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“DON'T GO!!”
Review of La Sienna

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La Sienna
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 28, 2011

The place is not bad, even if I expected better reading the other reviews, (bed is so unconfortable we got terrible back ache) but the worst part is the owner.
At our arrival my sister and I were asked to sign a paper that we wouldn’t smoke in the apartment. After some day, as we came back to the apartment during the afternoon we were stopped at the door from Yvette and Manny and told ( I would say yelled!) that we had to leave the apartment because we have smoked. Of course we didn’t smoke, but they said with vehemence that all the room smelled like cigarettes. That morning we made coffee and it burned a little maybe that’s what they smelled! After begging not to be kicked away (we already paid all the week!!) they said ok. As we came back the evening (9:30) we found a note that said we had to pay 125 $ for the cleaning of the room or go away in that moment. We didn’t know what to do, it was obvious that they took advantage of two girls that couldn’t find another place to sleep at that time in a big foreign city, so we paid.
I’ve never be treated so bad, I don’t know if they are dishonest or just stupid but I suggest STRONGLY not to go there.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank VeraCos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gingerbread241, Owner at La Sienna, responded to this reviewResponded September 3, 2011

These two women were caught smoking in the studio after signing an agreement which clearly explains no smoking or act of aggression will be tolerated. This was also explained to them. They said it was the burnt coffee grinds but we have an automatic coffer maker which cannot possibly burn grinds and the pot was not burned. They made a scene screaming and slammed the door in my face. We never yelled at them but were stern to explain our policy. We charged them to clean the room which was a generous price as most places charge more. This review came after they were told that they will no longer be allowed to return and any future bookings will be denied. We had to block her email as we were getting rude emails from her. Here at La Sienna we provide every guest with a clean,safe and smoke free room. Her rating is unfair and based solely on her anger because she nor her sister will be allowed to return. We will not tolerate or welcome back anyone who does not abide by our 3 basic rules, no smoking, no agression and show respect to all who are at La Sienna.

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Reviews (156)
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79 - 85 of 156 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2011

I stayed at La Sienna a couple of years ago. It's a great adress in NY and close to some 'attractions' in Harlem, like the Apollo, The Harlem Museum, etc. You're not staying in a typical tourist area, which is an absolute plus for me. It's safe, clean and people are very friendly. It's also a nice area to stroll around and to be part of daily life.
There's a immediate acces to public transport towards the citycenter and other areas.
I stayed in a bigger room with seperate kitchen and bathroom which is - compared to the price I paid - something that I taught was impossible in NYC...

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Theun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2011

I stayed in La Sienna for 2 weeks from 4 - 18 June 2011. Occupied Room no. 6 on Level 2. All in all very happy with my stay here.
Price - was a fraction of what I would have to fork out if I had stayed downtown Manhattan. For my 2 week long stay, this was extremely important as I shelled out my cash for cheesecake, jazz dinners, pizza...you get the point.
Cleanliness - the place is very clean. That is important to me as I do not like bugs. The shared toilet and shower is clean and without any smell. Mirror and basin spotless when I wake up in the mornings. Was pleasantly surprised by this as I did not expect that thorough a clean for the price I was paying.
Room - a private room to myself. there is no room service, and I liked it. I had my clothes hanging over chairs and hooks, shopping items everywhere. They come in to clean only once a week - suited me as I wanted my privacy.
Heat - Room no. 6 gets a bit warm though on hot summer nights, as there is only a fan in the room. Yvette told me that she would be installing an air/con soon. In the meantime I just took a cold shower just before bed. That sunk me into sleep quickly (after a whole day's walking around)
Quietness - not too great though as the rooms at the back face a back lane where people's voices from the lane tend to reflect off other buildings. No problem though as I had my trusty Ipod and used music to sleep.
Free wifi - I had my smartphone with me so I was checking my mail at night. You need a laptop/smartphone though as there are no computers there.
Location - fantastic. 5 mins walk to the 125 st station. from there the D express takes you 7 mins to town and 25 mins to the south tip of Manhattan. Regular trains so I had no problems at all getting into the city early for breakfast. Passing by the Police Station at 124/Manhattan Ave on the way to the station is a good calming effect when returning to the guesthouse late at night!
I did not venture deeper into Harlem though. 125st was the furthest I went.
I will come back to La Sienna again if I ever visit NYC again.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank kwipex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2011

I was at La Sienna with my boyfriend over the weekend and we had a wonderful time! Our room was really cute, and the place was clean and really convenient to get to the subway. The closest subway stop has an express train going to it, so it was awesome for getting anywhere in the city. There was street parking too, which was free during the weekend. Just watch out during the week because double parking seems to take place in some sections. I will definitely return to La Sienna!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Miche0725
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2011

I stayed at the la Sienna in December and I really enjoyed my stay there. My room was tiny but clean and the bed was very comfortable. I liked the neighborhood, I always felt safe as a woman travelling alone, on the short way home from the subway you even pass a police station. It was very quiet in my room and I met nice people at the guesthouse. WiFi worked perfectly. There is a Starbucks just a couple of minutes away where I had breakfast almost every morning and if you want to save money you can buy food and use the kitchen.

There is only one complaint, the "heating situation". To safe money they turned the heating only twice a day on for 1-2 hours and that was around 11pm and around 5am. So when I came home around 9pm it was freezing in my room, I went to bed wearing two sweaters and woke up because it was so hot in the room, I took one sweater off and later I had to put it on again just to take it off in the morning again and when I woke up between 8am and 9pm and wanted to take a shower it was freezing again. I can understand that it is too expensive to turn the heating on all day, but they could turn it on when most guests are at home, lets say between 7pm and 11 pm and between 7am and 10am.

Nevertheless, I think it is probably one of the best places you can get in Manhattan when you travel on a low budget or prefer to spend your money on clothes instead on a hotel room and I've already booked my next stay at the La Sienna, I will be back in October (and bring some friends), I just hope it won't be that cold ;-).

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled solo
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Thank nohandbag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gingerbread241, Owner at La Sienna, responded to this reviewResponded March 20, 2011

We get some complaints that it is too hot or cold. So we try to maintain a certain temperature. We do crank up the heat 3 times a day during the busiest time so people will have a warm shower. However, if it does not fit with your schedule and you are cold please let us know while you are here and we will try to accomodate you as much as possible. We have an inhouse caretaker on the premises who will assist you.

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Reviewed February 14, 2011

I've reviewed this guest house previously. Now I find the review was taken down. I hope it was not because I listed cons and well as pros. The website slogan is "Get the truth"! Anyway, let's see how long this one stays up.

This guest house is located in Harlem and despite the bad reputation of the area, I felt safe most of the time, even when walking late at night. I doubt anyone would want there daughter to walk in the area late at night though.

The best things about this guest house are the value ($45-60 per night for a comfortable, pleasant room and usually clean kitchen and bathroom facilities) and location (about 5-10 minutes walk from a subway station from where you can get relatively easily around New York by catching trains north and south, and buses east and west). For anyone unfamiliar with New York, I would say harlem is a decent location to base yourself from but recommend looking first for a place south from Times square near where all the different subway routes come together, making it easier for you to go anywhere in NY quickly.

There were a few negatives about my stay which I will briefly describe in hopes that people can "Get the Truth".
-Firstly, the bathroom on my floor was not available for use nearly my entire stay and instead I had to use a tiny little shower and shave over the kitchen sink. At the time I was told by one of the inn keepers that a water pipe had blown and it needed to be repaired. Later on the other inn keeper said she had scheduled a rennovation to the bathroom. If they had've told me the bathroom would be unavailable due to rennovation, I could've made my own choice to stay or not. Instead I felt lied to.
-Secondly, despite what all the other reviewers say about the service being wonderful and this place being a home away from home, I did not feel I was treated respectfully. During my stay I had an inn keeper accuse me of deliberately leaving a fan on all day; I was given a patronising 'note' suggesting I was a power waster and would be responsible for higher costs to other guests; I asked for a hand towel to be placed in the bathroom so guests could dry their hands, was given one, and then was told off for placing it in the bathroom where everyone could use it (for some reason they only allowed me to use it); I was in the middle of eating dinner and told abruptly to clean the pot I'd used in the kitchen as other guests were about to arrive; one of the inn keepers routinely smoked on the stairs outside while people exited and entered the building; etc.
-Third, there were arguments/shouting on the street outside my room during about 30% of the evenings. I woke up on several occasions because of this, and I'm a heavy sleeper.

Lastly, I was given pumpkin bread on arrival. It was delicious and when I asked for the recipe I was told it was bought from Starbucks!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Tellingitlikeiseeit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gingerbread241, Owner at La Sienna, responded to this reviewResponded February 16, 2011

His visit was a year ago. The first review was taken down a year ago because it was inappropriate.

For shared bathrooms we offer two. We closed down the bathroom to put down a marble floor but still supplied two full functioning bathrooms. And this work was done once the guests left the building and stopped before they returned. Under no circumstances do we allow anyone to shave over the kitchen sink.

We have private or shared kitchens and bathrooms. When you share a kitchen/bathroom you have to think about the next person who is going to be using the facilities. Everyone should be allowed to walk into a clean kitchen and bathroom.

We do not respond to people in an aggressive manner nor do we tolerate any form of aggression at La Sienna.

He asked us for the pumpkin bread a previous guest had left behind. We said okay. Following day he told us that the bread was moldy and old so we went out and purchased some pumpkin bread for him to which he ask for the recipe.

This is a non-smoking building so smokers can only smoke outside the building.

This is New York so at times it can be noisy but 30%, not possible.

He asked for things that we do not offer but still accommodated him as much as possible. We have emailed this guest a year ago when the review was first posted to ask why he did not mention this to us and allowed us the opportunity to a solution. His suggested we give him money and would leave the amount up to our discretion to which we responded “Have a nice day”.

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Reviewed February 4, 2011

I La Sienna is a fantastic guesthouse to stay at in New York. I came here and needed someplace; safe, affordable, clean, and close to transportation. La Sienna fit all of my requirements. As a female traveling alone I had absolutely no worries about the safety of the guesthouse. Many friends were worried about me staying in Harlem, I have no idea why because the neighbourhood was completely safe, and quiet (for New York that is). La Sienna is only a couple blocks away from the 125th street subway station, which has the A and D lines, so getting around the city is easy. There are maps and brochures downstairs for local tourist attractions.

The room I stayed in had a single bed with a desk and chair, closet and tv in an airmoire. I love that I only paid about $50/night for a private room. In a chain hotel this would cost around $200/night. I wanted to save money, and have privacy (unlike dorm rooms at a hostel). Also unlike hostel there's no curfew or lockout, and you have your own key for the building and your room. Everything was modestly decorated and always clean. The property is nonsmoking, which I appreciate. There's a shared kitchen; with several grocery stores nearby it's easy to make your own meals to save some money. The bathroom is also shared, toilet in one room and sink and shower in another. Since the property is pretty small (compared to a hostel or hotel) I never ran into an issue of needing to use the washroom while it was occupied.

There are a few other things you may want to take note of (these aren't necessarily bad, but could catch you off guard if you're not prepared). The building is a brownstone walk up and there are no elevators or wheelchair ramps. If you have mobility issues you will want to book another accommodation. I'd recommend packing light as it makes carrying bags up the stairs easier. I was able to store my bag after I checked out so I could wander around before going to the airport. The room I stayed in did not have air conditioning, and it was quite hot outside. I left the window open during the day and turned the ceiling fan on at night. I understand they are considering getting air conditioning for the rooms, which I think would be a great investment.

They do only take cash or traveler's cheques and the balance needs to be paid when you arrive. There are also two cats on site, but they are not allowed in the guests rooms. I knew of these two things beforehand and they didn't bother me.

In the end I loved my stay at La Sienna. The time and care Yvette and Manny put into this guesthouse shows. Staying here feels comfortable and relaxed, like staying at home or with family. If you're looking for a great, affordable place to stay I'd definitely recommend La Sienna. I'll be booking here for my next to trip to New York.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled solo
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Thank dreamgirl89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Sienna

Address: West 123rd Street, New York City, NY
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Harlem
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 163 Specialty Lodging in New York City
Price Range: $82 - $292 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All rooms are completely private with a share kitchen and bathroom. Room 5 has a private kitchenette. Studio 1 and 2 have private kitchen and bathroom. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
La Sienna Hotel New York City

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