Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Contemporary look for a mid-range chain hotel
One might not expect a La Quinta Inn to be behind an old and lavish, Parisian-style facade of brick and limestone. If you are bustling by on this busy Koreatown drag, you might not even notice it at all. But truth is, the hotel is a designated landmark and the building was here long before Korean barbecue restaurants and karaoke joints lined the street. It may have started life as the Aberdeen Hotel in the early 1900s, but after a three-year renovation and upgrade project was finally completed in 2014, what lies behind the historic exterior is a (surprisingly) chic and contemporary spot with some well-though-out features for the modern-day traveler, like a media lounge with USB and traditional charging stations. In fact, the renovations were so transformative, if you've stayed here before, you might not recognize a thing. Peach-colored walls, generic round columns, and dated, motel-style patterns and fabrics have been replaced with sleek brushed metal, glass walls, and simple bold color patterns. There are also slick black tables, a faux-fireplace, and flowers that provide pops of color.
Overall, the vibe in public areas is less mid-range and more upscale and guests tend to couples or families. It's not particularly social, but it's not a place you wouldn't mind being seen in either, kind of like Manhattan herself.
Prime location on Koreatown's main drag, close to subways and the Empire State Building
The hotel has held a privileged position for over 100 years as the city developed around her. Although it is located directly off of a busy, busy, busy main drag of Koreatown, it's only a hop, skip, and jump to a handful of subways (the N, Q, R, B, D, F, M are a half-block away at Herald Square with more lines just a few blocks farther). It's also around the corner from the Empire State Building and within walking distance of Penn Station, Times Square, Broadway, and classic 5th Avenue shops. There are also a hefty selection of restaurants, bars, drug stores, and shops within a one-block radius of the hotel, and a plethora of karaoke spots and Korean restaurants crammed onto the same block of 32nd Street. JFK Airport is about an hour and a half by subway, while the beginning of a 45-minute trip New Jersey's EWR Airport starts just a 10-minute walk away at Penn Station.
Clean and contemporary rooms are snug and dim
La Quinta Manhattan's 182 rooms look decades better than before the renovation; updates are obvious in features and style. Gone are the dated motel comforters and now beds have white linens, brown runners, and cushioned headboards; furniture blends light and dark woods. Unfortunately, the decor (or few, tiny lamps) aren't enough to really brighten up these smallish rooms, although rooms on higher floors have the most light (and better views). Flat-screen TVs and iPod dock clocks also helped bring the rooms into the modern-age, while bright bathrooms have in-wall hairdryers and small bottles of Pantene 2 in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner. There are only a few room categories listed, but the hotel has different iterations of the same categories including ADA-accessible rooms, bathrooms with dual vanities, and rooms with added love seats.
Lots of freebies, plus a gym and rooftop bar
One of La Quinta's most popular features is the free breakfast served every morning in the black and white breakfast room. Items on the buffet line don't stray too far from typical continental players like toast, yogurt, juice, and cereal, although basic hot items like scrambled or boiled eggs are added depending on the travel season. Unfortunately, while the space is hip, the breakfast offering pales in comparison to the pancakes, waffles, omelets, and bacon found at the nearby Holiday Inn Express. If you feel like you've loaded up on carbs at breakfast, you can pop down to the 24-hour, lower-level fitness room. It's bright, filled with new machines, and has a TV and water cooler. There are also vending machines, an ATM, public phones, and restrooms on this floor.
All the way at the top of the hotel, on floor 14, VuBar serves cocktails and a limited bar food menu in the evenings. It's a nice spot to watch the sun go down and take in views of the Empire State Building -- expect to mingle with some locals here as well as guests. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi, free use of a 24-hour media center with printer, and free weekday newspapers. There are free local calls, but parking in the nearby garage will cost you (as is typical in NYC).
The mid-range La Quinta Manhattan's 2014 makeover brought a surprisingly chic look to the common areas, which now sport black tile, wire globe lighting, bright flowers, and bold patterns. The 182 rooms also got a facelift, receiving fresh fabrics in warm neutral tones, flat-screen TVs, and pillow-top mattresses -- but they are still chain-like and most are a bit on the dark side, especially on lower floors. It's smack in the middle of Koreatown, just a half-block from a host of subway trains and walking distance to shopping, restaurants, and tourist hot spots like the Empire State Building. This, plus the cool rooftop bar and multiple freebies -- including a free breakfast buffet -- make it a great value. Do shop around though as rates fluctuate, and more upscale nearby hotels such as the Martha Washington are sometimes similarly priced.
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