I’d initially booked the Holiday Inn Express Times Square South for my second night in NYC, but a week ago, I checked again for 2 double bed availability. As it turns out, the IHG group opened up another new property in Times Square, and this newly-opened had 2 double-bed availability, and got some incredible value out of it. I booked a 2 double-bed view room, which was retailing at close to ~$600 this weekend (whoa!). This property is better than its sister property round the corner, because at the 32nd level, I had great views of the New York City skyline.
Check In/Check Out
I was allowed to check in early at around noon. There was a couple in front of me, but once it was my turn, it probably took all of two minutes. I was thanked for my Platinum loyalty (ha! If only they knew!). I am not sure if it is a platinum benefit, or as the receptionist claimed, “you are only staying one night”, but I was given a complimentary breakfast for two. Check out was also quick, once we managed to take the elevator (more on that later), and was a 30 second affair.
The decor is significantly more modern than the older Holiday Inn Express from the previous night. The size of the room is fairly similar to the previous room, and the two double beds pretty much took up all the space. There are many USB outlets in the room for charging your regular USB devices, e.g. phones, tablets. I appreciated having some power by the bedside, as I had to charge my electronics on the table the last night.
The coffee machine is not a real coffee machine. It is more like a hot water boiler thing, and they put out two tea bags, and two sachets of coffee. The compact room also has everything you could need – hair dryer, safe, mini refrigerator, iron, ironing board. I didn’t use the closet, but wow, was it narrow! The bed was also very comfortable.
The bathroom just has a shower stall, a pseudo-rain shower, and apparently, they stock Bath and BodyWorks products, but from the signature collection, which I shall characterize as coconut-y. On a random note, the different hotel chains and their different tie-ups with different amenities really lets me experiment – I am not a fan of Bath and BodyWorks.
Now to the main selling point of this room – it was on 8th Ave, and offered amazing views of New York City’s skyline. We could see the Empire State Building from our room, and so, we did spend quite a bit of time simply staring out of our room window.
As this Holiday Inn is still new, their in-house breakfast was not available yet (I assumed). We were given vouchers to head towards Beer Authority round the corner for our breakfast. Breakfast was simple. We could choose one item from a menu, and were given coffee/tea and juice. Items ranged from a breakfast bar of muesli, yoghurt, and fruits, to an English breakfast of omelette, fried tomato, tatter tots, bacon and ham. I got the lox bagel, which had a very generous helping of salmon.
I felt I got good value out of this stay with my points, and the view really made this one-night stay amazing. But the hotel is still a work-in-progress. In the morning, during the rush hour for hotel guests traffic, one of the elevators broke down. It probably took us more than 5 mins to get from our room on the 32nd floor to the ground level. This was certainly a cause for angst amongst the hotel guests.