The Suite Life Atop RIU Plaza New York Times Square

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One of the nicest parts of being a native New Yorker is playing tourist in your own town—and especially from a penthouse corner suite with panoramic vistas of the isle of Manhattan. No jet lag, no airport security—instead, you just Uber to the front entrance of RIU Plaza New York Times Square and shoot upstairs to the sky-high Presidential Suite.

Opened in March 2016, RIU’s 28-story sleek glass skyscraper hotel anchors the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 46th Street in the heart of the Theatre District. Like an elegant aerie, the Presidential Suite enables a bird’s-eye view onto the neighborhood’s many Broadway theatres and its patrons. As curtain time approaches and the city lights twinkle and flash, from Times Square to the Hudson, it’s nearly impossible not to succumb to the nighttime romance of Manhattan.

View from the 28th-floor Presidential Suite atop RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©MRNY

View from the 28th-floor Presidential Suite atop RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©MRNY

With 60 million annual visitors, New York City hosts more guests than any other city in the world—and RIU Plaza New York Times Square is the culmination of a “lifelong dream come true” for the company’s third-generation owners Carmen and Luis Riu. The $310-million hotel represents the family company’s largest investment to date for a single property. A ten-year location search was followed by a three-year construction project before the hotel opened on “Restaurant Row,” a Manhattan institution since 1973.

Maximizing the hotel’s proximity to nearby Fashion Avenue, the entrance lobby features oversized fashion murals flanking highly-polished hallways that double as catwalks for an ongoing promenade of guests who hail from around the world. The hotel’s concierge provides invaluable assistance with the neighborhood’s numerous theatres and restaurants.

Fashion restaurant at RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

Fashion restaurant at RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

Located just off the lobby, Fashion, the hotel’s restaurant and bar, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner amidst an atmospheric setting that evokes fashion shoots and runway shows. Shimmering chrome and black Lucite surfaces are complemented by black marble counters and dove-gray upholstery, all suffused with mauve-tinted lighting. A coffee and smoothie shop called Capital Grab & Go serves sandwiches and sweets—which become even more delicious when eaten in the Presidential Suite.

The 28th-floor Presidential Suite atop RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©MRNY

The 28th-floor Presidential Suite atop RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©MRNY

Larger than many Manhattan apartments, the 750-square-foot corner suite on the 28th floor is the sort of dream home in the sky often found in shelter magazines. With a dining room and table that seats four for dinner, the Presidential Suite also offers an expansive living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and an ensuite bathroom. Gray wood floors are complemented by contemporary décor in dove gray with cherry red accents. Framed by window treatments in burgundy, the southeastern exposures are a kaleidoscope of neon signage and Broadway marquees, with water views of the Hudson River.

Similar stellar views are available from the king-size bed in the bedroom. The massive master bathroom includes a hydromassage soaking tub as well as a walk-in rainforest shower and double wash basins. Black bathrobes are paired with matching slippers and toiletries are by Le Naturel. Two wall-mounted, flat screen satellite televisions are available for entertainment—but really, what can compete with the breathtaking perspective of Manhattan?

The Presidential Suite master bedroom with hydromassage soaking tub ©MRNY

The Presidential Suite master bedroom with hydromassage soaking tub ©MRNY

Throughout the 647-room hotel, guest rooms and suites are furnished with mauve faux-leather chairs and couches and lavender-and-gray linens, a soothing palette of tones perfectly suited for the breathtaking sunset vistas from the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Manhattan’s West Side. Wall and headboard murals showcase iconic New York landmarks saturated in cinematic luminescence.

Located on the 26th floor, the tastefully-appointed Executive Lounge is a sanctuary above the city that serves wine and canapes, as well as a continental breakfast—with coffee and drinks throughout the day alongside copies of The RIU Magazine.

Executive Lounge at RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

Executive Lounge at RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

Founded on the isle of Mallorca in 1953, RIU Hotels & Resorts remains a family-owned business that continues to focus on holiday resorts that are notable for gastronomy and lushly-landscaped pool grounds. Annually, RIU hosts more than 4 million guests at more than 100 hotels located in 18 countries in various configurations such as Riu All-Inclusive, Riu Adults-Only, Riu Plaza/City, and Riu Palace.

Forty percent of RIU’s clientele are brand-loyal, repeat guests—and, particularly, at the all-inclusive resorts that represent 70% of RIU’s properties. “Some Europeans spend two months at RIU,” states Armin Kaestner, VP of Sales & Contracting, “because it can be cheaper than living at home.”

Lobby of RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

Lobby of RIU Plaza New York Times Square ©RIU Hotels & Resorts

RIU Plaza New York Times Square is the fifth hotel in the chain’s urban line, which now includes properties in Berlin, Panama City, Guadalajara, and Miami Beach.

At RIU Plaza New York Times Square, WiFi is complimentary throughout the hotel and, should you be so inclined, the hotel’s fitness center is a clean and modern space with plenty of exercise equipment.

Even so, it’s more than likely that you’ll prefer the panoramic view from your own rooftop aerie.

Mark Thompson

About Mark Thompson

A member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson is an editor, journalist, and photographer whose work appears in various periodicals, including Travel Weekly, Metrosource, Huffington Post, Global Traveler, Out There, and OutTraveler. The author of the novels Wolfchild (2000) and My Hawaiian Penthouse (2007), Mark completed a Ph.D. in American Studies. He has been a fellow and a resident at various artists' colonies, including the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center.

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