NEW YORK—Moxy Hotels’ brandwide programming is known for being a bit provocative. For instance, Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof’s debut party encouraged guests to write their secrets on a latex-clad host lying on a bed in a dimly lit room, while drag queens danced about on stage elsewhere. Continuing its efforts to shock and awe its guests, Moxy—Marriott International Inc.’s boutique hotel concept—is taking this framework, tweaking it and bringing it to the Big Apple’s Time Square.
“Moxy’s target audience is psychographic, not demographic—it appeals to the young and the young at heart, calling its target guests ‘Fun Hunters,’” said Vicki Poulos, Moxy’s senior global brand director. “Fun hunters don’t take themselves too seriously. They live in the moment and want to experience life to the fullest. Most grew up in a DIY world—they are used to checking themselves in at the airport. They like the independence of being in control and believe self-service is the best service.”
Formerly the New Mills Hotel, built in 1907, Moxy Times Square, now a property with 612 bedrooms and more than 22,000 sq. ft. of event space, is located just south of Times Square, but the location itself wasn’t the only thing that caught Marriott’s attention—there was also the property’s storied history. “In 1907, Darius Ogden Mills built the 15-story Mills hotel for men who were chasing the American Dream in New York City,” Poulos explained. Real-estate company Lightstone eventually acquired the property in 2014.
“Together with Lightstone, we brought in a star team of collaborators: Yabu Pushelberg for interior design, TAO Group to cultivate the food and beverage program, and Rockwell Group to design the restaurant and bar,” she said. “Thanks to the collective ingenuity of these firms—each a disrupter in its own space—the result has been a hotel experience like no other: fun, edgy, playful, and all at a killer price.”
Architectural design firm Stonehill Taylor divided the space into 612 guestrooms, ranging in size from 150-350 sq. ft. From king suites to quad rooms with twin bunks, all rooms include Yabu Pushelberg-designed foldaway furniture, large walk-in rain showers, wood-frame beds with storage, and open pegboard closets. All guestrooms include free WiFi, Bluetooth soundbars and large flat-screen HDTVs with personal screencasting technology.
“Today’s free-spirited traveler is looking for a hotel with an environment that allows them to have an experience in their terms,” Poulos said. “The Moxy brand is a response to the changing needs of the customer, offering a high-energy, playful and dynamic hotel experience, and the design of our hotels reflect that brand promise.”
The traditional lobby doesn’t exist at Moxy Times Square. Crew members await guests at dedicated kiosks. Guests can also access keyless entry through the Marriott Mobile App. The Moxy Digital Guestbook, which streams videos and images within Moxy hotels, is located in the same lobby space.
“The brand’s communal spaces, including its living rooms, game rooms and bar, come alive with thoughtfully crafted assemblage of spontaneous and organic happenings designed to cater to travelers and locals who like to hang out with their friends and meet new ones,” Poulos said. “The cheeky programming at every Moxy hotel encourages the curious to do all the stuff they would never think of doing back home, in a stylish and communal setting. Some highlights include lip sync battles; acupuncture happy hour; Relax Corners featuring mini-massages and nail tattoos; burlesque shows; tarot card readings; al fresco screenings of cult classics; adult coloring books; life-size Jenga; and much more.”
Called #SWEATatMoxy, an ongoing rooftop fitness series, which launched in October with it-girl fitness studio modelFIT, offers complimentary fitness classes to Moxy Times Square guests and locals every Friday morning.
Designed to change the city’s rooftop game, Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge is an all-season indoor/outdoor hotel rooftop lounge. “It features an ‘urban amusement park’ concept with an adult sensibility and offers epic Empire State Building skyline views,” Poulos said. In addition to the space’s multiple bars and seating areas, there’s also a rotating carousel; an oversized topiary garden; and Foreplay, a miniature putt-putt featuring colossal-size animals in flirty poses. Guests also have the option of booking one of the property’s 19 Crashpads, which are “meant for those who may have had a few too many rounds on the carousel or simply don’t want the night to end.” DJs also provide the space with nightly entertainment.
Moxy Times Square also has Bar Moxy, where there’s a copper-wrapped bar at its center; three multipurpose rooms; and The Pickup, a twist on the traditional grab-and-go concept. In addition to the rooftop bar and lounge, other F&B concepts include Legasea, a 185-seat seafood brasserie helmed by Executive Chef Jason Hall, featuring a menu of local, sustainable seafood dishes; and Egghead, an egg-centric breakfast spot open all day to guests.
Moxy is a pet-friendly brand. To highlight this, every Moxy property is required to have an on-property staff dog, Mox. Moxy Times Square’s guests can find Stella Mox, the property’s rescue dog, trotting about the spaces.
“Moxy pushes the envelope, so we tossed out the rulebook for this project,” Poulos said.
The opening of Moxy Times Square marks the brand’s 15th hotel opening. There are more than 90-approved Moxy deals worldwide, 29 of which are in the United States. Within the next year, Moxy is expected to open in Minneapolis; Chicago; Nashville, TN; Washington, DC; Amsterdam; Tokyo; and elsewhere. Additional key markets for the Moxy brand include San Diego, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and Paris.
There are four additional New York City properties planned for Moxy Hotels in the near future.
“Our main goal for Moxy is to continue to stay committed to learning and understanding cultural, creative and consumer shifts that will best serve guests, and providing an experience that today’s travelers consistently resonate with,” Poulos said. HB