Times Square NYC

Times Square, New York City. Photo by Kim Orlando/TravelingMom

At the Staybridge Suites in Times Square, the general manager has a serious customer -first philosophy. He believes you can teach rules and skills, but you can’t teach personality. His emphasis is on personality, kindness and service. The hotel guitar that any of the 3 bellman can play is a great example of his commitment to the atmosphere he promotes.

Customer First at Staybridge Suites

“City girls just seem to find out early…” That’s what the singing bellman at Staybridge Suites in Times Square was playing on his guitar when I entered the hotel.  He paused to see if I needed help with my bags and then returned to entertaining a group of kids in the foyer.

What a great way to start a vacation.  For me, this was more like a mini-cation, only an hour from home, with kids dropping in rather than traveling with me. But it was a break from home schedules.

Staybridge Suites Times Square, on 40th Street, near 8th Avenue, is across the street from the Port Authority and ½ block from the subway so you can travel anywhere in New York City easily. And, my kids would want you to know, Shake Shack is only 4 blocks away.

In addition, the price, about $250 per night during the summer high season, is a great deal in NYC, especially for a room with a kitchen.

Most NYC hotels offer ear plugs because the streets are so noisy but I did not need any. My room faced 40th Street and was far enough away from 8th Avenue so it was quiet.

I can vouch for the service: When there was a mix-up with some paperwork needed for my daughter to check in without me, the front desk staff fixed the issue and sent up some chocolates for the inconvenience. Please note: Hotel rules vary for minors checking in without an adult. Check ahead of time for clearance or releases that may be required.

Singing doorman at Staybridge Suites Times Square.

Singing doorman at Staybridge Suites Times Square. Photo by Kim Orlando/TravelingMom

My room was wheelchair accessible, which made it seem a little odd to me that the towels, hair dryer and dishes were all stacked high, even for me. When I inquired about it, I was told that If a guest is traveling alone and in a wheelchair, the staff will make sure all dishes and towels are within reach.

Free in NYC

Free things to do are always a boost for a family vacation budget. There are plenty of free fun things to see and do in New York City. Taking the Staten Island Ferry is a relaxing and FREE way to see the Statue of Liberty. Sitting on a chair

View of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

View of the Statue of Liberty from the free Staten Island Ferry. Photo credit: Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons

on Broadway in Times Square offers a day’s worth of entertaining people watching. Walk the Highline and the Brookline Bridge for an unforgettable view or swim for free.

All Staybridge Suites properties offer a lot of free amenities: breakfast, wifi, gym, apples, water & tea station, full kitchen with stove, fridge and dishwasher.

The Hotel

You can request daily housekeeping. I didn’t, so I was surprised to return to the room after a day of meetings to find the bed made, but the trash hadn’t been emptied, and the dishes were still on the counter. When I asked about it, General Manager Seenkei Chiew told me the property offers what it calls “light touch housekeeping” which means the bed is made, toiletries refreshed and dishes are cleaned up. Full service, which includes cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming, happens every 3 days.  I was fine with that, but I wish someone told me when I checked in.

Unlike many other Staybridge Suites properties, there is no pull-out couch at the Time Square location. If you travel with a family of 5 or more, like I do, the best bet is to get connecting rooms. Book early. This property runs at 96 percent capacity all year, the manager says.

However, it did offer another nice Staybridge Suites perk: social hour with small appetizers, wine and beer a few nights a week. I was too busy to partake, but if you’re looking for a little break from the bustle of New York City or need a snack to tide you over from lunch to dinner, it’s a nice option.

The Amenities

My husband says you get what you pay for – which doesn’t say much for items that cost nothing. I beg to differ. Let’s start with breakfast. The eggs were firm and tasty and there was cereal, muffins, yogurt and 2 bowls of fruit options. The hotel was full, so breakfast was crowded. By the time I got there, the eggs were nearly gone. However, there was no long line or long wait to get my food.

The only item on the buffet that did not look great was the bacon. It didn’t seem to stop anyone else though—everyone but me seemed to be eating it.

The free wifi has just been upgraded and was faster than the wifi in my home.  That said, it is always beneficial to travel with your own private hotspot in case you need to do banking or share private information via email.

The kitchen had a full fridge which I stocked with fruit that I bought from street vendors and I appreciated having silverware and dishes to use instead of plastic.

Overall at Staybridge Suites Times Square

My mini-cation turned out to be more mini than I planned – only my daughter came for one night. Everyone else was either fighting a flu bug or playing sports.

My daughter and I shared a king bed and had dinner at Peacefood, our favorite restaurant in NYC, which happens to be vegan.  I worked the rest of the time but the amenities did not go to waste; I used the dishes, fridge, wifi, ate the tasty eggs for breakfast and filled up my water bottles with fruit-infused water.

I will return to this Staybridge Suites. They are playing my song.