10036 Travel Guide
Another New York hotel will open, most likely with dramatic flair, given its location, in the heart of Times Square.
Details of the 487-room Hyatt Times Square New York is already laced with hype. This 54-story silver tower with a glass exterior will be Manhattan’s largest Hyatt in over 30 years and is scheduled to make its near-Broadway debut in late October 2013.
It’ll open just in time to show off SPaN company's fireplace-decorated Skybar rooftop lounge and its views of the Hudson and the East River before the season comes to a close.
With the proximity to Broadway and 7th Avenue theater district, Radio City Music Hall, and Rockefeller Center, this hotel is sure to be a tourists dream. And for those in town for work, it’s close to the 6th Avenue business hub. In other words—something for everyone!
Can anyone keep track of all the hotels being renovated in midtown Manhattan these days? No? Yeah, neither can we. But there are a few that we think are worth keeping up with—for example, The Milford NYC, formerly the Milford Plaza, aka the "Lullaby of Broadway".
The hotel's 2-year, $140 million renovation is coming to an end this summer, with the grand unveiling of the new lobby slated for July. From what we've been told, the lobby has been completely re-imagined, with a glass facade entryway, two-story atrium, and a ceiling "crafted from poplar wood" that "resembles giant wooden floating puzzle pieces."
Add to that, a new lobby bar, lounge area, and two large LED screens next to the reception area with projections of abstract video art commissioned exclusively for the Milford NYC.
However, since that won't be appearing for another few weeks, we thought we'd take a quick look at the hotel's re-designed rooms:
Click through for our photo gallery!
A hallway mural at The Milford New York
The re-designed rooms at The Milford New York (formerly the Milford Plaza) have been finished for almost a year—and their new look is bright, colorful, and very fresh. But one of our favorite parts of the re-design can actually be found in the hallways.
In an attempt to show tourists that there's more to NYC than just the Empire State and Central Park, each floor has been assigned a different neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, with vivid depictions of picturesque spots in places like the West Village, or the Lower East Side.
What's so cool about the images, though, is how life-life they are. Above is a hallway mural depicting Balthazar Bakery, a well-loved spot in Soho, which when we first saw it, we thought we were staring into a time-space vortex that opened a portal from Times Square to Prince Street. It was as if we could walk right in and grab a baguette!
Manhattan Hotels / New York Hotels / Holiday Inn Express / Hotel Openings / Hotel Rates / Hotel Deals / AAA Card / → All Tags
Read all about our stay right here
If you're looking to visit to Manhattan this summer, you're probably in disbelief over the room rates. We mentioned the truly outrageous ones last week ($700+ for a Sheraton) but we're also seeing some non-spectacular, chain hotels going for at least $300 a night. If you want to stay two or more nights, that's going to be at least $600, not including taxes or WiFi charges. And thanks to a recent court ruling, you can't even use AirBnB.com anymore to try and score a cheap room in the Big Apple.
While our 5 fave hotel booking sites can help us get the best deal, they can't lower the rates to the price point we like/need--which is about $200 a night, before taxes. But after some digging and throwing some caution to the wind, we found a room for just under $200 a night in mid-June at the just-opened Holiday Inn Express, Manhattan West Side.
Located at 48th and 10th Avenue, the hotel is firmly in the old Hell's Kitchen nabe but it's ideal for folks who have business or leisure plans in and around Times Square which is about four big blocks away. We've stayed in the area before, at Ink48 (which is sold out the nights we are visiting), and it's not the most exciting neighborhood in Manhattan but we're hardly going to be in our room at all. And besides, we didn't pick the hotel because of the neighborhood.
If you thought the only exciting thing about Cassa Hotel was its abrupt re-branding into a Viceroy hotel last year, you're wrong. It turns out that the hotel's proposed restaurant, BLT American Brasserie is causing even more drama than the hotel itself—and it hasn't even opened yet!
Chef Laurent Tourondel created a lot of buzz when he attached himself to the hotel back in 2011. He was famous for his BLT restaurants, so that's what we all expected to open at Cassa. And as of last February, that was still the plan.
However, nothing ever happened, and the other day we received an anonymous tip that the "BLT coming soon" sign has been removed from the hotel.
As anyone who has ever stayed at a Kimpton hotel knows, 5-6pm is the magic hour, when all Kimpton lobbies across the country break out a few bottles of vino and let guests guzzle gratis. (It's a tradition we can really get behind.)
Manhattan's Ink48 has faithfully been pouring glasses of red and white each evening since the program launched several years ago. But now, the hotel is giving other Kimpton properties a run for their money with a new menu of local New York wines, which will be served during wine hour on Wednesdays throughout the month of May.
Today's sweet suite comes courtesy of the W New York Times Square, which has tickled our fancy by renovating their Extreme WOW suite (aka EWOW) and giving it the theme "Peep Show", which is meant to remind guests of "Times Square's Notorious Past Meets Its Amusement Park Present". And it's managed to do exactly that by seemingly bringing you right inside the New Year's Eve ball--one that's been smashed to pieces, that is.
Starwood's design team spent $2 million for the reno to create an effect that says "welcome to the disco". The gist? There are lights everywhere. The custom, mirrored LED light fixture creates so many different moods, you may require medication to stabilize them after you're done experimenting with the four different elements. Want to begin the evening in slow motion? There's a tempo and a color for that. Y'all want this party started right and quickly? Choose another hue and a different beat and watch as the lights dance on the ceiling. It's trippy, it's tricky, it's fun. And yes, you can shut it off so you're not waking up to a visual rave.
Speaking of waking up, it's hard to avoid the cliche of not wanting to leave the circular, pimp-style bed (the pillows are made out of old ticket stubs) that commands the bedroom and faces the New York City skyline, but it's truly gorgeous.
Celebrity Scoop / Hotel News / W Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Amanda Bynes / Manhattan Hotels / → All Tags
We're no strangers to celebs having total meltdowns in hotels (hi, Charlie Sheen! hi, Lindsay Lohan!), so when we read about 27-year-old actress Amanda Bynes' recent spaz-out at the W New York Times Square, we thought to ourselves, "Of course."
In Touch reports that Bynes was enjoying a month-long extended stay at the hotel recently, when her erratic behavior started to creep out employees in a big way. According to the article:
"…an employee 'found her curled up in the corner of the gym smoking — with no pants on!'"
Apparently, Amanda never got around to reading our handy guide on "What Not To Do In a Hotel". Because we'd definitely file that one under "do not do." Ever.
Bynes has certainly been having a tough time lately (On Thursday, a day after her 27th birthday, she announced she had an eating disorder). And she was also photographed wandering around Times Square (probably en route to her hotel) holding a FedEx package, but then explained on Twitter that the girl in the photographs "was an impostor." Um, right…
As we see it, the W Times Square might actually be her best bet for the time being: earlier this year, the hotel was offering a detox program with supplies for a six-day juice cleanse (the promo's expired, but then again, we're sure they could bend a few rules for the former star of She's The Man.
If this is Yotel's idea of an April Fools, then we gotta say…we're impressed. The hotel sent out an e-blast early Friday morning announcing their plans to launch the first ever zip-line into the heart of Times Square. Umm…really?
A few things come to mind when we read this. First off, it's not like you can just "drop into" one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. Times Square is a big, teeming place populated by skyscrapers, giant LED screens, gawking tourists, naked singing cowboys, and other maddening obstacles. To attempt to cruise into such an area suspended from a steel cable would be both impractical and incredibly stupid.
Second, the hotel is calling the zip line a way for guests to "save time and avoid busy streets." Well, we can't argue with that. But if it's a question of walking an extra few blocks, or putting our lives at risk, we'd gladly choose to walk.
Third and finally, how do you build a zip line into Times Square anyway? With safety nets along traffic-congested 42nd St? With tunnels carved through office buildings to create a more direct route? Will the TKTS booth magically transform into a landing station? Though Yotel has been known to pull some pretty whacky stunts before, we're going to assume the answers to these questions are no, no, and no.
According to Yotel, the zip line launches today, April 1. Also known as April Fools Day. Did we just get punked?
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / Manhattan Hotels / Historic Hotels / Hotel Construction / Hotel Delays / → All Tags
Two years ago, we showed you all, in excruciating detail, just why the Milford Plaza Hotel was in need of a renovation. Well, here we are in 2013, and the hotel's 1,300 rooms are looking waaay better (thanks to a $140 million renovation), with bright neon headboards, iPod docking stations, and 32" flatscreen TVs. But we're still wondering when that dang scaffolding will ever come down.
We're not the only ones losing sleep over this, either. The NY Post recently hinted that the hotel "could set a record for the city's longest-standing sidewalk sheds…with permits for the hideous covering going back to 1990." Come on, Milfy P! There are kids graduating college now who were born after that!
One of the reasons this place is on our radar again is, the other day we were walking back to the subway from Paramount Hotel, which we've been unabashedly having a mini love affair with all week. And after being enchanted by the latter's museum-worthy lobby and light-filled Italian cafe, the Milford Plaza's hulking, wooden plank-shrouded exterior seemed almost offensive.
Reminding us of a cross between the tchotchke-packed Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel and the Delano's tiny magazine stall in Miami, Paramount News is a small retail space whose shelves are artfully filled with an array of nerd-tastic Manhattan-themed travel goodies. A few of the trinkets we spotted included…
Flight 001 travel gear, a decent selection of novelty wallets (we liked the one designed like a nametag, with "Hola, me llama" printed on the front), whiskey flasks, laptop cases, journals, tin boxes of colored pencils, miniature Statues of Liberty, Bigelow toiletries, Assouline travel books, and local magazines and newspapers.
We almost sprung for a giant foam hand shaped like the Statue of Liberty, but then remembered we hardly ever go to sports events. Plus, we live here, so a NYC souvenir isn't really something we need...
Hotel Renovations / Manhattan Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Reopenings / Hotel Lobbies / Hotel Design / → All Tags
But it seems like the Paramount is poised for its big comeback, after it reopened this week flaunting a $40 million renovation, including updated guest rooms, a redesigned two-story lobby, a new restaurant and bar, an Italian cafe, and a retail concept to rival the Ace's hipster goodie shops, Opening Ceremony and Project 8a.
Coolest of all, perhaps, is the fact that Diamond Horseshoe, the hotel's legendary supper club from the 1920s, is going to be resurrected this fall in its original basement location. Developer Aby Rosen told the WSJ that the new 21st century Diamond Horseshoe will "be a nightspot akin to the Box, but without the raunchy content."