on February 7, 2012
Situated right in the heart of Times Square, the Hilton Doubletree Guest Suites would probably never have been my first choice of hotel for Manhattan. I went to New York in December 2011, not the most particularly cheapest time for hotels here unless you're rather flexible with dates. Personally, I was happy with any hotel in Manhattan in a decent area, located near a subway station, clean and reasonably priced. I was originally all set to book in at the Holiday Inn on 5th Ave. however I noticed the Doubletree on Expedia for only a small amount extra. For this small amount I would not be getting just the usual hotel room, I would in fact be booking into a mini guest suite with separate living room, bedroom and bathroom. Being located in the hustle and bustle of Times Square did put me off slightly, but the price was appealing and the idea of a mini style suite seemed like a good idea.The Hilton Doubletree is located in a tall building directly opposite the TKTS booth (those famous red stairs in Times Square) and all of the hotel's rooms are small suites. You can pay extra for a Times Square view room, however as I personally don't spend much time in my hotel room in New York, never mind looking out of the window, I wasn't bothered about upgrading. I also knew from reading reviews on TripAdvisor that you pay extra for a Times Square view room, and they are actually smaller suites as they are situated in the corner of the building.The hotel is right on top of the 49 St subway station for the N, Q and R trains, and it's only a short walk away to the Times Sq station which has connections to a lot more trains. From the airport we took the Air Train and then Subway to the hotel, and after fighting our way through the crowds outside with our suitcases it was a relief to step into the hotel lobby, except it wasn't the lobby. When you step inside it's a small room with some bellmen who direct you to 3 elevators. You only wait a few seconds before one whisks you up to the actual lobby, and it was a nice surprise. Large, spacious and quiet with a big reception desk that was well manned. We arrived at 2pm and as check in wasn't until 3pm I did expect to wait but we were checked in immediately, given our keycards and some warm chocolate chip cookies. I was hoping for a high up room, and we were on floor 15, but there are 43 floors. There are 6 elevators for the hotel and you never waited for long for a lift to come at all whether going up or down.First impressions of the room were excellent, it was large, spacious and clean. The view from the windows in the living room and bedroom was an even nicer surprise, as it did over look part of Times Square and some office buildings. It would have been a waste of money paying to upgrade as the view was excellent enough from a standard room. At night time it was even better as all the lights came on in all the office buildings. The glow from Times Square lit up the rooms on an evening but black out curtains keep out all the light. The windows open to the loud noise of sirens and car horns, and they do keep out a good amount of noise. When closed you can hear the odd siren and car horn but it's not very loud at all, we need peace and quiet to sleep and had no problems sleeping!The living room had a large LCD TV, and there was another one in the bedroom. There is a wet bar area with a coffee machine, sink, ice bucket and glasses. There is a fridge and microwave for your own use and the safe. Underneath the TV is the mini bar but as expected it was expensive and we never used it. The bathroom was a good size for New York, although the door from the bedroom is hard to use as it opens right next to the toilet. There in a shower over the bath and the hot water was plentiful. The bed was huge, comfortable and extremely soft. If you're the type that needs a hard bed you will not like this one. A daily newspaper is left outside your room each morning, and if you're having a lie in I do recommend putting the do not disturb sign out as our cleaner came in at 9am one morning just as we were preparing to leave for the day.For the first few days I assumed the soundproofing in the rooms was excellent as we never heard anything, however on our final morning we were woken at around 6:30am when our neighbours took a shower. The sound of the water is so loud it sounded as if the shower in our bathroom was running.There is no free wi-fi in the rooms, which was annoying as this is a 4* hotel. I had stayed in a 3* hotel the previous year which provided free wi-fi (of a slower speed) in the rooms. Instead to use the free wi-fi you had to go to the lobby. This was spacious as it's also a bar area, although during check in/out times you will not get a seat at all. The lobby consists of people on laptops and mobiles and ruins the atmosphere of the space really. There is a Business Center with PC's and printers on a different floor, however I was surprised to find you need to pay to use the PC's in here, yet again in a previous 3* star hotel there was no charge for this. Instead I asked the reception desk to print off my boarding passes, but they only do this during certain times because of check in times, and because I was asking during this time they wouldn't do it but pointed me in the direction of the concierge desk. They were extremely polite and printed off my passes for me straight away.On our final day we were approached a couple of times by someone attempting to sell a time share for the new Hilton opening up elsewhere in New York, which got annoying, as I don't want a sales talk when I'm coming or going from the hotel.I didn't use the restaurant named Gingers for breakfast or other meals, as I imagine it's expensive being a hotel restaurant, but instead I took a tip from another review and went to a place named Evergreen Diner. This was located right on 47th street, go out of the hotel doors, turn right and go down that street. For somewhere so close to Times Square it was very cheap, under $10pp for a huge breakfast. It was a typical American diner, complete with seats at the bar for solo diners and New York Rangers flags on the wall. The staff were extremely friendly, and got to know us by our final morning, I can't recommend it enough. For dinner, I wouldn't recommend the Times Square tourist restaurants as they're over priced and busy. We did try Bubba Gump's one evening which was fun, but it was extremely expensive compared to other nicer restaurants in Manhattan. The bar in the lobby is nice and peaceful and not too expensive. We used it one evening but he didn't have a drinks menu, I wasn't sure what to ask for so he made me something 'tropical' which was very nice! The barman also chatted to us about what we had been up to that day and helped us answer a question we had about a building we'd saw that day that looked strange!I would go back to this hotel if it was a good price again. It was great having a suite to use, and whatever you do don't book a room with a view as they're smaller, and lots of the standard rooms have great views anyway as ours did.
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