I stayed at The Fairfield Inn, Van Dam Street in Long Island City with my daughter for four nights in January 2013 where we went to Manhattan to see a Broadway show, shop all through the city (downtown/midtown/etc), go to MOMA, etc and we both had a great time! This hotel is a very comfortable and affordable way to visit NYC (either for business or pleasure). The hotel is new and in great condition. The room size, although small, is actually larger than you would find in most hotels in NYC. The staff is very attentive and was very helpful offering information on transportation and answering any questions. The breakfast is free and available until 10:30 weekdays and 11am weekends (which is quite exceptional compared to other hotels). The hotel was also very quiet (inside and outside) at night which is not what you would typically find when staying at a NYC hotel. What more can you want?
The neighborhood surrounding this hotel is industrial so don't plan on local sightseeing. However, the free hotel shuttle can take you to a selection of nearby restaurants or can suggest food delivery options if you don't choose to eat in Manhattan. Keep in mind that the main attraction IS Manhattan and you have easy access to a local subway via the free hotel shuttle which runs every half hour (you can also call to be picked up from the subway) until 10:45pm. Remember to take the local train (Green circle 7 train) when you return from NYC to the 33rd St/Rawson station. After 10:45 pm when the hotel shuttle stops running, you can take a yellow taxi from NYC to the hotel for about $20 (depending on where you are in Manhattan--$20 is the fare depending on traffic, from Times Square to the hotel). If you tell the cab driver to take the Queeensboro/59th Street bridge to Van Dam Street in LIC), you avoid a toll on the Queens Midtown tunnel out of the city. If the cab driver isn't familiar with the area around the hotel, tell him to follow the signs from the Queensboro/59th Street bridge to the L.I.E. which will to lead you to Van Dam Street---the hotel is on Van Dam Street on the right, just a few blocks past the exit to get on the L.I.E.--- you don't get on the L.I.E., you only follow the signs to take you from the bridge to Van Dam Street.
Parking is FREE at this hotel---so if you are bringing a car, this is a huge savings! The reason why parking is free is because hotel lot parking is very limited. The outside parking lot at the hotel is small and there are some underground parking spots under the hotel. There is free street parking just outside the hotel. The neighborhood, although industrial, is well lit and safe. There is plenty of street parking available within a block of the hotel. If you can't get a parking spot in the lot adjacent to the hotel when you arrive, check the following morning. I was able to get a spot in the parking lot next to the hotel the following morning and noted that each subsequent morning additional spots opened up. Considering what you pay just to park your car in Manhattan at a hotel ($50-70 a day!), you can go to a Broadway show, do some shopping or have a very nice dinner with the money you save on parking.
Regarding other reviews of this hotel indicating some "negative" issues: The wireless internet service was spotty (we stayed on the 8th floor with a great night view of Manhattan). However, there is WiFi in the lobby. In addition, the computers in the lobby were equipped with printers and were very useful. A few travelers mentioned problems with the shuttle or crowded breakfast room which I believe to be the "exception"---the same thing can happen at a Manhattan hotel during busy season. I remember staying a Manhattan hotel and needing to wait 15 minutes every time I took the elevator and finding no seating in the small Manhattan breakfast room. So realize you are paying considerably more and may still be inconvenienced when staying in a Manhattan hotel! If you read the reviews on this hotel and have realistic expectations on what this hotel has to offer vs. staying at a Manhattan hotel, you can easily see that unless money is no object (and you are willing to pay A LOT more money for the convenience to stay in Manhattan), the Fairfield Inn Van Dam Street, LIC is a great way to visit Manhattan.
Ask for a room on a high floor facing NYC to get a great view of the city at night.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.