Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
When the Hilton's glass tower opened in 2000, it was styled to compete with the nearby W Times Square, and with its minimalist, dark wood scheme, it's considerably more attractive than most Hilton properties. Unlike the more business-focused Hilton New York, this hotel attracts more leisure travelers, in large part because of its prime location in the heart of Times Square -- New York's primary tourist hub.
The entrance -- amid iconic flashing ads -- can feel a bit chaotic, but the rooms don't begin until the 23rd floor and are far more quiet and serene. (A movie theater and restaurant occupy the building's first 20 stories and have a completely separate entrance.) Elevators on the bright, secure ground level take guests to the 21st-floor sky lobby, which includes the front desk, the Restaurant Above, and Pinnacle Bar.
Concierge services -- ranging from planned shopping trips to theater tickets -- are available, and the service is prompt, attentive, and generally accommodating.
On the whole, the service is professional and very reliable -- like at most Hilton properties the world over. Requests for extra towels or blankets are consistently delivered within minutes. Even elaborate room-service requests -- like a Pepsi with a glass of ice, lemon and lime wedges, and packets of Splenda -- are delivered promptly and accurately.
Dominating famous 42nd Street, among the iconic lights of Times Square, the Hilton is in tourist central. The massive Times Square puts New York at guests' feet.
In Times Square, New York's most popular -- and most crowded -- tourist desitnation, skyscrapers and neon marquees consume every visible lot. Times Sqaure is also New York's primary transport hub, and there are 12 subway lines to virtually anywhere in the city within a half-block of the hotel.
The Theater District and the bulk of Broadway shows are all within walking distance. The city's largest movie theater is within the same structure as the hotel, and it also includes gaming chain Dave and Buster's. Directly across the street, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill hosts some of New York's most popular concerts. Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum is another 42nd Street must-see, no more than a stone's throw from the hotel entrance.
The Top of the Rock observation deck, ice rink, giant Christmas Tree, and Radio City Music Hall, is also less than 10 minutes away by foot.is a 10-minute walk away, and the southern tip of Central Park isn't much farther. Rockefeller Center, with its
30 to 90 minutes from three airports.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting into town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate of $45 and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan costs about $40 and can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 plus tolls and can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that are available at all three airports for about $14 per person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. Public transit is also available for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
Clean, bright, modern rooms that start at a huge 330 square feet -- some of the biggest rooms in Times Square.
On its website the hotel touts "the largest standard size rooms in Manhattan," which weigh in at an impressive 330 square feet. For cramped , that really is impressive. By comparison, standard rooms at the W Times Square are about 288 square feet, and rooms at the Westin Times Square are 310. The newly renovated Crowne Plaza may take the cake, however, at 425 square feet.
Rooms sport all the major modern comforts: an ergonomic desk chair, a 37-inch LG flat-screen TV with custom music channels, a with an MP3 player hook-up (though the hotel didn't seem to have any wires for me to connect my iPod), an electronic safe, a minibar, and plush -- more than the nearby Marriott Marquis offers. Internet service is available, but it costs an extra $14 per day.
Rooms start on the 23rd floor, which means that they come with an impressive view of the city and -- at least with the windows closed -- don't get any of the street noise common with most Times Square hotels.
The Hilton has a free, 24-hour, modern fitness center. The window views from its many cardio machines, all of which have personal video screens, are some of the hotel's best. Unlike at -- or at another Hilton New York property, the Waldorf Astoria -- guests can use the fitness facilities for free.
There is plenty of space for meetings and conventions, but the business center is less flattering -- it's basically just a tiny crawl space with two aged computers and two . Throw in a couple bunk beds and you'd have submarine sleeping quarters.
Valet parking costs $42 to $52 (depending on vehicle size) for 24 hours.
Pets under 75 pounds are welcome for a onetime $75 fee. But the crowds, concrete, and insanely bright lights of Times Square are not particularly pet-friendly.
The hotel's large, clean rooms are fine for guests traveling with their pets, but the Hilton does not offer additional services like dog walking or in-room treats.
Kids stay free in rooms with their parents, and standard and deluxe rooms with two double beds range from 330 to 360 palatial square feet. Rooms can also be connected, and rollaways can be brought in (at $30 per night) to rooms with a king bed. The kids' breakfast buffet at Restaurant Above costs $10 and includes toast, eggs, pancakes, bacon, and juice. There is also a separate kids' menu at dinner.
It's now been about 15 years since the introduction of "New Times Square," where family-friendly chain restaurants (like the Applebees right next door!) and toy stores replaced the peep shows and hustlers.
The neighborhood is safe and appealing for kids, and it just became even more so: In May 2009 the city closed Broadway off to traffic between 42nd and 47th streets, making Times Square even more pedestrian-friendly.
All surfaces, including tabletops, carpets, and bathroom fixtures, were spotless. The dishes from room service looked brand-new, and housekeeping carts made the rounds often enough to take care of any and all in-room needs. The towels weren't stained, the TV wasn't smudgy, and the desk didn't have any evidence that someone had sat there before us.
The hotel’s lone restaurant, Above, offers great views but overpriced, mediocre food. Plan to leave the premises for better meals.
The Restaurant Above and Pinnacle Bar are located just beyond the reception and concierge desks in the lobby. Both were virtually empty during and after dinner, which is hardly surprising given the amount of restaurant options in the immediate vicinity.
Given the quality of the food, the menu is a bit overpriced, with a basic breakfast buffet for $26. Although the broad American menu offers enough to please a range of palates, lunch entrees cost around $15 and dinners start at around $25. The views are nice, but there are far better options, for less money, all over New York.
Located in the heart of Times Square, this 460-room Hilton combines the brand's comfort and reliability with more style than the Hilton New York, a better gym than the Marriott Marquis, and more in-room perks -- like a minibar and plush -- than most midrange hotels.