Review: Intercontinental Times Square

Three years ago I stayed at the Intercontinental Times Square as a Royal Ambassador elite member. I was upgraded to a suite and had unlimited free drinks from the minibar.

Last month I found myself back at the hotel no longer even an Ambassador. In fact, it was my first IHG stay of the year.

I was speaking at a conference that was originally scheduled to be held at the Trump SoHo. Less than a week out the event was moved to the Intercontinental because Trump.

I can only imagine the logistical nightmare involved in organizing a conference at a hotel in a matter of days, changing transportation arrangements for offsite activities, and communicating with all participants (in my case they just needed to send me a new room confirmation number).

I’m still an IHG Rewards Club Platinum, which was mentioned at check-in, though it didn’t get me anything per se. I was assigned a small room – though corner and well appointed – on a high floor. For whatever reason, height or construction materials, I barely had a cell phone signal (AT&T) and barely had a signal for my wireless internet device (Verizon). The hotel’s internet was barely functional as well, ‘sort of working’ but never prompting me for a login. After a few computer restarts the internet prompted me to log in and then it worked just fine.

View entering the room



Desk beside the TV

View straight ahead upon entering the room

View out the windows to the left of the doorway

The bathroom was large for New York, which is to say that I didn’t need to angle my arm underneath the sink to sit on the toilet and I could walk in and close the door without difficulty (it was a sliding door for this purpose).

I don’t love staying in Times Square, if only for the sheer numbers of people (and because everything around tends to be uninteresting low quality and overpriced as a lowest common denominator response to all of the tourists from around the world mixed with high rents). And yet I wound up there for the second time in a matter of weeks.

I stayed at the W Times Square because it was cheap, and the Intercontinental Times Square because it’s where I needed to speak. You make New York hotel choices either on the basis of location or price, and both drove me to Times Square.

Everyone at the hotel was perfectly pleasant, they gave me a 2pm checkout without a fuss (I left just after 1pm to go to CBS Radio to record a podcast with Robert Wuhl). I’d unquestionably return if I needed to be in the Times Square area and the price was right.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary Ā»

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  1. I have stayed there a couple of times, first time as IHG PLT, was given a room just like you had. Second time, I was PLT Ambassador I was given a larger room, last time I was there I was Royal Ambassador, and was given a suite, I think it is the perfect location, close enough to time square without being in the middle yet far enough away in which lights and noise is a problem.

  2. Our family group of eight (wife and I, her parents, and our 4 children) are going to New York in October. We want to use our into the nights free nights and want to stay in the Times Square area with 4 to a room. Would you stay in this hotel or the Crowne Plaza Times Square (or another one I haven’t thought of)?

  3. You went to the IC because Trump wants to make America Great again. That says it all. You should have kept it at Trump SoHo. A moronic move to go to the IC.

    New York is awful because of the communist DeBlassio.

  4. @Steve I didn’t make the change, I was a speaker at a conference. large organizations see more risk than upside in having any association with the trump name, even if it’s just holding a conference at a hotel with his name on it. Because he’s an asshat. Saying so doesn’t make on a fan of DeBlasio.

  5. Sigh… Gary, why do you insist on baiting with the political BS like this into your posts? Of course it’s your blog so you have full reign, but you’re smart enough to know that politics & religion are two hotbed topics that do nothing but divide – you get agreement on one side and completely push away the other.

    Think about it…. Trump, whether you like him or not, is the frontrunner for the “other” side…a side (political party, not necessarily his supporters) that represents roughly half of your readers. It’s obvious you’re not a fan, but come on, exactly what benefit are you realizing expressing it in this venue?

    You depend on your readers for income. Not primarily so, but your affiliate links are pushed as part of your content. Why alienate customers unnecessarily by bringing subjects in that serve no purpose other than to incite argument & disagreement?

    I enjoy your content for the most part, but just don’t understand why you insist on pushing your agenda like this sometimes.

    BTW, stayed at the IC TS recently as well and agree on the nice room size & amenities.

  6. Seems like an ok property, except for the safe on the floor of the closet. Who decided to put a safe where you have to get down on your hands and knees every time you want to use it? šŸ™

  7. @ Tony – a suite? This property only has four suites and we’ve never snagged one as a Royal Ambassador. Always end up with one of those ‘Studio’ rooms (which is just a junior suite). It seems to us that status doesn’t get you a lot at this property. But it is NYC.

  8. Manhattan’s skyscrapers are the bane of us NYers when it come to cell phones. Mine can barely be used at work due to being on the 40th floor. My colleagues and I are constantly running around, to the windows, etc., to try and get a signal.

  9. I stated at the IC Times Square about 2 years ago. I shared the room with 3 other friends and it was a very tight fit. The room was very nice, clean and perfectly located– close enough to Time Square but far enough away that it isn’t noisy. Me and a friend are going to be staying there in October and I am looking forward to our stay.

  10. @Jay, Gary expressed no opinion about Trump until he responded to comments. Even if he chooses to express an opinion about one candidate for one party, your math is way off. Calling Trump an asshat (excellent use of the term asshat), does not alienate half of the audience unless the audience is wildly unbalanced (not in the mental sense, although that also applies!). Trump has the support of 25% of registered Republicans, Republicans make up roughly 30% of the voting population. Leaving aside those that can’t register to vote, that still leaves his supporters as 25% of 30% of the typical audience. Even if all of them swear to never, ever read this blog again, he only loses 7.5% of his readership.

  11. Gary, are you going to continue inserting your political opinions into your travel blog through our the balance of this year and through Nov 8th of next year?


    Stick with travel matters; it;s really what you do best and why you have amassed followers and invitations to speak.

    btw….drop a few pounds and those small New York City hotel rooms will seem more spacious.


  12. I live in New York on W 55th Street. Last year, my apartment was being renovated, so I jumped around staying at hotels for a month in August. I used my accumulated IHG points and stayed at this hotel for a week. The rooms are a decent size for new york city. And the best part is the soundproofing that they have done on the windows here. Compared to other hotels, it was very quiet considering the loud noise in the area outside. However, I really don’t enjoy this location. It is way too touristy and chaotic. There is a Shake Shake with long lines in the same building on 8th Avenue. And It’s only a couple of blocks from the Port Authority Bus station which is very crowded and has alot of scary and unfriendly people. My stay here was not bad, however, there are much better places to stay in New York City.

  13. Trump SoHo is an awesome property with a great location. Bummer about the shift to TS, such an awful area to be trapped in.

  14. For starters, I should mention that I’m a different Steve than the one who made the Trump comment.

    I’ve stayed at the Intercon Times Square a few times and found it fine in terms of value, service, rooms and views from the higher floors. In fact, I’m planning to stay there a couple of times next month.

    As for your political comments, Gary, I don’t have a problem with your posting them even when I disagree with them. Though I certainly do agree with what you posted about Trump, when prompted.

  15. @Gary, kind of short notice to move an event. Was there some dissatisfaction with the Trump comb-over or something? It could not have been politics because Trump is just doing what people expect of him, which your correctly noted in the comments.

    Mr. Trump does what’s best for Mr. Trump. Even if that means running as a Republican. Anti-free-trade, and anti-immigration, Mr. Trump’s policies have already caused the New York Sun to run a piece naming the next recession after Mr. Trump.

    Why does he do this? Because Trump.

    And some say, perhaps correctly, because Hillary.

    Nobody for President in 2016. My $0.02.

  16. @Win I assume the event was moved because it was hosted by a big company, and some higher up learned they had an event scheduled there and there was a fire drill… you can’t do that… risk to the brand. There’s no upside to being associated with it right now, or a month ago when this happened.

  17. Stayed there on a reward night last year. Was nice, and I was high enough up that the noise from the street wasn’t much of a problem.

    The little welcome kit was quite nice. Instead of a bottle of water and some crackers like most hotels, it was a basket of fresh nectarines and some chocolates.

    I did run into a problem in that when I checked out I got a bill for a bottle of wine. Turns out the bottle is on a sensor pad, so when I moved it so I could turn the TV to face the bed it registered as being used. The checkout person admitted that happens quite a bit and immediately removed the charge, which does make you wonder why they don’t just change where the pad is…..

  18. Hi Gary. I stayed there last year for my free IHG credit card night. (my review: I agree that the rooms were small, but the stay was nice and the gym was also really nice. I have another stay scheduled next week.

    For those looking for other IHG recommendations in NYC, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the Indigo Hotel.

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