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.
- 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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