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“Cute and Cozy, The Center of Harlem.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The International Cozy Inn

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The International Cozy Inn
3.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   248 Lenox Avenue, Malcolm X Blvd, New York City, NY 10027   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #36 of 96 New York City B&B and Inns
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Cute and Cozy, The Center of Harlem.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

we have stayed at ici several times. always a happy place for us. we try to get the jacuzzi room when available. the owners are always pleasant and helpful. the location cannot be beat. a short walk to many jazz places, the new world class 'red rooster' (restaurant, bar, supper club, jazz bar) is a block away and wondrous. sylvia's, lenox lounge, apollo, the showman, chez lucienne, the subway, all within a couple of blocks, spotless and affordable. what a place!

Room Tip: all the rooms are great. if you don't want to share a bath, call early.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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110 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
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Cleveland Heigths
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

We just left the Cozy International Inn; my 12 year-old daughter and I have had so much fun in NYC this past week visiting museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem (within walking distance of Cozy), MOMA (the Museum Of Modern Art), landmark districts like Time Square, and China Town to mention a few of the sites. I am writing this because I read a review of someone who stayed at the Cozy in January of this year and we had two very different experiences…

The next time in NYC I probably will not search and compare prices like I did this time, I will go straight to Cozy, my daughter and I had a wonderful experience. Out of the many hotels I looked at I believe I made a great choice.

When we walked in to the small lobby of Cozy International Inn my daughter’s reaction was, “wow!”
I wanted a place to stay that was inexpensive and close to “the action.” We came to see the city not the inside of a hotel room. However, we stayed in a stylish well designed, well lit, well furnished room on the 3rd floor. The hotel is a walk-up, no elevators and we loved it. I once worked for a restaurant/hotel chain and most recently for a world-renowned art museum, when I traveled I stayed at the best places, which is my frame of reference.

Staying in Harlem
Cozy is on a famous main thoroughfare Lennox Avenue, which has been co-named Malcolm X Boulevard near 116th and 125th streets.

In the poem Juke Box Love Song by Langston Hughes Lennox is mentioned as the heartbeat of Harlem. The renowned Savoy Ballroom, which operated during part the Harlem Renaissance and closed in 1958, was on Lennox between 140th and 141st street and unlike Whites only policies elsewhere welcomed Blacks and Whites alike. In the 1941 movie “Murder On Lennox Avenue,” the opening shot is the street signs crossing at the corner of Lennox and 125th street.

It is a great walking neighborhood even for me a person with a disability who has difficulty with sitting, standing and walking. We walked to internationally known Sylvia’s, a landmark in soul food and Black business. As Fats Waller said, the joint is jumping, as we wade through a sea of families, international and stateside tourists, neighborhood people waiting for take-out, and Sunday churchgoers eating after service to our table. We were not disappointed the food is great as is the atmosphere capped of by lively contemporary gospel music pumped over the sound system.

Of the many churches in the area we were 10 minutes from famous Riverside church with its neo gothic architecture.

According to the New York Times in 2008 Riverside was described as "a stronghold of activism and political debate throughout its 75-year history ... influential on the nation’s religious and political landscapes." 1

As vegetarians we had no problem finding vegetarian fare. We walked to Vegetarian Inc., Roots Café, two great vegetarian restaurants. We also found a great Hispanic greasy spoon chain called, Jimbo’s and of course the ever present Starbucks.

There are several brick and mortar neighborhood grocers within walking distance as well as sidewalk groceries with fresh fruits and vegetables, in case you would like to cook in your suite. How fun to walk to the park, and on the way buy fresh mango, oranges or grapes and celery, salami for carnivores and sit on a park or sidewalk bench and have an impromptu dinner.

We walked to the world famous Apollo Theater y’all! Many folks only know about the Apollo amateur night but the Apollo is a thriving nonprofit arts organization.

“The Apollo's annual season is made possible by lead support from The Coca-Cola Company, The Parsons Family Foundation, the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Reginald Van Lee New Works Fund, the Ford Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Neuberger Berman Foundation, and individual support from members of the Apollo National Committee and Young Patrons.

Lead annual support is also provided by public funds from the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council; with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.”

Fear and Loathing in Harlem??
It is too bad misinformation and prejudice, surrounding Harlem still exists in 2012. The review I read said Harlem was a dump, dangerous and the reviewers were in their room by 9:00pm for safety’s sake. It said taxi drivers refused to go to Harlem and airport security warned them about safety issues. These reviewers were scared before they got to Cozy so of course they stayed in their rooms. My 12 year old and I had no problem getting cabs to and from Cozy and as we left for home in Ohio I found out Cozy has a working relationship with a local cab company, one of its cabs was there before I got to the Cozy front steps.
Our first day at Cozy we walked to Central Park, sat and enjoyed people watching as bicyclists, families with their young children, people and walking their, greeted our voyeurism; it seemed far from dangerous to us.

Safety in Harlem
Many nights we didn’t hit the streets until evening yet we had not one issue. Our last night we strolled up Lennox ave., several blocks after returning from China Town around midnight. We stopped at an Arabic owned corner store and bought a couple of juices to sip on the way back to the hotel.
While strolling in Harlem we constantly saw unassuming folks walking their freshly coiffeured $500-$1,000 dogs, a closer look revealed they had lots of loot, that “hipsters” abound and enjoyed the street bazaar and bought things like my daughter and I. We walked past the Red Rooster many times and never got around to stopping in. The head chef, Marcus Samuelsson won Top Chef Masters 2 not too far back.

Probably if the January patrons had mentioned room issues or any issues they would have been resolved, we got a room upgrade before we stepped into our original room because of some issue. The staff is available 24/7. This Bed and Breakfast style hotel is small, family run and the family is a large part of the staff; they were so accommodating and we felt very at home, like family even. I loved the artwork on the walls and though mostly replicas it was so refreshing to see Black and historic themes instead of the usually generic art seen at the “full service” hotels, which are also replicas. The walls are also covered with photos of past patrons including rapper Jay Z.

There are certainly parts of the neighborhood one can see boarded up and closed shops but in 2012 this is everywhere in America and it seemed to me at a minimum compared to many other places I have been recently, including the well to do suburb in which I live.

Close but no Cigar?
Lastly, the January review complained about the expense of traveling from Cozy to other places in Manhattan, which tells me they took cabs wherever they went…. Cabs are expensive period! I took a cab to the Cozy because it was a thrill for my daughter who wanted a New York cab ride and because I didn’t want to hassle with luggage. I think it cost $20 plus tip to go 10-15 minutes or 4-1/2 miles… the subway… $2.75 5 to 10 minutes.

The access to the subway is easy and minutes from Cozy’s doorstep no matter which way one turns and one can always opt for above ground and hop a bus. We found the subways, clean, safe, well lit with a lot of public art from tiled walls installed from the subway’s inception to contemporary art pieces to poetry on every train.

We got a metro pass and once again had not one issue all week though we got turned around upon occasion. New Yorkers and police and subway staff were always willing to help if we got turned around but it was relatively easy to navigate. Basically you go uptown or downtown and cross-town.


  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

I have been a guest at the ICI multiple times (at least 8) over the last two years, and I will continue to return when I travel to New York. First, the location is great- whether you are visiting friends in Harlem or looking to take in famous NYC sites. The 2,3 is practically out the front door and other subway lines are only a few blocks away. Second, you cannot beat the price! You really can't find more affordable accommodations in NY (believe me, I've looked!). And a lot of the rooms have a kitchenette, which is great for extended stays. Three, Harlem is a great neighborhood...awesome food, amazing history, and people are friendly. Finally, what keeps me coming back to ICI is Ramona & Michelle. This is a family owned business. They take pride in taking care of their guests & making them feel at home. Need proof? Just check out all the photos of the smiling guests that line their walls! (Oh, and be sure to look for the photo of Jay-Z on the stoop!). My only hesitation about writing such a good review is that this little gem will book up before my next trip. Love this place.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2012

You think that by going to ICI Cozy International you are getting a bargain - but by the time you pay the deposit, cash up front and refundable deposit - plus travel into and out of city - you end up spending as much as though you were in a Time Square Hotel!!!
My partner and I chose this establishment based on previous reviews and thought that it would be a bargain in up and coming Harlem - well let me tell you Harlem is anything but up and coming - what a dump! Its pretty bad when the airport security tells you that you should have picked another area and taxi drivers don't want to take you to your destination. We were in our room by 9pm every night because it is so bad.
Turning to the accommodation - this place seems more like a halfway house - there are rooms being rented to family members and giving the entire money upfront seemed a little dodgy to us. Anyhow, we were there - we knew when we pulled up that this was a mistake right away. We were taken to our room - 60 stairs up (no elevator beware) to a dingy room. All the electric sockets were burnt out, the window treatments were made some form of blanket material which did not cover the window entirely therefore letting light into room. We were asked not to place items on bedspread - why - we checked the "bedspread" - it was an old curtain lol! The kitchen was functional if not prehistoric. The bathroom was pretty bad. There was a window above bath/shower. Some attempt had been made to cover - curtain rail with curtain hooks - just no curtain - guess they ran out of blankets... The shower did work well - so that was one saving grace. The furnishings in bathroom looked 1970's. The bed was extremely lumpy - and they mentioned that they prided themselves in no bedbugs (somewhat of a problem in NYC) but both myself and my partner were constantly itching in bed - so make of that what you will...
The staff were very friendly - well the young women that my partner and I met. There was constant renovation work going on on several floors - so if you were not up by 9am - you were either woken up by the light coming through the non existence of window coverings or the workmen.
I am sorry to say I cannot recommend the Cozy International Inn - pay a little extra and go to a real hotel and stay out of Harlem. We really wanted to like this place but it was horrible.
You have been warned!

Room Tip: Don't stay here - sorry that's the only thing I can recommend here
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hialeah, Florida, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

I searched all day for an affordable place for my weekend trip to New York. I finally came across ICI. The room was lovely. Location was ideal. 1 block and a half away from the train station. Wonderful restaurants just down the street. 20 minutes walking distance from Central Park. The Staff was super super nice! Thanks to Eleese, Ramona, and Michelle for all of your help and hospitality. From: Cat & Pat!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2012

My 2 adult children and I stayed here for a week and really enjoyed ourselves and felt at home. It is so convenient to subway restaurants, supermarkets and central park. I was surprised at how relaxed I felt in Harlem. A great lounge with band a few doors away too...the Lennox Lounge, where we were also warmly welcomed.
The room was very clean and smelt fresh, and heating was good despite the snow.
The shower was hard to get right and very small, but did the job. The queen mattress sagged a little, but we slept well as was very quiet.
I was also concerned about paying the whole cost upfront, but checked the room first and am pleased that they are very aware of bedbugs and go to efforts to avoid them which have been successful.
We really did enjoy this area more than downtown NY and would gladly return.

Room Tip: Be aware of stairs. We treated them as good exercise
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2011

We( family of 3) stayed Nov 23 - 26, 2011 and will return. It was inexpensive, a 2 minute walk to the subway, and very clean. Staff was helpful and the neighborhood is safe and had some real architectural treasures. It was small but you can't complain for the price. Besides, who goes to NYC and spends time in the room?

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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 The International Cozy Inn

Address: 248 Lenox Avenue, Malcolm X Blvd, New York City, NY 10027
Location: United States > New York > New York City
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #36 of 96 B&Bs / Inns in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The International Cozy Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cozy, comfortable and very affordable! All rooms at The International Cozy Inn (ICI) were well thought out and planned for total comfort. From comfortable bedding, soft fluffy towels and silk flowers, every room was designed in a contemporary style. You will receive a modern style setting with old fashion hospitality. You will want to stay here. We are known for return guest as well as special request for our rooms. Most of our guests are International visitors from all over the world. Some guests have remained as permanent tenants through the years. This landmark building currently houses students from abroad and this is how The International Cozy Inn was conceived through its diverse culture. We are located two blocks from all major transportation making it accessible to reach Central park, Lincoln Center, and Times Square (only 12 minutes away) ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The International Cozy Hotel New York City

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