Sunday, 22 May 2016

Travel Hacking: Intercontinental New York Times Square, Only $160 per night by making good use of my Ambassador Cert

Intercontinental New York Times Square

Made me glad to have the Ambassador membership

Stayed Feb 2016
Published May 2016
  


After fulfilling my goal of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Iceland, it was time to go home.

Considering I would be almost on the other side of the globe (in terms of longitude), I was pondering if I should continue westwards through North America or back via Europe.

After looking at the flights and seeing Icelandair was offering a good deal at USD$215 (about SGD$300) on Economy to New York for a one-way, it was decided I would stop in NYC for a few days before heading home.

As a savvy traveler, I used my Ascend Card hotel voucher for a free first night at Millennium Broadway Hotel, which I also used at previously and got upgraded to a suite. This time, it was only a room but no less comfortable. Looking at my review then, it was really so dry.


 

From that hotel, it was an easy walk to the Intercontinental New York Times Square and using my Certificate from my Intercontinental Ambassador membership, I got a 1-for-1 weekend rate for this stay.

The hotel is located at the edge of Times Square and is a relatively tall building in the immediate area.

The decor is a clean business hotel with a dash of opulence.

Front Desk in the day and the Ambassador Desk to the left

As an Intercontinental Ambassador, checking in was done seated at a desk with a very friendly lady, Ms Christol.

In my not-so-great memory nowadays, she was the best Front Desk agent I have ever encountered in my travels so far. Well, I admit there is a bias in the form of a minimal language barrier.

To my delight, she was able to upgrade, with compliments, my basic room to a sky-view corner room (at least 2 levels of upgrades) and she also offered late check-out proactively.

Lounge at the Lobby
The corridor was a tad too plain and I think that bag is my rubbish. The photo was taken on a later date.

Corridor
The room was located high up the building, and the ceiling-to-floor windows provided a great view of the Hudson River.

Hudson River

The room was of a decent size in New York, and I have to say I dread the tiny hotel rooms of Europe.

Say Hello to my traveling bears!

The location at the edge of Times Square is quite good as there are lesser crowds and there is also a subway stop with an exit right next to the hotel.

Subway Exit and Front Entrance

If there were any crowds, it is most likely to be because of the Shake Shack at the corner of the block.
The burger joint was also the bane of my diet plans as it was so convenient to order takeout back to my room.

SHAKE SHACK

And yes, I have to show pictures of the food.

Here's Lunch!

And I ate it more than once...

And here's Dinner!

I wanted to work out after the sinful meals, but both the mind and the body resisted.

Gym

The absence of a club lounge was a little unusual for an Intercontinental, but that didn't affect my stay at all. I seriously think I wouldn't pay extra for lounge access in New York.

The other peculiarity was the coffee machine being stored in the closet.

Finally found the coffee machine!


For the readers who are not familiar with hotel loyalty programmes, Intercontinental hotels belong to IHG which also includes the populous Holiday Inns.

So how has this been useful for this stay?

The rate I paid was USD$199 before taxes per night, and the 1-for-1 weekend deal means I was able to get 2 nights for about SGD$320, with an upgrade, and I was also given USD$30 credit for my minibar as a welcome gift. Other perks for me include free bottles of drinking water, 2 welcome drinks at the lobby lounge and a free in-room movie.

Prices were not too shocking and I took the M&Ms

Therefore, I estimate the amount I paid for the room itself is less than SGD$140 per night.

For such a nice room in a luxury hotel, located at Times Square, I am more than willing to pay SGD$140 per night.


Happy and Healthy Travels!