Central Theater District location, a two-minute walk to Times Square
In an area surrounded by restaurants, bars, and transportation
Spacious, comfortable rooms -- many with great city views
All rooms have coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, and safes
Choice of two on-site dining options covering all meals
Bar/lounge with Times Square views and popular happy hour
Free access to New York Sports Club gym and its pool
Two business centers and 20,000 square feet of event space
Free Wi-Fi and free local and international calls
Many rooms show wear and could use updates
Daily service fees add up
Breakfast isn't included in all rates
Rooms lack minibars and bottled water
Pool lane time must be booked in advance
The massive upper-middle-range Crowne Plaza is primarily a business hotel, yet its proximity to Times Square brings a good amount of families and tourists into the mix. Its 770 rooms are spacious, and many of them (especially those on higher levels) have great city views. On the downside, decor is predictably generic, and rooms also show some wear. On-site facilities include a lively lobby lounge bar (with daily happy hours) and a full restaurant, plus guests can access a sprawling separately owned gym with a lap pool. The Crowne Plaza is a convenient, comfortable home base in the heart of Times Square. Still, those seeking something with a bit more polish and style might prefer The Time.
Drawing both suited-up business travelers and families on the go to bustling Times Square
The huge, 46-story L-shaped Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square Manhattan dominates its Theater District block on three sides, with multiple entrances leading guests from the ground-floor foyer up to the lobby. Following an $85 million renovation in 2008, the property emerged with a modern aesthetic, although its leather armchairs, wood-paneling, and white tile floors still feel fairly generic, despite a bit of neon lighting adding a touch of color and pizzazz. Apart from the reception desks, and a glassed-in atrium area above the elevators, most of the lobby is dominated by Broadway49 Bar & Lounge -- where guests linger the most -- either with a meal or drinks (there’s a daily happy hour), working on their laptops, or catching a game on one of the big TV screens here. The space is framed with windows overlooking the street so there’s always plenty of action to observe.
While primarily a business hotel, this particular Crowne Plaza attracts all manner of guests including solo travelers, friend groups, and families. To put it in context: for every two briefcases at the Crowne Plaza, there seems to be one Barbie backpack. Those in town for business appreciate the hotel's proximity to Midtown's corporate offices, while those in town for pleasure come for the frenetic energy of Times Square, just two minutes away on foot. Despite a populated lobby bar, most guests treat this property as a place to sleep or stop over, not a spot to hang out and party (not when there's so much to explore nearby). While it isn't the most fashionable spot, it represents a decent deal, especially for those merely looking for clean, comfortable rooms and a central location.
In the heart of Midtown, close to sites, transportation, and the energy of Times Square
This Crowne Plaza is located in the heart of Midtown’s Theater District. It's within easy walking distance of some of the city's most iconic sights, and it's surrounded by an abundance of restaurants, bars, shopping, and public transportation. Walkable highlights include Times Square (two minutes), Radio City Music Hall (eight minutes), Rockefeller Center (nine minutes), Bryant Park (10 minutes), The Museum of Modern Art (aka MoMA) (12 minutes), and Central Park (around 15 minutes). The area is chock-full of theaters, too -- a treat for Broadway fans.
Subway trains and other public transportation are close at hand. It’s a five-minute walk to the 50th Street Subway Station for the 1, 2, and 5 trains; and 10 minutes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal Station. Both Penn Station and Grand Central are around 15 minutes walk away. Depending on the time of day, taxis should be easy to find. All of this means attractions in other neighborhoods can still be easily accessed. The 9/11 Memorial can be reached in a 24-minute subway ride, while the shopping mecca of SoHo is 21 minutes.
The hotel is between 30 and 90 minutes from New York City’s three airports -- JFK, La Guardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan takes around a good hour (or more) in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a cab ride to Midtown Manhattan can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark take more than 90 minutes.
Spacious layouts with city views, but decor remains rather bland
While all guest rooms were renovated in 2008, they might be due for another refresh, as signs of wear are starting to creep in. Throughout, decor is tasteful, if generic in a chain hotel sense: beige walls, dark wood furniture, and a few chrome accents comprise the neutral backdrop. A few patterned textiles add a bit of life, but the striped bedskirts, crosshatched carpets, and check-patterned throw pillows feel a bit mismatched. Still, it does feel entirely appropriate for a largely business-focused property. The rooms' true highlight isn't their look but their views: wide windows showcase some great NYC vistas. Generally speaking, the higher the floor, the more amazing the views, so it’s worthwhile requesting one as high as possible. Corner rooms are particularly sought after for their double exposures.
Rooms have the well-rounded amenities expected of a Crowne Plaza property including flat-screen TVs, alarm clocks, safes, individual climate controls, and free Wi-Fi. Closets also come stocked with irons and ironing boards. What rooms are missing is any sort of mini-fridge or minibar, but they do come equipped with single-cup coffeemakers. Beige-tiled bathrooms are generously sized with shower/tub combos and lovely big mirrors. Their broad vanities are topped with a selection of Templespa toiletries and magnifying mirrors. Hairdryers are also on hand.
Throughout the property, layouts are spacious, and categories are available in Traditional or Times Square View with either king or double beds. Suites are also available, with king beds, one and a half bathrooms, and separate living areas with pull-out sofas. ADA-compliant rooms are also on hand for those with mobility limitations.
Restaurant and bar with a popular happy hour, plus free access to gym with pool
As expected for a chain hotel of this size, the Crowne Plaza does a good job of covering all the expected features that both business and leisure travelers request.
For dining, Brasserie 1605 is the property's on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Note that the restaurant's breakfast buffet isn't included in all rates.) However, most of the action takes place at Broadway49 Bar & Lounge which dominates the lobby with its bar and table seating. Daily happy hour is a hit with guests who often dine here and catch a sports game on one of the big TV screens. Grind & Co. cafe serves basic snacks and espresso coffee to go (although there’s better coffee elsewhere). The cafe also provides room service, but only during the late afternoon and evening. The hotel website claims to offer guests two-drink vouchers (beer or wine) upon arrival, however they weren’t offered to us, so guests eager to get their freebies should speak up during check in.
Those looking to keep up their fitness routines will appreciate the two-level New York Sports Club fitness center located on the 15th floor. While it’s not affiliated with the hotel, guests have free use of the facilities. It's a pretty impressive space complete with a laned pool and another sprawling level of cardio and weight-training equipment, but be prepared to compete with local members for swim and equipment time. Peak hours can be insanely busy, and guests must book lane swim time in advance in order to use the pool.
Business travelers can take advantage of the property's 20,000 square feet of event space, and two business centers are available for guest use. Free Wi-Fi, plus free local and international calls are provided, too. Other services include concierge service, luggage storage, and (pricy) valet parking. Rollaway beds and cribs can be requested as well.
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