Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
In a quiet, but unpopular part of Midtown West -- beside low-rise residential apartment buildings and parking lots -- but still within walking distance of hip, Hell's Kitchen clubs and restaurants and bustling Times Square.
Between 9th and 10th Avenue on 36th Street, The GEM Hotel is situated on a quiet block lined with nondescript residential buildings, parking lots, and garages. But while the area sees a lot of traffic from the Lincoln Tunnel -- traffic that one needs to pass in order to get to the more interesting parts of Manhattan -- it is still just a short walk to the restaurants, bars, and famed Flea Market of Hell's Kitchen along 9th Avenue, and just a 10-minute walk from the heart of Times Square.
Clean and modern, but a bit cramped
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports
New York has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting to town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than getting there from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate of $45 and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan costs about $40 and can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls) and can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that 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. Public transit is also available 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 stairways.
For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
Its location -- a less-touristed part of Midtown West surrounded by traffic and parking lots -- has one clear advantage: It's only one long block from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Its 39 guest rooms, though small, are clean and modern and include free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and bathrobes. Outside the rooms, there's nothing else.