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“A beautiful house - but as a place to stay, they could do more”

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The Harlem Flophouse
Ranked #17 of 79 New York City B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 16, 2012

Hard to rate this one as it is really is beautiful - if you are into interiors you will thoroughly enjoy staying here. It is wonderfully atmospheric, with music playing downstairs and a resident cat - it feels like being part of old Harlem. And yet... the welcome wasn't great, small thing but a smile would have gone a long way - the owners were, for the brief moments we saw them on arrival, helpful though. There are ample warnings on all the material/website etc. that this isn't a place for the air con dependent and I was totally ready for that (I never use it at home), but in a heatwave we had just one small fan and in the top room it was tough. Our sleep was affected quite a lot. It's definitely right that they don't have air con (it would ruin the look/joy of the place) but a couple of bigger fans really are necessary in the hottest months, and we had them in other b&bs/apartments where we stayed. I wanted to love this place, I certainly loved the look of it - perhaps we just unlucky but I think a bit more in terms of customer service is needed before it's a four star

Room Tip: If it's hot, go for one of the lower rooms (not Theolonius Monk).
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank vanessane2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 - 58 of 180 reviews

Reviewed July 9, 2012

I stayed at the Flophouse a couple of weeks ago. Everything positive that has been said in previous reviews I found to be true. My room was large and comfortable. I was expecting it to be really dim after reading other reviews but the lighting was fine, with a good reading lamp by the bed. It was in the 90's during the day but i was fine with the fan at night (no AC). it's true that I only saw Rene, the owner, when I first arrived and not again so I would recommend asking any questions you might have at that first encounter. I did come in one day around 7:00 and he had his band (?) over for practice but only for a short time and the music was terrific. If you are comfortable being independent it's perfect.
As a woman travelling alone I felt absolutely safe at all times in this area. I had a walking tour of Harlem mapped out for myself and had a wonderful time walking all over the place. I took the subway back at 11:30 p.m. one night after meeting friends for dinner in mid-town and had no worries walking back from the 125th St. stop to the Flophouse at that hour.
I would highly recommend the Kitchenette for breakfast, and Hue-Man on 124th and i think Frederick Douglass, a wonderful little bookshop cafe, for fresh juices and smoothies.

Room Tip: A room in the back would be quieter. There wasn't much street noise except there is currently a...
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Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
2  Thank rainsoaked
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

I have to admit that when we booked the Harlem Flophouse we were merely looking for an inexpensive alternative to mid-town. We arrived jet lagged and exhausted and were surprised by warm hospitality and pleasant environment of Harlem. Everyone on the block seems to know The Flophouse and it is not unusual for neighbors to greet you.

There is no air-conditioning but the room was large and beautifully decorated with historic details. Our room also had a powerful fan that did the trick nicely. Four rooms share two large bathrooms and there was never any waiting. Everything was spotlessly clean. Keep in mind also that there are no televisions. At first I was taken aback but by the end of our stay I appreciated the quiet calm of their absence.

I have been a music aficionado all of my life. The chance to see live performance in one of the worlds historic music centers was priceless. The owner Rene invited us to see his band the Goddess Lakshmi perform at a nearby venue named Paris Blues. All I can say is that it was unforgettable and turned out to be high point of our entire adventure.

Thanks for all the lovely memories Rene, we will be back!

Room Tip: We stayed in the Chester Himes room which was gorgeous, but peaking around, all of the rooms were di...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank theubiquitous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2012

Travelling with another couple, we found the Harlem Flophouse really was a flop. The location was excellent and it seems fairly cheap, but that's the extent of the positives. The rooms are dim and exude a sense of grime, rather than charm. The top floor bathroom has no shower, and although there is a bath, the plug was nowhere to be seen. The soap left in the rooms, and the bathroom, was used and there was no shampoo provided, so take your own. The owner, seen once on arrival, insists on guests removing their shoes for cleanliness, which is not a problem, but is somewhat ironic when there's a cat wandering inside. There is no aircon and the top floor rooms were unbearably hot. This is the first time in this part of NYC, but I'm sure there must be much better options available.

Room Tip: The bathroom on the second floor does at least have a shower and the room at the rear is quieter tha...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Phil W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2012

By the title of this review I don't mean that I felt in danger in any way staying at the Harlem Flophouse. It's just that, being a single woman on my own, staying there (for me) was not enjoyable. This is because
(a) I didn't see or speak with anyone else the whole time I was there, other than the young woman who was deputising for the owner at the time of check-in. As other reviewers have noted, this is not a "B & B" - there is no breakfast offered, and therefore no chance to speak with other travelers staying there (or owner or staff for that matter). You are very much on your own.
(b) While Harlem has its charms and real points of interest, as a tourist I really noticed the long train trip to and from the main theatre and shopping areas in Manhattan. As the Flophouse is a reasonable walk from the subway, I didn't really feel comfortable going out after dark and returning (alone) late at night to the Flophouse (compared with walking around the busy mid-town areas where I felt safe at any time of the day or night)
(c) Being on my own, I really felt the lack of a tv for entertainment/information in the evening (yep - pathetic I know, but after a few days at the Flophouse I really missed a tv in the room!)
The rooms at the Flophouse are quite large, but not airconditioned (and therefore very hot in summer), and I could barely see by the light in the shared bathroom.
Yes, the Harlem Flophouse is not expensive, and to stay in New York City for the price it charges is good. It is also close to the main shopping area of Harlem. But that doesn't mean that the Harlem Flophouse suits everyone, and it didn't suit me. I'm giving it 3 stars out of fairness because of the price, the cleanliness of the rooms and the lovely street, but I wouldn't stay there again.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank Brisbane_traveller11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2012

I just arrived back home from my vacation in New York City this morning. I stayed three nights at the Harlem Flophouse, which is located about 3 or 4 blocks away from the subway at 125th, on the 2 or 3 line.
We arrived pretty late so we were sent instructions on how to get into our room, where to find the key and it went seamlessly. It was such a nice quiet place to return to after long days walking the City. The bed was really comfortable for me.

Some things to expect:
- There is no kitchen or common fridge.
- Some areas of the house can be dark in the evenings, e.g. corners of the bathroom, the sink in the room had no light over it. Why does this matter? For women who care to apply makeup.
- The neighborhood is well kept, quiet in the evenings, feels very safe to walk through.
- There is street parking available, but it's tricky because the street cleaners come and you have to alternate which side of the street you park. And its usually busy. At the time we were there, park of the parking was taken away due to construction. Although, we did see a garage nearby we got away with street parking (free).
- I didn't bring a phone or watch, and I did not know the time while I was in the house. Not all the clocks had batteries, but I didn't mind since I was on vacation.
- There wasn't much "service" to speak of, but everything seemed clean and orderly and we were carefree by the absence of problems.
- The room was very spacious (probably enough space to do a yoga session!) but there were only a few hangers.
- 15 to 20 minutes to go or return from mid-town Manhattan during the day

Nice surprises
- Radio in your room and the common area setting the mood with jazz.
- Pheobe the cat was fond of playing with us, upon invitation.
- Quiet quiet quiet... with windy trees outside our window to minimize any street noises.
- We slept like babies, sleeping in without meaning to.
- The house has high ceilings, large rooms, spacious feeling with lots of ornate details in the decor... you feel like you walked backward in time
- A cupcakery nearby, we came across by accident - absolutely awesome!
- Colorful (not at all threatening) people make the area busy during the day, with conversations that made me giggle. Actually we were helped a few times by locals e.g. to park

Room Tip: The first floor up (with two bedrooms) is where the bathroom is located with a shower. The upper lev...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank parttimemodel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

For a great price, you get a cozy, quirky place that is quiet and safe. Breakfast is not advertised, but you do expect that B&B means more than bed and bath. The wifi wasn't real great in the room, but was fine in the common area. A few nice little touches: radio on with WQXR (the NY Philharmonic's station), nice soap, good location. And it's fun to tell your friends where you stayed!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Harlem Flophouse

Address: 242 West 123rd Street, New York City, NY 10027
Location: United States > New York > New York City > Harlem
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 79 B&Bs / Inns in New York City
Price Range: $100 - $175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
The Harlem Flophouse Hotel New York City

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