Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Of the dozen or so hotels packed into the skyscraper-lined streets behind Grand Central Station -- the InterContinental, the Waldorf-Astoria, and the W New York among them -- the Radisson is often the least expensive. No doubt, it has its faults. Only a full-size bed can fit in the most basic room type, a 181-square-foot "Petite." Guest rooms, though generally clean, do show some significant wear (renovations started in summer 2012), including old , (one floor is designated for smoking), some mold in the bathroom, and . The beds lack duvets (though they do have down-like comforters) and the bedding, overall, doesn't quite match up to the high standards set by the other big-chain hotels, like the Marriott. Though the Radisson name carries a bit of prestige in Europe, this is not the case in the U.S. (don't expect the flawless designer frills of the Radisson Blu in Hamburg, Germany).
However, the Radisson's shortcomings (small, noisy rooms, in particular) are relatively common in New York, and it can be a great deal. Its gym is larger and better equipped than the fitness centers at most other hotels in its price range, though it does lack private TV monitors on the cardio machines (available at the Doubletree Metropolitan). While other lower-tier hotels have nothing to eat on-site, the Radisson has a Starbucks and four restaurants -- a more stylish Dominican cafe, a sushi bar off the lobby, a Chinese restaurant, and an overpriced diner. And, unlike at most other hotels these days, the Radisson has a large staff -- a doorman, porters, a concierge, an attentive crew at the front desk, and wandering managers throughout the lobby -- that is eager to help at all hours. Overall, you can do a lot worse for the price, but it's worth first comparing rates at the nearby Marriott East Side, Doubletree Metropolitan, or Courtyard by Marriott Midtown East. Though these hotels are often more expensive, they have better beds and bigger rooms and, depending on the time of year or day of week, the price difference can be marginal.
A major renovation is underway through mid-2013 to update the hotel with a jazz-era feel.
Located in skyscraper- and restaurant-lined Midtown East, blocks from Grand Central Station and alongside other big, old hotels, the Radisson is central, but quiet in the evening.
The Radisson is located in the center of Midtown East, a part of the city where many New Yorkers come to work. Iconic skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building and the Seagram Building dominate the skyline and swanky business hotels -- the InterContinental, the W New York, and the Waldorf-Astoria -- are all just a block from the the Radisson.
Its entrance is just off Lexington Avenue on 48th Street, a street busy with cars (the better to get a taxi) but relatively little foot traffic. On the ground, plenty of delis and Starbucks cafes (including the one connected to the Radisson's lobby) feed the cubicle occupants. On its western border of Midtown East (about a five minute walk from the hotel), Fifth Avenue is home to shopping icons like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., along with high-end flagships like Gucci and Versace. About a five-minute walk east of the hotel are great restaurants that line 2nd Avenue. Nearby, some sporty dive bars can be a bit lively if the right game is on, but this is an area better known for popular tourist attractions like Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Public Library (all within walking distance) than its nightlife.
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 like Super Shuttle that are available at all three airports for about $14 per person. 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.
Located among the corporate skyscrapers and the leading business hotels of Midtown East, the 712-room Radisson might not be fancy -- its guest rooms start especially small, are noisy, and show significant (hotel started renovations in 2012) -- but a nice gym, ample on-site dining, free Wi-Fi, and solid service make it a very attractive option for the price.