Affinia Fifty Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Midtown East, Manhattan, New York City

This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
We will update our photos and review as soon as we can.

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Standard rooms are about 50 percent larger than most N.Y.C. hotel rooms
  • Convenient to Midtown East offices and tourist attractions
  • Pets stay free and get great amenities
  • One stay earns free lifetime membership to their cozy club lounge

Cons

  • No restaurant or bar on premises
  • Slow, annoying elevators
  • Fairly dated features and furnishings throughout the hotel
  • Only three subways (6, E, M) within a 5-block radius
  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • Limited room service hours

Bottom Line

A convenient Midtown East location, specialty pillow options, and freebies like in-room fitness kit, contact lens solution, and a free wine reception make this Affinia a solid value (though there's no restaurant on site). Large rooms (most of which sleep 4+ people with the pull-out sofa) make the Affinia an especially good (and affordable) choice for families.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

This 212-room hotel has so many guests (lots of Europeans and kids) that it doesn't quite feel like a "private club."

The front desk
The front desk

The Affinia Fifty's mission is to create "Your own private club in Manhattan." (Other New York Affinias focus on spa and fitness, "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 elevator. 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 kitchenettes 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 elevator. Management said there are no immediate plans to renovate the tired interior.

 Location

Located in Midtown East, Manhattan's corporate center, but there's only three subway lines nearby.

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.

  • 1 block to the 4 and 6 trains
  • 7-minute walk to Rockefeller Center
  • 11-minute walk to Grand Central, a New York City landmark and a major transportation hub
  • 11-minute walk to Radio City Music Hall
  • 12-minute walk to the Museum of Modern Art
  • 15-minute walk to Bryant Park
  • 15-minute walk to Central Park South
  • 12-minute subway ride to the Frick Museum
  • 18-minute subway ride to the MET

 Airport Transportation

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.

 Rooms

Standard rooms are comfortable and spacious, but a bit outdated.

A guest room
A guest room

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 pull-out sofa). 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.

  • Guestrooms come with a comfortable king-size bed and enough extra space to use an "in-room fitness kit" (or a roll-away cot).
  • Ranging from 280- to 350-square-feet, these rooms are quite large for a Midtown hotel
  • TVs are boxy old tube sets
  • CD players but no iPod dock
  • Large "executive" desk
  • Plenty of light, thanks to seven lamps
  • Wi-Fi or hard-wired Internet is avaiable for an extra
  • Bathrooms are spacious a nice vanity area by the sink
  • Damana or Philosophy toiletries
  • The hotel prides itself on its six-choice pillow menu. Options include goose down (standard in the room), Buckwheat, Sound (with built-in iPod speakers) and Magnetic.
  • Minibar that even includes small bottles of Beaujolais wine.

 Features

A good gym, in-room spa treatments, a cozy lounge with free weekly wine reception, and personalized "kits" for things like in-room fitness.

The gym
The gym

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, board games, 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 fitness kits 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.

 Family

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

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 Westins or W 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.

 Food

No restaurant or bar on site, other than an overpriced breakfast buffet. Room service is available.

Room service is provided by Mint
Room service is provided by Mint

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 breakfast buffet in the club lounge (for a fee). And there are countless diners and restaurants in the area.

 Bottom Line

A convenient Midtown East location, specialty pillow options, and freebies like in-room fitness kit, contact lens solution, and a free wine reception make this Affinia a solid value (though there's no restaurant on site). Large rooms (most of which sleep 4+ people with the pull-out sofa) make the Affinia an especially good (and affordable) choice for families.

Things You Should Know About Affinia Fifty

Address

  • 155 E. 50th Street, New York, NY 10022

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Affinia 50 Hotel
  • Affinia 50 New York
  • Affinia 50 New York City

Room Types

  • Guest Room
  • Junior Suite
  • One Bedroom Deluxe Suite
  • One Bedroom Suite
  • Studio

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 211
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Midtown East, Manhattan
Address: 155 E. 50th Street, New York, NY 10022
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