Hotel Beacon Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Huge rooms, more than 50-percent larger than most standard rooms
  • Well-equipped kitchenettes with stove tops in every room
  • HDTVs and iPod docks in every room
  • Quiet, mostly residential location near museums and great restaurants
  • 2-4 blocks from 5 subway lines

Cons

  • No fitness center
  • No bar or restaurant
  • Service is friendly, but minimal

Bottom Line

The 255-room Beacon Hotel is one of the city's best ways to ensure an affordable family vacation. The huge rooms all have kitchenettes, and are in a safe but fun part of the Upper West Side that's a 10-minute walk from New York's most kid-friendly museums and Central Park.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

More like a classic apartment building than a hotel, the 255-room Hotel Beacon has large, comfortable rooms with kitchenettes, but guests keep to themselves.

The lobby
The lobby

About 30 permanent residents still live in the hotel, and it almost feels more like an upscale apartment building than a medium-size hotel -- especially since there's no on-site bar or restaurant. And, while the lobby has elegant touches like fresh flowers, it's small and not especially chic. Those behind the front desk are helpful and kind, but they're also casual, like the doormen inside any of the nearby apartment buildings.

Like On The Ave and The Lucerne, two similarly priced hotels also on the Upper West Side, the Beacon attracts visitors to New York who are more interested in staying in a cozy neighborhood setting rather than amidst the touristy chaos of Times Square. Hotel management estimates that their clientele is about 60 percent pleasure travelers and 40 percent business travelers. The second floor houses a number of meetings rooms, but the hotel is more geared toward recreational travelers. The small business center isn't called a business center, but rather the "Guest Internet Center."

 Location

On a quintessential Upper West Side block, the hotel is ideal for guests wanting to be near major museums and neighborhood restaurants -- not the Times Square hubbub.

For those visiting New York who are not interested in staying amidst the hubbub of Times Square, or the hipness of downtown, the Hotel Beacon just might be the ideal location. It's set on the beautiful, tony Upper West Side, an area of the city populated by well-heeled families, successful young professionals, and pedigreed dogs. Streets and sidewalks have some life to them, but they're also clean and never crowded. It's easy to find a great restaurant but harder to find many bars after dinner.

The Beacon's precise block couldn't be more convenient. It's on a lovely stretch of Broadway, more than 20 blocks north of the theatre district. Instead of the bright lights of the theatre marquees, this part of Broadway has medians planted with tulips and trees. There is, however, a theatre right next to the hotel in the form of its namesake: the Beacon Theatre. Known as the "older sister" to Radio City Music Hall, the historic theatre has been the recent venue for performer ranging from Leonard Cohen to Tyler Perry.

Fairway, one of the city's best grocery stores and something of a New York institution, is directly across the street. It's ideal for stocking the kitchenette or grabbing a quick lunch from the deli. There's also a Starbucks one block away, a diner underneath the hotel, and a nice wine shop, Beacon Liquors, on the same block.

 Airport Transportation

About 30-90 minutes from three airports.

New York City 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 (one-hour) $45 flat-rate taxi ride to anywhere in Manhattan. From LaGuardia, it's about a (30-minute) $40 metered cab ride to Midtown Manhattan. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls), and can take more than 90 minutes. Don't forget to tip your driver 15-25 percent.

To save some cash, try the group shuttles that are available at all three airports for about $14/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 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.

 Rooms

Once apartments, the Hotel Beacon's rooms are relatively huge. Renovated in 2009 and featuring well-stocked kitchenettes, they're quiet and nicely decorated.

The Double Room
The Double Room

Originally an apartment building, the hotel's rooms have a homey feeling thanks to their large size. The standard king and double rooms average 320 square feet, over 50-percent larger than most New York City hotel rooms. They're significantly larger but just as nice as the rooms at nearby and slightly more expensive hotels like The Lucerne and On the Ave. The 650-square-foot one-bedroom suites can sleep up to four people, with a king or queen bed in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living area. Though they're quite homey, rooms are also pretty modern, thanks to a renovation completed in early 2010.

  • 32 inch flat-screen TVs in both the living room and bedroom
  • Sofab beds help accomidate up to six people
  • All rooms come with a kitchenette. They're all nicely laid out and have electric burners, a microwave, a coffeemaker, a toaster, and refrigerator. Cutlery is also included
  • Kitchens in Standard Rooms have half-size refrigerators, while suites have apartment fridges, which are slightly smaller than a typical fridge.
  • iPod alarm clocks
  • Bathrooms are nice but a bit small with freestanding sinks, a narrow shelf, and shower/tub combos
  • Toiletries from Gilchrist & Soames
  • Desks are available in rooms
  • WiFi, for a fee

 Features

There’s no fitness center, but the hotel has a free business center and homey comforts like a 24-hour coin-operated laundry area.

The laundry room
The laundry room
  • A business center, known as the "Guest Internet Center", is free to use
  • 24-hour laundry room
  • Passes are available to the 24-hour Equinox gym a few blocks away
  • The hotel will open its own fitness center and a newly-renovated guest laundry room in Spring 2013

 Family

Standard rooms have kitchenettes, and reasonably priced suites have full kitchens and sofa beds. Cribs are complimentary and roll-aways are $20/night.

The 1 Bedroom Suite
The 1 Bedroom Suite

Hotel Beacon is popular among families, and it's no wonder. About half of the hotel's rooms are dedicated to one- and two-bedroom suites that can comfortably sleep a family of six and cost the same as standard rooms at similar hotels in the area. Even the standard rooms can easily accommodate cribs and roll-aways (for an extra $20/night).

All rooms have well-equipped kitchenettes with electric ranges, microwaves, toasters, coffeemakers, sinks, plates, and cutlery. Refrigerators are half-size in standard rooms, but still big enough for plenty of snacks and juice boxes.

The hotel also has a 24-hour coin-operated laundry room for guests, especially handy for those traveling with spill-prone toddlers. Detergent is also available for purchase.

Pay-per-view movies are available for purchase from Time Warner On Demand, which includes over a dozen films in the family section.

Like most hotels throughout the city, the hotel refers guests needing a babysitter to The Babysitter's Guild, a childcare agency that specializes in caring for children from out of town.

 Pets

Pets aren't officially allowed at the Hotel Beacon, but there is some flexibility. Some permanent residents have pets, and management says exceptions can be made.

A dog in the lobby
A dog in the lobby

The Hotel Beacon says it doesn't allow pets, but I saw multiple little dogs during my stay, including an adorable French Bulldog and a Shih Tzu. Some permanent residents have pets, and when I asked a hotel staffer if pets were allowed he said, "No, but we do make some arrangements." For guests who want to stay at the hotel and bring little Fido, it's worth asking to speak with someone in sales to see if they'll make an exception.

 Cleanliness

Freshly renovated rooms are nearly spotless, and no room service means no nasty used trays in hallways.

All guest rooms at the Beacon Hotel were renovated in late 2008/early 2009, leaving them quite clean and fresh. Bathrooms and kitchenettes sparkle, and there's a nary a bit of dust on the dark wood furnishings. Kitchenettes are stocked with dish soap, should guests need to do a dish or two before maid service.

 Food

There's no restaurant or bar, but the diner next door delivers, and all rooms have kitchenettes. The neighborhood has great restaurants and grocery stores.

Nearby grocery stores
Nearby grocery stores

There's no room service at the hotel, but food can be ordered for delivery from the Viand Café next door. Guest-rooms have an abbreviated lunch/dinner menu, but the café also serves and delivers breakfast. Their full menu is available online. While some hotels offering room service in this way take the food from the restaurant and then put it on a special room service tray, it's a much simpler affair at the Beacon. The concierge simply advises guests to call the café directly and place an order. Watch out, local charges from the room will cost you. Delivery men come right up to the guest-rooms and hand over a plastic bag filled with food. Orders can be paid for with cash or credit, but they cannot be charged to the room. It's not as elegant as room service, but the food is just as good, if not better, and far cheaper.

Every room in the Hotel Beacon features an adorable kitchenette with an electric range, a microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, and refrigerator. Fairway, one of the city's best grocery stores, is just across the street from the hotel -- perfect for stocking the kitchenette.

Upon request, the concierge will provide a list of dozens of restaurants in the surrounding area within easy walking distance. Once a culinary wasteland, the Upper West Side has recently become one of the city's better areas for eating out.

 Bottom Line

The 255-room Beacon Hotel is one of the city's best ways to ensure an affordable family vacation. The huge rooms all have kitchenettes, and are in a safe but fun part of the Upper West Side that's a 10-minute walk from New York's most kid-friendly museums and Central Park.

Things You Should Know About Hotel Beacon

Address

  • 2130 Broadway At 75th, New York, NY 10023

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Beacon Hotel New York
  • Beacon Hotel New York City
  • Hotel Beacon New York

Room Types

  • Double/Double Room
  • King Room
  • One Bedroom Suite King/Queen Bed
  • One Bedroom Suite Two Double Beds
  • Two Bedroom Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 229
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan
Address: 2130 Broadway At 75th, New York, NY 10023
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