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Oyster Hotel Review
A chain hotel that outdoes other chains with thoughtful touches
On an unassuming corner one long block from Times Square, the lovely (if somewhat predictable) InterContinental Times Square is a chain hotel that’s a notch above your typical chain hotel. The interiors by Jeffrey Beers are fresh and clean without being ostentatious, and there are several thoughtful design touches, like different Asian-inspired art in each elevator, and different wall textures everywhere you turn. All guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, many with impressive city views. And downstairs there’s a French brasserie by celebrity chef Todd English.
But for better or worse, the hotel is still part of a world-wide chain, and guests can come here knowing what to expect. The rooms are attractive enough, yet unexciting. There’s a 24-hour business center but there's a fee for all services. The basement is home to several meeting and event spaces.
That said, the hotel went to great lengths to distinguish itself, and in some ways succeeded. The hotel is waiting for LEED certification, the highest honor in the eco-friendly development world, and special measures were taken to achieve this eco-conscious goal: low-flush toilets, moss-covered roofs to absorb heat, a rooftop beehive, and the use of specific, sustainable building materials. There's a touchscreen desktop PC in every guest room, which is impressive even though guests need to pay a daily fee to use the Internet on it (otherwise it's good just for hotel information and basics like Microsoft Word). And the fact that celeb chef Todd English has his version of a French brasserie, Ca Va, in the hotel is nothing to sneeze at -- it's likely to become one of the Theater District's hottest dining spots. Even little touches, like the enclosed garden behind the front desk, go a long way to elevating the hotel above other big-name chains.
In the end, it's still a large chain hotel, but one that's fairly luxurious. Its great location and fresh design make it a good option in its neighborhood, especially when prices aren't exhorbitant (which they sometimes are).
Knowledgable concierges and 24-hour room service
- Concierge is available daily, but weekend and weekday times differ.
- Room service is available 24 hours a day (though the food is not from Ca Va's kitchen)
- Same-day laundry service available
- Daily housekeeping service; nightly turndowns available upon request
- Free newspapers available by hotel elevators (Priorty Club Members receive free delivery each morning)
- Guest services desk handles special requests (birthdays, honeymoons) and also assists Priority Club Members. The desk is open seven days a week.
- Free shoeshine service available
The hotel sits on West 44th Street, just off of Eighth Avenue in the heart of the Theater District. Walk one long block down 44th Street, past old Broadway theaters, and you're in the heart of Times Square, with its flashing lights and oversized billboards. The hotel's immediate neighborhood is a busy area dotted with (fairly unattractive) souvenir shops, electronics stores, bars, and take-out food places. One of New York's best burger-and-shake joints, Shake Shack, has an outpost right next to the hotel.
- One long block away from Times Square
- Right next to an entry for the A,C, and E subway lines; three blocks from an entry to the 1,2,3,S,N,R, and Q subway lines.
- One long block from the restaurants and bars of Hell's Kitchen
- 15 short blocks from the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle and the bottom of Central Park (15 minutes by foot or 10 minutes by subway)
- 18-minute walk to the Museum of Modern Art; 10 minutes by subway
- 25 minutes by subway and bus to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 10 minutes by taxi
- 12 blocks to the Empire State Building (20 minutes on foot; 14 minutes by subway)
- 20- to 25-minute subway ride to Wall Street and the Financial District
- 20- to 25-minute subway ride to the ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Attractive rooms with nice touches like large bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, and desktop PCs
All rooms include:
- Desk with desktop personal computer. Its touchscreen has hotel information, and Internet access can be purchased
- Wi-Fi available for a daily fee
- At least one 42-inch flat-screen TV
- Large bathroom with big rainfall showerhead, lovely blue glass tiling, hairdryer, scale, and Agraria toiletries
- Minibar with snacks and beverages
- Keurig one-cup coffeemaker with free coffee pods
- In-room safe
- Iron and ironing board
- Superior Rooms (which are the standard rooms) are 350 square feet and come with either a king or two double beds. They're located on floors three through seven.
- Deluxe Rooms are the same as Superior Rooms but are on floors 10 and higher.
- Sky View Rooms are only a tiny bit bigger than Deluxe Rooms, but they're on even higher floors and therefore have better views.
- Skyview Avenue Studios (also known as Panoramic Suites) are 550 square feet and have king beds. They are all corner rooms that have floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Eighth Avenue and the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. They also have iHome docking stations and a folding screen that separates the bed from the sitting area. The hotel has 10 of these rooms.
- The three Manhattan Suites are 950-square-foot corner rooms on the 34th floor of the hotel. They have one bedroom with a king bed and a separate living room, which has a dining area. They have views of the Hudson River and Hell's Kitchen.
- The Presidential Suite is 2,700 square feet and is spread out over two floors. Details like a fireplace in the bedroom and mother-of-pearl insets in the living room -- plus gorgeous views out of soaring windows -- make the space extra special. By connecting to regular guest rooms, the Presidential Suite can have up to four bedrooms.
- French brasserie Ca Va with attached lounge
- 24-hour business center. A computer with internet costs $7.50 for 15 minutes (plus another 50 cents for each additional minute). Black-and-white copying and printing costs 50 cents per sheet; color is $1.50 per sheet.
- 24-hour fitness center
- 24-hour room service
- 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space
- Wired and wireless Internet available for a fee; PCs in every room (Internet additional cost)
Nothing especially great for kids, but the location is great
- Cribs are available for free
- Rollaway beds available for a nightly fee
- For families who want to explore kid-friendly sites like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Broadway shows, and Central Park, this hotel provides an extremely convenient location.
A French brasserie by Todd English and 24-hour room service
Todd English's Ca Va is the chef's take on a French brasserie, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner entrees like salmon roulade and rabbit wellington run at a reasonable charge, while appetizers are on the more expensive side. The restauratnt also offers a three-course pre-theater dinner.
- Marche, a French market and cafe, is adjacent to the restaurant and is open for breatfast and lunch. Breakfast foods like croissants and egg sandwiches and lunch foods like panini and quiche are available to-go, or guests can grab a stool and chow down at one of the counters.
- A lounge just off the lobby connects the restaurant to the rest of the hotel, and serves drinks and light fare.
- Room service is available 24 hours a day, though not from the Ca Va kitchen
More refined than many of the chain hotels directly in Times Square, the InterContinental is ideal for those who want class and attentive service without being far from the sites and the bustle of Midtown West. A celebrity chef restaurant, 24-hour business center, easy access to 10 subways, and attractive rooms make this a good option, when prices aren't exorbitant.
Things You Should Know About InterContinental Times Square
- 300 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
- Deluxe Avenue Studio
- Deluxe Corner Room
- Deluxe Double
- Deluxe Room
- Presidential Suite
- Sky View Avenue Studio
- Sky View Corner Room
- Sky View Room
- Superior Corner Room
- Superior Room
- Three Bay Manhattan Suite