Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located on the northern outskirts of Chelsea, on a somewhat less-desirable street (mostly filled with parking garages) but near the Fashion Institute of Technology
The hotel's courtyard makes for a welcoming entrance, but its location isn't the most attractive to tourists and the only real attraction is, perhaps, the Magnet Theater (well known for it's improv comedy). It's a pretty low-key, mostly residential neighborhood (compared with the bustling tourist centers like Times Square, about 15 blocks north).
Most often, locals would refer to this area as a part of the Garment District, which stretches from Fifth to Ninth Avenues, and is where the city's designers -- and students from the nearby Fashion Institute of Technology -- shop for textiles.
Many elements of the West Village culture -- the gay clubs, art galleries, and trendy restaurants -- have migrated north to the bordering neighborhood of Chelsea. Today, it is regarded as the center of both Manhattan's gay community and, with some 350 art galleries, New York's contemporary art scene.
Nothing fancy, but the rooms are clean and comfortable
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 $50 (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 $15 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 $7.5 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.
Located on an unpopular side street, a bit cut off from most major attractions (though they are all accessible by subway), this 228-room Holiday Inn Express is significantly cheaper than its sisters, and just about every other hotel in New York. Given its free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and 24 hour gym, plus a cute outdoor courtyard, it's an incredible value.