Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Moroccan-themed boutique with nods to classic film Casablanca
Taking its cue both from the Moroccan city and the classic film, the Casablanca Hotel is awash in period decor. From the blue-on-white tile at the entrance to the Rick's Cafe common room to the painting of lions above the gas fireplace to the stand-up piano and rattan furniture, this space may have you mangling lines from the movie. Guests are predominantly leisure tourists rather than business, skewing mid-30s and older: think middle-aged couples making a trip to the Big Apple who are determined to make Times Square the centerpiece of their stay. The atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed and cozy given the busy Times Square location.
Situated in the heart of Times Square
The Casablanca Hotel sits just off of Times Square on a busy street bustling with tourists, office workers, and the auto and foot traffic of Manhattan's busiest neighborhood. Transportation-wise, it's two blocks from the multi-line Times Square subway station, and a 15-minute walk from Grand Central Terminal. (It's also arguably either the easiest or most frustrating place in the entire city to hail a cab, depending on the time of day.) First-time visitors to the Big Apple will find themselves perfectly situated to soak in the bright lights of the big city -- and a reasonably short subway or cab ride from the museums and big attractions. Frequent visitors, business travelers, ex-New Yorkers, and those who tend to avoid Times Square will find swimming upstream against the crowds of tourists to be annoying.
Small rooms are cozy.
Though warmly decorated with simple but fresh decor, rooms are small, ranging from 225 square feet for a petite to 375 square feet for the mini suites. The height of the surrounding buildings guarantees that pretty much any window will have little or no view (in fact, several inward-facing windows had blinds on the outside), and those that do face the street let in an audible amount of noise from traffic. One of the reasons the rooms may seem smaller, however, is that they come with plush queen-sized beds. Bathrooms were likewise small, and the smallest rooms have only a standing shower rather than a bathtub. There are no mini-fridges or coffeemakers in the rooms, but they have iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
Free continental breakfast, free wine and cheese hour, and passes to a nearby gym
The hotel, like others in the Library Hotel chain, hosts a daily, free wine and cheese hour in the evenings in the Rick's Cafe common area. There is no in-house gym, but the hotel will provide guests with passes to one of the New York Sports Clubs nearby. There is also no in-house kitchen or restaurant, but room service is handled by Tony DiNapoli's family-style Italian restaurant, which shares building space. Free continental breakfast is also served in Rick's Cafe, and Wi-Fi is free, too.
The 48-room Casablanca Hotel is a cozy boutique located in the heart of bustling Times Square. Despite its small rooms, this hotel offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan. Lovers of the Bogart classic film or Moroccan style (or at least the movie version of Morocco) will find the place charming -- Rick's Cafe is a nice spot where a free continental breakfast and evening wine and cheese hour is served. This hotel offers an excellent value for the location, and Wi-Fi is free.
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