The Casablanca Hotel is a relaxing space in Times Square. With moroccan inspired decor and fantastic service, it’s a perfect place to stay in New York City.
This is not the first time I’ve said that Times Square is a place in New York that I’d rather avoid. I find the mass of people, tourists and bright lights to be overwhelming; and I’d just rather ride along underground on the subway until I get farther up or downtown. Pedro, however, is the complete opposite. He loves the energy, thrives off it in fact. Needless to say, when we decided to spend a night at the Casablanca Hotel, which is just steps from Times Square, I had some mixed emotions. Would it be too noisy? Would the rooms be the size of a shoebox? Would it be annoying to fight the crowds after a day out around town? Let’s just say that Pedro was right, and I was dead wrong. The Casablanca Hotel is an oasis in the chaos and the perfect location for a home base in the center of Manhattan!
Our taxi passed Bryant Park turning hard left onto 43rd Street and stopped just before the corner of Broadway in front of the narrow burgundy red awning of the Casablanca Hotel. The sign’s white looping letters reminded me of a classic New York Hotel from years past. This was not the sleek and modern exterior I imagined, but rather a little slice of Morocco in the Big Apple. Inside the lobby was decorated with painted tiles which reminded me of the south of Spain where we also have a lot of Moroccan influence.
The old elevator clanked a bit as we made our way up to the room, but it was more charming than anything else. How many years had this building been a hotel, I wondered. This area of Manhattan has so much history that I’m sure there are stories and secrets in those walls. The door to our room was framed by a curling cream colored border against the blonde wood. “Shh…we are hiding…” read the do not disturb sign with a black and white photo of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
The room itself was very spacious for a New York hotel with a little round table and a king size bed. Most importantly, the bed was extremely comfortable and the thick windows kept out the street noise. In fact, as soon as we entered the lobby of the hotel it was like stepping into a parallel space that seemed miles away from the high energy of Times Square. This was truly a place to relax and unwind. There was even a small patio on the second floor where you could sit with a cup of tea and read the paper. I was surprised to feel so at home in such proximity to the action. The patio area reminded me of the interior patios so common in Morocco with wrought iron furniture, a colored tile floor, plants hanging from the lattice work and lovely warm yellow light from the punched iron lamps.
Each afternoon the hotel serves a complimentary wine and cheese happy hour in their second floor café area. It was a brisk autumn day, one of the first of the season, and they had a real fire going in the fireplace as I sipped a glass of prosecco. It was the perfect aperitif before hopping on the subway to have dinner in Greenwich Village. (Have I mentioned how convenient it is to be in Times Square when it comes to subway connections?) The next morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet over the Times and coffee. All the hotels in the Library Collection (Library Hotel and Hotel Giraffe in Nueva York) offer the happy hour and breakfast buffet, and I have to say it’s one of my favorite parts of the stay. There is something fabulous about not having to scramble around and look for a place to eat breakfast (especially when that means venturing out before coffee into the zoo of Times Square.)
The Casablanca Hotel is a perfect place to stay in New York City if you are looking to be in the middle of the action, but still enjoy a quiet luxury hotel with excellent service. We would recommend it to anyone who is visiting New York for the first time, as it’s a unique and unexpected experience that you are sure to remember. We ran into several guests in the elevator who were quick to calm our nerves as we heard the clanking. “Don’t worry, it’s been doing that for years,” a gentleman in his early 50s told us. It’s clear that the Casablanca Hotel is exactly the kind of hotel that you’ll want to return to time and again. I know we’d love to go back!