If you’re looking for a close-to-Times-Square hotel, which is not directly in the heart of the hubbub, you’ll love the Element Times Square. The hotel, which is located on 39th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, is conveniently located close to Times Square, the Jacob Javits Convention Center and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Element by Westin is billed as an eco-friendly brand. I’m not sure what the hotel does beyond the normal recycle bins, placards asking guests to reduce water waste by reusing towels, etc… but I didn’t see – or learn – about anything the hotel is doing to make is more eco-friendly. The hotel is modern and clean and offers some unique amenities for guests.
In addition to free breakfast, the hotel offers free wifi through the entire hotel for all guests and a managers reception during the week which includes complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks and wine/beer. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, family or complete strangers you’ve just met in the hotel while catching up on the day or planning your next fun adventure.
The rooms feature kitchenettes – small refrigerators, a two-burner cooktop, a microwave and mini-dish washer. The cabinets are stocked with dishes, cookware and plenty of glasses. The room also has a coffee-maker and toaster oven. In the lobby, there’s a “gourmet pantry” called Restore where you can buy frozen foods, ice cream, drinks – including wine & beer, and plenty of snacks. The hotel calls the pantry, gourmet, but if you want gourmet just walk around the corner to Dean & Deluca. You’ll pay about the same price you’d pay at the hotel’s Restore Pantry.
The rooms at the Element are very, very small. The only real negative about the hotel comes from the room. Because of the size and layout, if you’re in the standard room the wall air-conditioning unit sits directly next to the bed and is very, very loud. It always surprises me in this day and age that hotels use wall units in rooms – they’re such a drawback for me. Because this unit was directly next to the bed, the air blew on me all night and I woke up with a sore throat. In addition, the blinds and blackout shade blew and clanked all night while air conditioner ran. During a New York summer, you just can’t shut the air off at night, so this poses a challenge for someone who wants a quite night sleep.
I had such a hard time with the air conditioner that I requested to be moved to another room. It took talking to three different people in the hotel, including the final call to a manager, to get moved into a room that they called an upgraded room. The room was just slightly larger and instead of the air conditioner sitting directly next to the bed, it sat closer to the foot of the bed. The noise level was still dreadful.
The 40-story hotel offers some unique views of Times Square, the Hudson River and the new Freedom Tower. No matter what side of the hotel you’re on, you’ll have an interesting view.
The hotel is just a few years old but it’s showing its age in a few areas. The shower (in both of my rooms) had some mildew build-up on the grout between the floor of the shower and the walls of the shower. The sheets and duvet covers have some tears and pulls that have been repaired, but are still visable. The sheets had some rust stains – and while I know they were cleaned, seeing rust stains on your sheets gives a terrible impression and the duvet just looked warn. The hotel room smelled clean and was free of dust. The floors were spotless and the kitchenette was very clean as well. I just wish the hotel paid a little more attention to the details of the bedding and the mildew in the shower.
The Element is a good, reliable hotel close to the heart of New York City – Times Square. If you’re looking for a no-frills, laid back hotel with lots of benefits like free breakfast, wifi and a managers reception, you will love the Element – just be prepared to sleep without the air conditioner or bring ear plugs!