I stay at IHG Hotels from time to time when I need an inexpensive option in a small city, or even at times when I am looking for a mid-range points option in a larger city. The stays are generally perfectly adequate, but not necessarily high end or luxurious. It is a program I generally consider as function over form. In other words, if I’m daydreaming about a hotel (and I’ll admit I sometimes do), it’s not likely to be an IHG Hotel in my dreams.  This isn’t a bad thing since not all trips need to be luxurious by any means.  However, I just completed a stay at an IHG hotel that was more than just a place to lay my head at night. It was a hotel I really liked, enjoyed, and didn’t want to leave – the Intercontinental Times Square in New York City.

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This is a pretty large property on 44th Street in New York City, which is just a block or two from the heart of Times Square.  That meant it was close to the buzz of Times Square, and a stone’s throw from Broadway shows, but not so close that the noise was a real issue.  It has 607 rooms, 240 of which have double beds that can sleep a family of four. That is a big deal in New York City!

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View from my room

Before I get further into the review, this stay was part of my participation in the American Express EveryDay Moments event, and as such as provided by American Express. The hotel itself did not sponsor the stay or know I would be writing a review, but that is still worth mentioning. Okay, now back to the good stuff…

Check-in and Lobby:

The check-in staff was helpful and New-York-Friendly at every interaction. New York Friendly is different than Texas friendly, but no less helpful. Check-in was pretty unremarkable, but all my questions were answered and everything was in order quickly. I arrived well after the posted check-in time so my room was ready without incident or delay. They told me I had received a “nice” corner king room with a view of the city, and they were right. It had a very nice view of the city!

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The lobby itself wasn’t too shabby to look at either with high ceilings and an interesting garden type space behind the check-in desk. There were two concierge tables located to the right of the check-in desk and a large and pretty swanky lounge just off of the restaurant area.

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The Room:

Before I get to the room itself, let’s talk about the elevators you have to use in order to get to your room. They were nice, fast, and clean, but… they were no easy to use. As is common in many hotels, you had to swipe your room key in order to utilize the elevators however the system was hard to use, and it wasn’t just me. Almost every time I was on the elevator with someone else they complained about the system as well. Many times the elevator would start going to another floor (sometimes in the wrong direction) before we could get the key card swipe thing to work. In fact, rare was the occasion that someone walked on, swiped correctly the first time, and we headed to the correct floor. This process needs to be improved as it impacts guests on almost every up and down trip in the elevator.

Once I successfully reached my corner room on the 28th floor (room 2825) I was impressed. The room wasn’t large, but this is Manhattan, so it wasn’t tiny either.

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The views from both sets of large windows were great. Also, the blackout curtains were very well done if you wanted to keep some of the light out…Alaska hotel operators, come visit the Intercontinental Hotel Time Square and order what they use!

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The absolute best part of this hotel room was the bed. I loved it and it was absolutely one of my very favorite hotel beds ever. The mattress was the right amount of firm and soft, the pillows were the right amount of snuggly, and the bedding was so soft and cozy. For three nights straight I was in bed Heaven. Again it was not just me, others on the trip repeatedly mentioned the great beds…or maybe they were just all glad to not be waking up to feed babies or tuck kids back in at night! Seriously though, the bed was awesome. The well functioning AC that kept the room nice and cool wasn’t bad either.

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There was a long desk for work with helpful power plugs, a TV I never turned on so can’t comment on, and a sitting chair. The lighting was easy to work, which I appreciate since all too often I get into fights with lights I can’t turn on or off in fancy hotel rooms.

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The internet was free to IHG Rewards members (hallelujah!), and I selected the premium option at $5 and it still was complimentary. The speed wasn’t earth shattering, but it wasn’t bad at all. It was totally useable even for this internet-aholic and worked on up to four devices I believe.

If the bed was my favorite part of the hotel, the bathroom had to also make the Top 3 list. It wasn’t just functional, but it was stylish and a little different than your everyday hotel bathroom. It had a rain shower, pretty blue tiles, and a mix of blue and white towels. It is described as a spa like bathroom, and I would agree with that description. If you have a family note that the website indicates that some of the rooms with two double beds have a bathtub as well. I love it when hotels do that in rooms that are more likely to have young kids. The water pressure and temperature were both great over the course of my three night stay.

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Amenities and Service:

What made me really like this hotel was the staff and services provided. Like many of you, I’m busy and when traveling for work I’m often pressed for time. I like to have the option to eat at various times of the day in the hotel and really appreciate solid concierge and other services when needed. On this trip I only had a small window to eat and get ready before one event, so called room service with my small time window and they delivered as promised. Bonus points for a fun menu with falafel!

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The only hiccup was I received salad with the wrap instead of the fruit salad I ordered. I’m sure they would have fixed it if I had called to let them know, but I didn’t really mind either way.

Another appreciated service was when I needed to get a package shipped out, and a call downstairs resulted in a FedEx box brought to my room and the promise to have my package held and shipped out on Monday (fingers crossed that works as intended).

My requests for nearby sushi restaurant and a juice bar were both successfully met by the concierge staff, and both places I tried were both good and quick, which was important.

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From nearby Zen Sushi

I had the buffet breakfast in the restaurant one morning and again was thrilled with a speedy breakfast option, and the food was totally decent for a buffet with frequent coffee and juice refills from the servers.  If you want a more budget friendly option, there is a Starbucks literally around the corner.

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The hotel has a 2,000 square foot gym on the third floor, but I didn’t get to check out that amenity on this trip.  Note that there is no pool at this hotel.

You Can Do it Too:

As is common in Manhattan, this hotel is usually in the $300 – $400 range for a room (though I have seen it in on discount sites like TravelPony for $200+ per night). That’s a ton of cash, but there is a better way to do it on points/free nights. This hotel seems to be the perfect use of the annual free night you get by having the IHG Rewards Chase Credit Card (read this thread to find out about the best current offer). You can use it at any IHG Hotel, so makes sense to use it at one of the best in the country. Alternatively, you can redeem 50,000 IHG points per night to stay here and that will include a decent variety of room options all for the same points price. Since this is NYC, I recommend booking in advance for improved availability whenever possible.

If you have the IHG credit card you get 10% of your redeemed points back each year, so that makes the hotel more like 45,000 points per night.

Overall Impressions:

This hotel won me over for having a good location for many tourist type activities in NYC, room configurations available that are favorable for families, an extremely comfortable bed, good bathroom, solid staff, and a full host of services and amenities. I look forward to hopefully getting to stay here again on a future trip to New York City!

Nearby Times Square

Nearby Times Square

If you have stayed here or at the other Intercontinental in New York I’d love to hear if your stay was similar to mine!

Posted by Mommy Points | 27 Comments

27 Responses to “My New Favorite IHG Property: Intercontinental Times Square”

  1. United1K says:

    Nice review Summer. I stay at this hotel quite often when I’m in NYC. As a Royal Ambassador, I have not had a bad experience yet. The management team does a great job running the hotel. Glad you had an excellent stay.

  2. Ross says:

    just a quick thing. it’s falafel.. You should have walked just a few blocks west to 9th ave. Food options galore!!

  3. Mommy Points says:

    United1K, glad to hear it from someone who has stayed there many times!
    Ross, ha ha. That’s what I first had and spell check changed it to this. I wish I had more time on this visit for food stops. Food truly was fuel more than anything this time around.

  4. steve says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve considered staying here a few times, but never have made it. I’ve done the IC Barclay on E 48th. I don’t plan to go back to that one, it was pretty bad.

  5. Gary Leff says:

    @Steve this is definitely a better hotel than the IC Barclay. But with New York it’s often most important to choose a hotel based on location. I wouldn’t want to stay in Times Square unless I needed to (and I’ve needed to stay here, and found it quite good overall).

    • steve says:

      @Gary, I know. When I’m in NYC, my meetings are typically on at 43rd and 5th, which is just about smack dab in the middle between Times Square and the Financial District. If I could avoid times square I would, and I picked the Barclays because I wanted to stay away from Times Square. I ended up leaving Barclays early and going to the Radisson Martinique (Times Square), which was worlds better than Barclays. I’ll still keep this IC on my watch list though.

  6. Bill N DC says:

    Hubby & I were just here for our Ambassador weekend 2 4 1. I booked the junior suite – had windows on 3 sides. Since no upgrade available the hotel gave us room service BFast. We enjoyed every aspect but agree the elevator card reader was a bit slow on the uptake. Can’t wait to go back!

  7. Bill N DC says:

    Should add about restaurant food options. Great Tai @ Qi on 8th Av 1 block south. Had great meditranian carryout from 9th Av. Also 9th A 5 napkins burgers & beer. You can walk to Intrepid museum. Loved sitting in the Concorde SST!!

    • Mommy Points says:

      Glad to hear you had a good stay and thanks for adding the food info. Totally agree about the elevator!

    • Ross says:

      better than 5 napkin is Southern Comfort kitty corner to five napkin.

      • Bill n DC says:

        Thanks, Ross I have to say The burger was kind of dry – didn’t need the 5 napkin. Onion rings and Beer were good though. We’ll try So Comfort next trip :-)

  8. Kate says:

    We just stayed here for our annual free night with the IHG card. Our experience was also very positive. Also upgraded to a nice corner room and the everyone on staff was very pleasant to deal with. Agree that it’s great access for the theaters without being right on Times Square which I would consider a negative. We definitely plan to use our free nights there again!
    On the black out curtains, after reading your blog posts on your trip to Alaska, I am packing heavy duty garbage bags and masking tape to try to deal with the light issue. We will be there in three days so still very short nights. I find eye masks very distracting so I’m hoping this will help in a pinch.

  9. Melinda says:

    I agree that the beds are fantastic! I don’t care much for Times Square but but this is a great property.

  10. Rich A. says:

    We’ve stayed at this fine hotel on 3 occasions. Each stay was most enjoyable and we will return again.
    I do however have 2 issues concerning your review and perhaps they’re inter-related.
    As a New Yorker, please explain what you mean by “The check-in staff was helpful and New-York-Friendly at every interaction. New York Friendly is different than Texas friendly, but no less helpful.” If by this you mean New York Friendly is sincere and in-your-face real versus phony and pandering “Texas Friendly”, I would understand but I would have advised not using these two totally opposite terms in your review.
    Lastly, we never had any problems, at any time, utilizing the elevators in this hotel. Operation of same might be a issue with those being “Texas Friendly” as such advanced systems might not yet be available in the land of “Texas Friendly”.

    • Mommy Points says:

      Rich, I’m not sure that Texas or New York friendly is any more or less sincere, but the delivery can be quite different. I lived in both spots, so this isn’t a one-off conclusion I’ve come to. For me New York friendly is going to be far more to the point. Texas friendly is far more likely to ask how your flight in was, what you have planned while you are there, and may have more smiles in the conversation. New York friendly isn’t necessarily any less warm in the conversation, but it’s probably going to be more direct and on topic to the issue at hand…in this case, the check-in process. That can seem curt to those used to “Southern Hospitality”. Certainly not meant to offend as I don’t think one is better than the other, but I do think Northern and Southern states generally do have some differences when it comes to interactions like this one.

      As far as the elevator goes, I think those who live in cities like Manhattan and use elevators and key cards multiple times a day probably would do better on average than folks who don’t, so that may be related for sure. That said, I use elevators and key cards on a somewhat regular basis in various hotel around the world and this system was one of the trickier ones to get right.

      Glad you liked the hotel, too!

  11. David says:

    No mention of Shake Shack? It’s steps away…and open very late if needed.

    • Mommy Points says:

      David, ha ha. I’m not a burger or shake person usually, so totally forgot to mention it. I do remember some folks being very excited about the nearby Shake Shack though! I’m sure my husband would have been one of them!

      • Bill n DC says:

        SS Had lines out the door every time we saw it. I’ll wait to try SS @ new neighborhood site here in DC – Union Station.

  12. Juno says:

    my wife and i were just in NYC this weekend and stayed at the Hyatt Times Square on 45th and 7th and loved it. I will have to try your Intercontinental on another trip!

  13. A. S. says:

    I stayed here last month as it was the only hotel available last-minute for a reasonable price. The hotel is fine, but as an ex-New Yorker, I’m quite put-off by the location. It’s way too touristy (translation: cheesy “theme” restaurants, overpriced everything, heavy pedestrian traffic, etc.). On the plus side, I paid a bit extra for a view room and got a decent-sized (by NY standards) corner room on the second-to-last floor with very nice, open views. This is rare for midtown as most hotels don’t have any views to speak of. This building, of course, is very tall, so they manage some decent views higher up.

  14. Kathy says:

    I stayed at this hotel last November with 3 of my girlfriends for a ladies weekend trip (3 night trip). I used my IHG points earned from my IHG Visa card (with 10% rebate). This was a great hotel, awesome room facing the Hudson River. The staff was great. The concierge and bell men were always friendly and helpful. The hotel was perfectly located within walking distance of many restaurants, the subway lines, theaters, and a drugstore. We did not eat at the hotel. There are so many good places to eat in New York that we preferred get out and eat. Junior’s is right around the corner and it was awesome for breakfast or dinner. There are a lot of family style restaurants nearby too that are great. You can’t go to NY without eating pizza. I would definitely stay at this hotel again. Great hotel in a great location.

  15. Eric S. says:

    The hotel restaurant, Ca Va, is run by Boston chef Todd English, and is really quite good. Try it on your next visit!

    • Mommy Points says:

      Eric, some others on the trip gave the thumbs up for that restaurant, too! So much food, so little time!

  16. Lisa says:

    We used our annual free night cert here last month to see a show. I was emailed a rez with an upgrade to a corner room, but when we checked in, they said it wasn’t ready yet. No big, we went to get lunch. Got a call 15 minutes later that our “Sky View” room was ready… but when we arrived, it was not the corner room we had been promised. Not a bad room, but disappointing. It was only one night, so I didn’t bother complaining. I did like the bathroom and non-white towels for a change!

    We ate at Ca Va – fairly good, but I’d say it was overrated considering you’re in Manhattan. But convenient before the show. We had very good pizza and sangria at a nearby place called Don Giovanni. And it’s not too long of a walk to a great Cajun place for brunch called Delta Grill.

    I forgot about the elevators – that was annoying, but I experienced that in Japan as well. You have to be quick on the draw and already have the key card ready to go when you stop on.

    All told, I would stay here again.

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