I stayed at the HI - New York on two separate occasions during August whilst on a trip around America. The hostel is in a good location on the Upper West side of Manhattan, one block away from the subway station that will take you to Times Square in fifteen minutes and a few blocks from Central Park. As with any big city, it is probably advisable not to walk around the dark side streets alone here at night but it is a perfectly safe residential neighborhood during the day.
The hostel itself is a huge building with over 600 rooms. Des pite the building having a large 'Youth hostels of America' sign, it is Hostelling International's policy to allow people of all ages to stay as long as they are not residents of New York State. The older people (50+) that tend to stay in hostels bring a completely different atmosphere to the room as they aren't your typical young traveler and most seemed to be down and out's. This can make the room feel awkward and uncomfortable as HI tend to let anyone in despite how strange they are.
I stayed in a 12 bed room on my first stay and a 10 bed the second time around. Both rooms were on the fourth floor and as the elevator in the hostel is so slow, I always walked from the lobby up to my room. Which wasn't a problem for me but if you struggle with stairs then you will have to get used to waiting for the elevator to arrive. The rooms contain very large lockers which will be able to fit in a large backpack/rucksack as well as having room to spare. The beds themselves are quite comfortable by hostel standards.
Each floor has numerous bathrooms with toilets, showers and sinks. I never had to wait for any of the facilities at the hostel, whether it was morning or night and they are cleaned regularly.
The only 'tour' i signed up for was a pub crawl on my first night. After waiting in the lobby for twenty minutes someone from the check in desk told us that no one from the hostel would be able to join us, so he gave us a list of local bars instead. We went to the Lions Head which has the $1 drafts on Wednesday, which is a good deal for NYC but the beer is Bud Light which tastes watered down compared to the regular beer.
The cafe next to the lobby is good and contains a number of pastries, cereals, snacks and drinks. It is reasonably priced and there is usually enough seats available for everyone.
Overall I found the hostel to be in a good location to get around NYC from. My sleep quality was never very good but that was due to snorers which is a problem in every hostel. The bathrooms are plentiful and clean and the cafe is a good, cheap option for breakfast. Hostelling Internationals policy on allowing people of all ages, including strange older men and their no drinking allowed policy as a result of this leads to the atmosphere in the place being quite stifled. As NYC has a million things to do I was always out of the hostel but if you are looking to meet up with people here then you might be better off trying your luck at a smaller and cheaper hostel in the city. I personally will be returning to this hostel though, as they offer tours everyday and you generally get a good if unspectacular experience with HI,
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- HI-New York is located in a landmark building on the Upper West Side. One block from Broadway and a main subway line. Minutes from glorious Central Park. Situated near Central Park and Columbia University, the hostel is in a historic Victorian Gothic-style building on the Upper West Side. It organizes walking tours, sporting events, group outings to concerts and more. There is capacity for 672 guests, and facilities include internet access, kitchen and laundry. From an all-day walking tour to a viewing of a New York movie in our cozy TV room to a quiet cup of coffee in our cafe, Hostelling International New York has everything you need to make your group happy. Play the latest games on Play Station 2. Check your email without leaving the hostel. Wash and dry your clothes in our new laundry room on the second floor. Pick up subway/bus MetroCards, sundries, NY souvenirs, calling cards, and more. The hostel is located steps from the subways and minutes from Times Square and other major NYC attractions. Ask our friendly staff what they can do for you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hostelling International - New York Hotel New York City