Hotels in NYC - need answer semi-fast

Taking Moon Unit, her friend, and another adult up to NYC for the weekend of the 23rd. I’d like to stay near(ish) Times Square. In the past, we’ve used Priceline to get rooms at very reasonable rates - but with the need to fit 4 people, we need to get a room with 2 double (or queen) beds vs. taking pot luck with the beds.

So most likely I’ll need to actually book a specific hotel where I can request 2-doubles. Or a place with a foldout couch, or whatever.

Suggestions for specific hotels “near” the Theatre district? Or suggestions for other nearby neighborhoods? Priceline’s neighborhoods nearest include “Hell’s Kitchen” with a reassuring blurb that it’s actually a fun area. Maybe the area south toward Penn Station / Madison Square Garden? Central Park South should be OK as well.

Since we’re planning on seeing shows I had thought the Theatre District would make a good base of operations, but shelling out several hundred bucks extra doesn’t seem worth it.

Related question: any off-beat activities you can suggest that might appeal to 3 girls from age 15 to 20?

Last April, we stayed eight nights at the Hotel Newton on Broadway on the Upper West Side. We loved it and the neighborhood. It is right on top of the 1, 2, 3 subway line, which will take you to Times Square and the Theatre District quickly. The staff are fantastic, and the Manahattan Diner two doors down is a great place for breakfast. We’d stay there again in a heartbeat.

I’d recommend booking straight with the hotel, as any problems mentioned on Trip Advisor mostly involve hotel-booking websites advertising rooms the Newton doesn’t even have! And if you email, the manager, he gets back to you promptly. The friendly and helpful e-mail exchange I had with him was the clincher for us deciding to stay there. (In fact, he makes a point of personally answering negative comments on Trip Advisor to explain.)

EDIT: The rates are reasonable. Because we booked months in advance, we got our room, a Superior Queen, for just under US$200 a night, nothing to sneeze at in Manhattan. But even reserving on short notice would probably get you a lower rate than at many other hotels.

Note: The under-$200 rate did not include tax. With tax, I think it came to about $225 a night.

In my experience you should have been looking at least 3 months ago. You’re not going to get a very good price this close to your date.

With that said, last fall I was in Manhattan. Stayed at the Pennsylvania directly across the street from Madison Square Garden, and just down the street from Times Square. I had the reservations for over 3 months so I only paid $89 a night, less than half of what you’ll pay at this late date. The place isn’t as good as it once was, but you can get what you’re looking for there.

The Empire State Building is near. So is the Hard rock Cafe, China Town and Little Italy. Those 4 things alone will appeal to all ages and won’t cost you as much as you think. Lots to see and do right outside the hotel door, including some little cafes right near the hotel where you can get a big slab of NY pizza and a brew for only a buck each.

Thanks! I’ll look into the Pennsylvania; it came up in some searches last night. I forget why I didn’t book there - maybe they didn’t have any two-doubles rooms. I’ll also check the Hotel Newton. Since we might see the Natural History museum, that would be convenient!!

That (2 doubles) turns out to be the real kicker. If there were just 2 of us going, I’d just Priceline something and save a bundle (like I once got the Times Square Marriott Marquis for 189 a night - plus taxes of course). Even with a third… well, that’s what sleeping bags and air mattresses are for :).

For the moment, I have a room booked at a Fairfield Inn on 28th Street. With my AAA discount, it’s 314 a night and includes breakfast. If I find something better, I can always cancel that one (up through Thursday, I think). And that one’s actually more convenient in some ways: 2 blocks down, one block across from the bus dropoff, so we can dump our bags at the hotel on arrival, and pick them up on departure, and not lug them as far.

We don’t have to be super-close to Times Square, I was just focusing my initial search there because it’s a known quantity.

The Pennsylavania is kind of a shithole bit if cheap is what you’re after it’s reputable enough. (although I do not know in what universe it is “near” chinatown, which is more than a mile away). I think The New Yorker (which is just the other side of MSG) is a little better for a similar price point. Another possibility is any queens hotel on the 7, which runs right to times square. I know there’s a Days Inn at the 33rd street stop. Rather charmless area (mainly a medium sized community college and industrial buildings) but not unsafe.

For activities if you’ve previously done some of the standard sights, I would check out a tour/scavenger hunt. I did one with my cousins in the Rockefeller center area and we had a blast (and I, the native NYer, saw some cool things I never saw before). There are many zones to choose from. There’s a groupon right now too.

Eta: it’s called the Days Inn - Long island City (31-36 queens boulevard). on Expedia or whatever. I don’t consider it to really be in LIC, myself. They have availability through the end of march $150 and under.

Just to reiterate, this area is the opposite of happening.

Eta#2: the Penna is rather close to Koreatown (which is just a couple blocks anyway).
Eta#3 I’m aware of the Fairfield, it was recently built and it’s in the flower district, which is also the knockoff handbag district.

I stayed at the Pennsylvania in 2006 and it was a nightmare. Broken glass on the pictures, blood on the curtains, dead bugs in the corners, no hot water, and the shower curtain was covered in black mildew. Strongly recommend against.

We got a fantastic deal on a suite at the Millennium UN Plaza (which has apparently been renamed) for our honeymoon a few years ago. It’s right next to the UN, as the name implies in east midtown.

Bonus: Mahmoud Ahmedinajad was staying there on the next floor up, so it was more or less the most secure building in New York for three days.

On our first trip to NYC, we stayed at the New Yorker - hotel was reasonably priced although the room was a bit small, but since there were only two of us, we weren’t too bothered.

Second visit we stayed at the Manhattan at Times Square which was in a good location and the room was a better size.

Other friends have recommended the Edison as well.

The Pennsylvania is bedbug central… I stayed there 2 years ago for business and literally had my suitcase in a double hefty bag. Stay away. Check out the Chelsea Savoy. 23rd and 7th. Fairly new hotel (under 10 years I think), small but clean rooms and decently priced. 1 and 9 subway right outside the door. It’s about 10 blocks south of MSG.


Wow. We had a decent room and a nice stay. The location is cherry!

But like I said, it’s not as good as it used to be. I was there a couple of times in the 90’s too and it was fine.

But it’s one of the older ones, and the problem with these big hotels is management can ignore little things until they become big things and even bigger, and then bigger.

Last summer, I stayed at The Wellington, which is at 55th Street and 7th Avenue, pretty much close to everything. I don’t remember what we paid, but it was a package deal with flights from Kayak and it seemed like a bargain. The hotel was nice, charming, and clean. The only drawback is that the rooms were VERY small. I’d stay there again.

LOL - I used to work in that building (offices on some floors, hotel on others, I think). There were a couple of times where someone big was staying there and there were rather a lot of cars with flashing lights around it.

It reminds me though, I’ve stayed in the Millennium Broadway hotel (via Priceline) and I should check to see if their “two single beds” room is really “two double beds” as we found when we stayed there.

IIRC, the left half of the building (the part on the other side from UN HQ) is all offices, and the tall part is all hotel rooms.

The Hotel Pennsylvania has been fighting demolition for many years now. I would believe the stories about it being a dump.

Also, Priceline giveth, and Priceline taketh away. More than once we’ve rented a two doubles-for-four adults room from them only to get to the hotel and find that the room they actually gave us was nothing like it. Good luck.

Affinia - 31st & 7th (two blocks below MSG) stay there a # of times, but not in the past few years
Excelsior Hotel on 81st betwen CPW & Colombus - overlooks the Museum of Natural History if you want to be on the northern end of where you’re going. Not 5-star, but definately comfortable (& much closer to where we work than the Affinia). There’s a subway stop @ 81st & CPW to get you to other places you talked about.

I’ve stayed in both, but I didn’t see the bill as it was a block of rooms that I didn’t have to pay for.

I have stayed many times at the Marriott Marquis in Times square. It is not the cheapest but you can get deals and it is very nice.

I have had friends that have stayed a hotel near by called The Element. They have said good things but I have never stayed there myself.

Orbitz has been very good to me about this. When the rooms turned out to not be what I reserved they have always refunded my money after our stay.

Yes, when we returned to New York to fly back to Bangkok, we stayed one night in Queens, at the Lexington Marco LaGuardia Hotel in Flushing. (We flew out of JFK, but we’d heard the places near JFK were all crap.) It was a bit difficult for the taxi driver to find, but it’s at the terminus of the 7 line. A short walk to the subway station. About half an hour to Times Square. The rate was good, and we got a free upgrade at check-in. It’s in the real Chinatown, and it’s mostly Chinese guests. A very nice place really, and not too expensive.