Very small breakfast room; larger lounge area can get congested
The 94-room, upscale Pearl Hotel has a convenient location just off of Times Square and is surprisingly quiet for the area. Modern rooms have super comfy Sterns & Fosters mattresses and big fluffy pillows, Keurig machines with top-end coffees and teas, and large rainfall showerheads. And although there's an American grill restaurant and bar attached to the hotel, the property also offers a free continental breakfast buffet (although the space can get cramped), hosted wine and cheese hour, and 24-hour tea, coffee, and snacks. (Don't worry, you can work off the extra calories in the small, but impressive fitness room.) There aren't many rooms per floor, allowing for more privacy. While prices are pretty neck-and-neck with similar hotels in the neighborhood, the Andaz Fifth Avenue is a good option for those wanting to be a little farther away from the Times Square action.
A quiet retreat from noisy Time Square with contemporary and stylish decor (and a slightly nouveau-riche vibe)
Located in the Theater District and marked with a small sign, the Pearl Hotel is fairly easy to miss, especially with the distracting mob of across the street at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre hoping to win Book of Mormon lottery tickets. However, once you step through the hotel's heavy glass doors, the scene is surprisingly serene. The hotel's upscale, but hip decor kicks off in the lobby with beautiful lighted spheres dropping down from the double-height ceilings, a snazzy and decorative terrazzo floor, wood-paneled walls, and a few faux-brick columns. The front desk has a modern fluid shape with red lighted accents, and there are always at least two attendants available to help guests.
On this ground level, guests will find the lobby, with comfy and stylish seating areas; a tea, coffee, and snack station; front desk with concierge services; entrance to the adjacent restaurant and bar, a set of public restrooms; and the hotel's two-computer business center outfitted with a printer and up-to-the-minute airline flight status monitor. A quick trip up the elevator to the second floor brings guests to the breakfast room (locked except during breakfast hours), additional restroom, and the hotel's small but impressive fitness room.
There is also a large, hip lounge area where both the free breakfast and wine and cheese hour take place. The rush of people during the breakfast hour tends to ruin the classy vibe of the hotel, but overall is not a problem. During the day and night, many hotel guests can be found here tapping away at their laptops or reading a book -- although this is a big space, the vibe is not very social (although you can easily overhear personal conversations) and it can get cramped during the breakfast rush. Again, the space has little to no outside noise save the occasional megaphone announcement from the theater across the street. With only about seven rooms per floor, the hotel feel comfortable and quiet, a great respite from the vibrantly chaotic vibe just outside the front door. Guests with vision concerns may want to bring a flashlight to navigate the extremely dark hallways. Adjacent to the hotel, E&E Chophouse, providing lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, is filled with Broadway memorabilia and has a casual feel.
The hotel attracts a nearly even mix of couples and families, but business travelers will also likely appreciate the business center, free Wi-Fi, and personal voicemail.
In the Times Square Theater District, across from the Eugene O'Neill Theatre
In an ideal tourist location, the Pearl Hotel is not only next to Times Square and surrounded by Broadway theaters, it is also within walking distance of over two handfuls of subway lines, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Central Park South, and Rockefeller Center. Although the area is highly congested and weaving in and around crowds will be necessary, this convenient location is hard to beat -- especially for anyone looking to see the hit Broadway musical Book of Mormon, which is just across the street from the hotel. This is also one of the only areas in New York where there is a high concentration of national chain restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, and Ruby Tuesdays, located alongside local favorites such as Shake Shack and a slew of established eateries and bars. As this is one of the main pulse areas of the city, Pearl guests have almost everything they could want within a 15- to 20-minute walk (or much less!) from the hotel's front doors, from live entertainment, to shopping, to a barrage of dining options, and peaceful green spaces.
Large rooms with contemporary decor and sleep-inducing amenities, but some furniture appears flimsy or worn
While you may not notice that the hallways and doors at the Pearl Hotel are extra-wide, you can definitely feel it. Rooms are comfortably spacious for New York City and bathrooms don't feel cramped. There is a large variety of room categories; upgrades can get you king-size Sterns & Foster Trivoli mattresses in the bedrooms, extra features such as balconies and kitchenettes (rare in Manhattan), separate living room areas with sofa beds, and bathrooms with separate (and small) tubs. All guest rooms have the same upscale decor: dark wood furniture, neutral colors on the walls and carpets, blue and brown fabric accents, and leather headboards. Unfortunately, during our stay we noticed that the carpets in our room were slightly dirty (most likely due to normal wear and tear) and some of the furniture was dinged up or warped and felt a bit flimsy. The bathrooms have a gorgeous narrow slate tiling, massive rainfall showerheads, and Philosophy toiletries. Suites have a small and unadjustable flat-screen TV in the bathroom, and large flat-screens in both the living area and bedroom. Thankfully, all rooms are soundproofed and come with blackout curtains, making it easy to escape the nearby noise from bustling Times Square. Bathrobes are provided in the closet, along with extra pillows and in-room safes. Suites also include slippers. And while each room has a Keurig machine with a tiny selection of Wolfgang Puck Coffee and teas, Suites also feature microwaves and mini-fridges.
Hosted wine hour, 24-hour snacks, a gym to work it out, and business amenities to stay prepared; adjacent restaurant and bar
With a free daily wine and cheese hour in the second floor lounge, hosted by the hotel manager, guests can enjoy a few aperitifs before heading out to a show, dinner, or the busy NYC streets. The spread includes a white and red wine, basic selection of (surprisingly delicious) cheese cubes, crackers, and veggies with dip. While the hour isn't particularly social, it can be amusing to observe the crowd across the street anticipating the results of the show's ticket lottery, or a nice way to plan out the evening. If you miss this hosted hour, there are 24-hour infused water and light snacks available downstairs in the lobby, and coffee and tea facilities on the second floor.
The hotel also has a free continental breakfast spread up set up in the second floor lounge with free newspapers. The selection is generous (if basic), including bagels, cereals, juices, fresh fruit, and hot drinks, and the top-class condiments can include flavored cream cheese and a variety of jams and flavored coffee creamers. There is also an adjacent steakhouse, E&E Chophouse, which features American cuisine, cocktails, and pre-theater specials. If you find yourself stuffed to the brim at the Pearl, fear not, there is a small, but impressive fitness center available just beyond the second-floor lounge. It's bright, mirrored, and filled with a fair amount of Life Fitness cardio machines, free weights, a water cooler, and even a few yoga mats. They've also got your towel situation covered right when you walk in, and free headphones are at the front desk.
For business travelers or tourists who didn't feel like bringing a computer, there is a business center downstairs with printer and handy monitor displaying up-to-date flight statuses. Business travelers can also take advantage of the personal telephone line and voicemail, while everyone gets free Wi-Fi. The hotel also provides a concierge service at the front desk -- where you can call if you need anything from forgotten toothpaste to a bucket of ice. Parking is available at a discount.