‘Not Times Square!’ Was the first thing that all my friends said when I told them I’d checked into a hotel in the heart of Manhattan, where it never gets dark due to the neon glow and the streets are interspersed with men dressed in Muppets costumes – not to mention a Naked Cowboy strumming his guitar.
However, The Time Hotel in New York isn’t your average Times Square tourist / business haunt, with hard beds and greying carpet tiles.
I was suprised to find this place is refreshingly hip, with a sense of character that’s playfully slick.
After battling my way past Muppets – unfortunately no Naked Cowboy – I reached The Time Hotel on 49th Street between avenues 7th and 8th.
Following a swift check-in with no line, I zoomed up the lift from the second floor reception to my room on the 16th floor.
The attention to detail at The Time is on point.
My spacious King Room was decked out with a range of kooky things.
The main mirror was actually a Smart TV that came alive at the touch of the remote. The towel robe was a by French luxury fashion house Maison Margiela and the bed was invitingly snuggable.
Peeping out the window I could see yellow cabs zooming along on one of the city’s main avenues down below, with a historic church standing next to buildings anew.
Looking away from the window it was hard to believe I was in New York, such was the peace and quiet of my cosy nest.
I wanted to listen to some music but couldn’t work out how to use the trendy wooden digital alarm clock-cum-speaker system. After a call down to reception and a man swiftly arrived at my door. He happily gave me a quick lesson in how to use the device. Apparently I just needed to turn my Bluetooth on. Clearly having a blonde moment.
The bathroom in my room was compact – as most of them are in NYC – but it had a fairly roomy rain shower and big wash stand, kitted out with a hairdryer and sweet-smelling ARGAN toiletries.
On the food front the hip Italian eatery Serafina – which now has multiple locations in the Big Apple – provides a range of dishes that can be delivered on your door.
Given the limited amount of time I had in town I didn’t get chance to try any of the things on offer. Unlike a run-of-the-mill in-room dining menus, with Caesar Salads and burgers being staples, Serafina’s list includes nine different types of pastas, a range of snazzy pizzas and Tiramisu to top it off.
One evening, I ended up dragging a few friends back to my Times Square base with grimaces on their faces.
While I was pretty bad and rolled into my snuggly bed shortly after we arrived, the rest of the gang actually had a good time at the low-lit, second-level bar.
My friend Tony bizarrely knew the musician playing some sets that night, which he was surprised about given the touristy location.
Another plus of The Time Hotel is its partnership with the Equinox gym chain. There is a branch a few blocks away by the Rockefeller centre, with a great range of equipment and a sauna / steam room to sweat out the day’s hangover.
I was in town for an annual gala taking place up town and had friends in the East Village so I found it fairly tricky getting quickly around from the tangle of Times Square.
But if you’re new to New York, have a limited amount of time to see all of the top landmarks, this is a trendy spot that ticks all of the boxes.
I lived in New York for four-and-a-half years but a stay at The Time NYC definitely showed me something new.
Rooms at The Time Hotel, NYC, start from around $289. To book and find more information visit www.thetimehotels.com.