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REVIEW: AC Hotel New York Times Square

REVIEW: AC Hotel New York Times Square

The view from the Castell Rooftop Lounge at the AC Hotel New York Times Square | Photos: AC Hotel New York Times Square

Offering a chilled escape from the hubbub of Times Square, the 21-floor AC Hotel New York Times Square is home to 290 rooms and suites and boasts a truly enviable location.

It’s a couple of stones’ throw from the world’s most brightly-lit intersection from which it borrows its name.

Times Square is of course perhaps the only place in the world where you have to queue for a long time to get fast food; it’s also where you’ll find the iconic illuminated Red Steps, awash with people pushing and shoving each other to get the perfect selfie. (Alicia Keys and Jay-Z had it to themselves in the Empire State of Mind video; you will not).

Given the hotel’s setting in the near-center of Manhattan, it’s of course course close to many of the city’s top attractions, from the Museum of Modern Art to the Rockefeller Center. Both of which are just as busy as Times Square most go the time, I warn you.

Suffice to say, Manhattan can be challenging. Thusly, a tranquil hotel that you can zip back to in no time when it all gets too much is a real treat. AC Hotel by Marriott New York Times Square is exactly that.

Even walking through the front entrance is calming; Helpern Architects’ pleated glass facade seems to shimmer beckoningly, especially at night. The airy open-plan lobby, with its super high ceilings and abundance of natural light, immediately gives the feeling of space.

My room boasted floor-to-ceiling windows, a view into the offices of the New York Times (!) and an overabundance of mod cons – mini-fridge, coffee maker, wide-screen TV – most of which I didn’t even get round to using during my short stay (apart from the complimentary Wi-Fi, of course).

While much of the hotel is clean and minimalist, the rooms take the theme one step further, creating an impression that’s impossible to criticise but difficult to remember.

I’ve discovered, for example, after a few years of reviewing hotels that overly white, stiff, sterile bed sheets are a little uninviting to me, and communicate blandness, no matter the thread count.

All that said, the hotel only opened in 2017 and so the rooms still feel very box-fresh; they may evolve into something cosier in the future.

Castell, a glamorous rooftop bar and lounge that’s open year-round, couldn’t have been more different. It was my favorite feature of the hotel, and I found myself longing to spend the night on one of its amazingly long sofas.

Warm and stylish, it’s all bronzed wood, plush furnishings and huge slabs of eye-catching marble, worked into the bar and even some seating areas.

The view from the decking, alive with greenery and fresh flowers when we visited in the summer, is inevitably spectacular. It’s one of the best bars I think I’ve ever been to; be sure to try a Martini or the signature Gin Tonic, which is served in a unique glass specially-engineered to make the drink taste better.

The hotel’s on-site restaurant, the tapas bar Boqueria, serving authentic Spanish fare from grilled seafood to stuffed dates to lamb meatballs with sheep’s cheese, is equally charismatic.

Both are the antithesis of bars/restaurants tacked onto the side of hotels to make an easy buck; you’ll be mixing with locals here.

Another word on the decor elsewhere: while the rooms are rather bare – safe for photography of NYC’s architecture by Richard Silver – shared spaces benefit from statement artwork and sculpture, including by the likes of Sara West and Steve Zolin. Waiting in a lobby has never been this pleasurable!

The hotel furthermore has a 24-hour gym, parking, a laundry service, and I had no complaints to report regards service across the board. All in all, a very, very good hotel.

To read our review of the AC Hotel NYC Times Square’s sister properly, The Moxy, click here.

For more information about the AC Hotel New York Times Square, visit the official website.