I booked this hotel for 3 nights for my fiancés 30th birthday through ba.com 1 week before departure and got a great deal - especially as the hotel is central and the price included breakfast. I emailed ahead of our trip to inform them that we would be celebrating a big birthday requesting a room upgrade if possible, nice quiet room and one with a view. I received a quick response telling me that an upgrade would not be possible however they would ensure that there was something in the room for us to celebrate! Having done lots of research, we decided to get public transport from JFK rather than a cab which was super easy - just get on the Airtrain at JFK to Jamaica station and then catch the LIRR to Penn station...the hotel is 5 minutes walk and costs half the price (approx $20 one way for 2 people) of a cab and only takes 45 mins (cab ride can be anything up to 1hr 30). If I went again and there was more than 2 of us then I would get a cab as it would then work out as fairly similar in price.
We arrived to the hotel at 1pm and were allowed to check in early, it turned out we were given an upgrade to a premier room, had a view of the Empire State Building and there was a box of chocs. We were on floor 12 which was one of the refurbished floors - bathroom was very modern and it was kept extremely clean - there were tea and coffee facilities in the room. We basically got everything I asked for in my email although it was rather noisy as the room was on the street - take some ear plugs just in case! You have to expect noise in NYC so this didn't bother us but request a back room if you think this will be a problem. Make sure you take advantage of the free tea/coffee and take a cup up to the rooftop to get an amazing view of the Empire State Building at night. Breakfast was brilliant - something for everyone - tea/coffee, juices, bagels, cream cheese, toast, jams, pastries, yoghurts, fruit, cereal - not sure what people are referring to when they say that there isn't very much to choose from. Hotel is in perfect location with Macy's at one end of the street, 5th Avenue at the other and the Empire State Building just across the road.
We packed a lot in over 3 1/2 days and literally walked everywhere! It is so simple and only on 3 occasions did we get a cab and that was just because our feet hurt so much. Our itinerary looked a bit like this: day 1 afternoon - World Trade Centre, Staten Island ferry to get a view of Statue of liberty, and then halfway across Brooklyn Bridge to look at Manhatten skyline in the dark. Day 2 - walk to UN building, Grand Central Station, Times Square & Top of the Rock. Day 3 - 5th & Madison Avenue, Central Park. Day 4: Greenwich Village and then enough time to go back to Times Square/5th & Madison Avenue.
It was so tiring and I do feel that I need another holiday to recover but I am so glad that we got to see everything that we wanted to. A trip to NYC can be as cheap/expensive as you want it to be, especially when it comes to food. I would strongly advise that you think twice about eating out as it was extremely expensive and we were not at all impressed with the quality of food - if you want a good pizza then Lombardi's in Little Italy was lovely. Drinks are very expensive - $8 for a small bottle of beer/glass of wine. Also when it comes to sight seeing, you don't have to spend a lot of money either - we only paid $50 for the 2 of us for Top of the Rock and I would definitely recommend this over the Empire State Building as you actually get to see the Empire State Building and also Central Park. Make sure you book a time slot so that you are up there when the sun sets as you then get the best of both worlds! Visitor passes to the World Trade Centre were free and so is the Staten Island Ferry - I think when (!) we go back, I would pay the money to do the Liberty/Ellis island tour.
One final tip - if you are getting a cab then make sure the traffic is flowing in the direction that you want to travel otherwise you can spend $5-10 just sat in a cab whilst it goes round the block and turns round. Walk if you can though - it's the best way to see the City.
Inform hotel ahead of time if you will be celebrating a special occasion
Do top of the Rock over ES...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.