Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This 212-room hotel has so many guests (lots of Europeans and kids) that it doesn't quite feel like a "private club."
The Affinia Fifty's mission is to create "Your own private club in Manhattan." (Other New York Affinias focus on , "tranquility and relaxation," and "access to everything N.Y.C. has to offer.") The hotel has a fairly non-descript entrance along hotel-heavy East 50th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues in Midtown East, an area filled with corporate skyscrapers. All doormen wear iconic fedoras (also incorporated into the company's logo), which are an homage to the Affinia chain's hat-tipping founder, Benjamin J. “Bud” Denihan, Sr.
The low-ceilinged lobby doesn't exactly feel like a private club, what with lines of people at the front desk and luggage carts parked in front of the small . But the second-floor club lounge has a fairly sociable atmosphere, created by ample sofas, two fireplaces, free coffee and tea, and plenty of board games. Anyone who spends even one night at the hotel is granted lifetime access to the lounge (though I didn't receive a membership card or anything). Free weekly wine and cheese reception is served here, as well as a daily continental breakfast buffet.
The hotel is quite popular with families because most of its rooms (which are in fact suites) come with and sleep four or more people. Aside from the kid-friendly books and games in the club lounge, the Affinia chain also offers a popular "Jet-Set Kids" promotion.
The hotel is on the site of a former apartment building, which helps account for its small lobby, narrow hallways, and painfully slow, tiny . Management said there are no immediate plans to renovate the tired interior.
Affinia 50 is located on -- you guessed it! -- East 50th Street in Midtown East, between Lexington and Third Avenues. It's around the corner from the 51st Street station on the 6 line, and a few blocks down from the E and M lines at 53rd and Lexington. The entire block of 50th Street is nothing but hotels, including the San Carlos, the Kimberly, the Benjamin and W New York. Lexington Avenue is lined with skyscraper office buildings, and filled with zooming yellow taxicabs. Third Avenue, which a side of the Affinia faces, is more a mix of stores, restaurants, and small apartments. The area is safe, if fairly quiet, at night, but gets more lively and residential on Second Avenue.
30-90 minutes from three airports.
New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, La Guardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Flying into JFK or LaGuardia is typically easiest and the least time-consuming. From JFK, it's a (one-hour) $45 flat-rate taxi ride to anywhere in Manhattan. From LaGuardia, it's about a (30-minute) $40 metered cab ride to Midtown Manhattan. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls), and can take more than 90 minutes. Don't forget to tip your driver 15-25 percent.
To save some cash, try the group shuttles that are available at all three airports for about $14/person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. You can also take public transit from any of the airports for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairs. For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
Standard rooms are comfortable and spacious, but a bit outdated.
Most of the hotel is composed of studios (350- to 450-square feet), junior suites (450-550), and one-bedroom suites (550-650), all of which come with kitchens and can sleep at least four people (many have two queen beds, and some have a queen bed and ). Studio suites are usually a fantastic deal, considering the space and splitting the cost among 3-4 people. The space is a rare commodity in New York City, particularly at that price and in the convenient location.
Perhaps the Affinia chain's most noteworthy feature is My Affinia Concierge, a program it launched in 2008 that allows guests to request special items and state room preferences online. Guests are asked about preferences at check-in, and are directed to a kiosk to request specialized pillows, complimentary contact lens solution (a unique and hugely helpful feature), and free in-room experience kits that include fitness, BYOB, or area walking tour amenities.
The hotel also markets itself to guests as "Your own private club in Manhattan," and so on the second floor, overlooking the small lobby, is a stylish club lounge featuring comfy couches, free tea and coffee, an Internet room, two flat-screen TVs, , and a New York-themed library. The lounge is also home to a popular free weekly wine and cheese reception. Incidentially, any guest is considered a "lifelong member" of the club lounge, meaning I now have a place to snag free coffee whenever I'm in Midtown East.
The 24-hour fitness center, accessed with a room key, is around the corner from the club lounge on the second floor. And because the hotel also offers complimentary that include yoga mats, blocks and straps, as well as ankle weights and Billy Blanks workout DVDs, guests can also work out in the comfort of their own room.
In addition to the workout kit, guests can also request a complimentary spa kit with emery boards and nail polish, or amenities like a golf putter, a universal phone charger, a guided walking tour, or cupcakes (all for an extra cost). A variety of in-room spa treatments are also available daily.
A spacious, affordable, very kid-friendly choice in Midtown East.
Families love the Affinia 50, given its safe, convenient location, large rooms (most of which sleep at least four people with sofa beds and can attach to other rooms), and laid-back lounge with plenty of board games. Affinia also runs a popular "Jet-Set Kids" promotion where young guests receive a kids' New York City guidebook, N.Y.C. stickers and a scrapbook, and even a digital camera.
Pets stay for free, and owners receive pet snacks and a guide to N.Y.C. dog runs.
The "Jet-Set Pets" program provides things like dog walks, a guide to N.Y.C. dog runs, snacks, and even a number for a pet psychic. Unlike some pet-friendly hotels in Manhattan, like or Hotels, the Affinia doesn't charge an extra daily fee for pets, nor are guests required to pay a deposit up front. They just have to sign a waiver agreeing to pay $50 or more for cleaning charges, if necessary. Given its spacious rooms, and that Peter Detmold Dog Run is just three blocks East at Beekman Place, the Affinia is one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the city.
No restaurant or bar on site, other than an overpriced breakfast buffet. Room service is available.
Affinia 50 does not have its own restaurant or bar, perhaps because the building used to be an apartment complex. However, the hotel does have room service for guests, courtesy of Mint, an Indian fusion restaurant that is actually in the San Carlos Hotel across the street.
The hotel also provides a continental breakfastin the club lounge (for a fee). And there are countless diners and restaurants in the area.
A convenient Midtown East location, specialty pillow options, and freebies like in-room fitness kit, contact lens solution, and a free make this Affinia a solid value (though there's no restaurant on site). Large rooms (most of which sleep 4+ people with the ) make the Affinia an especially good (and affordable) choice for families.