I have visited New York City before - in October 2006 I opted to stay at the Red Roof Inn in Secaucus, NJ - I liked price and location at the time, but in retrospect, getting to Manhattan was troublesome: the NJTransit bus only drove once or twice per hour, it didn't drive late nights, well, I just had to plan carefully. So this time I was looking for something easier, something closer. Looking at price lists (I was planning a visit for mid-december!), reading reviews, I once again found myself lost. Manhattan is too expensive alltogether, or the places look really weird - so off to Queens or Brooklyn it is. The LaQuinta Inn immediatly caught my eye, physically and transportation-wise close to Manhattan, acceptable price (certainly not cheap), great reviews. I made my reservation and wasn't disappointed - to the contrary, for everyone unwilling or unable to pay Manhattan prices, this is THE place to stay.
In the weeks prior to my arrival I was a little unsure about how I was going to get to and from the hotel. I would be arriving with a rental car, returning the car to JFK shortly after, and on my final day head out to JFK for my flight home. The name "Queens Blvd" led me to believe that traffic and parking was really going to be a pain - boy was I wrong. I drove Queens Blvd all the way from I-678, several miles, on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It took a while, but traffic was light - arriving at the LaQuinta Inn, almost at the western end of Queens Blvd, I found a parking space right in front of the property, there was a lot of parking available under the (elevated) subway as well. Well, to be fair, the situation was different during the week with all parking spaces occupied during daytime.
The hotel is well maintained, clean, but could use new furniture sometime in the future. I did not spend a lot of time in the hotel, so I can't say anything about breakfast, fitness center etc. The only things I used were my room, wireless internet and the vending machines - no major complaints except for a tricky shower switch and a freezing refridgerator. The front desk staff was very friendly and allowed me to leave behind my luggage on the last day before heading to the airport late afternoon. However, I was not all that happy with housekeeping, it seemed to be the same crew working every day and everyday I found myself a little unhappy about something. One day they did not put the pillows back on my bed, another day they didn't leave new coffee for the coffee maker, it all led me to belief that we were disagreeing on appropriate tips...
My room was facing east to 38th street, a little elevated. In December 08 I was overlooking the (re-)construction site of the McDonalds restaurant next door. It was mostly quiet at night (not much traffic anywhere, a little rumble from passing subway trains), during daytime there was some traffic outside the window. Oh, speaking of windows, from the 40th St subway station as well as 47th Ave you have a great view of Manhattan's skyline: Empire State Building, United Nations, its all there.
Now to the location: The 7-Train (Times Square, Grand Central Station) runs right outside the hotel - the 33rd St and 40th St stations are about the same (5min walk) distance from the hotel. Judging by the green light, at least 40th St has assistants on duty 24/7. The trains run in very close intervals but can become crowded during morning and afternoon hours - please keep in mind, that express trains DO NOT STOP. Also note, that the subway runs above ground in this part of queens, be prepared to walk up some 40-50 steps to reach the track, no elevator on either station. The train takes roughly 15min to Times Square.
If you're hungry, just head east on Queens Blvd. The neighborhood may look a little strange at first, but I had no worries walking in the dark, there were constantly people entering and exiting the subway (although I do suggest staying on Queens Blvd). There are multiple restaurants and diners within walking distance.
If you're looking to go to JFK without a cab or rental car, consider the subway. I used it for my return trip. Just use the 7-train eastbound, switch at 74th St to E-train all the way to Jamaica Station (use AirTrain JFK to get to airport). It takes about an hour.
Looking back, I would stay here again in an instant, unless someone offered to pay a high quality hotel in Manhattan...
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- Also Known As:
- La Quinta Inn Queens Hotel Long Island City
- La Quinta Queens
- La Quinta Long Island City
- Long Island City La Quinta
- La Quinta Inn Queens New York City Long Island City