a lobby with a reception desk and chairs

Westin Times Square – New York City Review

This past Friday – Sunday, I stayed at the Westin Times Square in New York City. This was pre-Huricanne Sandy, so everything was still functional at the Hotel.

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Location – A+

“Here it is, heart of New York City, Times Square. Named for the good times you have when you’re in it. Most people when they come to New York, they go straight to the Empire State Building, that’s pretty touristy. I come here. Great places to eat. We have Bubba Gump Shrimp, Red Lobster down there. Ya know. This is, this is the heart of civilization, right here.” -Michael Scott

As the name would imply, the Westin Times Square is located 1 block from the clusterf@#$ amazing tourist attraction that is Times Square. Thankfully the Hotel entrance is not directly in Times Square, so you can still feel the Times Square energy, but far enough away that you don’t have flashing neon lights outside your window or throngs of crowds outside the door. That being said, while trying to get to the Hotel, my iPhone died, so it was quite a struggle trying to find the Hotel because I actually thought it was located within Times Square.

The Westin Times Square is also located right next to 2 Subway lines, so it is really easy to get to via Public Transportation or if you are trying to get anywhere else in the City. Overall, this is probably the best location in the City for site seeing because many of the major attractions (Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, Empire State Building, David Letterman, Penn Station, Grand Central Station, etc) are all within 1 mile walking distance of the Hotel.

The Westin Times Square is the letter “A” below and the the Red Box is Times Square.

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Lobby – B

The lobby of the Westin Times Square is on the 2nd floor, and is very spacious with lots of couches to sit on.

The one thing I found surprising is that there was no free internet in the lobby. I have stayed at quite a few Westins in the past and they have always had free internet in the lobby.

a lobby with a reception desk and chairs

Room – A

The Hotel Room was on the 39th floor and was a fairly decent size. I am not sure if this was normal or because it was a handicap accessible room.

The room faced West 42nd Street, so although we were fairly high, there wasn’t necessarily a city view because of all the other skyscrapers. However it is New York, so that is expected.

The room featured a King Size Heavenly Bed (which I love), a desk with a chair, flat screen tv, 2 night stands, and a chair near the window.

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Bathroom – B

The Bathroom was interesting. As I stated before, I believe this room was handicap accessible so the bathroom was quite large and had hand rails, etc. The one thing I didn’t understand though was the sink. As you can tell in the picture, it is very industrial and almost out of a prison movie. Of course it is just a sink, so it doesn’t really matter, I just thought it was a bizarre choice given the other furnishings in the room.

As for the shower, although it didn’t have the normal dual shower heads (again most likely because it was handicap accessible) that you find at most Westins, it did its job and was fine.

The amenities in the Bathroom were standard Westin products.

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Cost – C+

Given it was a weekend, the normal room rate was $380 a night. I was fortunate that my friend got the room through work for free, so I didn’t have to pay anything. In my opinion, I don’t necessarily think it would be worth paying $380 if you had to pay for the room out of pocket. However it is Manhattan, so you are paying for location and space, and this Room / Hotel certainly had both.

The Westin Times Square is a Category 6 Property (out of 7) and costs 20,000 Starpoints for a free night. The only two Category 7 Starwood Properties in New York are the St. Regis and The Chatwal, which both cost 30,000 Starpoints a night. To help put this in comparison, the Four Points by Sheraton in Peoria, IL only cost me 3,000 Starpoints for a free night.

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I just signed up for the Starwood American Express Card and earned 35,000 Starpoints for free, however if I was going to use Starpoints for a Hotel in New York City, I probably wouldn’t stay at the Westin Times Square.

The only reason for this is because it costs 20,000 Starpoints a night, while the Westin Grand Central, which is just down the street, only costs 12,000 Starpoints a night! Similarly there are some Sheratons in the area that also cost 12,000 Starpoints a night.

The 8,000 Point difference might not sound like much, but if you are staying 3 nights, that is the difference between 60,000 Starpoints or 36,000 Starpoints!

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If you have a ton of Starpoints to blow, instead of spending 20,000 Starpoints at the Westin Times Square, I’d definitely recommend using those 20,000 Starpoints at any of the four W Hotels in New York. If you want to go big, then I’d recommend using 30,000 Starpoints for St. Regis or The Chatwal.

As I said earlier, the $400 Westin Room was free for me, so I can’t really complain too much. However for other people who are thinking about going to New York, those are my recommendations.

Overall – B

If this review was based solely on location, then the Westin Times Square would get an A+, as it is situated in one of the best locations in the City. However when you factor in the cost, it becomes a little more tricky since there is another Westin in the vicinity and cost almost half as many Starpoints.

I would have given the Westin Times Square a B+, had it not been for the no internet issue in the lobby! This is my number 1 pet peeve!

Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I can understand that Internet was something of a novelty and only Business people had Laptops therefore it made sense for Hotels to charge a premium for it. However it is now 2012, and even my 5 year old Niece has a iPad. Hotels don’t charge you to watch TV, why do they charge for Internet?

The one thing I will never understand about Hotel Internet is why the lower end brands like Starwood’s Four Points and Intercontinental’s Holiday Inn can provide free wi-fi, but properties where you are paying $400 a night, they feel the need to get an extra $15 out of you.

Similar how Southwest has built their television commercials around the fact that they don’t charge you Baggage Fees, any of the major Hotel Chains could easily do something similar by providing Free Internet at all their properties (not just the lower end ones) and use that in a marketing campaign.

Anyways, outside of that I really enjoyed my stay at the Westin Times Square, and would have no problem returning as long as the price was right.

I am sure many of you have stayed here before, so curious to hear your impression of the property.


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