Having stayed in several branches of Novotel before (albeit in other countries), we were fairly confident of a good standard of service at this central location in New York City. Slightly uptown of Times Square, it offers a metropolitan and lively base that still gives you peace and quiet should you want it. A trendy bar and restaurant in the Accor group’s usual classic yet modern style (including mood lighting and neutral greys and taupes) is available on the same floor as the lobby, as is a mailbox, internet access, a cash machine, a hotel gift shop, and a games console area.
The concierge desk is slightly tucked away from the main check-in desk, but check-in and check-out were both speedy and the concierge was helpful in advising us on directions and the subway. 50 Street subway is very close and on a main line to many other essential destinations (including the other end of Times Square, 42 Street).
New York itself can give you whatever you want, whether it’s the trendy coolness of Greenwich Village or the bright lights of the Theater District.
With modern decoration, an appealing design, a cushy duvet on the bed and ample seating, this seemed like good news (our cheapest night was $165, so this was a very good standard for the price). The bathroom, however, was extremely ropey (although everything worked) and needed updating; the difference in décor between the bathroom and the bedroom was evident.
We did not sample it, eschewing the hotel’s $20+ offering for breakfast half the price at a nearby café. However, we did use the bar on our second evening, after our restaurant reservation cancelled on us (how nice of them). For two glasses of wine, two starter-type dishes and a soft drink each, plus tea for two, it came to just under $75 (which, to be honest, seemed a little bit much). Service was adequate, and not believing in rewarding mediocrity, we didn’t leave a tip. What we didn’t expect was for the server to come chasing after us demanding to know why we hadn’t left one! While we recognise the cultural implications of NOT tipping in America, we still believe that the choice of whether or not to do so should be at the customer’s discretion – not the server’s. This really coloured our view of the service we received whilst there, which erred more towards functional than friendly even on front desk.
We had initially chosen the Novotel on the strength of the price, as it seemed among the best value for money options out there, particularly given the very central location. However, after our stay at the Library Hotel, which only cost $30 more (the Novotel was $230 on its most expensive night; the Library Hotel was $260) but was far superior in terms of décor and service, we would prefer to return to the latter again.
226 West 52nd Street, NY 10019