Inspire

Moxy Times Square Is An Affordable, Stylish Hotel In The Heart Of NYC. What’s The Catch?

The first thing you notice upon entering a room at Moxy Times Square is the flamingos.

At least, this was my experience — it’s unclear whether the flamingos are permanent residents, or just a greeting party rolled out whenever media come to stay. In any case, upon walking into the room I was greeted by a trail of small, inflatable, light-up flamingos with accompanying pink balloons. A note written on my mirror clarified that “them? They’re just our welcome squad. Welcome to the Moxy Times Square!”

It was actually a surprisingly nice, warm welcome to a hotel, but it did pose a unique dilemma: where to put the flamingos for the remainder of my stay?

Moxy Times Square bills itself as a kind of compact-luxe experience – the rooms are minimalist, sleek, and feature clever multipurpose furniture (collapsible chairs hanging from the walls, drawers and pull-out storage integrated into the base of the bed) designed to get the most out of a tiny space.

There was no obvious place to stash a small army of fluorescent pink flamingos, however, and I didn’t have the heart to burst the accompanying balloons, so I ended up just stacking a precarious tower of inflatables in the corner of the room and trying not send any sudden gusts of air in that direction.

The inflatable flamingos at Moxy Times Square

The welcome squad. Image: Sam Langford

It should be clear, by this point, that Moxy Times Square is not your typical hotel experience. For one, it’s a block from Times Square, right in the heart of NYC, and offers rooms starting at $139 per night.

By NYC standards, that’s a great deal, and yet a stay at Moxy Times Square doesn’t feel like a budget experience. The rooms are beautifully designed, decked out with rainfall showers, plush bed-linens and smart TVs set up right at the foot of the bed (it’s tempting, on arrival, to simply get in bed and stay there).

The hotel boasts a beautiful mezzanine bar that flows into a multipurpose co-working space, a rooftop bar and lounge featuring stunning city views, a tattoo studio, a 24-7 fitness centre, and several different dining options catering to a range of budgets and moods. There’s Egghead, an all-day egg-centric sandwich shop; The Pickup, a speedy grab-and-go café; bar food available at both the rooftop and mezzanine; and a decadent seafood-themed restaurant at LEGASEA.

LEGASEA, much like the rest of Moxy Times Square, manages to impressively walk the line between luxe and casual. I felt comfortable showing up to eat in a pair of thrifted green overalls and hiking boots, even as a party of diners in cocktail dresses sat across from me.

The space and the food were stunning, but also fairly affordable — it’s possible to drop $105 on a literal tower of shellfish to share, or just grab a pretty luxurious take on fish and chips for $29. I happily munched my way through a delicious squid ink pasta, some crab beignets and a small mountain of warm cinnamon doughnuts packed with stewed apple, and would have enthusiastically returned for more had I been staying a second night.

In short, the price-to-luxury ratio of almost everything at Moxy Times Square is outstanding — at every turn, it felt like I was receiving a surprisingly good deal. I spent the evening wondering what, exactly, was the catch. When it came time to go to bed, I discovered it.

LEGASEA at Moxy Times Square

In its own words, Moxy Times Square “offers an energetic alternative to the typical hotel experience in the city that never sleeps”. “Energetic” isn’t typically how I’d describe a good night’s sleep, and sure enough, it turns out that staying in an affordable hotel right on the edge of Times Square really hammers home the “never sleeps” part of the NYC experience.

I am, to be fair, a pretty light sleeper, but even nine or so floors up it was easy to hear the all-night chaos of sirens, irate drivers, garbage collectors, traffic, shouting pedestrians, music and more drifting up from the street.

There were no ear plugs provided in my room, but a note at check-in had mentioned something about closets in the hallways stocked with extra “supplies” guests might need. At 4am after a night of broken sleep I got fed up and wandered down the hall to one such cupboard, where I found a convenient but telling stash of Moxy-branded foam ear plugs, which did the trick.

The bathroom at Moxy Times Square

And honestly, I can’t say that the sound was really a deal-breaker for me. It’s a testament to the quality of every other aspect of Moxy Times Square that I would still enthusiastically return in a heartbeat. My only regret is that the ear plugs weren’t left in the room from the get-go.

In short, if you sleep like a log, or are happy to sleep with ear-plugs in, Moxy Times Square is a rare flamingo amongst New York hotels: affordable, central, and just luxurious enough to keep you feeling special. If you’re planning a trip to NYC, you can find rooms from $139 per night at the Moxy Times Square website.

(Images: Moxy Times Square / supplied)