When this luxury Times Square hotel was unveiled in 1999, it set a precedent for New York luxury spaces, but also prompted a shift in hospitality around the deserted Manhattan landmark. Deserted? Not entirely, but the politics of the day had long driven out porn theaters and the junkie prostitutes who hang around them, leaving the terrible chain restaurants like Ruby Foo’s, Planet Hollywood and Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Restaurant in its wake. But times change and hotels need updates; so in 2015, the Rockwell Group lifted the face of this sleek and chic property by bringing a thoroughly modern vision of what New York glamour and flash can be. Slick dark aesthetics with wire-y accents of brass, mirror and marble, the hotel may now be responsible for luring the jet-set to Times Square.
These rooms, regardless of tier, are heavily designed concept spaces. Charcoal marbled wallpaper, glass-and-mirror dressers, brass circular lighting (Rockwell’s own line), Moroso furniture and a large circular mirror—these rooms have a mood. And amenities of a modernized dwelling, including bluetooth technology and USB-driven workstations. Frette linens and towels, foamy firm mattresses, blackout drapes: this is sophisticated urban living.
Think sleek. Smoked glass partitions block spouting water from the blackened brass rainfall shower, and long porcelain sink vanities, flanked by backlit circular mirror, really express a sexy vision for grooming.
At first the lobby feels a bi secret, even simplistic, but up an elevator and tucked away is a serene reception area, where behind the glass elevators is a thoughtfully designed library-lounge where the laptops are out in full-force.
State-of-the-art and flush with weights, this 24-hour gym must be responsible for many a Midtown sculpted physique.
The Time’s main eatery is Serafina (a long-time partner of the Dream Hotels Group, which is the parent company of Time), the Northern Italian staple of Manhattan. They also provide the in-room dining.
Hidden behind the lobby is LeGrande, a sultry cocktail den of sorts that also serves small plates. Dimly lit, out of sight, this is the sort of place for a secret conversation or to impress a special someone. Surprisingly, it’s no more expensive than what else is around.
Times Square so happens to the transport and billboard hub of Manhattan—nearly every train line passes through the 42nd Street stations, and connected to the main bus depot, Port Authority. Traffic no longer goes through the heart of the bright lights mecca, but taxis are hardly sparse commodities on the surrounding avenues.
The area serves mostly office workers during the day, but nevertheless landmark eateries exist in the Great White Way. Eric Ripert’s three-star Michelin Le Bernardin (7-minutes walk) holds court in New York’s pantheon of finest restaurants. Pick up your knife & fork at Don Antonio By Starita (5-minutes walk) and slurp down these juicy, doughy pizza Margarita a la Napolitano, or in the eyes the residents of Napoli, the only thing called pizza should be.
Discreetly nested into a 46th street townhouse, Bar Centrale (5-minute walk) mixes a stiff drink and fries finger food for the pre-Broadway crowd (including the actors themselves). Toss elbows if you must, for getting a seat at the wonderful Aldo Sohm wine bar (7-minute walk) can be a mighty task. Still, it’s the classiest joint for an interesting glass of Viognier or Primitivo in mid-Midtown.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A flair of avant-garde style and sophistication where it’s least expected—and that sense of discovery and secrecy makes the Time Hotel stand out, especially amid the flashy of its surroundings.