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A Look Inside the Rivetingly Revamped Novotel Times Square

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  Site Where: 226 W. 52nd St. [map], New York, NY, United States, 10019
August 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM | by | ()

Chances are if you've been in NYC lately, you may have walked by the newly redesigned Novotel New York Times Square and not known it. That's how hidden this hotel is from the exterior--even with the remaining bits of the $85 million construction debris as a giveaway.

Heck even HC wasn't sure the European-brand hotel was open yet. We thought it was scheduled for September 19. But no, as we were led through the property, we were informed that it had quietly been in soft-opening since the end of July!

Walking around, it was surprising how many guests had already made the hotel home. The makeshift lobby was filled with people of all ages, cashing in on staying at Novotel's only U.S. property right in Times Square.

Let's take a look inside, shall we?

Stonehill & Taylor, the firm who worked on the NoMad, Refinery, and Ace Hotels, are behind the hotel's hip design. It starts with the lobby's dramatic new look, said to be inspired by New Year's Eve in Times Square. The stylish seating and LCD flat screens in that space attempt to make a seamless check-in process.

Then there are the 480 rooms, which are now so modern, we wonder what star-group the Novotel will fit in. At some point doors will be able to be opened via cell phone, but in the meantime, there are plenty of bells and whistles already.

Beds have LED headboards, bluetooth-based iHome, soundproof windows (whew!) that open and close--a move apparently to appease A/C-hating Europeans. Then there's the superstar, the MyAway-enabled TVs, which can be controlled via mobile phone! Typically abroad, the brand is seen as mid-budget, but here in the US, it will definitely compete on a higher level. With rates expected to teeter in the $450-range this fall, the message is clear this isn't a typical Accor property. Still, kids up to age 16 stay and eat for free, so there are some savings available. Plus, prices are anticipated to level out to the $300s in low periods.

Oh, there's no way for you to run up a minibar bill because there won't be one. Instead, Novotel has put in "smart cube" mini fridges as the hotel's corporate decision makers feel product prices are too high, guests complain, and they're phasing out, anyway. Hmmm..who've they been listening to?

The Novotel's limited Supernova restaurant menu is already quite impressive with Burrata and marinated artichokes, seafood jambalaya, and yellow fin tuna a la plancha. The bar is in the center of it all and you'll find cocktails with names like Champagne Hoity-Toity and the Prescription Julep to go along with its awesome Times Square views. We made promises to return on a Friday night and see if there's a fight to be seated at an outdoor terrace table, the only ones of its kind in the NYC area, where one can watch the city's night bustle seven floors below. Let's not even talk about the pre-and-post theater dinner crowd who will clamor to sit around the fire pits noshing on a few savory bites. The space looks very sedate during the day, but we anticipate a touch of bedlam at night.

Plans are in the works to partner with locally-based Doughnuttery, a boon to those who've fallen for the baked-goods craze of late. But the Novotel will take the trend a step further. Not only will mini delights and dipping sauces be sold, the Bar will pair specialty cocktails with doughnuts.

We're also looking forward to the playful iMac table as well as the "XBox 360 Experience," so kids can have fun while parents are within eye-shot at the bar.

These all qualify for a return visit we think, but in the meantime there are renderings to whet your appetite available here.

[Photos: Chanize for HotelChatter]

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