Introducing the launch of New York City’s newest and tallest single-use hotel, the debut of the $320 million Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park. It is a tale of two hotels in one skyscraping building. The dual-branded hotel kicked off with a soft opening on December 29, 2013. I attended its grand opening and ribbon cutting on January 7, 2014, my first glimpse of a destination NYC hotel that is destined to be popular.
Tallest Hotel in North America
Stretching to 68 floors into the New York City skyline, the Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn New York is the tallest single-use hotel in North America, built and owned by G Holdings and managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts Developed by Harry Gross and designed by architect Nobutaka Ashihara, the concept places the Courtyard’s 378 rooms on floors 6-32 and the 261 Residence Inn occupies floors 36-64.
The first 6 stories house currently house the hotel lobbies/entrance (1st floor facing 54th Street), restaurants (3rd Floor Residence Inn and 4th floor Marriott Bistro). However, future plans will change that set-up to ground-floor retail space; a leased restaurant on the second floor; a lounge and terrace with outdoor seating and views of Broadway on the fifth floor; and a fitness center, for use by guests of both hotels, on the 34th floor. Each hotel has its own elevator banks: to the right is the Courtyard while to the left is Residence Inn. Contemporary designs, stunning views and a capable staff (associates) of 160 anticipate welcoming 1,000 guests per day to both hotels.
Harry Gross, President & CEO of the NYC-based G Holdings, brought the first Courtyard by Marriott to Times Square in 1998, but says his new hotels “are the most innovative we’ve built to date.” I have to agree that both hotels are very unique, embracing its brand, yet stepping outside the box with signature items such as Gross’ line of linens.
Boasting an envious location in the heart of the Big Apple on the northwest corner of 54th Street and Broadway, the hotels are steps from both Central Park and Times Square and offer guests access to Carnegie Hall, Broadway Theater District, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall. The tower faces West 54th Street, and while currently the check-in is at the entrance and arrival lobby, the plan is for the Residence Inn’s lobby to be on the 3rd and Courtyard on 4th floors.
In addition to fabulous views, the infrastructure is quite spectacular with free international phone calls, digital systems and high tech wiring, business travelers and tours will have another reason to choose these hotels. Complimentary WiFi is speedy and pain-free to log on with multiple devices at simultaneously.
Adding to the ambiance of the properties is the artwork of renowned abstract artist William DeBilzan. The three month, art deco project culminated in sculptures and 3D paintings scattered throughout the property. Mr. DeBilzan channeled his sunny Florida and California roots with a unique Caribbean and African fusion of style. Long, tall, skinny figures are his signature, and you’ll find these beginning with the water feature in the lobby, painted on elevators and walls.
The Courtyard by Marriott
The right elevator banks will take you to floors 6-33 where the 378-room Courtyard hotel guest rooms feature modern design with a contemporary feel. My room was 2006, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the neon signs of Times Square. The room design is zoned for working, sleeping, relaxing and getting ready. The Marriott’s décor is contemporary with a soothing color palette of tans, whites and oranges. The work space was perfect for a business traveler, and the bathroom was a separate room with a “barn door” type sliding door. The room also had a small foyer with a Keurig coffee maker.
The 4th Floor Bistro offers Courtyard guests a casual setting with breakfast and coffee, and then light evening fare, snacks, cocktails, wine and beer. I loved the floor plan with various sitting areas, including a long bar in front of the windows to take advantage of the view. In addition, there is plenty of plug-ins for electronics.
The Residence Inn by Marriott
The 261 all-suite Residence Inn is located on floors 37-65, accessed via the left hotel banks at the lobby. Appealing to extended stay market, the studio suites include a full kitchen with coffeemaker, microwave and appliances.
This hotel offers complimentary breakfast on the 3rd floor, which also offers inviting public spaces, similar to the cubby holes of the Courtyard’s 4th Floor Bistro. For the road warrior or family, the hotel also offers amenities, such as grocery delivery service, dry cleaning services, and onsite guest laundry room.
My January arrival was through a blast of cold during the polar vortex. The taxi dropped me off at the corner of 54th/Broadway, which was a short yet chilly walk to the hotel entrance. The staff warmed me up immediately with light banter and welcoming smile. The hotel had been open barely more than a week during my stay, so unfortunately there were the usual annoyances: fire alarms going off in middle of the night and the elevator halting. Each situation the staff stepped up and handled the problem. My Courtyard by Marriott accommodations made the top of my favorite rooms for their welcoming, spaciousness, fast WiFi and inspiring view of Times Square. I look forward to returning to stay at the Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park and exploring the area when the temperatures are above freezing.
Room Rates Shoulder/low season:
Residence Inn from $200-$300 and Courtyard by Marriott from $300-$400.
Accommodations courtesy Courtyard/Residence Inn Manhattan/Central Park. Photos courtesy of hotel and Diana Rowe.