The Milford Plaza is a 1,300 bedroomed hotel one block from Times Square and located in the Theatre district of Manhattan. The hotel had been neglected for many years and gained a reputation as a bit of a dive with the previous owners failing to upgrade the hotel since the 1980s.
A little bit of history
I’m always interested in the history of old buildings like this so I did a little research. Interestingly, the property was owned by the Milstein family up until the death of Paul Milstein in 2010. Paul Milstein was one of the largest property developers in New York, credited with building 50,000 apartments, 8,000 hotel bedrooms and 20 million sq. foot of office space throughout his career.
The hotel was mortgage free since 2003, so for the family not to have carried out any upgrades whatsoever during this time to me seems a bit neglectful. In 2009 they did decide to a top-to-bottom refurbishment of the hotel and closed the property in December of that year to carry out the works. However in March of 2010 work was halted due to concerns about the weak economy and funding issues. The family had decided not to borrow for the upgrade and to fund it entirely from their own resources. When Paul Milstein passed away in 2010, it was decided to put the shuttered property up for sale, later selling for $200 million to a management company, who subsequently resumed the refurbishment project.
The Milford is located just off Times Square on 44th and 45th Street, one block or a 2 minute walk to the centre of all the action. There’s a subway stop just across the road which makes getting around the city easy. You cannot get a much better location for a budget hotel in New York City. The only hotels any closer are full service 4-5 star properties where you’ll pay for the privilege.
Rooms in New York are notoriously small but I have to say mine was a pretty decent size. The décor was very modern with lots of orange, white and black and minimalist furniture that looks like its from Ikea. The décor is a million miles away from what the rooms looked like up to 4 years ago and bring the Milford into the 21st century.
Noise was a bit of an issue as construction workers work through the night on completing the new hotel lobby area, which is scheduled to open in April 2013.[print_gllr id=273]
For a brand new room I was a little disappointed with the housekeeping. The mirrors were marked and the carpet was hovered, just not properly. Bed linens were spotless though, otherwise I would have checked straight out again.
There’s a temporary lobby to the side of the building while work on the new lobby is underway. It looks shabby and a bit dirty but that’s kind of to be expected when there’s major construction work going on behind the partition wall. The new lobby area promises to be a big improvement over the old one and will include a dining area and a bar.
Check in took for ever! And each of the three staff on reception looked like they did not want to be there. The guy who checked me in couldn’t care less about giving me directions to the lift, Internet access details, checkout time or any local information. Working behind the reception desk in the Milford was the last place this guy wanted to be. At the other end of the counter there was an argument going full swing between another one of the reception staff and a tourist with poor English. There was some sort of mix-up with their reservation but I couldn’t figure out who was at fault.
Internet is charged at $14.95 for 24 hours and allows you to connect up to 3 devices. Speeds weren’t the best at times and the upload speed speed wasn’t strong enough to support a Skype call. I also had to keep authenticating my iPhone for some odd reason; it kept kicking me off every 15-20 minutes. I didn’t have the same issue on my laptop however.
If you’re visiting New York on a budget, the renovated rooms at the Milford Plaza are a great place to base yourself but be aware of its shortcomings before you go. There are plenty of better hotels in New York but you’ll pay a hefty price for the privilege and you’re probably not going to be spending all that much time in your room while in the Big Apple anyways. Also be aware that the hotel is still undergoing renovations so expect some disruption and signs of work. The Milford’s biggest selling point? I paid €71 for one night in the hotel, you’d be hard pressed to find anything decent so close to Times Square for that kind of money.
Total Score: 68%