Times Square is synonymous with tawdry, touristy New York. The blinding lights, the monstrous advertising, naked cowboys and strange mascots peddling for your money. It’s sensory overload in the city that never sleeps. Hotels in the area, you’d think, would follow suit. But The Time is anything but tacky. Where the outside world is trying too hard, The Time is effortlessly cool, inside and out.
In the literal centre of Manhattan, the best of the city is at your finger tips: Broadway musicals (Chicago is across the street), incredible food (world’s best ramen just around the corner) and the weirdest, most eccentric bar in the world is just steps way. Trust me, go to Lilly’s, settle in for world-class people watching and thank me later.
But being smack dab in the centre of everything has its disadvantages, if you want to take a car anywhere. Hail an Uber or flag an iconic yellow taxi easily – and prepare to wait and wait and wait in gridlock.
In a city that only grows upward, logically, the hotel is not a sprawling place. But the entire hotel feels light and airy, and rooms feel shockingly, well, roomy. The Time is a sleek, high-tech delight – think Don Draper meets George Jetson. You’ll find the bedside table also charges your phone, and your room’s massive mirror is also an uber high-tech TV.
The lobby is all white, modern and spacious – an instant calm from the madness of Times Square. The design, if you look closely enough, still pays homage to its theatrical neighbourhood with heavy velvet curtains and whimsical, artistic touches.
If I could change one thing
In the rooms, a chic glass wardrobe makes you forget there’s no closet space, and the elevator ride – though cramped – is over before you know it. But it’s in the bathroom that lack of space becomes a deal breaker. With no shelves nor vanity space, there’s simply no room to put your basics. You can manage to fit two tooth brushes on the sink’s edge, if you’re careful. For our trip – a girls’ weekend in the Big Apple – where makeup and brushes and hair straighteners were a-flowing, counter space was deeply missed.
It’s a three-way tie: The absolute silence, considering the geography, was magical. The pillows were a gift from the heavens. The sinfully scented amenities (exclusive to the hotel from Parisian designer Maison Margiela) were a treat, I could have lain in bed all day, hugging the pillows, smelling the creams and embracing the quiet – except, of course, Manhattan waits at the doorstep.
Eat in or eat out
The Time’s in-house restaurant is bumping at all hours with legit New Yorkers mixed with hipster tourists, and the wood-fired pizza smells delicious. But in truth, in this city, where anything is possible and food is a craft, you must experience all that Manhattan has to give.
The Time, 224 West 49th St., New York, thetimeny.com; 193 rooms starting at $250 (U.S.).
The writer received a reduced rate from the hotel.