Tiny elevators can fill up quickly – not for the claustrophobic
A bit far from many popular tourist sights
Once considered a skyscraper on the Upper West Side before other buildings entered the scene, the Belleclaire Hotel -- built circa 1903 -- is a family-run, attractive upper-middle-range option with 240 modern rooms. Themed suites are named after former guests Mark Twain and Babe Ruth. The charming lobby has a European vibe with original mosaic tiling still in tact, a coffee bar, and large atrium that delivers lots of natural light. It’s a nice place to pick up a (free) copy of the New York Times and have a (free) spot of tea before hitting the tree-lined streets for restaurants and dining, which the hotel lacks. The NYLO New York City across the street does offer dining options on-site, as well as slightly more stylish rooms, but the Belleclaire offers free in-room Wi-Fi while the NYLO does not.
A historic boutique property that attracts families and Europeans
The elegant lobby of this boutique hotel just off Broadway is cheerful even on a gloomy day thanks to the large atrium above the front desk that provides lots of natural light. There is a seating area with free newspapers and tea, where guests -- mostly families and Europeans -- sit and chat amongst each other in hushed tones. Just beyond this room is a chic café area with a coffee bar, stools, and bistro tables. In the mornings, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf -- a Southern Californian brand popular in NYC -- operates in the space, attracting locals as well as guests. Soft love ballads play on the speakers and the atmosphere is relaxing and low-key.
A residential neighborhood close to Central and Riverside Parks
Just far enough removed from the chaos of Midtown, the Upper West Side is a residential area with tree-lined streets, great restaurants, museums, and of course, parks -- guests can walk to either Central Park or (for sunset views over the Hudson River) Riverside Park. The famous gourmet food store Zabar’s is within walking distance, as are the Museum of Natural History (seven minutes) and upscale shops at the Time Warner Center (20 minutes). Not many other tourist attractions can be found here, but buests can catch the 1 Train two blocks away to head to head downtown, or jump in a cab, which are in abundance on Broadway.
The historic building has 240 rooms taking up nine floors. All have laminate wood floors, quality linens and flat-screen TVs. They are decorated in neutral tones with bright pops of bright red (red padded headboars, red bed skirts, brown and red bed throws). Though the decor is certainly modern, this is an older building, with steam radiators and window air conditioners.
Themed suites have unique decor based on the names: Mark Twain and Babe Ruth. These of course come at a higher price, but standard guestrooms (one has a kitchenette) are a fair price for the neighborhood. Free Wi-Fi and working desks make it a good base for business. Some rooms look out over Broadway.
A café for breakfast, but no full-service restaurant
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offers a simple breakfast each morning in the lobby, but guests are left to their own devices for lunch, dinner or drinks (there are plenty of options within walking distance). A 24-hour fitness center and high-tech meeting space both look out over Broadway for appealing city views, and kids can entertain themselves with arcade games in the media center. A PC and a Mac computer as well as a charging station are also on hand.
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