Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Guests don't pick the Manhattan at Times Square Hotel for its bland and outdated decor. But the 659-room hotel's good fitness center and outdoor sundeck clearly distinguish it from a great many Manhattan hotels, making it a popular pick among families. Just don't expect luxury -- the hotel's hallways and rooms have worn and stained carpet.
At the center of busy Midtown West, close to nearly every subway line and most midtown tourist attractions, such as the MoMA, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and Broadway theaters.
The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel is located smack in the middle of the Midtown West action, which is noisy and congested more often than not, but is about a 10-minute walk from the considerably more crowded and noisy center of Times Square.
The hotel's block, on 7th Avenue at West 51st Street, consists mainly of office buildings, a McDonald's, a Starbucks, and a number of less-than-notable diners and bars. For great shopping and high-end dining, guests should check out Columbus Circle, a 10- to 15-minute walk north of the hotel.
Also within walking distance, there are several points of interest. Rockefeller Center, for shopping, ice-skating, and dining, is just five blocks away. Radio City Music Hall is only three blocks away. The MoMA and all its modern-art glory is an easy four-block walk. The theater district and all its Broadway shows are also just a short walk away. Central Park is also about a 15-minute walk north.
Getting anywhere else in the city isn't a problem. Doormen are on hand to help flag down taxis, and the hotel is close to the majority of the city's subway lines at the Times Square 42nd Street station (a 10-minute walk). Lines covering the east side of Manhattan run through Grand Central Terminal, a 25-minute walk from the hotel. That station is also accessible via the shuttle subway train from Times Square.
Safety shouldn't be a huge concern, since the person who coined the phrase "the city that never sleeps" was delighting in the activity of Midtown. Even late at night, it's difficult to be alone on the streets of this neighborhood.
The Deluxe rooms, like the Standard rooms, are 253 square feet, but sit on higher floors and feature better amenities, including iPod docks. Guests can also book a 570-square-foot suite with a wet bar, a dining-room table that seats six, and views of Broadway and 52nd Street.
If there's any area in which the hotel makes up for lackluster decor and uninspiring rooms, it's in its on-site amenities.
Families constitute the majority of guests at the Manhattan at Times Square -- in large part due to the indoor pool on the fifth floor (currently closed for renovations). There's a pool attendant there, but no lifeguard, and signs urge parents not to leave their children unattended in the area.
Russo's Restaurant is only open for breakfast, but there are other options nearby.
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports
New York 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 $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.
With worn rooms and a weak restaurant, the 665-room Manhattan at Times Square Hotel isn't exceptional. But its location -- just 10 short blocks north of Times Square -- and great on-site features like a large fitness center, a nice sundeck, and free computer access in the lobby area make it a great choice for the price, especially for families.