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Around the World & Nearly Dead –Intercontinental Times Square Review

In late October of last year, I embarked on a nearly three week around the world journey. Starting with a few days in Washington DC with my family, I eventually made my way up to New York before flying to Europe and then on to Hong Kong.

Some time between Amsterdam and Hong Kong, I developed a bad cough which ultimately morphed into a nasty flu by the time I returned home. (Hence the name.) Ultimately I was bed ridden for nearly two weeks upon my return, but it was still worth it.

Overview & Pricing

Intercontinental Times Square Review

The Intercontinental Times Square is a luxury hotel with a very good location in Manhattan. The hotel is fairly large with 607 modern guestrooms and features a location just blocks from Times Square. I used my annual free night certificate from the IHG Rewards Mastercard, however rates were just north of $500 for the one night I stayed at the property.

Location

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The location of the Intercontinental Times Square is truly fantastic!

The Intercontinental Times Square is located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. As you can see from the map above, it is about a 5 minute walk to Times Square and the subway entrance is conveniently located on the corner. I found the location to be fantastic for getting just about anywhere around Manhattan.

While I was only in New York City for one night, I did find it was easy to catch the subway down to Ground Zero and I also took a nice long walk from the hotel down to the High Line. Being so close to Broadway, there are of course a ton of food and entertainment options as well.

Lobby & Check-In

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The check-in desk is strangely blocked by this support pillar. This causes confusion when trying to line up.
Intercontinental Times Square Review
Hotel entrance.

While the Intercontinental Times Square looks like a luxury hotel, the check-in experience didn’t feel that way to me. First off, the rather cramped lobby is broken up by large structural supports. While I know this is unavoidable in a tall building, one of these supports sits directly in front of the front desk. This made it impossible to form a line, so people just sort of stood there waiting to be called. This resulted in a lack of order and people cutting in line.

Once I did reach the check-in desk, the agent acknowledged my Platinum status and said my benefit was $15 free from the mini-bar. Better than nothing I suppose. Since I was booked into the basic room with the free night, I was given a normal room. The agent was in a rush and didn’t confirm the bed type with me. I had requested a King, but she gave me 2 Queens without even mentioning it. When I reached the room, I decided to go back downstairs to ask if I could change.

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The view from my first room.

This time I talked to a different desk agent who informed me they didn’t have any King rooms available yet. (It was 1PM, so that was understandable.) He said if I wanted to wait a couple of hours, I could have a King room on a high floor. I agreed and left my bag with the doorman and headed down to Ground Zero to check out One World Trade Center on its first day open to the public.

When I returned at 4:30 in the afternoon, I was given the key to my room and went up to discover it was on a low floor. I had decided to wait with the promise that I would have a good view. After an exchange with the hotel’s Twitter team I was finally moved up to a room with a view. While this may all seem a bit petty, these are the types of things that shouldn’t happen at a $500 per night hotel. I found the staff overall to be great, but the front desk staff was short and always in a hurry.

Room Review

Intercontinental Times Square Review
This was my final room. It had decent views of the city and was big enough for 1-2 people.
Intercontinental Times Square Review
The view from my final room at night time.

One of the benefits of having the issues I did was that I got to see a few different rooms. 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 room configuration was different, although as is typical in New York, they were all small.

All of the rooms I saw had the same decor and furniture. Just as one would expect, the decor is very “Manhattan” in a good way. I really loved the room in every way (except size), but the one thing that stood out was the bed. I remember specifically thinking about how the bed was a noticeable step up from the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC. Overall I loved the room.

Facilities & Food

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The hotel has a huge fitness center with the standard range of equipment.

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. The hotel is also home to Todd English’s Ça Va which seemed to be quite popular, although I didn’t get a chance to dine there.

One way to see how a staff really performs is when there is a mistake. In my case there were definitely problems with the rooms and communication from the front desk staff. While I absolutely think there is a ton of room for improvement there, I can say that management genuinely does care.

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The fruit/nut plate and chocolates sent up to my room by hotel management.
Intercontinental Times Square Review
The handwritten note from management.

In the evening after settling into my 3rd room, I took a walk to Times Square. 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 shows the hotel’s management genuinely does care. Despite the fact that I couldn’t really enjoy the wine being by myself, I did enjoy the fruit and the artisan chocolates were amazing!

Conclusion

Intercontinental Times Square Review
The 2nd room I had was more of a square shape, but large windows.

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.

Considering rates at this hotel range from about $250-$750 (which is expensive, but not necessarily for NYC), I think this is a great use of the free night certificate from the IHG Rewards credit card. If you are a credit card holder, don’t expect much in terms of benefits, but you might get a modest view upgrade and $15 at the mini-bar which isn’t bad. In the end, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Intercontinental Times Square again given the right circumstances.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I was considering staying there this September. Are there other hotels you can compare it to? I’d love to get a sense of which you think are good points stays. My wife often goes for work and stays at the Le Meridien (sadly, booted out of SPG).

  2. I stayed at the Intercontinental last year with some girl friends. It was really top notch. The location is awesome. Time Square is just a block away and there were many good restaurants close by. I would definitely go there again.

  3. We stayed there in April and found the soundproofing from the street noise not to be very good considering we were on the very high floor (27th maybe). This stand in sharp contrast with, say, Renaissance Times Square where even on the 2nd floor you can’t hear anything from the outside. Other than that the front desk was welcoming and location was great.

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