If only all three star hotels were as unique, modern, stylish and excellent value as The Moxy NYC Times Square. Seriously.
Still box-fresh after its 2017 opening, the stopover – part of the part of the Marriott group – has one major USP. This is its enviable location on 36th Street and 7th Avenue, smack dab in the center of New York City.
Times Square is a short walk away – although, thankfully, it’s a handful of blocks away from the main, frenetic hubbub – as are many of the city’s most iconic sights.
It’s of course no secret that Manhattan particularly has a bit of an overtourism problem, and it makes some sort of sense that a new hotel in Midtown such as this one would utilize space in inventive ways.
But being a bit claustrophobic, I initially balked at the idea of a 612-room hotel which makes a big song and dance about the affordability and modest sizing of its rooms. For example, I can handle pod hotels – they can be a lifesaver – but only at airports, when I’m desperate, and can turn the light out and go to sleep as soon as I’ve put my bag down, so as not to reflect too long on being cooped up.
I’m also really mindful of being ripped off by NYC hotels, having vastly overpaid for hostels and four star hotels alike in the past.
The Moxy’s nothing like the rest of them. Firstly, you’ll want to look around you – while most three stars I’ve stayed in have decor that’s either stripped back and clinical, or decades-old and fusty, here, the design work from Yabu Pushelberg is tasteful, modern and hip across the board.
Secondly, a word on space: all the rooms range in size from 150 to 350 square feet, but none feel confined.
From the flat-pack furniture hanging on the walls to the under-bed storage and the walk-in shower (it feels like a wet room – and I’ve never considered wet rooms cool before), my queen-sized room was, dare I say it, the perfect size for me.
I also adored the stylish, beautifully-lit restaurant Legasea: the exposed tiles relate to the look and feel of the guest rooms, while the copper echoes the fabulous Bar Moxy, more on which in a moment. Sustainable seafood served in rich, inventive ways is the order of the day here.
Highlights of the current menu include the Lobster Bake, comprised of shrimp, clams, mussels, corn and new potatoes, plus the Chatham Cod ‘Fish & Chips’. (As a Brit, it’s hilarious, and actually rather enticing, to see the latter three words in inverted commas!).
My only minor problem with my experience at The Moxy was its rooftop bar, Magic Hour. While I of course can’t complain about the amazing view of the Empire State Building, or the decent selection of swiftly-made drinks on offer, the music was too loud for me, and I perhaps wasn’t keen on some of the dubious aesthetic choices – including a carousel and a miniature golf course – intended to get people Instagramming.
The end result of the ‘urban amusement park’ concept is a little unrestrained, in a way the rest of the hotel isn’t. I got irritated by some of the drunken 20-something posers and other non-guests who’d stopped by for the potential engagement, but I respect it’s a canny way for the bar to gets its name out there. Besides, it’s a different story in the downstairs Bar Moxy, where all guests are invited to enjoy a welcome drink upon arrival.
It’s a really stylish, comfortable space (why do skylights always look so cool?) with a great atmosphere. It was genuinely fascinating to see people of all ages and walks of life converge around the copper-topped bar and get chatting to each other.
Finally, kudos for the super fast Wi-Fi, Bluetooth soundbars and HDTVs with streaming services. You genuinely can’t guarantee you’ll find these items in most four stars, let alone three stars. Also, props to the charismatic, down-to-earth service, especially from the alert and bright-eyed guys working reception throughout the night.
In an absolute first for me after staying in many hotels around the world, I did witness someone working reception stub their toe one morning, swear (!), and have to excuse themselves from their dedicated kiosk – but I felt nothing but compassion (and amusement!), and it slightly fitted in with The Moxy’s edgy vibe.
All in all, this is probably the best three star hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
For more information about The Moxy Times Square, visit the official website.