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“New Haven Noir” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Duncan Hotel

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Duncan Hotel
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1151 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 12 Hotels in New Haven
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“New Haven Noir”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

What, did you expect the Westin? It's a relief that the corporotization of America hasn't touched this one building, with its black-and-white tile lobby complete with two telephone booths and an old-school Coke machine. The bay windows are a good place to read the papers in the morning, perhaps accompanied by a character or two who are old-timers there. The hand-operated elevator (at night you carry your own bags: the guy has to sleep at some point) doubles as a time machine. Be sure to check out the historic photos in the lobby before heading upstairs. You've got to love a place that hosted John Hinckley during his unsuccessful stalking of Jodie Foster at Yale ("He seemed like a very nice young man") and also Jane Fonda and other actors from the Yale Rep, kitty corner across the street. In the halls you can almost sense the ghosts of Smithies past as they bunked here during Yale mixers, dances, and games. The rooms are indeed bare bones, and there's no Internet;if you're at Yale on business, though, they usually provide guest WiFi codes, and you can get it from the architecture school down the street. There's one cleaning lady--please tip her!--and she is hard-working, but there is a certain degree of "use" that's built into an old building. My sheets were clean, as was the bathroom--just don't examine the edges of the carpet too closely. Might bring flip-flops if you're squeamish. Some of the attendants at the desk are friendly and helpful; others are a little sullen and just get it done. I wouldn't be able to attend conferences and consult manuscripts at the Beinecke if it weren't for this place: I can just walk out the door go to the lectures or head to a museum or a restaurant. I also appreciate their willingness to call a cab for me and help me with my book bag: this was my fifth or sixth trip to the Duncan, and it will not be my last There's a little Cohn brothers in all of us.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Broomall, PA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

The Duncan is an 1890's era old hotel. Was frequented by actors and actresses when New Haven was a tryout before a show moved on to Broadway. A nice old school lobby. The oldest elevator in Connecticut still operated by a man whose job it is to take you up and own. When he is off duty, you climb the stairs. Great old photos and bric a brac on the walls. Lots of history. It's low priced - a bargain considering it is right in the middle of downtown New Haven. My room - overlooked the back of the building. Big bed, basic hotel furniture. A little drab; a little tired. But no noise for me; no other issues up there. A basic place to sleep while visiting, at a bargain price. For those people who want new and modern, clean and shiny, wi-fi, an entertainment center, a selection of free toiletries, this ain't it. Just your basic room. For which you pay just your basic price.

Room Tip: The elevator runs form about 8 a.m. till 1 pm. If you are coming and going outside of that, you are...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Austria
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

The location is great, right in downtown. Unfortunately the hotel room was dirty, dusty and smelled badly. We didn't use the shower due to the lack of cleanliness. If you are not fussy about it, the hotel may has charm. Using the old elevator is an interesting experience.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Travelers are raving about these New Haven hotels

New York City, New York
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

We say somewhat because there are some things about this property that aren't charming at all (ice maker frequently not working, housekeeping chores obviously forgotten). That being said, this place is a hoot. Do not stay here if you're into spanking-new-sanitized-modern $300-a-night suite properties. If you are into an adventure, by all means go for it. One room which we've returned to is a "suite" with a bay window looking out on the street; we people-watch while we drink our morning coffee. There are plenty of places to grab go-food/coffee right nearby and fridges in the room which help avoid restaurant dining (which can get expensive in New Haven).

Room Tip: Ask for a "large room" to get the suite I mentioned. Rooms away from the street to avoid s...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013 via mobile

My family group rented 4 rooms for Yale graduation. Thus, I got a cross section of the rooms. Every one was different. Each had a tv (which we didn't end up using), each had a small refrigerator, some had a window air conditioner, all of the plumbing worked. The building is old and barely renovated with ots share of crumbling wood and chipping plaster.

It was too noisy for me to sleep, but I am used to the quiet countryside. The garbage collection got cranked up about 5:30 on weekdays, followed by recycling of what sounded like mountains of glass bottles. Ear plugs were insufficient to the occasion.

I would still recommend this hotel to anyone doing anything at Yale. It was convenient to all the various graduation activities & the price was reasonable.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

I have stayed here on a few occasions,this hotel is very unique any in several ways difficult to put into words for a review.Duncan Hotel is located right in Downtown New Haven in a excellent location close to bars,restaurants,shops etc..It is also a safe area to walk around at night you should not have any problems except maybe a few odd people walking about as you can get anywhere in America.The hotel is very old fashioned as you will see if you stay there but you will simply not get better value for a room rate in downtown NH,room rates for one night including tax is about 60-70 dollars.If you need somewhere to stay for a night or two and dont wish to spend 150-250 dollars at a 3 or 4 star hotel then this is the perfect option.Just dont expect too much and this will be a perfect establishment for a short stay and serve your needs just fine!

Room Tip: The lift does not operate late at night so you may want to request a room on a low floor if not you...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013

It is fun because everything seems ancient in this hotel, you feel you traveled back in time. Everything was old (you could hear the springs in the mattress) but not that bad. It could have been cleaner though. you could see dust almost everywhere, not places you would use but it was unpleasant. Behind bathroom doors there were hairs on the floor and some spider nets here and there around the room (one of my friends even did not see them though). All in all it is obvious that they have plenty of customers maybe because for a downtown hotel it is relatively cheap. Also, there was no hair dryer, not enough blankets and no iron in the room and we had to call the front desk for all these.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Duncan Hotel

Address: 1151 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Location: United States > Connecticut > New Haven
Amenities:
Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 12 Hotels in New Haven
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Clean, Quiet, Comfortable.Conveniently located on the edge of the Yale campus and within walking distance of theaters, museums, boutiques, restaurants and more. The Duncan Hotel has been in business for over 100 years. Rooms are always available for daily or weekly rental. On-street metered parking is available. There is also a parking garage just around the corner on York St between Crown St & Chapel St. The hotel now has free wi-fi, there are also many wifi networks available in the area. Remember - Clean, Quiet, Comfortable. We look forward to your visit. Hotel Duncan ... more   less 

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