It had been ages since I last stayed at a Best Western hotel, but the recent Best Western Rewards promotion whereby you could book free nights in North America for just 10,000 points was just too good to resist. I snapped up two nights at the Best Western Premier New York Herald Square for my winter weekend trip to New York.
I wasn’t going into this stay with very high expectations. After all, mid-range hotels are a dime a dozen around the Herald Square area, with the Hyatt Place and Holiday Inn Express hotels right next door, and a Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn, and Fairfield Inn & Suites just the next street down.
The NJ Transit service from Newark Airport dropped us off at Penn Station, and from there we made the short walk to 36th St and Sixth Avenue. The hotel had an unassuming exterior, featuring a rather basic outdoor patio setup.
The lobby area felt a little cramped, but that’s to be expected here in Manhattan, where space is understandably at a premium. Our check-in process was completed smoothly and we were assigned Room 1602 on one of the hotel's higher floors.
You’ll also find free coffee, tea, and ice water here in the lobby.
The Best Western Herald Square is housed within a very thin building on 36th St, so the hallway sort of wraps around the elevator bank. As a result, you have two types of rooms: those with a view of 36th St, and those on the other side with a partial view of the Empire State Building.
Reader yyc, who had stayed at the hotel previously, had commented that the former type of room has more space than the latter despite the less impressive views. I weighed the options and eventually decided to opt in favour of the more spacious room.
The room is designed in quite an interesting way. Immediately upon entering, you have the bathroom to your right, while the rest of the room opens up in front of you.
The king-sized bed is located on the far side of the room, facing the window. There’s also a desk and TV screen setup in the corner, while a small ottoman piece completes the furniture.
The bathroom is pretty basic. I thought the shower’s water pressure could’ve been a bit better, but other than that I had no complaints. I did very much appreciate the New York artwork that adorned most of the room, including the cheesy close-ups of yellow taxis.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the room was the slanted floor-to-ceiling windows, which helped the place feel a little more spacious.
Upon entering our room on our first night, we were delighted to find a welcome amenity consisting of bottled water and a packaged cookie.
The hotel's public facilities are split across the ground floor and the basement. A hallway on the ground floor leads you from the lobby to a small, intimate bar & lounge in the back.
Meanwhile, the basement houses the hotel gym, a small computer workstation, and the breakfast room.
A free breakfast buffet is served daily, and consists of pretty standard breakfast items – scrambled eggs, oatmeal, hash browns, toast, etc.
What's the difference between the Best Western Premier brand and the regular Best Western, you ask? Based on this hotel stay, I can't honestly say I noticed much of a difference...
I won't be writing further posts on our weekend break in the Big Apple, so I'll just briefly highlight the best parts of our weekend – all of which were made possible thanks to the Best Western Herald Square's excellent location – starting with a mandatory nighttime visit to Times Square...
...a morning treat at The Bagel Store in Brooklyn...
...a walk along the Highline...
...a stroll up Fifth Avenue...
...Sunday brunch at Má Pêche, a Momofuku restaurant...
...and a jam-packed afternoon consisting of a visit to MoMA and a matinée showing of Hamilton over at the Richard Rodgers Theatre!
Overall, this hotel is certainly designed with practicality in mind. As a mid-tier hotel in a prime location, its job is to provide a reliable level of comfort for your time in the city, so naturally there aren't too many bells and whistles to look out for. However, a promotional price of 10,000 Best Western Rewards points a night is an absolute steal, and even the regular points cost of 36,000 BWR points a night is quite a good deal, considering you can easily earn lots of BWR points for free via the signup bonus on the MBNA Best Western Rewards MasterCard.