I'm a person who likes to get a lot for my money. I usually use priceline, but couldn't afford the risk of bed bugs. My son is allergic to bites. So I spent hours scouring reviews on trip advisor and other places. The key in reviewing places is to make sure you 'sort' the reviews to read the bad ones first for all your choices. It's telling to look at them all together. After looking at all of my options, I decided that casablanca was best for us in terms of location and cleanliness. Also, for a first trip to NYC, I wanted a place small enough to offer personal tips if needed. I got everything I was looking for...plus a little more.
Location - I didn't really want to use the subway to get everywhere. I'm healthy and active, and wanted to see the city walking around. Casablanca was a perfect balance in midtown - where we could easily walk uptown one day and downtown another. Our priorities were being close to a show (late at night) on broadway, and a radio city show super early in the morning. In both cases, we made the walk within 15 mins. Also, it was easy to shop on our travel day when we were most tired. We saved on metro rides. And even if we had little energy left, we could stay close to the hotel and get plenty of NYC glitz (5th ave nearby or times square). I misunderstood the reviews and thought the hotel opened up onto times square. In actuality, you are in the middle of a side road between times square and the road that goes down to rock center. Again, a perfect balance. Still, everything felt very safe. Another review was right in saying that you are 1/2 block from a police station, and everything is well lit. Plus, the side road gets plenty of foot traffic from restaurant next door.
Food - The living room/lounge was like visiting family. It is actually broken into 2 parts -- with 2 different televisions. Thus, everyone was spread out well. But it is not just tables. Many chairs and sofas with small coffee tables. You felt like you were at home. Plus, the food was out all the time. Breakfast ran late (didn't just clear out at 9 like most places where you have to get up super early to make it). Pastries, coffee, and tea were out all day. And both breakfast and the wine/cheese had plenty of fruit available. The wine/cheese had a nice selection of olives and varied crackers. When you have a teenager, you appreciate the access to a snack without having to drop 10.00 mid morning, or mid afternoon, or late evening between meals. Plus, it was a nice extra space where families could split up and hang out separately when rejuvenating at the hotel. You do have to have the mindset that this isn't a flashy lobby. It's like a bread and breakfast feel. I figure I saved $45.00/day with these snacks (and eating just one other meal). You want to factor that into the cost of the room.
Room - we had a great room. King size, but not a bed. But looks like we had a wheelchair accessible bathroom. It was super long, and had a full bath/shower. The toiletries smelled nice and they provided lotion and shower gel (not just shamp and conditioner). That's a distinction for me between low key places and nicer places. I requested ear plugs in prep for noise I read about. But with fan on, I didn't need them. We were up on 4th floor, but did have a window facing street. On first 2 days, I could see building across from us, but then a shade seemed to lower on outside of building. I never knew why. But it did add to darkness at night. Although, outside lights never a problem. We also had a longer entry way into room with plenty of area for an ironing board without consuming rest of space. And of course, clean room, airy duvet, and no bed bugs or any bugs.
Service - as good as described in reviews. Couldn't get into room early which was a little rough because we had been traveling since 2am that morning. But with a smaller hotel, that didn't seem unusual. Everyone from front desk, to doormen, to ladies working the lounge, to cleaning staff was very professional and kind. When I was taken to our room, I was offered ice and shown everything in room. Oh, did I mention they come back and leave chocolate on bed in evening? Another nice touch in addition to the 'free' water bottles. Imagine, not getting charged for water! And we needed them. Finally, the printer and computer in lounge made it easy to print boarding tickets on last day.
Who is this hotel best for? Hard to say. We saw more than couples. And the lounge made it clear why. There were small families there too. And, if you like meeting other people from all over, the lounge seemed to bring people together (although, it was easy to have your own privacy too). Even if I was traveling on business, I would appreciate the free wine and wi-fi. They offered us passes to their gyms, and their guest book offered 2 options for use of a gym. We didn't use them, but it might be something a person wants in their hotel. Also, you are about 1/2 block to starbucks and it is open to all hours on time square.
Overall, the Casablanca earns its #1 slot for a reason. A perfect balance to big NY!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience the magic of Times Square just steps from our door, and then escape from it all at this oasis of hospitality, The Casablanca Hotel. Guests are welcome to unwind in Rick’s Cafe with complimentary refreshments 24 hours a day, including the Library Hotel Collection’s signature Continental Breakfast Buffet each morning, wine and cheese receptions each evening from 5PM-8PM, and coffee, tea, cookies and fruit served throughout the day. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and bottled water is provided daily. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Casablanca Hotel New York City
- Casablanca New York City