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Monday, June 1, 2020

A Review of the New York City Marriott Marquis in Times Square Where the City Never Sleeps

The Marriott Marquis in Times Square is one of the largest hotels in New York City, in one of the most high-profile and central locations and for many it has a lot to offer, like location, large rooms, spectacular views, and an awesome gym. But the building is showing its age with everything appearing tired and impersonal, and the flashing lights of Times Square quickly become annoying.

The Marriott Marquis is almost 50 years old and sometimes feels like you are back in the 1980's when it was built. You may be able to find a more luxurious hotel for the price but you will not be able to beat the location if you love the buzz of Times Square or plan to visit the theatre on your next trip to Manhattan in New York City.

1. History

The hotel's construction was first announce in 1972, as a $75-million, 2,000-room project. Five historic theaters—the original Helen Hayes, Morosco, Bijou, and the remnants of the Astor and Gaiety—needed to be demolished to clear the site. Protesters (including actor Christopher Reeve) tried to stop the destruction, even forcing a Supreme Court challenge. By the time construction began, many years had passed and the hotel opened in 1985.

As a partial replacement for the demolished theaters, the Marquis Theatre was built as part of the approval for the building of the hotel and is located within the hotel on the third floor. The Marriott was the first major project in the Times Square revitalization, and has been credited as the starting point for the regeneration of Times Square.

2. Location

Located along the Broadway district in Times Square, the hotel is located overlooking the spectacular lights and Jumbotrons you probably associate with Manhattan. It is situated at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway and is among the most energetic of city locations.

Here are the positives about the location:
  • Located in the center of Times Square
  • Less than 5min walk to the subway
  • Near all major Broadway theaters
  • 10-15min walk to Central Park
  • Restaurants, bars and shopping in the area or nearby
  • Lots of action (If you've never been to NYC, this may be appealing but if you like a quieter stay, we recommend staying in the upper east side like the Loews)
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2. Check-in

The staff is great at directing you to the lobby which is actually located on the 8th floor. The high-tech elevator system is famous for being one of the earliest installations of destination dispatch, which saves time and improves efficiency by assigning passengers to elevator cars according to their destination floors. Unfortunately the elevator system doesn't know how many persons could be getting on and elevator and if it may be full with passengers and luggage but generally this is not an issue. We arrived in the midst of the coronavirus scare and the hotel had hand sanitizer stations everywhere especially near the elevators where buttons and kiosks can quickly become contaminated. Unfortunately universal use of the sanitizing stations by guests was not the case...disappointing. We suggested to the front desk that they consider an enforcer at the elevators in the lobby and ground floor but that didn't happen during our stay.

There was no wait at the front desk as we have encountered on previous stays. This could be related to the corona virus but regardless check in was speedy. There are dedicated lines for elite Bonvoy members and we were recognized as elite members. Early check-in was provided.

3. Rooms

The room was large by New York standards and decorated in a contemporary style to reflect the New York but similarly to other recently revised Marriotts. This certainly is not a luxury hotel like the Langham where we stayed the month before in London, but is comfortable and spacious and adequately equipped. We were upgraded to a larger king room providing us We had more than ample space for our luggage and belongings.

Sufficient amenities in the room are provided including:
  • Coffee and tea
  • Large safe
  • Blackout curtains (necessary with all the lights of Times Square!)
  • Sofa
  • Many charging ports
  • TV with Netflix connection available

4. Bathroom

The bathroom was partially renovated with new tiles but no shower doors. As we've mentioned before, we feel shower curtains are dirty and outdated, and when you're paying around $300 per night like at the Marriott Marquis, shower doors would be nice. There was more than enough vanity space for all of our toiletries but not in the bathroom for both of us to get ready at the same time. A large sink with the usual Thann amenities have been replaced with thisworks, an international company that utilizes a powerful trio of natural actives, botanical oils and essential oils, each selected for their specific benefits and expertly blended without unnecessary chemicals to create, clean and targeted skincare that delivers with integrity. 

With the steep price of this hotel, you are clearly paying for location. Steps from Central Park, Rockefeller Center, MoMA, and the Theater District the definitely offers a convenient location, but if you desire a quieter location, there are other options nearby, such as the Conrad Midtown

5. Fitness

This is undoubtedly where the Marriott Marquis shines. There is a large fitness room on site with sufficient machines and weights to meet the needs of most travelers, such as treadmills, bikes ellipticals, Peleton bikes, kettle bells, weights, etc.  Cool towels, fruit, headphones, a water cooler and dry towels are provided.  Some drinks are available for purchase.  It does get crowded however, 

For the runners like us, many long runs can be done nearby in Central Park.  Even better, look for a race to support causes as there is always something going on in NYC!

6. Dining

Another of the weak spots during out stay at the Marriott Marquis is dining. While there are options for dining within the hotel, or meet for a drink, snack or meal the prices are high and offerings are few. There are two lounges and two restaurants on site if you need.  The view from the more formal restaurant and lounge are incredible, but restaurants like this exist all over NYC.  We had lunch in the lobby, and enjoyed a sandwich which was delicious and the service was great.  Scroll down to see some other dining options in NYC that we recommend!


There is a nice wine and liquor store located on seventh avenue and 54th street nearby. They have an excellent selection of wine and spirits. Their prices are high compared to most areas, but you can find yourself a nice bottle of something to enjoy with your family or friends. 

Steps from Central Park, Rockefeller Center, MoMA, and the Theater District the Conrad Midtown offers Tremendous Value for and Boutique Suite New York City Experience.

7.  Our list of recommended restaurants while you stay that are located outside of the hotel

  • La Goulue French cuisine in a lively and welcoming bistro chic setting
  • Bolivian Llama Party for authentic Bolivian food for a great lunch on the run near Columbus Circle
  • Cafe Boulud for a fabulous meal by French chef Daniel Boulud which is not as expensive as his flagship restaurant:
  • Daniel - over the top meal for very special occasions. 
  • Victor's Cafe - Great Cuban food and music.  It is perfect for a pre-theatre meal!
  • Charlie Palmer at the Knick - great prix fixe theatre menu
  • Wo Hop Chinese in Chinatown - get there early so you won't have to wait for a table.  It is small and they accept cash only!
  • Junior's Cheesecake - Across the street from the hotel is an old NYC establishment with large portion sizes and typical deli offers.  Oh, and they have cheesecake!!!!

Bottom Line:

This is one of the largest hotels in New York in one of the most high-profile and central locations and for many it has a lot to offer, like location, large rooms, spectacular views, and an awesome gym. But the building is showing its age with everything appearing tired and impersonal, and the flashing lights of Times Square quickly become annoying.

We needed to stay at the Marriott Marquis in New York for an event and probably not stay here otherwise, even if the price were right.  The location is just a bit too busy for our tastes.  The hotel is overly crowded and the service is sometimes good and sometimes bad.  Our stay this time, demonstrated better service than we have seen in the past (during our last stay, the room was not made up until we called three times and checkin was not pleasant).

The location is perfect to see just about everything in Manhattan either on foot of by train, especially if you plan to spend time taking in a show.

Fitness in New York isn't difficult when staying at The Marriott Marquis, the gym is awesome by our standards, and if you don't find enough healthy opportunities at the hotel or nearby Central Park, the concierge may be able to your needs through the relationships they have with local facilities.

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