Cen­tre stage in the city

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - JO MAKITO

The ac­com­mo­da­tion uni­verse is all about lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, and Novo­tel New York Times Square trum­pets its ad­dress cre­den­tials with good rea­son.

You couldn’t feel much closer to this mid-town Man­hat­tan en­ter­tain­ment quar­ter un­less you were stand­ing in it. This four-star, 480-room Ac­cor prop­erty, and the only Novo­tel in the US, has been look­ing first-night­fresh since a thor­ough re­fur­bish­ment of pub­lic spa­ces and gue­strooms in 2013.

The ac­com­mo­da­tion is smart and con­tem­po­rary, with pat­terned car­pets, well-con­sid­ered workspaces, big wall­mounted TVs and beds dressed in snowy white. The spiro­graph swirls on cush­ions and bed­heads add a groovy touch and the bath­rooms, al­though com­pact, in­clude all the ne­ces­si­ties, such as pow­er­ful show­ers and qual­ity toi­letries. De­pend­ing on gue­stroom cat­e­gory, there could be a neat win­dow-seat on which to loll and look out at cityscape views to­wards the Hud­son River, or close-ups of Times Square, a ver­i­ta­ble for­est of neon by night, all dig­i­tal bill­boards and Broad­way mar­quees.

The lobby, one floor up from the ground en­try, has echoes of a cabaret, lit up in pur­ples and mauves with retro ban­quettes, frosted glass pil­lars and a lively semi­cir­cu­lar bar that opens from noon to 1am; for a lunch on the hop, try the Mary­land crab cakes with citrus and fen­nel salad and, hang on, did some­one men­tion cu­cum­ber and laven­der mar­ti­nis?

A cen­tre­piece mo­saic su­per­im­posed on a Times Square cel­e­bra­tion im­age gives the il­lu­sion of rip­pling move­ment draped with a fine mesh of glass beads; there are sil­vered beams and looped lights and a buzzy vibe.

Block let­ter­ing spells out RE­NEW on the wall near the el­e­va­tors but, first, let’s wan­der from this flow­ing lobby space to re­fuel at all-day-diner Su­per­nova, open 6.30am to mid­night, with win­dow walls that soar in cathe­dral style and seem to merge with the panorama be­yond.

There are sput­nik-style light­ing con­stel­la­tions, savvy staff and the sort of fare that nails the NYC scene, from 52nd Street burg­ers with the works to baked Brook­lyn cheese­cake.

Ta­bles are highly sought af­ter here, es­pe­cially on the ter­race dur­ing the cock­tail hours (Man­hat­tans and Cos­mopoli­tans in abun­dance, of course, plus Coney Is­land lager), when drinkers gather on cush­ioned seat­ing, hands warmed over fire pits in win­ter. There are high-pow­ered viewfind­ers and this is one of the cov­eted spa­ces in the city come New Year’s Eve for the count­down to that fa­mous flag­pole ball drop at the One Times Square build­ing. Ho­tel guests have pref­er­en­tial ac­cess to this party space come De­cem­ber 31, but it costs from about $1300 a dou­ble room just for that night of nights and min­i­mum pe­ri­ods of stay usu­ally ap­ply.

It’s rare to stay in a metropo­lis and find al­most every­thing on your vis­i­tor’s check­list is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. There are four sub­way sta­tions within a block’s stroll of Novo­tel New York Times Square, and it’s sim­ple to con­nect to and from JFK in­ter­na­tional air­port.

I hop out and about to Ra­dio City Mu­sic Hall and the ex­trav­a­gant shops of Fifth Av­enue. Cen­tral Park South is seven blocks away and myr­iad mu­se­ums are within an easy ra­dius. Free tick­ets for The Late Night Show with Stephen Col­bert, taped at the Ed Sul­li­van Theatre, 1697 Broad­way, Mon­days to Fri­days, are re­leased on the first of each month and can be nabbed on­line if you’re lucky at 1iota.com. A small quota of same-day standby tick­ets is some­times avail­able at the theatre from 4pm.

The TKTS dis­count booth, with up to 50 per cent off theatre seats on and off Broad­way, is at the main junc­tion of Times Square. Check the tdf.org site and down­load the app for up-to-date avail­abil­ity. Aside from the show­stop­ping Bette Mi­dler in Hello Dolly, best of the big hits is Beau­ti­ful: The Ca­role King Musical at the Stephen Sond­heim Theatre, with mati­nees Wed­nes­days, Satur­days and Sun­days.

Also nearby is Rock­e­feller Cen­tre and from the Top of the Rock three-lay­ered ob­ser­va­tion look­out, a gid­dy­ing 70 floors up, Man­hat­tan spreads out in jagged canyons.

Zoom in on Broad­way, 7th Av­enue, 42nd and 47th Streets and there you have it — a sky-high view of Times Square, probably the best-known in­ter­sec­tion on Earth.

Jo Makito was a guest of Ac­cor.

Novo­tel Times Square’s Su­per­nova Bar, main; daz­zling district view from the ho­tel, top; king gue­stroom, above

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