Anyone know what the Hotel Beacon is like??
December 11, 2005
10 New York Hotels for Under $250 a Night
By DENNY LEE
SANDWICHED between an Indian and a Chinese restaurant, the new Holiday Inn Express near Times Square is the brand's first foray into Manhattan. Opened two months ago, the 125-room hotel is on a busy stretch of West 45th Street where trucks double-park, sidewalk peddlers hawk old magazines and office smokers huddle.
But it's a different world inside. With its low-grade veneered plywood furniture and its vending machines, there is little distinguishing this property, between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas, from the 1,400 other Holiday Inn Expresses found along highways and nameless suburbs. Muffins are baked by the food conglomerate Sysco. Floral prints are bolted to the wall. The bathrooms are a study in beige.
You could be in Anywhere, U.S.A. That is, until the bill arrives. The price for a standard room, with a broom-size closet and views of a grimy alley: $299, not including taxes.
New York is no bargain. Its portfolio of luxury hotels rivals that of any major city; the penthouse suite to open this spring at the Four Seasons, for example, will cost around $30,000 a night (yes, that's four zeros). But the sticker shock these days is no longer confined to the high end. During the first nine months of this year, according to PKF Consulting, which specializes in hotels, the average price of a hotel shot up to $225.07, from $194.73 last year, and, by year's end, is likely to break the all-time high of $239.90 in 2000.
"Without question, New York is the most expensive venue in the United States," said John A. Fox, a senior vice president of PKF Consulting. "In the rest of the country, $225 will get you a very good four- to five-star hotel room. But in New York, for $225, you'll get a small room in a low-quality three-star hotel that was not necessarily recently renovated."
And the view? "You'll get a brick wall."
That's assuming you can get a room. Hotel occupancy rates have risen to 85.4 percent, up from 81.4 last September, according to PKF. "New York is essentially sold-out until the end of the year," Mr. Fox said.
Tourists can thank themselves. NYC & Company, the city's visitors and convention bureau, estimates that a record-setting 41 million people will visit the city this year. Meanwhile, the city's supply of hotel beds - 63,000 now - fell slightly during the past two years, with marquee properties like the Plaza Hotel and Regent Wall Street going the way of yet another luxury condominium.
So what's a budget traveler to do when budget hotels like the Holiday Inn Express cost more than the Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis ($259 a night)? Airport hotels are tempting, as long as you don't mind the long adventure to and from Manhattan. Flophouses are another option, but penny pinchers should first poke around tripadvisor.com, the online travel forum: it's creepy how often mice - even rats - are spotted scurrying inside the city's moderately priced rooms.
If that doesn't keep you homebound, take heart. A wide-ranging search of Manhattan's 230 or so hotels uncovered places that are not only easy on the wallet but also clean, well maintained and even homey. With some digging, you can get a good night's sleep, a hot shower and a place to secure your shopping bags - all for under $250. Just don't expect deluxe accommodations and top-notch service. At most of these places, amenities are limited to fresh towels, clean sheets and a room key. And don't expect to do much entertaining. Think of your
shoebox as a taste of how some New Yorkers really live.
Not long ago, a low-budget bed in Times Square meant only one thing. But there's nothing sleazy about André Balazs's hip version of a Super 8. Situated on a touristy block within screaming distance of MTV's studios, Hotel QT keeps prices low by masking the lack of frills (and good service) with lots of designer touches.
The smallest room, labeled an "F" (perhaps for "frugal"), starts at $125. For that price, you get roughly 200 square feet that barely fits a queen-size bed. Those units sell out fast, so when I stayed there several weeks ago, I booked a larger "B" class for $225. Check-in was confusing: the front desk looks like a newsstand (complete with magazines, candy and beer), the clerk couldn't work the computer, and the room I was assigned, 701, was under construction - 10 months after the hotel had opened.
The delay was hard to appreciate. None of the polish that went into the lobby swimming pool (seen in countless design magazines) was evident in my eventual room, 1606. Walls had a single coat of putty-gray paint, tiles were misaligned, and the floors were warped. The open shower in the doorless bathroom may appeal to exhibitionists, but that doesn't explain the absence of towel racks, hooks, alarm clocks and chairs. It was clear where the money had been spent, and it wasn't in the spartan rooms.
Nevertheless, there are enough unexpected frills to recommend the hotel. The platform king was plush, the Egyptian cotton bedding soft and the closet spacious. The room was also equipped with free WiFi and a large flat-screen television. There were free coffee and bagels in the morning, as well as a tiny gym. The views aren't bad either. As night fell, and I got bored spying on the offices across 45th Street, slivers of Times Square reflected off the glassy canyon like a mile-long pinball machine.
For the first time in years, I felt like a tourist in my own city. Maybe I should catch a Broadway show. Or check out the new Teri Hatcher wax figure at Madame Tussaud's. But alas, QT does not have a concierge. And it started pouring. So I joined a group of guests in their 20's and 30's in the lounge, next to the pool and sauna, as the nightly party got under way.
Those seeking cookie-cutter comfort should opt for the Hampton Inn in nearby Chelsea. But if you want to mingle with bohemians, friendly weirdos and lots of European backpackers, look no further than the Gershwin, on East 27th Street. Despite the bumbling staff and stag party vibe, I found myself lulled by the Gershwin's carefree and unpretentious air.
Decorated with funky artwork and mismatched furniture, the Gershwin feels like a throwback from that East Village touchstone, "Rent." But it's off Fifth Avenue, in the shadows of the Empire State Building, and within easy walking distance to Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
The 13-story Greek Revival building is splattered with huge podlike sconces that suggest a haunted playhouse. Inside, Andy Warhol is the resident spirit, with each floor given to a different artist. The wannabe-Factory aesthetic might have seemed contrived in the 1980's, but it feels charmingly dated today.
Standard rooms (starting at $119) are homey and even spacious, in a first-apartment-after-college kind of way. (For those on a tighter budget, a bunk in the hostel dorm rooms on the lower floors starts at $33.) There are hardwood floors (rare among the city's hotels), rusty radiators that clank (i.e., no thermostat) and windows that look directly into other people's apartments, furthering the tenement effect.
Basic amenities are extended, but only half-heartedly. Cable reception is fuzzy, calls to the front desk take 10 rings to answer, and the WiFi is spotty at best. Luckily, the full-service neighborhood makes up for the shortcomings. There's a terrific 24-hour deli around the corner, Cafe 28, where you can get anything from sushi to e-mail. For $20, guests have full use of the Gym, a health club across the street. And around the corner is Madison Square, a great park for writing postcards and people watching.
The nightclub-style lobby, however, does have a concierge desk, staffed with young transplants who will happily answer questions about nearby places to buy skateboarding gear and video games.
This is a hotel that few New Yorkers know about. There is no trendy designer to name drop, no rooftop pool to pose around, and its biggest offense: it's in a sleepy neighborhood with no claims of hipsterdom. And that's a shame, because the Affinia Dumont may be one of the city's best-kept hotel secrets.
Set on East 34th Street, near one of the entrances to the Queens Midtown Tunnel, the Affinia is designed for jock-minded business travelers. There are a well-appointed 24-hour gym, a spa and minibars stocked with energy bars and the like. But cost-conscious tourists will find that it suits their needs as well, especially on weekends, when rates drop significantly. The all-suite, pet-friendly hotel typically starts at $329, but rates this holiday season can be found for as low as $199.
For that price, you get a roomy "studio suite" that could be described as urban contemporary: tan leather headboard, dark-wood-veneered mirror and stainless-steel sconces. It is equipped with a kitchenette (full-size by Manhattan standards), an extremely comfy bed with high-thread-count sheets and lots of residential touches like dimmer switches and throw pillows. Today's wired traveler will also appreciate the number of electrical outlets, easy Internet hookup ($9.95 a day) and Aeron ergonomic chair. My south-facing suite on the 24th floor offered clear views of Lower Manhattan and the East River.
But where the Affinia shines is its service. Guests are greeted by name, housekeeping calls (for a dead light bulb) were addressed promptly, and the morning paper arrived before I finished brushing my teeth. And instead of the hodgepodge of takeout menus typical of most cheaper hotels, the Barking Dog restaurant downstairs offers room service. But don't except a silver trolley: breakfast, ordered the night before, arrived in a plastic "I Love New York" bag.
I enjoyed the stay so much that I asked for a late checkout. The request was eagerly accommodated.
With its decrepit beauty, ornate bones and storied ghosts, the Chelsea Hotel still casts a long shadow on Gotham's cultural psyche, long after Nancy Spungen was stabbed to death in Room 100 by Sid Vicious. After eyeing it from afar since my clubbing days, it was time to check in.
The shabby-chic lobby is a beehive of nervous creativity. Art portfolios whiz back and forth. Laptops are sprawled across couches. Party invitations spill from mail cubbies. After a quick check-in - the avuncular manager uses a pencil and eraser - the bellhop escorted me to my room, 915. Ethan Hawke, looking disheveled, joined us part of the way up. (About half of the 400 units are occupied long-term by artists, writers and other creative people.)
The marble hallways are wide, like a schoolhouse's. The lacy ironwork that graces the Victorian Gothic facade also creeps up the grand spiral staircase. Like the Guggenheim Museum, the corkscrew is lined lobby to rooftop with original artworks, some of them once contributed in exchange for rent.
In terms of space, the single (starting at $195) was not bad. It had new, though poorly arranged, furniture including a desk, matching nightstands and a dresser. The white-tiled bathroom was large, the ceilings high and airy. But the place could have used a good scrub. The mint-green carpeting was frayed. The molding was badly scuffed. The window was caked in soot, darkening the views of King Kong's former perch.
Knowing that each room is different, I asked about other vacancies. I took the elevator to 622, a junior suite. There was a fireplace, hardwood floors and a Chippendale-style sofa. In other words, it was drop-dead gorgeous - the type of place you instantly imagine yourself living in, if only to provoke apartment envy among friends. It is also twice as large and, unfortunately, nearly twice as expensive as my single, to which I skulked back, and began rearranging the furniture.
For a hotel that turned 100 this year, the Chelsea could use a refresher course on hospitality. There are bare bulbs, little security and no information about the hotel inside the room (unless you pay $7 a day to get Web access in your room). Even the television remote lacked a battery cover. But if the choice were between the Chelsea's grungy elegance and the soulless architecture of a Holiday Inn, I would choose the Chelsea any night. And if an apartment were to open up, perhaps 622, I'd check in permanently.
Big City, Light Wallet
To find an affordable hotel room in Manhattan, do your research and book early. Rates vary wildly, depending on the season and availability. Prices tend to be highest in the fall, when conventioneers converge on the city, and again in December, when holiday shoppers bump elbows. Special events like a United Nations meeting or the New York City Marathon can also jack up prices dramatically. Like air fare, a room that goes for $199 one night can jump to $399 the next.
Deals can sometimes be found through Web discounters like
Hotels.com, Expedia.com and Tablethotels.com. If rooms are sold out online, call the hotels directly and ask about last-minute cancellations.
Travelers should also budget for city, state and occupancy taxes, which come to 13.625 percent, plus $3.50 a night. The rates below - some from the hotels, some from online reservation services - were for fall, before higher holiday rates kicked in, and were for the least expensive room, single or double.
Affinia Dumont, 150 East 34th Street (Lexington and Third Avenues), 212-481-7600; www.affinia.com. From $199. A business and pet-friendly spot with gym and spa.
Chelsea Hotel, 222 West 23rd Street (Seventh and Eighth Avenues), 212-243-3700; www.hotelchelsea.com. From $195. The storied bohemian landmark.
Doubletree Metropolitan, 569 Lexington Avenue (51st Street), 212-752-7000; www.metropolitanhotelnyc.com. From $159. A recently renovated Morris Lapidus landmark.
Excelsior Hotel, 45 West 81st Street (Central Park West and Columbus Avenue), 212-362-9200; www.excelsiorhotelny.com. From $229. Cozy Upper West Side elegance, steps from Central Park.
Gershwin Hotel, 7 East 27th Street (Fifth and Madison Avenues), 212-545-8000; www.gershwinhotel.com. From $119. Hotel-cum-hostel popular with young Europeans.
Hotel QT, 125 West 45th Street (Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue), 212-354-2323; www.hotelqt.com. From $125. A cheap chic hotel by André Balazs.
Hotel Stanford, 43 West 32nd Street (Broadway and Fifth Avenue), 800-365-1114; www.hotelstanford.com. From $189. The staff at this Koreatown hotel speaks Korean and English (and Spanish).
Hudson Hotel, 356 West 58th Street (Eighth and Ninth Avenues), 212-554-6000; www.hudsonhotel.com. From $199. A former Y.W.C.A. redesigned by Philippe Starck.
Off SoHo Suites Hotel, 11 Rivington Street (Bowery and Chrystie Streets), 800-633-7646; www.offsoho.com. Economy rooms from $199 (sharing kitchen and bath with another room); suites from $189. Euro-style suites between SoHo and the Lower East Side.
The Time, 224 West 49th Street (Broadway and Eighth Avenue), 877-846-3692; www.thetimeny.com. From $189. Another hip, high-concept hotel in Times Square.
DENNY LEE is a frequent contributor to the Travel section.
Anyone know what the Hotel Beacon is like??
anyone know what hotels are relatively cheap and affordable, located in a safe area and near to subway, for a student.
Night dawns brightly for hotelier Chatwal
Boutique lodgings capitalize on city tourism boom and rising room rates
By Steve Cutler
When Vikram Chatwal opened the posh boutique hotel Time just north of Times Square in 1999, it was risky business. Back then, high-style in Times Square was more Walt Disney than Richard Meier. "People said it wouldn't work," recalls Chatwal.
Call it good karma: It worked, and survived the calamitous post-September 11 years, getting a sister hotel, Dream, on West 55th Street at the end of 2004. Chatwal will launch his third high-concept hotel, Night, in the same Times Square neighborhood at 132 West 45th Street, perched atop what might be the strongest market for hotels the city has ever seen.
The occupancy rate for hotel rooms is expected to hit a record 87 percent for 2005, as compared to an overall average of 74 percent over the last 38 years. Rates for summer 2005 surpassed summer 2004 by almost 25 percent.
And while the average price for a hotel room in the city hovers around $280 per night, Christmas vacation numbers last month were off the charts, with budget rooms reportedly pushing $370 a night.
Why this bonanza for the hotel industry in New York City?
First, tourism is way up. A record 41 million people visited New York in 2005, according to the city's tourism board, due to the strength of the Euro against the dollar, high gas prices and increased business travel.
Secondly, the wild appreciation in residential real estate values in the past several years has spurred the conversion of a large number of hotels into condos.
"About 3,000 or 4,000 keys have been converted into condominiums - roughly 5 to 8 percent of New York's hotel supply." says Chatwal. "That certainly does help the hotel business."
According to Mark Gordon, managing director and head of the International Lodging and Leisure Group at Sonnenblick-Goldman, "The decrease in room supply combined with a rapidly improving economy has resulted in the ability for hotel owners to dramatically increase pricing."
Gordon sees signs of a possible end to the conversion craze. "The hotel market has become so strong here in the city that going from a hotel to residential has become less favorable," he says.
Chatwal is all too aware of the volatility of the hotel market. His collection of boutique hotels operates under the umbrella of the $750 million international Hampshire Hotels and Resorts empire, begun in 1987 by his father Sant Chatwal with the conversion of the Tudor Hotel in Manhattan.
"Everything is cyclical," says Vikram Chatwal. "It has ups and downs, and now we're on an up. I think when you have good brand recognition and aren't too highly leveraged you will be able to weather the storms."
Essential to good leverage is location. The high-concept Night, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, might have been a perfect fit for downtown markets such as Tribeca or the Meatpacking District, "but I just couldn't find the right place there," says Chatwal. In less expensive Times Square, he says, "the numbers made sense. We're in at decent basis, so even if the market swings, we can take a large price cut."
Besides, he figures, good design is viable anywhere in the city. "It could be the Upper East Side or down in Greenwich Village," he says. "In Manhattan, there's style everywhere." That seems to work at Dream, at 210 West 55th Street, which is constantly packed. It was designed by architect Mark Zeff, who also designed Night, and contains Serafina, a restaurant designed by the Rockwell Group.
Containing 72 guest rooms, priced from $275 to $525 per night, with two penthouse suites going for $1,500 to $2,500 per night, Night is aimed at an upscale clientele "that is extremely design conscious and service conscious," says Chatwal. "They like something new and stimulating. Because there are so many products out there, they look for the best value for their money."
The key word for perceived value in a high concept hotel today, as with the newest designer condominiums, is "branding." Night is replete with details large and small that refer to its distinctive chic nocturnal theme.
"We're painting the building black," says designer Zeff, "and on the front we'll suspend a mirrored billboard the height of the building and 14 feet wide, like a sheet of glass with a huge gothic-style 'N.'"
A dark bronze/black metal entrance canopy with steel-like rivets hangs over the tall, black glossy front door. "Big boxes with trees and outdoor draperies provide a feeling of comfort immediately as you get out of the cab," he adds.
The hotel, says Zeff, "has a nighttime gothic feeling - a naughty place to go - and the branding is full of that." At the same time, he adds, "it's a little bit like an old manor house in the middle of the city - a cloister, a sanctuary." The dark, atmospheric interiors were intended to provide a backdrop "for the people who would colonize the building and bring it to life."
Night compensates for its modest size with custom detailing and lighting effects. "The interiors are minute," says Zeff, "but for me small can be big. Making it dark and atmospheric gives it a sense of space. If you have a shadowy space you don't know where things begin and where they end."
The rooms are small, containing little other than a custom-designed bed, which, says Zeff, "looks like a cross between a 17th-century coach carriage and a sleigh bed."
There is also a chair made by Steelcase, the high-end office furniture company, and upholstered in Coach leather, that converts from an office chair into a chaise lounge. Bathrooms are black with white tile floors and offer robes - black, of course - and Molton Brown bath products.
Tech amenities include Wi-Fi broadband, satellite radio, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and custom-designed black and white iPods. The iPods are pre-programmed with music that can be purchased on CD at checkout.
Zeff figures the Night audience will consist of "people who are in the movie, music, ad campaign or design business. And it will appeal to women a lot; it has a sense of female sexiness."
With BMG headquarters right across the street, it's bound to attract music industry professionals.
But, says Chatwal, with his eye to the bottom line, "we don't discriminate. Our hotels don't have velvet ropes. We make sure everyone can be accepted. There's got to be something in it for everybody."
Next on the agenda for Chatwal is the conversion of the landmark 1904 Sanford White-designed Lamb's Club at 130 West 44th Street into a luxury hotel. He's owned the property for close to nine years and has just, he says, signed architect Thierry Despont to do the design.
Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal.
Has anyone stayed at Hotel 31? I was checking out that hotel and was just wondering if anyone knew anything about it. Its on 31st right by Park Ave. ANd is that an ok area?
Hotel 31 is located at 120 East 31st Sreet between Park and Lexington Avenues.It is one of the budget Hotels in NYC. You should not expect first class accomidations but the area is fine and close to many midtown activities. The price should be very reasonable for NYC. You can also try a couple of others in the same neighborhood... Hotel 30 30 at 30 East 30th Street between Park and Madison avenues and Hotel Carlton at East 29th and Madison avenue...Originally Posted by caligirl06
I am a student too and I visited New York last summer. If you stay at any hotel in Manhattan, you will be just a skip to a subway. There are also maps of manhattan that fold out and are very helpful for about $5. Make sure to buy one cause it saved me a few times.
As for those hotels, I booked through www.travelocation.com and got the best price there...my hotel was about $15 a night cheaper than i found anywhere else, so over a week...you do the math !
I noticed that the save rate hotels were much cheaper than the rest so look for those for sure... www.travelocation.com/new_york.html
I recommend the Hilton Garden Inn cause that's where i stayed and in was right in the heart of the action for very reasonable price in Manhattan.
Good luck and have fun
Millenium Hilton (they intentionally misspell their name) is cheap too. perhaps cause its downtown and across the street from ground zero. But i go there for anniversaries and its 199-220 for a king size bed on the upper floors (32-54) Fantastic views both times for civic center, bridges, brooklyn. total recommend
Me and my wife is planing to go to NY for our second time.
We really liked it the first time, but we felt that we missed a whole lot of things that we would like to do.
The first time (3yrs ago) we visit the town i july, and it was to hot to spend time in a city (we where at several beaches most of the time).
This time we wanna go in the begining of october...is that a good time?
And we want a quite nice (middleclass) hotel in upper west.
The reason is that i think(or belive any way) that the upper west is the least touristic place, and there maybe is some good, cheap breakfast joint there (last trip we spend a fourtune on breakfast like two idiots ).
those anyone have experiance from "on the ave hotel" and is the adress good(is it some dinners like in Seinfeld there? )
Regards from Stockholm
Ps. Sorry for the bad English
On the Avenue is a bargain Hotel. It was recently renovated and it is located on W77th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues. Location is very good... I have not stayed there myself but taken a lot of people to it and not heard any complaints.. There is a lot of good eateries in the neighborhood..
Late September, early October is an excellent time to come to NYC..Not as busy with tourists and weather is more pleasant..
Enjoy your stay..
Very good area. Hotel good too.Originally Posted by Herman
Also consider Hotel Beacon. Even better, but perhaps a bit more money.