Made up of 130 homey guest rooms -- with books and live plants -- this unique, B&B-style hotel feels worlds away from its surrounding corporate skyscrapers in Midtown East, near subways and museums. Free Wi-Fi, a small seasonal rooftop bar, and a funky, artsy cafe add even more to the charm. All told, a fine (and fun) pick for the price.
Located in skyscraper- and restaurant-lined Midtown East, blocks from Grand Central Station and alongside other big, old hotels, the Roger Smith is central, but quiet in the evening.
Located within a few blocks of swanky business hotels, like the Intercontinental, W New York, Waldorf Astoria, and Hotel Roger Williams, the hotel's entrance is right on Lexington Avenue, a street busy with cars (the better to get a taxi) but relatively little foot traffic. Some sporty dive bars along 2nd Avenue can be a bit lively if the right game is on, but this is an area better known for Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Public Library (all within walking distance) than its nightlife.
Midtown East is where many New Yorkers come to work. Iconic skyscrapers -- the Chrysler Building and the Seagram Building -- dominate the skyline. On the ground, plenty of delis and Starbucks cafes feed the cubicle occupants. Nightlife is scarce, but excellent, typically pricy, cuisine is always within walking distance. On its western border, 5th Avenue is home to shopping icons like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., along with high-end flagships like Gucci and Versace. Madison Avenue, one block east, is also dotted with designer boutiques.
Six blocks from the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines; five blocks from the E, V subway lines
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 $50 (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 $15 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 $7.50 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.