Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A basic, no-frills hotel
The Seafarers and International House is a basic, no-frills hotel. The bright lobby area offers affordable coffee and a few spare chairs and table. A set of stairs leads to a mezzanine lounge area with computers, a flat-screen TV, and shelves lined with books. Most guests are traveling on a budget, including sailors (seafarers take up about 30 percent of the rooms). This relaxed, peaceful property also offers a quiet chapel that many guests use for prayer and meditation. Those looking to enjoy a little nightlife will need to look off property.
A safe location close to Union Square and restaurants
The property has a prime downtown location within blocks of Union Square, numerous train lines, and an endless array of restaurants. Guests who want to eat at the property can shop at the nearby Whole Foods for groceries or hit up the USQ GreenMarket four days a week (a mini-fridge is available in some rooms). Nearby Gramercy Park is private -- guests looking for outdoor space beyond Union Square can wander over to Stuyvesant Square for a bench and shade to read and relax. Also within walking distance is the East Village -- known for coffee shops, hip restaurants, and quirky boutiques at decent prices -- and of course, Greenwich Village, NYU, and Washington Square Park. For a visit to Brooklyn, the L Train to Williamsburg -- one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city for dining and drinking -- is just two blocks away.
Basic rooms, some with private baths
This non-profit hotel offers clean and sparse rooms at consistent low prices. They come in three different types: a single twin with shared bath, a single twin with cot and shared bath, and two twins with a private bath. The latter is the somewhat primo of the three, and these rooms have small flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges. All rooms have air-conditioning units. The floors with shared bathrooms have two full bathrooms (shower only) on each side to choose from. With regular cleanings and private sinks in the actual rooms, there is hardly a wait.
A lounge and chapel
This no-frills property has few features. The basic lobby has a television, affordable self-serve coffee, and an upstairs lounge with computers and books. Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and lounge. A Lutheran church is attached to the lobby -- Sunday service is offered. Within a two block radius there are many options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nightlife.
The basic 84-room Seafarers and International House near Union Square contains guestrooms with twin beds and is known for two reasons: value and location. This downtown property is a non-profit with a 100-plus-year history (it's been in this location for 50) as a refuge for seafarers and asylum seekers. Today, guests are anyone looking for a good deal in lower Manhattan. Some rooms have private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs, but most have no bathrooms (they are shared with other rooms on the floor). The lobby is filled with natural light and offers coffee for just a coin and free Wi-Fi.