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“Once great old hotel in center of New Haven, CT” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Duncan Hotel

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Duncan Hotel
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in New Haven
Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
48 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Once great old hotel in center of New Haven, CT”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2014

The Duncan is like greying old lady. Once a magnificent hotel, now an aging property still with glimpses of it's greatness. The hotel is located in the heart of New Haven close to theaters, restaurants and bars. Street parking as well as garage parking is nearby. The once grand hotel is in bad need of restoration. The neon sign outside now only reads "can" instead of "Hotel Duncan". The rooms are very large but very basic. Double beds and basic furnishings. Heat is via old style radiators and there was plenty of it! So much windows had to be opened on a night where it was only 18 degrees. I noticed there is no A/C in this room so you should inquire if booking during the summer season. The room was clean but if your looking for modern amenities and fancy soaps & shampoos, this is not the place. The hallways are long and narrow with basic lighting. The floors creek as you walk down the hall. The room doors are 8' tall and all wood and the room had 12' ceilings. Very large and open. The furnishings are very worn as was the carpet. However the rates were most affordable. in the mid 80's a night and in downtown New Haven that is definitely below the going market rate.

The once grand lobby is a shadow of the greatness it use to be. Deep dark wood walls, black and white tile floors, worn leather couches. Yet there is charm in "going back in time". Old pictures of the building and the city decorate the walls. Most notable is the hotel elevator and front desk key box. The elevator is the last surviving manual operated elevator in New England. It dates back well over 100 years. This means a staff person gets in the elevator with you and manually selects the floor and by holding a lever powers the elevator up to the appropriate floor. One has to admire this bit of history still being used today. Behind the font desk is an old style room key box board where room numbers are displayed over small boxes and keys for that room are located inside. Every hotel once had this system but this is the only one I even recall seeing in the past 20 years with modern key cards and security concerns.

Overall I would say if you are a nostalgic buff and realize your not checking into a modern day hotel then you will enjoy stepping back in time to a once great hotel.

Room Tip: The elevator stops working about 10 PM. So if your gong to be out late realize you will have to wal...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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96 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    25
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2014

If you're looking for a place to sleep and take a shower, what more do you need? The Hotel Duncan makes it quite clear on their website that they are a no-frills hotel. Yes, it's old, but it's clean and the rooms are big. Plus the elevator is cool.

Ask for one of the larger, non-smoking rooms. Close to everything - if you like good Thai food, Thai Taste is right underneath the hotel - can't get much better than that.

The next closest hotel is more than $100 more expensive...no-brainer.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the larger, non-smoking rooms.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank WorkHardThenVacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2014 via mobile

nice place to stay over the holy days the room was old but nice the showers need work but they do the job they have no breakfast so you have to go and get some thete are a few places f you know where to look lots of stores but some close early lots to see on the weekday weekend the town is dead also no wi fi so you are going to have to make the best of it but not a bad place if you are looking to save a few $$$

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank papycholow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
Level Contributor
3 reviews
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2013

1. some staff are great; some not at all - they hate their job and will share that
2. elevator is only operational during certain hours of the day
3. parking is an issue, on street or garage
4. most everything is the hotel is old, tired, and rundown
5. no WiFi at all in rooms
6. limited heat via cast iron radiators, AC if at all are window units

Room Tip: if u like old - the place is okay
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these New Haven hotels

Metuchen, New Jersey
Level Contributor
25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2013

What, did you expect the Westin? It's a relief that the corporotization of America hasn't touched this one building, with its black-and-white tile lobby complete with two telephone booths and an old-school Coke machine. The bay windows are a good place to read the papers in the morning, perhaps accompanied by a character or two who are old-timers there. The hand-operated elevator (at night you carry your own bags: the guy has to sleep at some point) doubles as a time machine. Be sure to check out the historic photos in the lobby before heading upstairs. You've got to love a place that hosted John Hinckley during his unsuccessful stalking of Jodie Foster at Yale ("He seemed like a very nice young man") and also Jane Fonda and other actors from the Yale Rep, kitty corner across the street. In the halls you can almost sense the ghosts of Smithies past as they bunked here during Yale mixers, dances, and games. The rooms are indeed bare bones, and there's no Internet;if you're at Yale on business, though, they usually provide guest WiFi codes, and you can get it from the architecture school down the street. There's one cleaning lady--please tip her!--and she is hard-working, but there is a certain degree of "use" that's built into an old building. My sheets were clean, as was the bathroom--just don't examine the edges of the carpet too closely. Might bring flip-flops if you're squeamish. Some of the attendants at the desk are friendly and helpful; others are a little sullen and just get it done. I wouldn't be able to attend conferences and consult manuscripts at the Beinecke if it weren't for this place: I can just walk out the door go to the lectures or head to a museum or a restaurant. I also appreciate their willingness to call a cab for me and help me with my book bag: this was my fifth or sixth trip to the Duncan, and it will not be my last There's a little Cohn brothers in all of us.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank annalex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Broomall, PA
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2013

The Duncan is an 1890's era old hotel. Was frequented by actors and actresses when New Haven was a tryout before a show moved on to Broadway. A nice old school lobby. The oldest elevator in Connecticut still operated by a man whose job it is to take you up and own. When he is off duty, you climb the stairs. Great old photos and bric a brac on the walls. Lots of history. It's low priced - a bargain considering it is right in the middle of downtown New Haven. My room - overlooked the back of the building. Big bed, basic hotel furniture. A little drab; a little tired. But no noise for me; no other issues up there. A basic place to sleep while visiting, at a bargain price. For those people who want new and modern, clean and shiny, wi-fi, an entertainment center, a selection of free toiletries, this ain't it. Just your basic room. For which you pay just your basic price.

Room Tip: The elevator runs form about 8 a.m. till 1 pm. If you are coming and going outside of that, you are...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank doug_humes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2013

The location is great, right in downtown. Unfortunately the hotel room was dirty, dusty and smelled badly. We didn't use the shower due to the lack of cleanliness. If you are not fussy about it, the hotel may has charm. Using the old elevator is an interesting experience.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SanMar777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Duncan Hotel

Property: Duncan Hotel
Address: 1151 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06511
Location: United States > Connecticut > New Haven
Amenities:
Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 Hotels in New Haven
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Duncan Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 90
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Clean, Quiet, Comfortable.Conveniently located on the edge of the Yale campus and within walking distance of theaters, museums, boutiques, restaurants and more. The Duncan Hotel has been in business for over 100 years. Rooms are always available for daily or weekly rental. On-street metered parking is available. There is also a parking garage just around the corner on York St between Crown St & Chapel St. The hotel now has free wi-fi, there are also many wifi networks available in the area. Remember - Clean, Quiet, Comfortable. We look forward to your visit. Hotel Duncan ... more   less 
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