Element Times Square West Review: Better Places To Redeem Your Points

I haven’t been doing as many hotel reviews lately as I probably should be doing.  Given, I’ve ended up in a bunch of places folks probably don’t need a review of.  Stillwater, Fort Wayne, Fresno and Peoria are all nice places.  But, you’re unlikely to need in-depth reviews to pick hotels.  New York City on the other hand…..

Element Times Square West Review

The Element is located at the corner of 8th ave and 39th street in Manhattan.  That’s half a dozen blocks North of Penn Station.  I had a brief trip recently to NYC and was looking for a place to redeem points.  I’m still chasing one more year of SPG Marriott SPG Ambassador status before Marriott introduces a revenue requirement in 2019.  Element Times Square West seemed like a logical choice.

I showed up late in the evening.  Check-in was pretty efficient and I was quickly on my way to my room.  Even though this is a tower in NYC, the rooms were pretty close to a standard Element property.  I had booked a standard room but the hotel had upgraded me to what they called a “view studio”.  The room had a small kitchen in the hallway.  That actually made sense as it didn’t take away from the living space.  I don’t generally plan to cook meals when I’m in such a great food city, so packing the kitchen elements into mostly unusable space works for me.

The rest of the room was pretty similar to a standard hotel room.  There was a usable desk, a small couch and a pretty comfortable bed.  There were some dents and dings in the furniture.  Other than that, it was in relatively good shape.

The bathroom was clean and compact, though not too small.

I knew I wanted to be asleep quickly.  I’m a light sleeper, so a dark room is a key for me.  It appeared that was going to be a bit of a challenge.

After about 5 minutes of fiddling I just gave up and went to bed.  As an aside, I rarely find hotels where this style of window covering actually works.  The theory is great, 100% blackout of the window.  I’d say at least half the time I find these broken or the blinds are out of the track.  It feels like there’s a better way to execute this.

Even though I was 30+ floors off the ground there was still plenty of outside noise in my room.  Manhattan has plenty of street noise.  Some hotels do it right, others don’t.  I consider this brand a high enough price point that they should have done better, especially on those higher floors.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but more often than not I use the iron and ironing board in my room. I travel light and frequently need to square away a wrinkle or two before I head out in the morning.  This is not an ironing board.  It’s just not.

This Is Not An Ironing Board

Located in the basement, the fitness center was ample for my needs.  It was empty when I stopped by in the morning, especially compared to the breakfast area.

So, About Those High Floors

I headed downstairs at about 7:45 am for breakfast.  That was…an adventure.  I waited approximately 20 minutes for an elevator.  I should have bailed and taken the stairs long before that.  But, it just seemed like it couldn’t possibly be 20 minutes.  Once the wait got past 10 minutes I wanted to see how long it really took.  After 20 minutes I crammed into the elevator with about a dozen other souls looking quite sad.  The conversation quickly turned to the fact that we stopped on every single floor.  One guy noted that he was there for multiple days and that each day had been the same.  A few others chimed in and agreed.  None of us had luggage during this trip, but future elevator visits were even worse with people trying to get luggage onboard.  When we finally reached the lobby, there were at least 100 people waiting to get into an elevator.  I should have taken a picture of the mob.  It wasn’t pretty.


Boy, breakfast was a hot mess.  There were a bunch of people there, no doubt.  But, the staff was really struggling to keep up.  In the 15 minutes I was there the majority of the food and drinks were depleted.  There was one lonely tray of eggs and some whole fruit and breads.  I asked one staff member about orange juice, which never appeared during my time at breakfast.  Side note: if you’re in a rush there appeared to be some very small grab and go bags and a tray of croissants in the lobby if you just need something quick.

The Final Two Pennies

The Element Times Park West is a Category 5 property which translates to 35,000 points per night.  That’s actually a reasonable deal for Manhattan when you consider what an average hotel costs in the city.  But, I’ve stayed at other properties in Manhattan for a similar “price” using points that didn’t have some of the issues this property has.  Given the breadth of the combined Marriott/SPG portfolio in Manhattan, there are better deals if you’re looking to save points.

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  1. Thank you for this useful review ! NYC is a tough spot for me. I have points, I have family there (but don’t want to crash on their couch), and I don’t seem to find good value redemptions, good rates, or good service/quality reviews relevant outside of winter season where low pricing comes in 🙂 I really appreciate that kind of hotel review, thank you again ! Sophie

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