Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Stella Shon
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When people — New Yorkers and tourists alike — think about Times Square, there’s often an instinctual reaction, good or bad. Tourists might react or reminisce on their experiences at the “Crossroads of the World” with fondness, while longtime New Yorkers may cringe while traversing the neighborhood on their commute home.
What’s true is that the hotels found in the neighborhood straddle every price point, from the high-end to the hostel. Ultimately, its convenience draws travelers — business and leisure alike — to Times Square. Most aren’t staying put in their rooms, but travelers still like to enjoy a respite from the city while in their rooms. Hotel companies, like Hilton, are catching on.
The brand invited several journalists — including from Upgraded Points — to tour one of its newest Manhattan offerings: the Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square. For travelers seeking an elevated hotel stay at a decent price point that’s close to all of the action of Midtown Manhattan, this property is an unexpected breath of fresh air amid the chaos of Times Square.
While we previously covered the Motto’s opening, this post will take a more comprehensive look at the hotel, its amenities, and how to book with cash or Hilton Honors points. Let’s dive right in!
Motto by Hilton is one of the hotel chain’s newest brands and has 6 properties with over 20 in development. The new Times Square property is Hilton’s second Motto hotel in the Big Apple, after the Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea.
The brand focuses on the guest experience where guests can “live like a local” in their destination. Some brand signatures of the Motto by Hilton include compact guest rooms, communal spaces, and a coffee house and bar for work and leisure.
The hotel, which opened in September 2023, is 1 of 3 in the same building, with the other 2 being Home2 Suites by Hilton New York Times Square and Hampton Inn by Hilton New York Times Square. Hilton also has another mid-range hotel, Tempo by Hilton Times Square, just a block away.
Motto, Home2 Suites, and Hampton Inn serve different purposes and cater to a unique subset of travelers. For instance, the Home2 Suites brand caters to longer-stay travelers. It includes amenities like a full-sized refrigerator, microwave, sink, and dishwasher, while the Hampton offers a mid-range, affordable option in Midtown with complimentary breakfast. The Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square appears to be a unique blend of the 2 — balancing affordability and convenience.
Tourists visiting the city for the first time and business travelers who make the trip weekly or monthly will appreciate the central location. The hotel is steps from Times Square, Broadway, the famous Disney Store, M&M’s New York, and a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.
The Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square is located on many subway lines, such as Times Square-42nd Street (which serves the 1, 2, 3, 7/7 Express, N, Q, R, W, and Shuttle lines). Travelers arriving from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can connect to the hotel via the E line at 7th Avenue.
Upon entering the lobby of the Motto, I could quickly see how the hotel would become a fan favorite among Hilton loyalists and infrequent travelers.
Times Square is often associated with an ostentation of American capitalism at its best and worst. Hotel chains, big and small, often draw upon the bright lights and loud noises of the neighborhood in their decor and design. That choice can sometimes cause a hotel to feel cheap and dated, especially considering New York is far more extensive than Times Square or even Manhattan.
The Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square came as a fresh surprise. Where I’d expected to see bright, bold colors, the hotel lobby is distinctively muted and more mature. The Motto team, who guided us through the tour, explained that it was by design, eschewing the bright lights just outside the door for designs reminiscent of 1920s Manhattan.
Connection is the buzzword at Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square. The 400-room hotel offers many connecting rooms with different layouts.
While the rooms are tiny, you’ll find spaces with Murphy beds, rooms with bunk beds, and standard queen-size beds (up to 9 rooms can be connected in this way).
As space is limited, rooms offer unique storage spaces with places to put your luggage. Conveniently located power outlets offer ways to keep connected, and guests can control the room’s temperature and lighting straight from their cell phones.
The shower and lavatory area are pretty small — even for New York — and are reminiscent of a European hotel where space is often at a premium.
The rooms are designed in soft, muted colors, contrasting with the bright lights just outside your door.
One of the most welcoming but surprising features was the quiet rooms, which seemed like an oxymoron in Times Square. Looking at the ceiling, I quickly discovered why — the Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square uses noise-drowning ceiling pads to capture unwanted sounds.
As a boutique hotel, the property doesn’t offer many amenities, but they’re still decent for what you get.
The lobby doubles as a communal hangout space for work and leisure. During our tour, which took place on a weekday morning, I noticed several people working from laptops or taking calls. As I noted above, the hotel is notably quiet, including the lobby, demonstrating that Hilton seemed to pay close attention to noise factors.
A bar just off the lobby serves up cocktails, mocktails, and coffee, while the (under-development) dining room offers plenty of space for dinner or a work meeting.
The gym space offers everything you would need, such as Peloton bikes and a treadmill, for travelers who want to get in some quick exercise before heading out on the town.
There were also yoga balls, kettlebells, and dumbbells.
For a 2-star hotel in one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, the Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square is priced appropriately in cash or with Hilton Honors points.
Cash rates are priced extremely reasonably, given the neighborhood. Depending on your dates, you can find stays at the hotel starting at just $179 in May 2024. This hotel is a steal compared to the nearby Tempo — where rates start at more than $400 per night during the same period.
Like other major hotel chains, Hilton no longer uses an award chart. Instead, Hilton uses variable award pricing, which means your award nights can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on several factors. If you prefer redeeming Hilton Honors points, you’ll find standard award nights starting at 80,000 points per night across the board. By comparison, the Tempo has award nights starting at 90,000 points.
Fortunately, it’s very straightforward to earn Hilton Honors points. Outside of staying at a Hilton property, you can spend at restaurants with Hilton Honors Dining, link your Lyft account to Hilton Honors, and rent a vehicle with partners.
There are several co-branded Hilton credit cards through American Express, and each offers something a bit different, depending on your travel needs. Every card comes with a sizable welcome offer and some form of Hilton Honors elite status. Separately, if you have a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards, you can transfer your Amex points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio.
After a tour of the property, I was impressed by the new Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square. While it’s not as high-end as other hotels in the neighborhood, such as The Times Square EDITION across the street, it’s still a pretty decent hotel for travelers looking for a clean, comfortable room, work and play areas, and all of the action of Times Square right outside their window!
The Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square is not a luxury hotel, but it is a boutique hotel that offers small but comfortable rooms at an affordable price.
You can find cash rates at Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square for under $200 per night and from 80,000 Hilton Honors points.
No, Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square does not have a pool.
Motto by Hilton New York City Times Square is a solid choice for travelers who want to be near Times Square attractions such as Broadway, dining, shopping, and entertainment.
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