My husband and I recently took a trip without our daughter to the New York City area for a long weekend. We had a friend’s wedding to attend, so we decided to make the trip a bit of a babymoon weekend to enjoy a little child-free time while I can still travel easily.
Our weekend plans were to leave the Bay Area very early Friday morning, spend Friday night in New York City, spend Saturday day and evening with family in nearby Connecticut, drive Sunday to Long Island where the wedding was to be Sunday night, and fly back home on Monday. Whew!
This meant that we needed a hotel in New York City for Friday night, and we have amazingly not visited the city in many years. We fly into New York airports a lot, but we usually head right to Connecticut to see family, so we were excited by the prospect of having a long-overdue night in the Big Apple.
Since we were only in town for about 18 hours and were planning to see a Broadway show, we decided that we wanted to select a hotel in Times Square. As we are devotees of the Marriott Rewards program, our two major choices were the Marriott Marquis and the Renaissance Times Square. After reading a few websites comparing the two, we settled on the Renaissance. I’ve stayed at the Marquis before (albeit many years ago), and although it was exciting and energetic, it felt a bit overwhelming with its sheer size.
Enter the Renaissance Time Square
The Renaissance Time Square hotel is one of the few that is just now in the process of moving into Marriott’s newly-created Category 9 for hotel redemptions. This means it will cost you 45,000 Marriott points per night to stay here. We managed to snag it just in time, at the low, low price of 40,000 points while it is still in Category 8. This is still crazy expensive, but since decent hotels were $400+ per night in Times Square, and we are swimming in Marriott points, we decided that it was time to deplete our balances. I frankly just won’t pay cash for a hotel room that is that expensive.
We were overall very happy with our choice. My husband and I both hold Marriott Silver status, which does not entitle us to free internet at higher end Marriott properties, but we were pleasantly surprised that the front desk agent offered to comp it to us during our stay. I’ve often found that agents in many Marriott hotels have been willing to offer me something above and beyond what is required for Silver status (including the occasional room upgrade), and that has definitely made me more loyal to Marriott.
Despite what some of the reviews I had read indicated, we found that our room was very spacious, particularly by New York City standards. It was definitely equivalent to the size that we’ve come to expect in chain hotels in smaller cities where real estate is cheap. But perhaps we just got lucky. The bathroom was well-equipped and stylish, complete with a nicely-tiled shower that was kind of fun. And the bed was reliably comfy, as I always expect of Marriott properties.
We liked that the hotel was very quiet – it seemed much more like a boutique hotel rather than a large chain. Nevertheless, the location is right in the heart of things in Times Square. You can walk out of the hotel lobby and be at the Times Square TKTS booth in 20 seconds. All the Broadway theaters are remarkably close and walkable as well.
We weren’t in the hotel long enough to explore many of the amenities, but we did notice that the crowd for breakfast on Saturday morning at the restaurant was huge. I’m not sure if there was a special event, or if this is the usual weekend crowd, but I’m glad we didn’t have to eat there! Nevertheless, I’d definitely return to this hotel again, as the location and the otherwise calm and quiet atmosphere strike the right balance in New York.