Unless you intentionally desire a womb-like experience, avoid The Franklin's (TF's) smaller rooms:
• Petite Guest Rooms (approx. ~150 square feet/ ~14 sq. meters).
(For specifics about one of TF's puniest Petites, see May 2012 review -- from earlier visit Sep. 2011.)
Larger, costlier, more humane rooms are a smidge bigger:
• Guest Rooms (approx. ~200 sq. ft./ ~18.6 sq. meters)
• Studios (approx. ~225 sq. ft./ ~21 sq. meters)
If you've practiced your shimmying, sleeping in a closet, & dining in a hallway, you'll be physically & mentally prepared -- just calibrate your expectations.
Note: bed fills floor space, leaving narrow space for you to maneuver around. If you can overcome the *cramped* hurdle, read on.
Upper East Side (UES) Location
• Safe, quite, residential area.
• Walking distance to:
-- Central Park (head west approx. 3 1/2 blocks crossing: Lexington Ave., Park Ave., Madison Ave., 5th Ave.)
-- Museum Mile (Metropolitan, Guggenheim, ...) on 5th Ave.
-- West side museums (Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, ...) across Central Park.
-- Subway 4/5/6 (Lexington Ave. green line) on E 86th St. & Lexington Ave.
-- Neighborhood groceries, eateries, shops.
• Visual architectural feast, churches, wrought-iron work, people...
TF's selling point: proximity to UES attractions, which makes TF an ideal jumping off point/ base camp for daily excursions. And, if you're a walker, the blend of attractions, visual delights, & exercise is perfect. (You may not even need to workout at neighboring NY Sports Club, to which TF provides passes.)
TF's a smaller hotel (in every sense) -- about 50 rooms on 9 floors of dignified, aging charm.
• Quiet & pleasant -- if you prefer to avoid hustle bustle of crowds & queues that come with larger, touristy accommodations.
• Staff -- thoughtful & go out of their way to help: the much appreciated hailing a cab when your hands are full.
• Bed -- goldilocks-perfect -- not too hard, not too soft -- just right. (Nice, fresh, clean linens too.)
• European Buffet Breakfast -- (7-10am) grab 'n go items to munch on your way; provided you can scooch past diners without bumping guests/ toppling tables. Or, sit & eat knee-to-knee at 1 of the handful of tiny tables in hallway-sized breakfast nook. (More food variety/ rotation would be nice -- especially if you're staying for several days. And, prompt replenishment would be helpful -- particularly if you arrive later in the morning when little seems to be left; likewise with evening wine & cheese.)
• Evening Wine & Cheese -- (5-6:30pm) tiny, tasty, touching -- if your back in time from your busy day to partake (& if there are nibbles left).
• Free WiFi.
• Serve as your own barista for free, 24-hour espresso, cappuccino, coffee, & tea.
• If you're on a tight budget, groceries (affordable tasty pre-made sandwiches/ meals) are within walking distance. Informative staff can recommend/ guide you to nearby markets.
• If you're on a looser budget, enough nearby eateries to suit any palate & wallet.
• Additional pleasantries/ charms: Bvlgari toiletries, wall-mounted TV, Egyptian cotton sheets, chandelier, desk & chair.
• Impeccable cleanliness.
Room Size Matters: A Very Subjective Opinion
TF's acceptable if you're traveling backpack-light, need to stay only a few days, plan to spend all your time outside the hotel, and/or traveling solo. (If you're with your significant other, you'll become closer than you ever imagined. Romance isn't what comes to mind -- more space-shuttle-like cocooning (to protect yourself from inevitable invasion of personal space).
TF's website notes: "This room comfortably accommodates two people."
"Comfortably" may not be the word most would use for 1 person occupancy -- never mind 2 (especially for Petite rooms). "Adequately" may be more fitting. (If 2 people are 1 -- not only spiritually but physically, perhaps "adequately" could be used. Or, if traveling with your pet (who you may consider human) then together you may qualify as 2 "people.")
TF's website's artfully shot room photos, wittingly or unwittingly, belie the rooms actual size. You can misperceive rooms as being more spacious than they actually are. Perhaps interpreting the photograph on your computer screen as a 1-to-1 to scale model is a nearer-truth interpretation.
If you can get an outstanding deal, the euphemistic "coziness" can make the chest-tightening crampedness worthwhile. (Upgrading to a larger room can be life saving & certainly justifiable if traveling on business.)
Marvel at how ingenious each millimeter of space is used to precisely fit toilet, wash basin, & shower into dollhouse-sized spaces: concentrated compactness worthy of any architect's dissection & microscopic examination. (After marveling, you can't help but wish they'd knock down a wall or two & merge 2 rooms into 1. Now that would be a comfortable guest room for 2.)
Love it. Hate it.
You can't help but pendulum swing between the 2 extremes. Yes, it has its retro charm and its claustrophobic, jail-cell appeal.
If you're perceived as big-boned, you may need to grease up before oshiyas shove you through the door. (And, for heaven's sake, don't ingest a morsel of food (or even inhale an aroma molecule of food) that could add a microgram to your frame.) If you've a touch of claustrophobia, view TF as immersion therapy to overcome your fear of confined spaces.
TF is a once-in-a-lifetime place worth experiencing. (If you make it through the night, you get bragging rights.)
I tease too much.
I do like TF.
You develop affection for it. You can't help but enjoy its convenient UES location. It's a unique, charming boutique that you can't take too seriously; you can't help but tickle its teeny belly to make it giggle. (Perhaps if it fully played up it's one-of-a-kind, diminutive accommodations (note on its website the actual square footage of each room type), potential guests would be curious/ lured by its most prominent feature -- its minusculeness -- instead of surprised/ disappointed/ traumatized on 1st setting foot through the door.)
The juxtaposition of upscale, elegant, sophistication miniaturized into a teensy cameo box, can't help but make you smile.
The LOCATION makes TF worthwhile -- especially if you can get a larger room (at a bargain rate) -- and trumps inconveniences:
• Single-file hallways.
• Tiny, aging, single elevator.
• Hallway-sized breakfast nook (with minimal seating) & wearing parlor.
• LOUD air conditioner (bring earplugs) that can be inconsistent in cold air it spews out.
• Minimal view (although serenity of Bartleby-the-Scrivener brick wall can grow on you).
• Impractical, practical-joke closet.
• No designated, sensible spot to place backpack/ suitcase (desk top is unfortunate alternative). (You end up spreading out paperwork on bed (as your actual desk/ work area) & using a pillow as laptop desk.)
• Live-out-of-suitcase access to clothes/ necessities.
• $12 daily service charge.
When you're initially escorted to your room, walk/ shimmy the room & *bathroom* before accepting it. If it's too small for your comfort, don't be shy about requesting a roomier room. (They'll try to accommodate your comfort/ peace of mind.) Don't just settle because you don't want to make a fuss; otherwise, you may unwittingly succumb to "room rage" (the immobile equivalent of road rage) -- where you silently implode after a few days of unmitigated frustration.
(Desperately wished larger room would drastically change my mind about TF (from "average" to "very good"), but it just didn't/ couldn't. In good conscience, I can't upgrade overall rating -- no matter how much I sucked in my gut, sucked up my moans, wished myself into thinking I was more comfortable than I actually was. Maybe, next time, I'll splurge for *the* largest room & see if I have a change of heart.)
If you're a robust, corn-fed, full-sized/ super-sized, 21st century American, the squish-factor can be difficult/ near impossible to overcome. (If you're a svelte, portion-controlled, city-sized American/ European/ Asian/ African/ Lilliputian you may not feel as confined/ immobile. At times, the only breath of relief you feel is when you step outside -- under TF's neon marquee.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Only a short distance from Central Park, the famed Museum Mile and Madison Avenue designer shops, The Franklin Hotel is the perfect Upper East Side getaway. Built in the 1930s, The Franklin Hotel is located at 164 East 87th Street. This romantic boutique hotel features 50 intimate guestrooms, daily complimentary continental breakfast from 7am-10am and daily wine & cheese reception from 5pm-6:30pm. Ideal for single travelers or couples, all guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary NY Times & USA Today (in our lounge area), Philosophy bath amenities, and 24-hour cappuccino machine. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Franklin Hotel New York City
- Franklin New York City
- Franklin Hotel New York City