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New York Marriott Marquis, Times Square
The hotel puts you right in the centre of the action – with Times Square and it's new and improved space for pedestrians, it now feels more comfortable to spend time gawping, shopping and eating in its vicinity. Anything in New York is a subway ride away.
The hotel is a story in itself. Opening in 1985, the monolithic Marriott was both a blessing and a curse to central New York; cursed for razing several historic theatres with its construction, it was simultaneously praised for helping to clean up seedy Times Square.
The architect was renown for creating hotels built around a central atrium, using dizzying high-speed glass elevators to escort guests to the second highest and only revolving restaurant in the city, called The View (the highest is Rockefeller Centre's Rainbow Room). It's famous elevators unusually assign guests to lifts according to destination, and were ahead of their time when the hotel opened.
And it still feels slightly of its era, but is nonetheless spectacular and remains the second biggest hotel in the city, with 1966 rooms. Along with Times Square, the hotel completed renovations in 2017.
Marriott spent $US30 million bringing the rooms up to date, but this doesn't mean they forgot old fashioned comfort. My room is on the 38th floor, and it's huge for central New York, big enough for a two-seater lounge and an armchair around a coffee table alongside windows that provide a bird's eye view of Times Square. And that's when it occurs to me what a splendid room this would be on New Year's Eve, especially if you didn't like crowds.
The stylish rooms, carpeted and cosy, include all mod cons such as power points and USBs in the right places along with one of the biggest televisions I've seen in a hotel room. There's a large wardrobe and tall boys with deep drawers that I've come to appreciate, and an airconditioning unit that quietly hums in the background.
At the back of the room, a king-sized beds beckons with big fluffy pillows appreciated by aching joints after a hard day's sightseeing in New York. In the bathroom, a big towel rack fully loaded with fluffy white towels is in easy reach of the sink, and the oversized marble bench provides ample space.
You'll find the smooth and professional service the Marriott is renown for at Times Square, making check-in a breeze. The hotel has a Concierge Lounge which provides special services for its valued guests such as breakfast, snacks and drinks. The lounge caters for business travellers, with powerpoints and USBs at almost every seat. The breakfast provided was simple and adequate (Aussies may want to head elsewhere for coffee).
Guests don't have to wander too far to see a Broadway show. The Marquis Theatre, on the third floor of the Marquis, was a modern, hi-tech replacement for the five theatres that were demolished when the hotel was built, and has become a firm favourite for musical productions.
While there is no shortage of restaurants of any calibre in the vicinity, you can sample food from exciting up-and-comers from areas such as Brooklyn at Urban Square's open-air food markets, which are located close by; check for new locations at urbanspacenyc.com. The mainstays at Vanderbilt and Lexington are also worth investigating for cheap and local favourites such as Roberta's pizza and Dough doughnuts.
For old fashioned comfort and plenty of space, you can always rely on the Marriott.
Its position in the heart of Times Square is hard to beat.
Good rooms don't come cheap in this city.
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, USA; marriott.com