Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Underneath the Manhattan Bridge, in the center of bustling Chinatown, Hotel 91 is in one of the loudest, smelliest, most congested areas of Manhattan.
Hotel 91 is situated between a multitude of very authentic Chinese stores, markets, and restaurants. Yet compared to Canal Street, just two blocks north, where it is impossible to escape vendor after vendor pushing you to by the latest knockoff Prada bag, Hotel 91 is located on a calmer, more hands-off street. Plus, it is just two blocks away from famous Joe's Shanghai -- a must visit for its authentic Chinese dumplings.
Lined with old tenement buildings and a few cobblestoned streets, Chinatown -- and its ever-shrinking neighbor, Little Italy -- offer cultural charm by way of instant immersion -- most restaurants and shops sell imported goods and the great majority of signs and storefronts advertise in Chinese. To most tourists, its biggest draw is the abundance of outdoor vendors and shabby markets, where you can buy name-brand look-alikes for cheap (like a pair of Guccci sunglasses or Nikie flip-flops). Just above Chinatown, in the Lower East Side, there's a bit of a hip bar scene -- and the trendy new Thompson LES -- and some of the nighlife does trickle down into Chinatown, which has a handful of swanky, but discrete, bars and lounges.
But while it's fun to visit, staying in Chinatown can be a bit unpleasent -- constant crowds, traffic, and, in most parts, there's considerable garbage along the streets that draws a large population of rats. Expect to smell hundreds of rotting fish heads.
Clean, comfortable, and modern; but often noisy
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.
An affordable but still clean and comfortable option in the crowded-by-day, desolate-by-night, garbage-strewn heart of Chinatown (just outside the Lower East Side nightlife), this 70-room hotel doesn't have much beyond its cramped guest rooms -- no fitness center, restaurant, or Wi-Fi.