Having no idea how to book your next accommodation in NYC? Check out some ideas of where you could or definitely should not stay. I have travelled to New York City a few times and I tried different places. The price was always the one that made me decide where to stay, and sometimes I regretted that decision.
Before getting into the actual places, I need to mention I have not used Airbnb in NYC. I have looked for it, but nothing actually seemed worth the price. Most of them would be rooms with no windows in the basement or having extremely high prices for cleaning and so on. I also know there is another website hotels(dot)com in which for every tenth night you get one for free, but somehow the prices seem still too high for my budget.
One last thing to mention before getting into it is that this is not an ad. I’d love to be sponsored by some of the places I am about to mention but it is not the case. So here is my experience of all the accommodation in NYC: from mixed dorms to private rooms.
- 1 8 Bed Female Dorm
- 2 Double Queen Rooms
- 3 6 Bed Mixed Dorm
- 4 Female Dorm 4 beds
- 5 Double Room
- 6 Female Dorm 2 beds
- 7 King Bed Room
8 Bed Female Dorm
Value for money
I am gonna say from the start I have stayed here twice, but I haven’t paid since at the time I was working for Hostelling International Iceland and the manager helped me with having it for free. So the value for money does not apply to me.
It is one of the best locations one can hope for: Upper West Side Manhattan, close to not one but two subway stops – so it takes around 15 minutes to Downtown Manhattan. Also, it’s just a few blocks away from Central Park (North Side). It’s surrounded by shops and whatever you might need. I felt safe even after midnight because it is a rather populated area and nobody ever haggled me on the street (as happens in other cities).
Wi-fi would sometimes not work in the room, but I had my own SIM card so I didn’t bother to check that often when or where the signal is stronger.
Being such a huge building they have a lot of space for almost everything one might need: a fully equipped kitchen with a dining area. A TV room. A computer room. They even have an ATM within the building. Waiting area for the guests in which you can also check out all the events happening (pub crawls and other tours), laundry room, an amazing lovely backyard/garden with chairs, tables and hammocks and probably other common areas I can’t remember right now.
In the rooms, you have your own locker, and the beds are assigned to you when you check in. So if you need a lower bed maybe it’s best to mention it when you make the reservation. Make sure you bring your own padlock and towels if you don’t wanna pay extra for them. Breakfast is not included but they do have a small cafe where you can buy your breakfast. It does not have private rooms and all the bathrooms are on the corridor for each floor (divided by gender).
This is one of the cleanest hostels I have ever seen. Since it is a HI hostel you do need to have a membership card, if not you are gonna pay an extra fee per night. You can get the card online or at any HI hostel in the world (or at least that is how it should work).
However, on one of the days I stayed there I came up to see an announcement that the hot water was not available. In the whole hostel. People were saying because it is an old building refurbished sometimes these things happen. Well, that sucked! Especially when I was coming back to the hostel after a full day of walking in the city. Anyway, the next day everything was fixed.
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Double Queen Rooms
Value for money
Please don’t roll your eyes at the screen, but I have stayed there for free as well. More precisely the airline company that overbooked my plane put me in there because, even though my ticket was bought almost half a year earlier, I was the one who had to take another flight. I was also given breakfast, lunch and dinner vouchers and the transfer from the airport to the hotel was free as well. So there was no way I would complain about the situation I was in. Also, it kinda set the tone for my entire South American trip when things rarely went according to my plan.
As I just mentioned is close to JFK Airport, it takes around 10 minutes to get there with their free transfer, but sometimes you might wait for the transfer 15 minutes. Haha.
The bed was soft, the view was ish but the breakfast was amazing. You have maybe too many options (or at least it was in my case) and everyone was so so so nice, I legit felt overwhelmed. It was the same with the staff from lunch and dinner and also the ones at the front desk. Oh, the food was delicious, but then again I haven’t paid a penny for it. I didn’t touch the TV since there was not enough time, but the shower felt great.
When I arrived at the hotel it was close to 6 am and the person at the front desk said she had already given the room to another couple who had an overbooking. So I was a bit confused as to what the hell I gonna do. But she kindly told me she will fix this while talking with different people on the phone and finally she gave me a room that was a no show. Easily fixed and nicely handled.
6 Bed Mixed Dorm
Value for money
This is my favourite hostel in NYC, actually, it’s in the top favourite hostels from all my travels. And yes, I have paid money to stay here (it was about time!). It cost around $70 per night and you get a welcome drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic, you can choose at the bar). They have the softest and cleanest beds I have ever tried (in a hostel) and they give you towels and padlocks for free (as a rent).
It is located in Queens, Long Island City to be more precise. A few minutes from the E, M subway stops so it takes around 20 minutes to be in Downtown Manhattan. However, it is not close to any shops and at night the area can feel a little unsafe. But there are some trendy restaurants around and it is just a few blocks from the Long Island City sign (Pepsi-Cola sign) you can find in Gantry Plaza State Park.
The one thing I didn’t like it’s the very small kitchen. It’s not enough space for people to cook and eat, nor for storing your food. However, they have an amazing rooftop/terrace where you have an incredible view of not one but two bridges over the Hudson River.
Wi-fi is strong including in the rooms. And they have private bathrooms for each room (shower and toilet separate). They also have private rooms that are almost always fully booked. By the front desk, there is a lounge area, a reading area and as mentioned already the bar. But the whole vibe of it and the eclectic design screams NYC.
The second time I went there, unfortunately, my bed was not cleaned but it was an easy fix once I went down to the front desk. You can leave your luggage after checking out for free, they do not have an elevator (as far as I noticed) and the corridors have a bit of a maze feel.
Female Dorm 4 beds
Value for money
They screwed me over big time. I mean, the price was incredible around $45 per night in a dorm with a private bathroom. It sounded great, except when I was boarding the plane, they cancelled my reservation. I immediately updated my credit card, but I guess it was too late. When I arrived at the hostel they told me they have just one night available for me. I panicked a lot but since it was 10 pm I only managed to solve the problem the following day. I’ve talked about it in one of the first episodes of Travelling Inside Out.
It’s located in Queens, Long Island City a few minutes away from the famous F metro station. It’s also a few blocks from Queensbridge Park where you have a lovely view of Roosevelt Island and Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. In the area, more than 10 blocks away there is an amazing museum, the Museum of the Moving Image that I highly recommend visiting.
The metal beds were shaking like there is no tomorrow, very frustrating when you have someone sleeping on top of you. The view from the room was nice, as nice as it can get in Queens. I don’t think they have a kitchen, but they do have a bit of a lounge area and a foosball table in the basement.
The AC worked miracles since I was there end of July and the outside air was suffocating.
I really didn’t appreciate at all how they didn’t even apologise for cancelling my booking like it was the most normal thing to happen. They offered me the possibility of keeping my luggage there after checking out, but when I came back to take it there was a tiny problem. If it wasn’t for my Spanish to be able to communicate with the guy from housekeeping maybe my luggage was there even now.
As you can imagine, all I wanted is to have some treats and New York City never disappoints.
Value for money
I stayed here just one night and even then they put me in a room with the window covered by cardboard. So not only I was at the ground level, but I literally had no natural light. And I have paid $180 for just one night with breakfast included.
As the name already says, it’s located in Brooklyn right in front of R Metro station. In the area, you will find the famous Prospect Park and the Red Hook Recreation Area.
I didn’t know there are sauna and steam showers available, the check-in was rather awkward for some reason. The air conditioner worked perfectly and the TV had way too many channels (don’t give me so many options or I’ll never stop zapping.)
Breakfast is in the basement in a room with no windows and rather small. But they do offer plenty of choices of cereal, toppings, fruit and bread.
Female Dorm 2 beds
Value for money
I have mixed feelings about this place because I still didn’t understand what was going on there. Before getting inside, there was an official warning on the door saying the building is about to collapse or something and there should be nobody in the building. Or at least in some specific rooms (mine was not one among them). Uhm, what?! For $56 per night, I have to admit I didn’t ask for an explanation at the front desk.
We are back in Upper West Side Manhattan. It’s across the street from a CVS and it’s surrounded by other shops, restaurants and whatever else you might need. Like a subway train station, you can catch the 1 train five minutes away. Also just a few blocks away from Central Park.
The kitchen is also the common area and the snack area and it has a big table in the middle. The room where I stayed had one bunk bed and one couch (what?) and a private bathroom. But the furniture was dated and the beds not that comfy. I have stayed there twice and stayed in two different rooms. In one bathroom the light wouldn’t work, in the other one, the hot water wouldn’t work for the shower.
The staff from the front desk were not that friendly but the housekeeping lady was amazing when she actually borrowed me some of the hostel detergents when I had none.
King Bed Room
Value for money
This has to be the worst accommodations in NYC, from what I have tried so far. At $100 per night, you would think everything should be perfect. Not!
It’s in the middle of Queens, still Long Island City. It’s actually a couple of blocks away from Giorgio Hotel. The area at night looks rather spooky but that was probably just my feeling since nothing bad actually happened.
Breakfast is included but the breakfast area is so small, that you will actually have to wait in line to be able to find a place where to eat. Also, they have just one elevator to a 10-store building and it can take up to 10 minutes to wait for the elevator – to go up or down. The view was nice, and the TV was great as well (if I remember correctly they even have HBO).
When I entered the front desk area a horrible onion smell hit me (the smell was present even the next day in the morning). The guy at the front desk – whom I have literally seen working there for at least 24 hours – was not very nice. And even though I have corrected him when he thought I am staying just one night, the following day I was confused when I got an email my booking was cancelled. I called the front desk and they assured me everything was fine. Except my key card was not working anymore and in the end, they also charged me twice. I had to call booking(dot)com twice to prove my point and even with the proof the hotel was still not admitting they double charged me. I finally got refunded two weeks later. But since my booking was still cancelled I was not able to leave a review on their page.
I am starting to understand better the value for money when it comes to the location and the amenities offered within a booking, especially when it comes to #NYC. Some things might be totally unexpected so if you have any other questions, drop them below and I will do my best to answer. I can’t believe I have stayed in so many places in just one city. Actually, I can not believe I’m about to travel there for the 6th time. I’ve never been anywhere so many times (outside my homeland, of course).
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