Do you want to be in the heart of the action for your Manhattan vacation, right off Times Square and steps to Broadway theaters? Then check into the boutique Casablanca Hotel New York City and get to everything easily.
New York City is one of the easiest U.S. cities to navigate without a car. You can take the subway almost anywhere you would want to go as a tourist and it’s a good place to start living healthier like a local by walking anywhere less than 10 blocks away. At the Casablanca Hotel you can make the most of both aspects: it’s located on 44th Street in midtown Manhattan, a short walk across Times Square to the subway station and within roughly a dozen blocks of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and where some late-night talk show live recordings take place. It’s a five-minute walk from the New York Public Library building and Bryant Park.
The staffers at the Casablanca are friendly and helpful, with plenty of knowledge on the local area and the kind of smiling service that comes as a welcome surprise in a city where people often seem too busy and jaded to be friendly. When I asked if I could store by bags at 7:30 a.m. the day I was going to check in since I was spending all day at a conference, they said, “The room you have is cleaned already, so you can go ahead and check in.” I haven’t had that happen for quite a while.
A doorman was always there when I entered or left and someone would have carried by bags up if I had needed it. There’s an elevator taking guests to the upper floors, but a grand staircase up to the next one, where the gathering spots are. There’s a lovely tw0-room area that feels spacious and welcoming, especially considering the location in the heart of America’s most expensive real estate market. This serves as the breakfast area in the morning, a lounge area during happy hour, and a library reading and games room the rest of the time. There’s also a pocket library that doubles as a business center.
The breakfast is an ample one to get you set up for a day of sightseeing. It’s mostly continental, with breads, pastries, yogurt, juice, and fruit, but there’s also an egg serving of some kind and oatmeal as well. Plus coffee or an array of tea to choose from. Copies of the New York Times are laid out to catch up on the news without listening to people yelling on 24-hour TV news channels.
There is an annoying $25 “resort fee” tacked onto the rates here instead of being shown up front in the prices, for a place that no guest of sound mind would call a “resort.” You’ll feel a little better about paying it if you are able to take advantage of their three-hour wine & cheese reception each evening. This is a nice way to mingle with other guests and put a nice cap on the end of a busy day in the city. Or to have a glass of wine before heading out to a show. During the day there are some light refreshments laid out.
There’s no gym on site, but that fee also covers entrance to a nearby sports club where you can have the run of cardio machines and weights for a workout.
Twice I’ve paid good money for NYC hotel rooms that were so small there was nowhere to put my suitcase without tripping on it. That’s not the case at Casablanca Hotel, where the rooms feel downright spacious in comparison. Mine had a queen bed, a full dresser, closet, and a glass-topped table with two rattan chairs. The bathroom had a combo tub/shower and a nice pedestal sink. The hotel supplies an array of toiletries, fluffy towels, a bathrobe, and turndown service each evening.
Categories are Petite Queen, Queen, and Mini-Suite, with the latter having a small additional room and a sofa bed. These are a good bet for families who want to be in a central location.
Naturally there is a little street noise in such a central location, so get a room not facing 44th if you’re prone to sleep problems. Just understand you’ll probably give up some natural light as a consequence. (There are no views to speak of from any of them though–the building is not that high.)
The Casablanca Hotel incorporates the theme of that Moroccan city and famous movie into its decoration, but in a subtle and classy way rather than going over-the-top. There are arches, tiles, framed carpet sections in the hallways, and an impressive skyline mural above the stairway. They’ve left the Disney versions of Morocco to a show down the street, however, thankfully.
Rates at Casablanca NYC Hotel start at around $254 with all the fees and taxes when occupancy is low, sometimes topping $500 for a mini suite in high-demand periods. Your best bet it to probably to book direct at the official website, where they are often running package specials. In a welcome bit of transparency, they show rates from the online travel agencies like Expedia to compare.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Casablanca Hotel for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are his own.