New York City is notoriously expensive, especially when it comes to accommodation. For travellers looking to save some money without compromising on location and cleanliness, the Central Park Hostel is a good bet. Firstly, this is not a hotel and has none of the amenities a hotel should have. The Central Park hostel is a budget accommodation establishment with correspondingly low prices.
There is a range of different accommodation options, ranging from private studio apartments to private rooms to shared dormitory style bedrooms. Only the private studio apartments have private ensuite bathrooms; all other rooms come with shared baths. If you are unused to backpacking or if this is your first time, the Central Park hostel may intimidate you, but as hostels come, it is comfortable and clean.
We were only in NYC for one night between our flight landing and driving upstate to attend a wedding. We chose a private room with a shared bath. For US$99 a night, taxes included, the room was great value, especially considering the location - on Manhattan Avenue just one block west of Central Park and with the subway and shops close by. The hostel is within walking distance to 5th Avenue's famed Museum Mile, just across Central Park; the walk will take about 20 minutes or so but on a fine day it is an absolute pleasure.
The room had comfortable beds, hardwood floors, sufficient storage and a slightly noisy air conditioner - a must during New York's hot and humid summer nights. The shared bathrooms saw heavy use as there is only one per floor. We woke up earlier in the day to use the bathrooms before they got overly grotty. To be fair, a cleaner came later during the day to tidy up, but all in all there could have been more bathrooms and they could have been cleaner. There is a common recreation lounge area, and a manned security desk with secured front door, so the hostel felt very safe.
Linens are provided, but towels are not, so bring your own. You can settle your hostel bill either with cash or traveler's check, and the Central Park Hostel only accepts guests with foreign passports or Americans from out of New York State. Guests can stay for a maximum of 13 days.
Overall, the Central Park Hostel was great value for a clean and safe bed in New York City. The location is not in Midtown, but it is close to a subway stop and Central Park. If you are simply looking for a place to rest your head for a few nights without having to fork out New York city hotel prices, the hostel represents good value.
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