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“The Bunker Feeling” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Sylvan Guest House

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The Sylvan Guest House
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Sylvan Terrace, New York City, NY 10032   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #383 of 464 Hotels in New York City
Level Contributor
25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“The Bunker Feeling”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

The first surprise we encountered regarded the payment policy of Sylvan Guest House: even though we fully understood that the whole amount is non-refundable, we were not aware that the full amount would be debited to our credit card shortly after the booking. I presume, this fact was stated at some point during the reservation process at booking.com, but we did not realize it until we saw the debit on our credit card bill.

In an e-mail before our visit, we were given the code which opened the little safe box containing the key of the apartment. In person, we only saw our host once for a short moment as he picked up his mail. After our arrival, we were surprised to find out that the door of our apartment was not reached by walking UP the beautiful stairs shown on various pictures of the location, rather we had to go DOWNstairs into a basement apartment. Our kids immediately had a name for the apartment: the bunker. This is actually a good summary how the place felt. Even in the brightest sunlight, the lights had to be switched on as the little window did not allow for a lot of daylight to enter the apartment. Therefore, the nice and bright photos shown in the website have little to do with the apartment in reality. Being in a basement had another side effect: the underground trains of NY could be heard as they passed by. The unpleasant atmosphere was rounded up by two quite noisy air condition units in the bedrooms. Finally, the little outdoor garden mentioned in the booking.com website was nowhere to be found as there were no instructions whatsoever, for example where to leave the garbage during our stay.

Overall, the experience was disappointing and we felt overcharged for the type of apartment we rented. When it comes to the location itself, Sylvan Terrace is a bit far away, but we did not feel that this was a major drawback. The proximity of subway as well as supermarket was quite helpful. However, without having seen the other available apartment on the upper level from the outside, our conclusion was that it only makes sense to consider a stay at Sylvan Guest House if you obtain a definite assurance that you have a reservation for the second, upper apartment.

Room Tip: Only choose upper rooms.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
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25 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We had a really good stay at the Sylvan apartments in July. communication with Julio was great, he was not in town but everything went smoothly including allowing us to leave our bags at the apartment the day we flew out.
The area is fine, everyone i spoke to was real friendly, the small supermarket around the corner has everything you could want and the Metro is literally 2 mins away. We choose to stay here as we have two boys (5&8) and we didn't want to be packed into a small hotel room down town. It took 20 mins to get to Times square.
The apartment was clean, tidy, everything worked, plenty of fans and AC if it is hot. The buildings in the street have some real character to them as well. It took about 45 mins to transfer to JFK ( not in rush hour traffic)
We would not hesitate to stay there again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
29 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

I and my wife went to New York and the first time we stayed at this hotel, we are impressed, the service friendly and very helpful, we got extra towels, our room was nicely decorated, nice view from the window is a great place, internet access, great

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

We stayed in the 2 story duplex and it was perfect. Next door is subway and a grocery store (even had Greek organic yogurt and fruit and wine). We had no car, but spent the week exploring all of Manhattan (bring comfortable shoes!). Julio was there to greet us with his beautiful family upon arrival. Reserving was a breeze, and Julio was very responsive to our FYI questions even after our arrival in NYC. Price was very reasonable considering the wonderful accommodations and convenience. While obviously not Park Central address ambience, folks were friendly and polite and helpful. Good exposure for our son to increase his awareness outside his cocooned suburbia existence.

Like a previous reviewer, we experienced extreme heat for NYC. The 2 upstairs air conditioners worked great. When it isn't extremely hot, the cross breeze in the living/kitchen area was pleasant (although I wouldn't leave windows open at night). We used the kitchen to cook, breakfast each day, the fridge was filled, etc.

Our main hobby is travel, yet this was our family’s first trip to NYC. We rank it as one of our best vacations ever too. What can one do with a 12YO boy in NYC?
Within walking distance:
- Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum at end of Sylvan Terrace street (next to town house)
(where Washington stayed for 5 weeks in Autumn of 1776 during revolution and then later came back for visit and held impressive dinner in summer of 1790 with John and Abigail Adams, their son Charles Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox and their wives, and the president’s grandchildren) . Took nice tour and learned about Sylvan Terrace too.
- around 145th and Broadway is nicer restaurants, and along the water is a large organic grocery store.
- Another Pizza place at about 165th and Broadway – very different climate once get next to Columbia University)

Requiring a subway trip: (we had no car)
Note: The locals were great about explaining any exceptions to the schedule (which is supposedly common on weekends, and we were there during Fleet Week/Memorial Day weekend which was really confusing). Folks who work at the subway booths were rude and clueless, the folks riding the subways our direction were great!)

Central Park
- Lots of Large Rocks to Climb on
- Belvedere Castle - The view from up top was amazing
- PediCab tour
- Carousel – 2nd oldest in US still working?
- Heckscher playground – largest in City (they said US, but don’t think so). Had huge rock to slide down. Swings with seats sized for adults too!!
- Bethesda Fountain and Terrace (wonderful mosaics)
- Remote control toy sailboats
- Beautiful gardens
- street artists and musicians

Museum of Natural History (subway exit directly into Museum!) – download the iPod app to use during your visit
Rockfeller Center (see Today Show from outside for free; may have free concerts too!)
Top of the Rock Observation Deck – lots of great photos!
St Patrick’s cathedral on 5th (very beautiful inside; lots of stained glass windows)
Circle Line Boat Tour
Empire State Building (went to 102 floor and 86th floor;
United Nations Guided Tour . Were able to witness General Assembly in session!
Grand Central Station – and try the Manhattan Chowder
Metropolitan Museum of Art-> saw medieval art (some very old), armor and weapons, old Egypt including tomb and temple.
fantastic restaurant east of Central Park: Eat Restaurant (E.A.T.), 1064 Madison Avenue. elizabar.com‎
Time Square
Spiderman Play – at Foxwood Theater – Actor who plays the MATINEE is great! Got autographs at stage door – including Spider-Man actor (Matthew James Thomas)
walked up 5th street looking through shop windows; Tiffany; (boys went to Home Depot – nicest Home Depot anywhere!) and the expensive car dealerships
Lego store
Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
Tenement Museum 108 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, New York City, NY 10002 took the Irish Outsiders tour (4th floor of building)
Lunch at Katz Deli. Very authentic lower East Side deli where Harry met Sally was filmed. Wallstreet (The wall street charging Bull, Crepes on William St.; walked through Stone Street - outdoor bar/restaurant area – nice for adults) Saw where George Washington took Oath of Office
Trinity Episcopal church – had either Hamilton’s tomb or Obit
9/11 Ground 0 World Trade Center Memorial – quite stunning

PS: Here is the history story the museum provided us on Sylvan Terrace:
Was small old row of townhouses along Sylvan Terrace which was original road to Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum. Townhouses are wood, and when New York City built subway out to them, became part of New York City and building in wood was banned due to fire hazard (so last houses built – story not completely clear). Location was because expected subway to build there (and the subway was built as expected)

  • Stayed May 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

Our family may have grown to include a 2- and 4-year-old, but our expectations for accommodations while traveling has remained the same: affordable, clean and a flavor of the city we are visiting. We found all of the above and more at the Sylvan Guest House 2-bedroom duplex.

The reservation process was easy and Julio responded quickly with both an email and phone call. He was receptive to questions about the Guest House and the surrounding areas. He also met us at the Townhome and gave us a tour of the house, helpful hints, and the key. Our vacation was off to a great start.

The area is beautiful and very family friendly. Sylvan Terrace (the actual road where the Guest House is located) has a long and rich history and it is evident that the little community of neighbors truly care about the area. An easy walk to 2 parks, for families with kids, oodles of street parking (although you have to do the street sweeping shuffle every couple of days), a grocery store and laundromat literally right down the street, and a 10-block walk to Starbucks and the subway for the A line. We drove to Riverdale to visit family and found the commute an easy 15 minute drive, visited the Bronx Zoo, another easy 15 minute drive and took the kids on the Staten Island Ferry, a 45 minute subway ride, which was an activity for the kids too. In my opinion, a great location!

The Guest House is a 2-story accommodation featuring the second and third floor of a 3-story townhome. It was very clean, and I'm a clean freak! The kitchen was terrific-we made dinner almost every night at "home" and even had our family over for dinner. It was very easy to entertain with the spacious floor plan and the back patio.

We had the joy of experiencing New York in 90+ degree weather (insert sarcasm here), but there are 2 window air conditioning units upstairs that comfortably cooled the entire house. The bedrooms are simple, clean and efficient. The bathrooms are updated and clean. There is even a hair dryer, cleaning supplies and a generous stock of bath towels. The kitchen also had a full size refrigerator that we quickly stocked with kid essentials.

Overall, the Sylvan Guest House was a home away from home! We so enjoyed ourselves, that we can't wait to make the drive again from Cleveland. Thank you Julio for sharing such a beautiful home!

Room Tip: On a side note, we also saw the 2-bedroom suite. It is located on the ground floor of the Guest hous...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plattsburgh, NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

First impressions are important. Julio and his two lovely daughters were waiting for my family and I to arrive at the guest house. That was a nice touch. After a tour of the space, we were on our own, The house is comfortable and spacious (by NYC standards), the kitchen is well equiped, two bathrooms, who could ask for more? The outside patio with a large grill was an added bonus. Any savy traveler will know by the address and the price, that you are not in Mid-town, but you are within a very easy commute to all points of interest. The Guest house provided us with a comfy home base to return to after our daily adventures. We felt very safe in the neighborhood; it is a wonderful mix of ethnic diversity, full of friendly folks. I hope our daughter finds a job and an apartment in the city so we can come back to visit and stay at the Sylvan Guest House again.

Room Tip: Don't be afraid to try new things and places! This is a great value.
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  • Stayed January 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
    • 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.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

A great place to stay if you need something within walking distance of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Medical School.
Has very large living room/kitchenette/dining area and two bedrooms. Nicely furnished in African motif and kitchen stocked with all essentials. Grocery store adjacent. Very quiet historic street. Never felt unsafe at all here. Easy access to subway. Owner extremely accommodating, pleasant and helpful.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about The Sylvan Guest House

Address: Sylvan Terrace, New York City, NY 10032
Location: United States > New York > New York City
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #383 of 464 Hotels in New York City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Sylvan Guest House 3*
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sylvan GuestHouse.Located on a quite, historic cobble stone street is a modern styled guesthouse with its own private entrance. Built in 1882, this renovated townhouse is located on Sylvan Terrace in Manhattan's Harlem Heights area. Sylvan Terrace has been published around the world and 30,000 tourists walk this block each year to experience the allure of a one of a kind street and the Morris Jumel Mansion, where George Washington once resided. Steps away from the C train, and one stop away from the #1 and A trains, this destination is close to grocery stores, pharmacies and laundry centers. Only 20 minutes from lower Manhattan, this residence is a home away from home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Sylvan Guest House Hotel New York City
The Sylvan Hotel

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