I originally wrote a review here about my concern this was an Internet scam. This review is a correction.
My original problem was that the property charged the advance to my credit card (as agreed), but then didn't answer phone or email for a month. So I figured it for a scam and bailed. Then finally Philip did contact me and explained they were on vacation, the staff lost my many phone calls and emails, etc. etc and he'd only discovered my complaint because of my review here on TripAdvisor (!). Philip enticed me to give it a try FOR FREE to make up for my distress. So I did and here's my review.
The property DOES exist and is not a scam after all, whew. It's at 59 E80th, which is the #1 advantage of this rental -- superb location, as another reviewer pointed out The price is $250-350ish which is not bad by NYC standards, not bad at all for a studio on the Upper East side.
The rooms have been recently refurbished and are fancy and nice: gleaming wood floors, and in the more expensive King room that we had, plenty of space (except see about the bathroom below). There's still some refurbishing to be done, the closets are wonky, but overall the place is very nice, especially for Manhattan.
The bathroom is really, really small. I think they cut a real bathroom in 1/4 and 3/4, then used the 1/4 for the bathroom and the other 3/4 for the kitchen. If you are thin (maybe the lack of space is why so many New Yorkers are so thin? :-) the bathroom might be fine, but if you are a hefty American it might be impossible for you to function in there. It worked ok for my wife and me.
Negative #1: the service is sadly poor. Philip is a great guy, very nice, but he's so busy with his life that you never see him. Of course this is a studio not a hotel, so you shouldn't need much service. But we ran out of towels regularly (we do use a lot), and the cause of all my initial heartache was the poor phone and email communication. Even after the incident, one of my fellow attendees had to cancel their reservation and had distress (multiple emails and eventually needed to get me involved to get through) getting an email confirmation from Philip. So it wasn't just a one time thing -- Philip and crew really are just bad at email and phone. You know how some people just don't respond to email and phone quickly, or sometimes at all? It's not a crime, it's like a pre-electronic-culture thing. I think it is bad in a business.
Negative #2: the building next door, and by "next door" in NYC I mean it literally shared a wall with my room, was under construction, and the workers tell me it will remain under construction until late 2009. So, from 8am-3:30pm weekdays there are occasional jackhammers, talking, etc. The workmen are nice and try to keep it down, and the noise is only intermittent and somewhat muffled. Furthermore, Philip did warn us of this so it wasn't a shock. Still, it was annoying, so be prepared if you want to sleep after 8am.
Small negative #3: the heat is not very controllable. We found it cold but Philip said if he turned on the building heat that early in the year it'd probably be too warm. So we settled for cold and bundled up a bit.
Bottom line: if you don't mind poor phone contact and service, don't need a standard American-sized bathroom, and you don't mind some noise during the weekdays, this is a good deal, nice digs, and a really excellent location. It was delightful to step out of the building and be in an upscale neighborhood just a couple blocks from Park Ave, the Met, and 5 short blocks to the subway.
I gave them an extra star because my rooms were free to make up for the trouble, and I'd thought the price reasonable to begin with. What's not to like about that? All in all, my wife and I had a great time, and would stay here again -- after the construction next door is completed.