Tried & Tested

Intercontinental Times Square.

25 May 2011 by BusinessTraveller

BACKGROUND The 36-storey, 607-room Intercontinental New York Times Square opened in July 2010, becoming the largest new-build hotel to open in Manhattan since 2002. It is New York’s second Intercontinental property, the other being the Intercontinental New York Barclay on East 48th Street.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? On arrival, I was promptly helped inside with my bags by a porter. The lobby provides a calm respite from the city streets, aided by the no-clutter, art-deco inspired décor and a Japanese-style garden behind the lobby. Staff were helpful and friendly. To the right of the lobby was the concierge’s office, and the entrance to the bar and restaurant, and to the left were the elevators for the bedroom and meetings floors – you don’t need a key card to operate the lifts.

WHERE IS IT? On the corner of West 44th Street and Eighth Avenue, on the edge of Hell’s Kitchen and a few minutes’ walk from Times Square – a useful business location and excellent if you plan on visiting any Broadway theatre.

ROOM FACILITIES Standard category Superior rooms are on floors three to seven, Deluxe rooms on floors ten to 25 and Sky View rooms – which have impressive views over the New York skyline – on levels 26 and above. All floors have a mix of “Double Doubles”, which have two double beds, and King rooms, which have one king-sized bed. Both of these room types measure 32.5 sqm. Decorated in tones of cream, beige and brown and featuring prints by local artists, all bedrooms have a high-definition flatscreen TV, digital radio, iPod dock, wired and wireless internet access (both US$14.95 for 24 hours), tea and coffee-making facilities, an iron and ironing board, robes and a computer with a keyboard and mouse. Watch out for the minibar and snacks tray, which will automatically charge you for simply removing an item.

My 21st-floor Deluxe King room was spacious, airy and well-appointed, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a comfy reading chair positioned to look out over the cityscape. The desk was fit for purpose, if a little narrow, and the bed with white linen was supremely comfortable. The bathroom had a useful magnifying mirror and a walk-in rainshower, although other rooms had a combined shower and bath arrangement. Toiletries were by Gilchrist and Soames. Unfortunately, the corridor on my floor smelt oddly of canteen food for the duration of my stay.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The French-inspired Ça Va brasserie, under US celebrity head chef Todd English, is located on the same level as the lobby and serves an à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had an extremely hearty meal here – French toast with caramelised bananas, fresh berries and maple syrup (US$14), which was delicious. For breakfast or lunch on the go you can also opt for Ça Va Marché, a café-style area located off the main restaurant, offering hot and cold drinks and snacks to take away or eat at a communal table. There is also a private dining room for up to 56 people. The hotel bar is adjacent to the restaurant.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are ten meeting rooms, nine of which are in the basement. These include the 376 sqm Gotham ballroom, which holds 440 delegates theatre-style or 360 for a banquet and can be split into three smaller rooms. The other subterranean spaces accommodate 20 to 120 people. Also on this level is the business centre, which has four computers (US$7.50 for 15 minutes; free for flight check-in only) plus printing facilities (50 cents per black-and-white sheet). On the ground floor is a 140-capacity meeting room that looks on to the lobby garden.

LEISURE FACILITIES There is a 24-hour fitness centre on the third floor with floor-to-ceiling windows and a good array of Technogym machines.

VERDICT A stylish addition to the New York hotel scene, the Intercontinental’s contemporary design and five-star service combine to create a fresh, no-nonsense business hotel in the heart of the city.

Sara Turner

Fact file

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 607 rooms, including 275 “Double Doubles” (32.5 sqm), 303 King rooms (also 32.5 sqm), 25 Avenue studios (51 sqm), three Manhattan suites (97.5 sqm), and the split-level, 251 sqm Penthouse suite.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The floor-to-ceiling windows and the views over the Manhattan skyline, plus the comfortable beds.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in July started from US$332 for a Superior King room.

CONTACT Intercontinental New York Times Square, 300 West 44th Street; tel +1 212 8034 500;

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