Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Business travelers, families, and large groups provide a constantly bustling atmosphere.
With 863 guest rooms spread across 40 floors, the Westin is big, but not nearly as big as other Times Square convention-focused hotels like the nearby Marriott Marquis (1,949 rooms) or the Sheraton Hotel & Towers (1,750 rooms). Still, it's located just a block away from the heart of Times Square, and the lobby can feel as busy during the day as 42nd Street, right outside the hotel.
Overall, this hotel isn't a bad option, but it's not a great one either. Extra fees -- for gym access or Internet-- are ample, which isn't the case at many New York hotels. And while you can count on Westin to deliver its signature "Heavenly Bed," you can still get a comfortable night's sleep at a number of competing hotels in the area, and often at a lower price.
One block away from the heart of Times Square and diagonally across from the Port Authority, the entryway for many bus passengers.
The hotel stretches from 42nd to 43rd streets along Eighth Avenue, just one short block from the heart of Times Square and at the same intersection as the Port Authority, the city's main bus depot. The back side of the hotel opens up to 42nd Street, which is chock-full of franchise restaurants like Chevy's (Mexican) and plenty of tourist-focused shops. The hotel is connected to a large shopping and theater complex called E-Walk, which has a 13-plex movie theater and various shops.
Though once seedy, Times Square was reborn in the mid-'90s as a commercialized tourist haven, lit by 24-hour flashing billboards and theme restaurants like ESPN Zone and Bubba Gump Shrimp. Today, visitors walking the streets are more likely to be accosted by a comedy-club promoter, a rickshaw bicycle operator, or a caricature artist than a mugger. It's crowded, but there's something unquestionably exhilarating -- and convenient -- about staying in the neon-lit heart of the city. Plus, the mayor recently decided to close off much of Broadway to traffic, making it more pedestrian-friendly.
In 2012, the hotel announced a five year renovation plan that will spruce up about 700 rooms, corridors, and various public spaces. Rooms will have a new color scheme, bigger TVs, more lighting, more seating, and larger bathrooms with more schelving.
The Traditional Room -- the most basic room -- comes with either a king bed or two doubles; at 350 square feet, it's larger than many New York boutique hotel rooms and bigger still than the Hilton Times Square, which boasts the "biggest standard size rooms in Manhattan" (for some reason).
There's a wide variety of alternative room options, ranging from a Spa Room to a Westin Workout Room (which comes with complimentary use of the fitness center) to a Renewal Suite, which has a Kohler whirlpool tub, exercise area, and spa shower.
All rooms include:
Large rooms and a fun, family-focused Times Sqare location make the Westin an excellent family hotel.
The traditional rooms are among the biggest standard rooms in the city at about 350 square feet, and they can easily fit a rollaway bed for an extra per night fee. Cribs are complimentary.
As a treat for families, children 12 and under get a knapsack with items that give tips on where to go and what to do in New York. The ideas aren't especially original -- the American Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty -- but it's a good intro. For nearby distractions, there's E-Walk, a shopping and theater complex that has curio stalls, cinemas, and fast-food establishments. Other kid-friendly food options include Auntie Anne's pretzels (for a snack) and Chevy's Mexican restaurant.
Within walking distance, family attractions in Times Square include Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum on 42nd Street across the street. M&M World and Toys 'R Us -- the biggest toy store in the world -- are a few blocks away.
Pets less than 40 pounds are allowed for free.
Unlike at the nearby Hilton Times Square or W Times Square, pets are allowed in the hotel at no extra charge, as long as they weigh less than 40 pounds. Owners just have to sign a waiver when checking into the hotel, and pets left alone in the room need to be kept in a carrier case.
Dogs get a free Heavenly Dog Bed during their stays.
A quality steakhouse and cocktails at a mellow lobby lounge, plus 24-hour room service. There are plenty of fast-food and chain restaurants right outside the hotel, but you'll find better options within walking distance.
Awarded a Silver Leaf Certification from the Green Seal Organization in 2008.
Considerable recycling and energy-conservation practices are implemented throughout the hotel -- saving the hotel a bundle, and saving the earth in the process -- including biodegradable, 100 percent recycled room keys; minimum 30 percent post-consumer printer and copier paper; energy-efficient lighting; and enviornmentially safe cleaning products.
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 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.
This bustling, convention-focused, 863-room Westin comes with a prime Times Square location, a high-quality gym, a business center, a spa, a steakhouse, 24-hour room service, and enormous rooms with famously comfortable beds. But there are price gouges -- fees for Internet and gym access.