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“Wasn't ready to open”

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Element New York Times Square West
Ranked #251 of 467 Hotels in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Saratoga Springs, New York
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Wasn't ready to open”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2010

On the plus side: this is a green hotel and the lighting, fixtures, bathroom products, etc. are all nicely thought out and good quality. The breakfast is good. There is a complete little kitchenette in the room with microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator and two burner stovetop.
There is free internet, a fitness center and computer center - - there is potential for this place to be better when completed and better organized......

BUT on the minus side: where to begin....noise in the hallway that seemed to be coming from workmen who were working on the constantly broken elevators. Rooms are poorly insulated for sound. There were long waits to get upstairs, a poorly designed entryway to the hotel where there were always lines of people waiting impatiently to check in, unfinished-looking lobby.
The room had a very annoying heating/cooling unit. It was cold outside but first we could only get cold air and then when it finally got warm (after they may have replaced the unit for us while we were out) it would start pumping out COLD air as soon as it reached the temp it was set to. It seemed to be impossible to get to a comfortable temperature. The unit is right next to the bed and very noisy, with the dry air flowing right at you while you try to sleep.
Maybe even MORE annoying, you can't sit up in bed and watch tv or read (and there's really no place else to sit because the small couch faces the bed and not the tv) because there is a huge gap at the head of the bed into which your pillows fall.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ejandjw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Washington DC
Level Contributor
54 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 30, 2010

I was excited to hear an Element would be in NY since i have stayed at those properties in suburban areas of some major cities, and had a good experiences. Goes to show that in NYC everything is different. If you have been to an Element in a suburb it is big, spacious, large full kitchen, clean minimalist Westin-like feel to it and has an excellent lobby complete with large common areas to spread out. In NY--nope. Has the big common areas, but the rooms are tiny with a small fridge and a painful check-in experience (brand new staff with no seasoned Manager watching over the customer expereince). The Element is supposed to be an Extended Stay type of place with Westin style so families or larger groups can spread out, but the NYC location is far from that unless you want you kids in the common areas all night (and in that area of NYC you do not want that). Positive it is in a good location, but wait for it to mature ...like a year.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank spgISLANDtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 29, 2010

I checked in the day before Thanksgiving at 8:00 AM and was immediately given a room on the 29th floor. This floor had just opened, so I was the first guest ever to check in to my room. The front desk clerk was being trained, so my check in took around 10 minutes. I was just happy to get a room at 8:00 in the morning.

I had to ask about late checkout (4 PM) and it was granted without any hesitation based on my Starwood Platinum status.

Breakfast was served from 6:00 to 9:30 AM. Evening reception ran from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Breakfast included juices, coffee, dry cereal, artificial bacon, scrambled eggs, and bagel sandwiches (bacon, cheese, and egg), pancakes or French toast (depends on day), etc. Nothing spectacular and hot items were served cold because someone forgot to turn on the Sterno heaters. Evening happy hour featured complimentary white and red wine and their own house-brewed beer. The appetizers were quite good (brie and peach phyllos and asparagus and cheese phyllos). The beer was OK but the white wine was horrible (tasted like wood).

Hotel has three lobby areas on the first floor - breakfast area, lounge + business center with free computers, and another lounge with a glass ceiling. There are three elevators that serve 40 floors and the rooftop. The elevators are quick, so waits were minimal. Rooftop deck has great views but no service is provided on that level.

Rooms are pretty nice (although the views are not). I had a small couch in my room. The Heavenly bed is very comfortable. Flat screen Philips 32-inch TV with 65 channels is next to the bed, but it also swivels 360 degrees. There is also a Philips DVD player. Heating and cooling is controlled by a wall thermostat that is connected to a large wall Islandaire HVAC unit.

The desktop features a lamp and the free internet is wireless only. Speedtest.net shows download speed at 1.03 Mb/second. Not bad but not great for a new hotel.

The bathroom features a shower stall with a huge elephant showerhead. Unfortunately, the water pressure is not good enough to take advantage of this feature. Plenty of space to put your toiletries on the counter.

The best feature here is the full kitchen. You get glasses, cups, dishes, pots, pans, and all the cutlery you would ever need. Also a full-size LG refrigerator with a bottom freezer that is huge by any standard. There is a 2-burner stovetop (no oven), toaster, coffeemaker, LG microwave oven, and GE dishwasher. Great for a long stay to be sure.

As with any new hotel, there were a number of opening week glitches. I was told that this was just a "soft opening" and they would be better prepared when they officially open on December 9.

1. The lobby and lounge were absolutely frigid. I complained on Wednesday night and again on Thursday morning. Turns out - if you can believe it - is that no one had thought to turn on the heating system! Not that day - but it had NEVER been turned on. The staff acted like the sub-55 degree temperature was normal ("oh, are you cold?"). Really!

2. They had no butter, napkins, or serving tongs out until I requested them. The hot entrees were cold due to the sterno not being turned on. The breakfast sandwiches were warm because they were in a separate area where an electric warmer was actually working. They had a pan filled with strange round egg white patties on Wednesday. All of them were burned and obviously inedible, but they were being served nevertheless.

3. The toaster in the breakfast area did not work.

4. The refrigerator and freezer in my room were warm. I pulled them out from the wall and saw that the cord was still in its original shipping position - not plugged in. Once plugged in, both units quickly got cold.

5. The toilet was filthy when I checked in. I won't go into the details, but that's odd for a room where I was the first guest. It took a full 2 hours for housekeeping to show up to clean it. (Flushing it did not help.)

6. The desk lamp had no light bulb.

7. The only cutlery I had was spoons. The forks and knives were missing. I didn't know this until the housekeeping supervisor started checking out the rest of the room.

Despite these opening week problems I experienced, I was happy with this hotel and will come back again.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DCBob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2010

Stayed at the element-times square west yesterday, I also scored that phenominal rate that the earlier poster mentioned... it was everything they mentioned and more.. plus the hotel validates parking for the garage across the street! The staff was super-friendly and more importantly helpful! Thank you Diana, Rob and Ralph. I missed out on the gym, but the rooftop lounge, albeit small, allowed fantastic views of midtown Manhattan. Our room was immaculate, the bed was fantastic, the window even had blackout curtains. My only complaint was that the bathroom mirror was a bit much for applying cosmetics, but the one on the back of the bathroom door made up for it.. no pun intended.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank littlemoonbeam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2010

The Element Times Square is idealistically situated in the heart of Times sqaure, just minutes from exciting attractions such as Madame Tussaudes wax museum, and many wonderful restaurants to just name a few. My first impression upon entering the hotel was that it offered a nice modern feel typical to what you would find at any hotel in that area of NY. The staff were all very welcoming, professional, and helpful, offering an exceptionally quick check in process and very early check in. The cleanliness however, was very much different. The elevator was filthy, almost as if it had not been cleaned after it had endured constrution. The room was very tiny, but comfortable at the same time offering a mini kitchen which came equipped with a refridgerator,microwave, sink, stovetop range, and pots and pans. The cleanliness of the room like the elevator seemed as if it had not been thoroughly cleaned since it was under construction (we checked in a few days after the opening of the place). The bathroom unlike the room was very clean however the shower rarely offered hot water. All in all this is not a bad hotel, with a more proper and thorough cleaning I would definitely suggest this place for vacations to NY.

  • Stayed November 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank medi771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2010

Just got back from a two-day trip to New York for Thanksgiving. It was fairly last minute and was SHOCKED when I stumbled upon The Element online via Starwood's website. I could not believe the rate ($167), enough so that I called the hotel on the 17th of November just to be sure it was correct. The receptionist confirmed the rate and informed me that they would be opening the next day, so the hotel is brand spanking new. We drove in on the 24th (Wed) and Nelson met us in front of the hotel, immediately secured our bags and directed us right across the street to ICON parking (TOO CONVENIENT!), where we received a huge discount given our stay at the hotel; the hotel is really Ikea-ish--very contemporary but not overbearing and extremely simple interior design. The staff was extremely attentive: explaining to us that The Element is the first 100% eco-friendly hotel in all of the City! Everything is made from recycled or eco-friendly material. The lobby is pretty comfortable and includes an area where complimentary breakfast is served every morning. It also has a "Re-Store" where you can purchase fresh products to make in your room. Keep straight thru the lobby and you'll find a WONDERFUL lounge area, complete with a wall-full of Mac's for you to conduct business/surf the net, etc. The staff handed my two preteen kids a set of WII remotes and escorted them to one of two WII play areas in the lounge. They had a BLAST playing WII Resort-again, all complimentary; the hotel also provides DVDs for kids if you want them. Our room was perfect! Had to get used to not having a wastebasket in the bathroom or work space area, but quickly realized how much "trash" could really be recycled, since under the sink we had a basked for "recycling" and one for "real" trash. Each night, our recycling bin was full of what I would have otherwise thrown in the "trash" bin--really made us think about how much we waste! We were the very first occupants of the room; everything is brand new, which came as a huge relief given all the horror stories about bed bugs in NYC. Our room seemed a bit small at first, but, again, it helped us realize how little space we really need in a hotel. Each and every cranny of the room has a purpose-no wasted space at all. Nice flat screen, FULL kitchen (ie. stove, dish washer, stacked fridge/freezer combo), AND the cupboards were stocked with just enough plates, mugs, bowls, even a frying pan and juicer; coffee machine was a nice touch as was the toaster. Again, EVERYTHING his eco-friendly right down to the spatulas provided for cooking as well as paper towels/toilet paper/dish detergent! Bathroom was WONDERFUL--spotless, overhead "rain" shower--spacious sink; very contemporary. Body shower gel and shampoo/conditioner are also provided in pumps in the shower. Wonderful! The ac/heat worked like a charm and we could not hear any of our neighbors at all. My kids slept on sleeping bags on the floor, which is made of eco-friendly material and SPOTLESS. The hotel also has a huge fitness center in the basement, as well as guest laundry service and some conference rooms. No wasted space at all. The hotel itself is located on w 39th street--just a block away from the theatre district, around the corner from Times Square, and stones throw from the Fashion District. We walked everywhere because we were so centralized. Took us 5 minutes to walk with the kids to the parade route on 42nd--left the hotel at 5:30am and were greeted by a full staff of employees who cheered us on to the parade. Oh--the hotel also accommodated us with an early check in (10am instead of 3pm!) AND kept our bags for us once we checked out at 11am that Friday. Their customer service is IMPECCABLE and whatever kinks they may have had in their first week of business appear to have been ironed out. Rafael helped us with our check out/bags-another phenomenal employee who seems really happy there. Everybody was helpful-pointing out some spots to check out in the city and genuinely happy. Very "light" air to the hotel; you feel better just being there! We had such a great time there that my husband and I are returning in January to catch another Broadway show! The ELEMENT is a MUST!! Look no further!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Cartagenas17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
Level Contributor
18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2010

Stayed here last night - their first night open (soft opening). It was chaos when I checked in. The system for card keys didn't work, nor did the phones or internet. Guests had to be escorted up to their rooms by staff with an electronic skeleton key. Everyone was apologetic, but when things are going this bad at an opening night, I expect to be either comped the room or given SPG points as compensation for the problems. They clearly had not done any quality control for the rooms. One phone was not even plugged in, the alarm clock did not work, and there were some odd stains in the shower (oh, and the Aloft-like shampoo and soap dispensers in the shower were full but inoperative, too). I feel like they needed some seasoned hotel opening veterans at the facility, but instead they had enthusiastic, but inexperienced staff there instead. Sleep quality was good as rooms appear well sound-proofed, as do the windows. Location close to Port Authority, which is obviously a plus and a minus at the same time. Hard to see where hotel is at night - they need a banner of some sort. if they get the kinks ironed out, this could be a good option for some folks. I wish them well.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HoustonBaze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElementTimesSqGM, General Manager at Element New York Times Square West, responded to this review, December 21, 2010
Thank you for wishing us well. Admittedly, we had a tough opening, as evidenced by some of the reviews on this site. We have worked out systems and operations issues, which are different for each hotel or building opening, and would like to invite you back to see a substantially different hotel from the one you visited two days after we opened.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Element New York Times Square West

Property: Element New York Times Square West
Address: 311 West 39th Street, Between 8th and 9th, New York City, NY 10018-1401
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Midtown , Hell's Kitchen
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#40 Green Hotel in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Element New York Times Square West 3.5*
Number of rooms: 411
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Element New York times square west is an eco-friendly Manhattan boutique hotel near Times Square and Broadway. Our hotel has 2 meeting rooms, complimentary breakfast, free wifi, and a fitness center. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Element New York Times Square West Hotel New York City

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