Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Excellent upscale hotel with in-room kitchens and David Rockwell design
The 526-room, 28-floor Affinia Manhattan has the same comfortable beds (down duvets and 300-thread-count sheets), Aveda bath products, and knowledgeable concierges as the other Affinia hotels in the city to make it yet another attractive choice for leisure and business travelers. Plus, Affinia, as a brand, offers more than some of the other big chains, like the Marriott, Starwood, or Hilton hotels with its "My Affinia" program. As part of the perks, you can order up some free contact lens solution, a specialty pillow off the "Dream Pillow Menu," and even an in-room fitness kit that includes a yoga mat, a few workout DVDs, and some ankle weights.
Aside from its classic architecture (the building dates back to 1929), the Affinia Manhattan's big differentiator -- and primary selling point -- is that most if its rooms (all but the base-level guest rooms) are large studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments that include a full kitchen with a four-burner gas range, oven, and a full set of utentsils. And all rooms were part of a $24 million dollar renovation in 2011, so they look posh with modern amenities like flat-screen TVs. Once you add in its excellent fitnes center and fashionable on-site bar and restaurant, Niles New York City, the Affinia Manhattan has a considerable advantage over similarly priced hotels in the neighborhood.
The lobby also got an overhaul as part of the David Rockwell renovation, and the seating area is designed to reflect the topography of New York City -- while the glass chandelier above mimics the city skyline.
Convenient location, but not very fun or pretty
Located across from Penn Station (a major transportation hub), the Affinia Manhattan has a convenient location for getting around the city. But given the area's high traffic, abundance of fast food restaurants, and scarce activity after dark, this is the kind of dull area most New Yorkers avoid (unless they are working). It's nowhere near as beautiful as somewhere closer to Central Park, like near the Hotel Beacon in the Upper West Side (which also has a full kitchen in every room) or as fun as somewhere downtown, like the Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village. And if you're after the flashing lights of Times Square or the Theater District, you can still afford it at this price range -- look to the Hilton Garden Inn or Flatotel (but you'll have to give up the gym).
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports
New York has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Flying into JFK or LaGuardia is typically easiest and the least time consuming. From JFK, it's a flat-rate $45 (one-hour) taxi to anywhere in Manhattan. From LaGuardia, it's about a $40 (30-minute) metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls) and can take over 90 minutes. Don't forget to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
To save some cash, group shuttles are available at all three airports for about $14 per 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 times 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.
This 526-room Affinia offers more than the typical upscale chain -- great beds with a six-choice pillow menu, a top-notch fitness center, Aveda bath products, in-room kitchens, and David Rockwell design (a $24 million renovation was completed in 2011). It's a great option near the Javits Center or Madison Square Garden; just beware the street noise on lower-floor rooms.