled walls, and under-bed storage.
My Corner King (18 sqm) had the double bed right next to the wall but had great views along West 36th Street. It didn’t have a kettle, but did have two hairdryers. I have no idea why. The shower worked well, and had fun signage on the walls (“No diving” and a “2.5ft” depth mark, like an old swimming pool).
The blackout curtains and lights were easy to operate. One thing to note, though – this isn’t a quiet hotel. You are right in the centre of town, and if it’s a night when the rooftop bar is going or if you are close to Bar Moxy on the second floor then you will hear some noise. In 2018 the hotel spent US$1 million on further soundproofing for external-facing rooms and this has been very effective. Earplugs are also available.
The beds are comfortable: good duvets and 300-thread count Egyptian cotton linens. There’s a 43-inch TV with a wide range of channels and the ability to stream your own content or log on to your Netflix, Amazon Prime or other account. Wifi is fast and free and there are lots of USB charging ports and power outlets.
Food and drink
I’ve previously eaten at Legersea restaurant, a great seafood brasserie with sharing plates that has a nice buzz without being too loud. This time I tried Bar Moxy, which has a much shorter menu but is fine for filling up before bed. The service was great, as it was at breakfast the next morning in the same venue. On the top floor is the Magic Hour, a fashionable rooftop bar and dining venue. The previous occasion I was there, Heidi Klum was hosting her Halloween party there. Lastly, there’s the street-level Egghead, which serves breakfast to go.
Bar Moxy has several areas that people seem to use as an unofficial co-working space. There are two studio rooms that can be used informally or booked, and a third one where, Tuesday to Thursday, there is a high-end tattooist in residence called Jon Boy, who charges about US$1,000 per hour and has to be booked many months in advance.
A good-sized 24-hour fitness studio.
A fun and friendly hotel right in the heart of Manhattan. The creative design of the rooms makes up for their diminutive size. For a short stay, it’s hard to beat.
- Best for Its central location, and bars and restaurants so vibrant you’ll have to make an effort to leave the hotel
- Don’t miss A meal at Legersea, and then a late-night drink at the Magic Hour rooftop bar
- Contact 485 7th Avenue (at 36th Street); tel + 1 212 967 6699; marriott.com