San Carlos Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Midtown East, Manhattan, New York City

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • Dull, usually empty lobby and no bar
  • Many rooms face a brick wall and get little light
  • No dedicated concierge

Bottom Line

In the words of the hotel’s owner, “We’re not cool, but we’re comfortable.” Indeed, this comfortable and well-located hotel in Midtown East has nice features like free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and spacious rooms, but it lacks character, even for a mid-range place catering primarily to business travelers.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Definitely no spontaneous dance parties at this quiet and generic hotel catering primarily to business travelers.

Lounge area in the Business Center
Lounge area in the Business Center

“We’re not cool ... we’re comfortable,” says Hy Arbesfeld owner and president of the San Carlos -- and that about sums up the hotel. Its rooms are clean, very spacious, and completely devoid of pomp, flash, or pretention. The San Carlos might be called an institution -- not in an opulent way, but in a you-know-what-you’re-going-to-get kind of way. It's one of the last hotels in the city not owned by a conglomerate, and there's something to be said for a family-run hotel, especially one that's been in the family since 1971.

There's a loyal following of repeat guests who come over and over again to this sleepy but comfortable hotel, which is next door to the decidedly flashier and more upscale Benjamin.

Amenities are minimal, but there are highlights: a great business center with computers, and a free kosher breakfast buffet. Challah!

The San Carlos may look and feel a little generic, but it's a solid mid-range option.

 Features

Huge rooms, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and a good fitness room.

The Fitness Center
The Fitness Center

Other than the generous size of the rooms, one of the best aspects of this hotel is its location -- Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and all of 5th Avenue’s shops and boutiques within a 10-minute walk.

 Rooms

Spacious, comfortable, and wired, but some rooms have little natural light.

The Deluxe Room
The Deluxe Room

At 350 square feet, deluxe rooms are significantly larger than the average boxy New York hotel digs. Rooms come with a king, a queen, or two queens, and a full kitchenette replete with utensils and microwave, making this a great option for families, even though the hotel tends to attract primarily business travelers.

 Location

Central, walking distance to Times Square and Rockefeller Center, but still quiet.

The 147-room San Carlos hotel is located in a mini hotel district in Midtown East; within one block are the Benjamin and Affinia hotels.

Many of the city's most popular tourist sights and attractions are located within a 15-minute walk of the hotel, including Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square and Fifth Avenue.

The 6 train is one block away, which runs up and down the eastern side of Manhattan, and Grand Central, one of the main subway hubs in the city, is only eight blocks away.

New York City has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting into town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than 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.

 Family

Free cribs and cots, and big rooms, but staid vibe isn't terribly inviting to families.

Management says the hotel doesn't host a lot of families -- not surprising given the staid vibe -- and there's nothing particularly kid-friendly about the hotel. But cribs and cots are free, the rooms are easily big enough to accommodate them, and the hotel is close to plenty of kid-friendly attractions.

 Food

Free breakfast; room service is OK in a pinch.

 Bottom Line

In the words of the hotel’s owner, “We’re not cool, but we’re comfortable.” Indeed, this comfortable and well-located hotel in Midtown East has nice features like free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and spacious rooms, but it lacks character, even for a mid-range place catering primarily to business travelers.

Things You Should Know About San Carlos Hotel

Address

  • 150 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Hotel San Carlos
  • San Carlos Hotel New York
  • San Carlos New York City

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Executive Suite
  • One Bedroom Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 150
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Midtown East, Manhattan
Address: 150 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022
(See Map)
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