Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The 533-room Martinique takes a run-of-the-mill, mid-range chain that caters largely to business travelers and infuses it with turn-of-the-(20th)-century charm.
Occupying a stately French Renaissance building, but owned and operated by a major mid-range hotel chain, the Radisson Martinique represents a curious blend of old and new, upscale and ordinary, American and European. The property was renovated in 2007 and again in 2011, but it was originally built at the turn of the 20th century by the eminent American architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, who also designed the famous Plaza and Waldorf-Astoria hotels and the Dakota apartment building where John Lennon lived (and was assassinated).
The soft, yellowish lighting in the lobby and other open spaces lends an almost cinematic air to the place. After walking inside for the first time, I couldn't help thinking of the hotels where Robert Redford and his teammates stay in The Natural. And after peering down 18 floors from the top of the wrought-iron spiral staircase, I couldn't help thinking of the in Ghostbusters when they trudge up a similar stairwell.
Koreatown. The area is less popular than Times Square (10 blocks away), but it's still an interesting neighborhood within blocks of numerous sites.
The Martinique is on the corner of 32nd Street and Broadway, which puts it 10 short blocks south of one of the busiest intersections in the world, at 42nd and Broadway in Times Square. Those 10 blocks make a big difference, though. While it's not exactly quiet -- few spots on Broadway are -- the area is significantly less touristed than its neighbor to the north.
The area is a bit of a no-man's land. If you feel compelled to describe the location by name, call it Koreatown, or K-Town -- which isn't an official neighborhood but is a perfectly good tag for the two blocks outside the hotel home to a myriad of karaoke clubs and Korean BBQ restaurants.
In fact, 32nd Street is K-Town's main drag. Walk down the block, away from Broadway, and most of the neon you see will be in Korean. You barely have to leave the hotel to get a taste -- literally -- of Korea. You can grab a plate of bi-bim-bap at KumGangSan, then go across the street to Ding Dong Dang for karaoke. At the least, you'll have fun explaining to your friends what you did last night ("Had me some 'bi-bim-bap' at KumGangSan, then got my sing-song on at Ding Dong Dang ...").
One of the best things about the location is that right outside the hotel's doors is a subway stop where you can catch the B/D/F/M and the Q/N/R lines. You can go north to Times Square and beyond, or south toward Union Square and the Village.
Also close by: the Empire State Building (one block away), Penn Station (about two blocks), Madison Square Garden (two blocks), and the Macy's at Herald Square (about three blocks).
Safety-wise, you should be fine. A lot of the restaurants and karaoke clubs on 32nd Street are open 24 hours, so the block remains well-lit and reasonably populated throughout the night. Greeley Park, across the street from the hotel, is a nice little place to rest your legs and people-watch during the day, but just to be sure, avoid it at night.
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting to town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than getting there 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 $50 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 $15 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 $7.5 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
Rooms feature stardard chain hotel decor with a black and off-white palette, modern artwork on walls, and hints of color throughout, including accent walls in some rooms.
The Martinique boasts many of the usual amenities of a business-oriented big-city hotel, but because of its location in Manhattan, where space comes at a premium, these features are modest by most standards:
Fine, but not ideal, for families
Given the Martinique's focus on business travelers, along with its traditional decor, it's not terribly surprising that not many families opt for the Martinique. There's no reason, however, not to bring the family. The area is safe and wholesome enough.
Dogs and cats are welcome. The Martinique prides itself on its pet-friendliness.
If you're a dog lover, you might get a kick out of the fact that many of the contestants in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, the most famous dog show in the country, stay here for the February event.
For your own furry friend, the hotel allows pets for a refundable deposit and an additional daily fee.
It's a mid-size, mid-range business hotel, but don't dismiss the Martinique as middling. For a fair price, you get a clean, comfortable room in a building with history, character; three restaurants, and a decent gym. Technically located in Midtown West, the Martinique is actually in a unique subsection of the neighborhood called Koreatown.