I just spent 6 nights at this hostel located on the upper west side of Manhattan. Overall, I enjoyed my stay and would stay here again next time I visit NYC, and, despite what I might have written here, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the hostel to anyone else looking for budget accommodation in NYC. I booked over the phone several months in advance. I didn't specify a type of room when I booked but when I arrived I was assigned to a top bunk in a 4 bed-dorm on the 2nd floor at the back of the building. I asked if it was a quiet room and the receptionist said it wasn't next to a fire door, so that might be a hint if you are thinking of booking a room here (ask for a room away from a fire door - I guess they make quite a thud when they close). The room was fairly quiet apart from some loud late night (french) conversations on the cafe terrace below the window. The room itself was ok. There was a strange smell in the room when I arrived so I opened the window and the smell disappeared. I didn't notice it again. It might have been a residual paint smell as they were in the process of refurbishing some of the rooms. Perhaps my room had been recently repainted. I think the floors are fairly thin as I heard an occasional thud from the room above, but I heard nothing from the adjacent rooms. The lockers in the rooms were an adequate size but you need to bring your own padlock. I thought the bedside lights were too bright and might attract complaints from your room mates if you wanted to do some late night reading or needed to get up in the night. There was no shade on them and you couldn't dim them. If you are on a top bunk watch out for the barrier that stops you from falling out - they weren't very firmly attached as the guy in the other top bunk very nearly found out to his expense! The bathrooms weren't great but were acceptable. They were cramped and seemed to lack ventilation. However (unlike what I have read in other reviews) they were clean and I didn't have to queue for a shower (but I guess it depends on when you shower - I generally showered early, before 7.30a.m.). I thought the common areas were good even if I didn't use them much. In the basement they had a large screen TV room where they also showed a movie every now and then, and also a large kitchen area which looked good if you wanted to do your own cooking - it looked clean and new. On the ground floor there was a lounge area with wifi, an outside terrace and garden (a bit too cold to use in November though), an internet area, a cafe (good value - I bought most of my breakfasts here), and a billiard room. There was also a gift shop which sold post cards and pictures of NYC, but a lot of cards and pictures had images of the WTC which I thought was strange. They are either selling them to people who want to remind their friends of 9/11, or its old stock that they can't sell but they keep it in the store just in case. Apparently on the 2nd floor there was a terrace area which I never saw. It was the only place in the building where smoking was permitted, which is probably why I never went there. Access to the building and the rooms was with a swipe card. You also needed to keep your hostel receipt with you (given to you when you check-in) as they would sometimes ask to see the receipt before letting you enter the building. Your swipe card wasn't sufficient proof of residency. I found this out on the first day after an early morning jog in central park. On my return in full jogging kit the 'guard' asked to see my receipt which of course I didn't have as I didn't realise I needed to, and I also don't make a habit of carrying around bits of paper and documents with me while out jogging. He let me in after I said as much. The area around the hostel seemed safe and in some ways quite nice. The back of the hostel was a small grassy tree-filled park (but surrounded by a sturdy high metal fence topped with, wait for it, razor wire - so perhaps the area is not a complete haven of peace and tranquility). Opposite the hostel there was a kind of open-all-hours deli that seemed to attract a small group of loiterers after dark, presumably they were harmless locals, at least I had no problems (I'm a 45 year old male so I guess I didn't draw their attention too much). There were one or two nice restaurants near the hostel. I eat a couple of times at 'Mama Mexico', a couple of blocks away on Broadway - a lively and popular place. If you like swimming I found a good olympic size indoor pool just 5 metro stops north of the hostel (145 St) at the Riverbank State Park. Just $2 will get you in (they actually let me in for $1as I didn't have the right change, or perhaps I just didn't look like I had $2). This is compared to $20-$25 day pass at a trendy downtown sports club. Just like the hostel, you need a padlock for the locker. Well, thats it, enjoy your stay!
- 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