Hip Midtown hotel with panoramic views of Times Square
A short walk to Broadway's famed theaters and Times Square
Nicely sized rooms, some with spectacular city or river views
All rooms come with LCD TVs, iPod docks, and mini-fridges
Large public terrace with spectacular views and generous lounge space
Trendy bar and restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows
Fully equipped fitness center with cardio machines and yoga balls
Modern lobby with video game lounge and gift shop
Public computers and free Wi-Fi throughout
Busy, crowded tourist area may be too much for some
Bar and restaurant can be closed without warning
No coffee/tea-makers in rooms, and expensive breakfast buffet
Dark bathrooms with no ventilation fan
Parking is off-site and costs extra
The Novotel New York Times Square is an upper-middle-range hotel with stunning views and a prime Midtown location near theaters and all manner of NYC attractions. All rooms have a sleek design with soft white bedding, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges, though bathrooms can be dark. While this 480-room hotel may feel too busy for some, the broad public spaces covering an outdoor terrace, lobby, bar and restaurant on the main floor gives guests ample breathing room -- not to mention panoramic views of the Broadway area. Its restaurant and bar, Supernova, serves elevated comfort food and modern cocktails, and an on-site fitness center with modern machines rounds out the offerings. All in all, the Novotel represents a good value, particularly for its rates. As an alternative, the similarly priced Paramount Hotel is even closer to Times Square, but lacks the views.
Casual yet trendy hotel situated in buzzy Midtown, with iconic city views
For being a massive 480-room property, the Novotel has an unassuming entrance, with signs that advertise the restaurant and terrace. The first level is little more than a baggage service area and an elevator bank that takes guests up to reception, all surrounded by moody blue lighting and an ambient electronic music soundtrack. Check-in, which produces a very long line at peak hours, takes place in a dark room that feels more like a nightclub than a hotel, with artfully placed tubes of neon-purple lighting. Thankfully, the main floor is a huge open-plan space with plenty of seating for travelers to linger. It's here guests will find the hotel's gift shop, bar and restaurant (Supernova), gaming area, computers, and doors leading to a terrace with show-stopping views.
The property was renovated in 2013, and much of the hotel's design feels nightlife-inspired thanks to its neon lighting. A glance up reveals a variety of starburst chandeliers and orange light fixtures, an attempt to add some hipster gloss to the chain. But most guests -- a mix of business travelers and tourists that includes a good portion of families -- are drawn by the location more than the hotel's look. Business travelers also appreciate the property's meeting rooms, and on our visit many guests were spotted unwinding after long days at the colorful bar. During the day, the property empties out, leaving the bar and restaurant fairly peaceful until nighttime -- when the lights turn low to enhance the panoramic view of flashy Times Square. The vistas can be enjoyed in the dining area, but are unmatched out on the expansive terrace. Having this kind of space makes the hotel a perfect spot for gatherings and parties, although guests have complained that the bar, restaurant, and terrace can be closed for private events without prior warning. For first-timers to New York, the location, constant activity, and views are hard to top. But others might prefer a smaller property with a bit more tranquility.
This hotel is part of the global Novotel chain. Co-founders Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson opened their first Novotel in France in 1967, and since then, they've expanded to 27 countries. This, however, is the only Novotel in the United States, which was placed strategically in the heart of Midtown in 1984 to capitalize on a central location near tourist attractions.
Situated in the heart of Times Square an ideal location for first-time visitors
The Novotel sits at the cross street of 52nd Street and Broadway, which can feel like the bustling New York City captured in movies. To the left of the hotel's entrance are helpful stores such as delis, banks, and pharmacies, and to the right -- the unmistakable lights of Times Square. Although this area isn't known for it's food, quick dining options, like Shake Shack (a 10-minute walk) and the nostalgic Ellen’s Stardust Diner (a two-minute walk), are easily accessible. For nightlife, there are plenty of bars in the area, including the old-school jazz spot Birdland (a nine-minute walk). For shopping, the locale doesn't offer much outside of large flagship stores, but a four-minute walk to the C and E trains can transport visitors to the trendy SoHo neighborhood in under 25 minutes. Reaching the southern corner of Central Park is feasible in a nine-minute walk. For guests with cars, off site parking is available at an extra daily charge.
One-minute walk to the Broadway Theater District
Four-minute walk to local subways
Five-minute walk to Times Square at 42nd Street
Seven-minute walk to Radio City Music Hall
Eight-minute walk to The Museum of Modern Art
Nine-minute walk to Central Park
10-minute walk to Rockefeller Plaza
13-minute subway ride to the Empire State Building
30-minute subway ride to Battery Park (with ferries to the Statue of Liberty)
77-minute drive to John F. Kennedy Airport (with no traffic)
Spacious, simply decorated rooms with modern amenities like iPod docks
The Novotel's 480 rooms start on the ninth floor and continue up to the 33rd, and as far as views are concerned, the higher the better. However, it's worth noting only room categories labeled with "Times Square View" have windows overlooking the iconic square. (Others have city or Hudson River views, which are pleasant but not as breathtaking.) Following a 2013 renovation, guest rooms were redone in decor that echoes the lobby's modernism, though here it's much more subdued. A soft, neutral palette of gray, white, and taupe hues are used throughout, offset by modern pops of blue on the headboard and artwork displaying neon-colored abstract shapes. Rooms offer a few lighting options: illuminated headboards, reading lamps, and floor lamps in rooms that have sofas. Each room has a flat-screen TV, iPod dock, free Wi-Fi, and alarm clock. Sleek, simple desks paired with rolling chairs also come standard. Safes and mini-fridges are included, but there is no coffee/tea-maker on hand unless requested. Every closet has an iron, ironing board, and a bag for laundry service, too. Bathrooms are attractively tiled in a dark-brown color, but this paired with their dim lighting is far from functional and can make these spaces murky. Sinks are also fairly shallow, although the walk-in showers are equipped with rainfall showerheads an fair-trade toiletries.
Expansive terrace facing Times Square, restaurant and bar, and fitness center with great views
The Novotel advertises its epic views as their top feature, and they live up to the hype. The wraparound terrace is open even in colder months to take in epic views of the city. Purple chairs, sofas, and tables are nestled into cozy groupings, and highboys and stools are strategically placed throughout for guests to take in the scene while sipping cocktails. (It's worth noting that during colder months this area isn't at its best. On our winter visit, furniture was slightly scattered or covered, and portions of the terrace were roped off.)
Panoramic views can also be enjoyed in the restaurant and bar, Supernova, where seating is arranged to face the windows. Supernova offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a pricey but satisfying buffet offering a decent spread including favorites like French toast, bacon, eggs, fruit, and potatoes. Regular coffee and tea are included in the buffet fee, but items such as a cappuccino or a latte will cost extra. Lunch and dinner here (for a fee) serves up elevated American comfort food like lobster mac and cheese. The bar’s cocktail menu is varied and internationally inspired with options like a strawberry-basil take on the Brazilian caipirinha, or the restaurant’s namesake, the Spicy Supernova with Sriracha lime juice. Seating in Supernova is fairly spread out and spacious, and some booths have charging stations for phones and laptops. The hotel's room service menu has most of the same items as downstairs, and a gratuity fee is tacked on to each order.
The hotel's terrace and restaurant aren't the only public spaces with killer views: The fitness center also benefits from huge windows facing Times Square, where bright colorful flashes of light make working out just a bit more fun. The large space is also fully equipped with modern machines, yoga balls, and weights.
The business center on the other hand isn't quite as advertised. Rather than being a separate "center," it's simply two Mac computers by the reception area, though they offer enough to stay connected, and items can be printed on request. Two meeting rooms are also available if booked in advance. The lobby level also has a small video game area with consoles, two flat-screen TVs, and low leather gaming chairs, as well as a wall of TVs playing different channels. It's a spot usually occupied by children.
A help desk is located in the lobby as well to aid guests with questions about the hotel, transportation, and things to do in the area. Just to the left of the lobby entrance is a convenient gift shop to purchase forgotten items, along with drinks, snacks, and souvenirs. Guests can store luggage on the first floor near the hotel entrance, and off site parking is available for a fee. Animal lovers also appreciate that the hotel is pet friendly; there's no charge for the first dog or cat under 50 pounds.
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