uhletsgo, Essex House is my favorite NY Marriott property. It is right on Central Park and has wonderful service and amenities, including an excellent executive lounge with breakfast, snacks, and evening appetizers hearty enough to substitute for dinner. It's got a classy, old-world charm and is calm and elegant - a respite from the busy city. Rates can be high though but if you can find a reasonable rate, it's a bargain. I've also stayed at Marriott Times Square and I do not like that hotel at all and won't go back because it's in Times Square which I try to avoid. As a frequent NY business traveler, I am not doing tourist stuff and just find Times Square to be a chaotic mess. A tourist would obviously feel otherwise! If you are going with your daughters and want to be at Times Square in the middle of the action, you might actually like Marriott Times Square. It's big, busy and bustling. The rooms are pretty big for NY and have sofa sleepers. So it might be a good spot for your purposes. CL lounge is good, but busy. Workout room has a great view of Times Square. Rates can be fairly reasonable too, depending on time of year.
I agree with, phctourist. The East Side Marriott is a wonderful property. It is close to Grand Central Terminal, making anywhere in the city very accessible. I tend to stay at the property when in the city. However, another really great hotel is the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Being in the Theater District, you're close to many great shows. It is also close to great shopping. The Marquis also has a great restaurant at the top of the building, The View. The 2 story restaurant is on a spinning platform giving you great views of the city while dining. A must see.
East Side is the place. Close enough to Times Square to walk over and enjoy the atmosphere while not being involved in the craziness of it all, close to Grand Central Station which has many different treats to enjoy and learn about as well as numerous dining and deli spots. Then you have the world famous Waldorf Astoria right across the street with the famous main ballroom and lobby bar Sir Harry's Bar that is a must visit.
renaissance of 57th is also very good. Good treatment of plats (and I assume golds). Its very close to the subway, bloomingdales, major cross town bus route (m57), and has tons of restaurants nearby that are good and have variety. I also really like to Algonquin (its an autograph property) and its historic (writers round table), and in the heart of the theater district and midtown, walkable to many places, easy access to transit. Other have recommended the Essex House, and I will add that I really like this hotel as well.
I am big fan of the Algonquin, now that it is in the Marriott family, on 44th at 6th. Great restaurants right on the block (db Bistro Moderne - a Daniel Boulud restaurant is literally next door, Kellari Taverna is a few doors down and a great upscale greek restaurant with an excellent weekend brunch). It is also only two blocks from Bryant Park, which is all set up with a skating rink, shops and food outlets like a Christmas village for the holidays. The Algonquin is an old New York landmark. The lobby, bar and atmosphere is old world and there is a lot of history, but the rooms, though very well appointed, can be small. It is a great taste of old Manhattan, though and very well situated near a lot of things but relatively quiet.
I also am a fan of the Eastside Marriott. Though, as you mentioned, Courtyards aren't feature rich, the Courtyard on 3rd Avenue at 53rd (Midtown East) probably has some of the largest rooms in NYC. The Marriott Marquis in Time Square is certainly feature rich and in the thick of things, but the crowds right outside the door, can be just a bit overwhelming if you don't like that sort of thing.
I stay in New York usually twice a year using points for 5 nights each time. I have stayed at the Marriott Marquis, East Side Marriott, Renaissance 57 (down the street from East side), downtown Marriott and the Brooklyn Marriott.
My opinion the East Side Marriott is FAR SUPERIOR in service than the other properties and I believe they do offer breakfast to gold and platinum on weekends.
One MAJOR problem: I used their valet service to park my car ONCE (Do NOT be as foolish as I was!). The vehicle was rifled through and everything including change, flashlight, small tools, garage door opener (a neighbors), pens, markers, dog treats, glasses, sun glasses, car manual.... you get the picture, were permanently "borrowed".
I brought this to the attention of the GM and he informed me they bring the cars to another lot not governed by Marriott and there was nothing he could do.
Either policy has changed or they like you better than me.
I do remember that when Marriott started giving us bf on the weekend, they specifically excluded certain hotels including one in Boston and East Side Marriott.
Incidentally, (circa 2010) East Side Marriott comped me with bf on the weekend.
When I was there, last, it was on the roof. Our last two stays in NYC were at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott whichis a very nice property. It's a bit less convenient for Manhattan but it works for because our son has moved to Brooklyn.
It's a very nice hotel! Rooms are a bit larger than in Manhattan and parking is somewhat cheaper.
I still vote for the essex house, or get the ritz carlton credit card and go all out with a club level upgrade at the ritz central park (or the ritz battery park).
I noticed you said you're taking your daughterS with you. Be aware the marriott marquis has a strict elite +1 lounge access policy, so the three of you won't be able to go in at the same time.