Residence Inn Manhattan/Times Square
Updated: Feb 27, 2014
id: long-stay chain hotel
atmosphere: businesslike comfort
‘hood: times square (south of)
cool detail: terrific breakfast buffet
By Terry Trucco
At a glance: Chains prize familiarity and uniformity, be they Starbucks or Marriott. The Times Square outpost of Residence Inn is no exception. And in a big, noisy place like New York City, uniformity and familiarity can be comforting.
Like others in the chain, this Residence Inn isn’t edgy or cool and, from the looks of things, doesn’t care. But it’s agreeable, with a generous pets policy and a terrific buffet breakfast that’s included in the price of the room.
Rooms, though notably smaller than you’ll find in suburban Residence Inns, come with full-size kitchens (no stoves, just hot plates). And if calling this a Times Square hotel is a geographic exaggeration – I’d call it Garment District – Times Square and its garden of touristy delights (and frights) are a short walk away.
What impressed me most about this property was the spaciousness of the autumnal-toned public spaces that spill over nearly the entire third floor. Want to work? Set up your laptop or tape recorder in a carrel facing a window. Need to meet someone? Club chairs stand at the ready. Prefer to relax? The latest best sellers line the (faux) fireplace near sofas and chairs ripe for curling up. And simple tables and chairs are on hand for the daily breakfast buffet.
The contemporary, offends-no-one décor is pretty much what you’d see at Residence Inns from Anaheim to Washington, DC. But look carefully and distinctive details stand out, like the assorted hanging textiles that include colorful quilts and artfully arranged spools, a nod to the hotel’s Garment District locale.
Rooms: The suite I saw was clean and comfortable but small, more of a junior suite or large single room as the bed did not command a separate space. Though palatial for one person, it would not do as well for two people if one wanted to sleep while the other wanted to work. Besides a king-size bed and conventional drapery on the windows, the room featured a sofa and coffee table, a large granite surface that doubled as a desk or dining table and a generous kitchen outfitted with GE appliances, including a full-size fridge, microwave, cook top and dishwasher. The handsome wood cupboards were well stocked with dishes, flatware and pots and pans, and on a granite counter-top, a coffee maker. The bathroom was small and functional with a stall shower.
If possible, request a room with two exposures like the one I saw. You’ll get plenty of light. And the view down Sixth Avenue evokes New York in a way the view of boring buildings across the street does not.
Food and drink: No restaurant, but a terrific daily buffet breakfast is included. The chain refashioned its breakfast in November 2010, and the selections are smart, healthy (more fruit, less fat) and varied, geared equally to guests who want a full sit-down with scrambled eggs, turkey Canadian bacon, hash browns or oatmeal as those who want to grab an apple, yogurt or bagel (whole grain are now available) and be out the door. Besides the basics served daily, the buffet rotates specials, like Eggs Florentine, breakfast burritos and quesadillas, so long-stay guests won’t see the same choices every day. My favorite was a do-it-yourself waffle: pour an individual bottle of batter onto the waffle iron and voila. Fruit and Redi-Whip(!) are on hand as garnishes.
The area is jammed with restaurants and bars in all price ranges – and qualities -- and open all hours, so you’ll never go hungry, or thirsty. And since rooms come with kitchens, you can store good staples like milk, ice cream and deli salads in the fridge.
Amenities: The aforementioned breakfast buffet is served daily. Pets allowed (one-time $100 cleaning fee – a good deal if you’re staying a long time). Small, functional fitness room. Coin-operated washing machines. Security system: you need your keycard to use the elevator. Come the third Thursday in November, street-side rooms score a front row seat to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Prefer to watch the parade with a group? Packages include brunch in a conference room overlooking the parade route.
Surroundings: The hotel’s immediate surroundings boring but functional. Sixth Avenue, aka Avenue of the Americas, is wide and heavily trafficked. Offices, Garment District suppliers and small businesses encompass the hotel. But good things are nearby. The Times Square Theater District is a short walk away. Bryant Park, with free movies in summer and ice skating in winter, is even closer. Fifth Avenue shopping, the New York Public Library, the Empire State Building, Penn Station and Grand Central Station are easily reached. And if you’re doing business in the Garment District, the location is superb. Bus stops are across the street. And the subway is a short walk.
Back story: The hotel was built in 2005 and still feels pretty fresh. Though it’s flagged Residence Inn, the owner is in the textile industry and endowed his property with personal touches like the the rich, jewel-tone palette, the excellent sheets and the textile-inspired artwork seen throughout.(The textile motif predates the more adventurous theme play on view at the newly named Hilton New York/Garment District, formerly Fashion 26.) The owner also chose the inner-spring mattresses for the property instead of the usual Marriott foam mattresses.
Keep in mind: As a so-called select service hotel, you’ll be doing much of the heavy lifting; don’t expect much help with your bags.
What We Saw:
Susy » Do you have a street-side room available yet to watch the macys Thanksgiving Day parade? If not for 2013, how about 2014?
Terry at Overnightnewyork » Hi, Susy --
You have to get in touch directly with the hotel to find out. Their phone number is on our page. Or you can click onto the hotel's website at the top of our review. Hope you get a parade-view room.