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Though the InterContinental New York Times Square actually opened July 12, the ribbon cutting ceremony last week – keynoted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – officially heralded this new property as one of the greenest in the city. As part of its bid for LEED certification, the hotel employed sustainable building materials and recycled three quarters of its construction waste. More visibly, there are green roofs on the 4th and 7th floors as well as a lobby-level garden, but guests are not permitted out onto these areas.
The 36-story, 607-room hotel is the largest built in New York in the past 10 years; all but the top two floors are currently open (they’re still perfecting that two-story Presidential Suite). The eponymous Times Square is actually a couple of blocks from the InterContinental, and the hotel straddles the Hells Kitchen neighborhood. This works to InterContinental’s advantage, however: A quirk in zoning laws caps most buildings in that neighborhood at seven stories, so the upper floors of the hotel boast killer views of western Manhattan. Some corner suites can even see all the way north to Central Park.
Guest rooms are spacious by New York standards, with standard rooms starting at 350 square feet. The “green” theme continues in guestroom décor in both tangible and superficial ways: Energy-efficient fixtures pair with furnishings inspired by nature (the champagne-colored sheets are an interesting touch). Décor also includes original artwork by New York artists. In the bathrooms, guests will find Gilchrist and Soames amenities and walk-in rain showers (some doubles have tubs instead).
One other jaw-dropping amenity: touch-screen computers in every room. These can be used to browse area information or get some work done with Microsoft Office, but note Internet usage will cost you. More high-tech features are on hand down in the lobby. A giant touch-screen panel helps guests find local points of interest or look up the latest weather report, while iPads are available for similar functions in the concierge lounge.
On the street level, celebrity chef Todd English is behind the French brasserie-style Ça Va restaurant and lounge. The adjacent Ça Va Marché serves coffee as well as grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items. Outside the hotel, guests in the mood for something a little greasier can head around the corner to the newly opened outpost of the famous Shake Shack burger joint.