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NYC Hotel Alternatives

Calgary
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NYC Hotel Alternatives

Hi - I'm fairly new here, but this board had been so incredibly helpful in my planning for a recent trip to NYC that I felt I needed to share something.

While doing my research for accommodation here on TR, I realize there is a very strong sentiment against staying at anything other than the traditional hotel. As students on a very very limited budget, my boyfriend and I tried to do look into cheaper alternatives like hostels. However, once the taxes were factored (18ish% I believe?) on top of somewhat already pricey rates ($50+ per person per night for a hostel? really??) we were already over budget. Not to mention most hostels looked like crap - and that's putting it eloquently!

Sure, we also had the option of staying at a hotel outside of Manhattan, but seeing how this was our first trip to NYC, that certainly wasn't our preferred option.

So we came across airbnb. (I can already hear a few of you grimace!) After lots of hesitation and looking for other options we took the plunge and booked it. We found a place with a few positive reviews for $100/night. This is below the price of a hostel (as there were 2 of us) and well below the price of a hotel room. Plus we had a private bathroom. It sounded too good to be true, especially after reading these forums.

Our stay was fantastic. Granted, there was so much to do in NYC that we were barely even at home, which gives even more reason to not use up so much of the budget on the hotel room.

This type of accomodation may not be for everyone, but for two students like us who may have had to cancel the trip altogether if we couldn't afford a decent place to stay, airbnb was the perfect solution.

The only concern that I feel can be validated is the safety issue. Who is this person you're staying with? Can they be trusted? However, I do believe this can be mitigated by doing research - staying at a place with favorable reviews is not much riskier than a hostel.

Anyway, this is post is not to provoke anyone and please don't flame me! I feel I need to put in a disclaimer promising that I do NOT work for airbnb and am not a disgruntled NYC hotel employee or hold anything against NYC hotels! I realize this has been discussed numerous times on this board and is a controversial topic, but I find the majority of people here are of one side of the opinion. My only purpose is to share my very positive experiences from a different perspective.

Thanks you and if anyone has any further questions, I welcome your replies here and/or PMs.

Silver Spring...
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1. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

So what place did you stay at? It sounds like a room in an apartment or house.

New York City
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2. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

Cindy, the fact that you had a "positive experience" does not tell us much. There are all sorts of people who have "positive experiences" as a result of cheating on their taxes, or inappropriately parking in handicapped spots at the supermarket, or running red lights, or using the services of prostitutes. That does not mean, however, that doing any of those things is licit or appropriate in the first place, no matter how "positive" the result would be for the person who was willing to flout laws to further his or her own self interests. If you got over by staying an an unlawful accommodation, do you really think it is appropriate to come here and crow about it? And if you didn't know whether your acommodation was legal or not, and still don't care, do you really think that such amoral advice is helpful?

Calgary
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3. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

vjpblovesitaly - Nice profile pic :) Yes, we had a room in an apartment on the UWS.

GreenWhiteBlue - Thank you for your response. Your very strong opinion is exactly why I felt the need to share mine. I am sorry if I came off "crowing" or gloating about my accommodation, as that is not at all my intention. Like I said earlier, I only wanted to share my positive experience and let people know that airbnb is not necessarily the devil reincarnate - that is all.

Now as for what my positive experience was, I had very clean (bed bug free - yay!!), very spacious accommodation. It was great to be able to buy some groceries for our morning breakfasts. The owner was very friendly. We actually only crossed paths once, at the beginning as we were always out, and she was always at work. The apartment had a doorman and felt very secure. Location was great, it was directly across the subway station. Overall, we were very satisfied and our favorite part was pretending to be cool New Yorkers living in a gorgeous flat. (Yes, I realize I just set myself up for you all to laugh at me).

And as for my "illicit behavior," yes, I did do research here on tripadvisor, and yes I realize a place needs to be "zoned" for tourists to be legal and all that stuff. From a moral standpoint, wouldn't you say that it's a bit of an exaggeration to compare this to using the services of prostitutes? With all due respect, I really don't know if you're being serious...

Manhattan hotels did not lose our business - we really can not afford them. Judging by the number of reviews and new places cropping up on Airbnb in NYC, there's quite an appetite for apartment rentals. I do not believe this is detrimental to the hotel economy - there will always be a market for the hotels by certain people like businessmen and luxury travelers. Plus didn't I spur on the economy by coming to spending money on food, entertainment, etc...? And can you not consider this a win-win for both myself and the owner, who made $400+ over my 4 night stay? Who really loses out here?

Wow, I didn't mean for this to be quite so long-winded! Alright, let the debates begin :)

New York City, New...
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4. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

Actually, you've unwittingly (I think) stirred up a tempest in a teapot. No need for debate: hosted accommodations, like the set-up you had, don't run up against the same kind of restrictions, etc. as the rental of an unoccupied apartment.

airbnb started out as listing only hosted accommodations, either outright "couch surfing" where you crash in someone's living room, or the kind of temporary roommate situation you describe. But then they decided to accept listings for entire apartments and houses; you're already aware of why that's problematic so I'm not going to rehash that

Edited: 3:59 pm, December 10, 2010
5. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

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Removed on: 9:05 pm, December 10, 2010
New Orleans...
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6. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

GWB pretty much covered everything I'd like to say about this, though I would like to express my distaste for people who seem to imagine that their sheer presence in the city contributes greatly to the lives of New Yorkers.

Why should anyone care what sort of money you spent "spurring on the economy," unless you were putting money directly into their pockets? I did not wait your tables, I did not earn commission on anything you purchased, and I do not perform in Broadway shows. 99.999 percent of New Yorkers can say the same thing. But of that 99.999 percent, a good number of those people would like to have a roof over their heads.

Granted, the real problem here is with illegal vacation rentals and not people renting out rooms in their apartment by the night. Still, though, if the person who rents out their apartment like a hotel for tourists would get a little less greedy and take on a regular roommate who pays by the month, there would be far less people desperate for housing.

Who knows? If people started treating this city like a place to live instead of somewhere to snatch up as much money as they can and then throw it around, maybe you could actually afford to live that cool life you played at having, Cindy19.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

wow, you guys are really bitter.

its not our fault you don't make enough to afford to comfortably live in New York.

8. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

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Removed on: 10:35 am, December 12, 2010
Calgary
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9. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

Cocklecove, thanks for clarifying. Judging by GWB's eloquent responses, I think a tempest just might be an understatement...

GWB, The responsibilities of a landlord who collects a monthly rent cheque from their tenants are much less than that of one who has new guests every day. If an owner decides to rent out a room to tourists, they would have to deal with the daily hassles of being there to transfer the key and general tidiness of their guests. Furthermore, speaking from my own experience - my rate of roughly $100/night seem to be somewhat in line with NYC rents, and not a "substantially higher nightly rate". Don't forget to also take into account the daily vacancies they must swallow - it's not really the same as having a stable monthly income from a tenant.

Now despite GWB's astute calling out of my "amoral and self-absorbed" demeanor, I hope there are some that finding my observations helpful. At the very least - perhaps a source of entertainment? :)

Wayne, Pennsylvania
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10. Re: NYC Hotel Alternatives

@cindy

Since GWB'S post was deemed inappropriate because of ill advised Language you should move on. No offense menat to you.