Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A cool and laid-back vibe for all ages; it mostly attracts couples from Western Europe
Once past the unattractive, unmarked entrance and quirky elevator, guests will find themselves walking into a bright open space with wooden floors, contemporary furnishings, and music playing from artists such as Coldplay or Lana Del Rey. During check-in, the staff will give a tour: there are about five to six rooms on each the property's three floors (accessed by stairs versus the elevator), each with two shared bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, storage areas for food, and comfortable spaces for eating, using the laptop, reading, or watching TV.
It is no wonder that many guests who end up at Urban Oasis are from Western Europe and Australia -- two places known for their large inventories of hostels. Rooms are private here, but everything else is shared. There is a mix of short-term couples and long-term students. Though relaxed and fun, it's not a party scene and the property imposes quiet hours from 10pm – 9am. Overall, this can feel like sharing one big apartment space with a handful of roommates, which is how many New Yorkers actually live, making for an authentic experience.
In the heart of Midtown, with attractions in every direction
Considering the fact that nearly all accommodations in Midtown consist of expensive hotels, this low-priced option is just on reason that Urban Oasis stand out from the rest. The property takes up three floors in a building on 31st Street just off 5th Avenue, and there are plenty of windows on each floor that give the common areas natural light (the rear view looks onto the Empire State Building). Despite the slow and unattractive elevator, guests can easily walk to a number of attractions including restaurants, museums, shopping, and picnic spots in Korea Town, Murray Hill, Bryant Park, and Madison Square Park, to name a few.
For public transportation, there are several subway lines within a five-minute walk. Getting to neighborhoods downtown is a cinch. CitiBike stations are located within a few blocks of Urban Oasis's doors for biking to Central Park and along the Hudson River path.
Six room types to choose from -- some with views, others without
The Urban Oasis occupies three floors with 17 rooms total, so there are five to six rooms per floor. Room types include those with either a king bed, full bed, two twin beds, or two queen beds (the best option for families). There are two full bathrooms with stand-up showers on each floor and the only time guests may see a wait for these is early in the morning. All areas are very clean and nicely decorated, and the rooms are quite big.
Most of the private rooms feature large loft-style windows with city views. The rear rooms look out onto the Empire State Building, and for those on a tight budget, the hostel offers a few rooms without views at a cheaper rate. All rooms are decorated in individual contemporary decor by the owners and are simplistic in design. They each have a small wardrobe unit, reading lamps, heat and air conditioning, towels, and linens. Each floor has a bin of toiletries and miscellaneous beauty products available to guests, such as shampoo and conditioner, soaps, and hairdryers. Daily housekeeping in rooms is available for an extra fee.
Shared kitchens and food areas allow guests to save money
Each of the three floors comes with a separate kitchen that is stocked with free coffee and tea, dishes, silverware, glasses, appliances, and a large refrigerator that has separate labeled areas for each room. The pantry area also has private bins for dry food storage, and many guests choose to cook meals. There is even a section of "Free Food" from guests that have already left. Like the bathrooms, these spaces are rarely crowded. The kitchens each have dining areas, and separate chill-out reading corners and TV corners with Cable TV and movie libraries.
The staff has put together a great deal of local insider information printed out on sheets with the owners' favorite locals spots such as grocery stores, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, and even places to buy denim. City maps and Time Out magazines are also available, and guests have access to free Wi-Fi and use of the on-site computers and printers.
Luggage storage is available on the days of arrival and departure.
Any anxiety during the dingy elevator ride up to this authentic NYC guesthouse will likely dissipate once guests arrive to the bright and cheerful surroundings. With only 17 rooms outfitted in contemporary decor, this hotel takes up three floors of a Midtown high-rise that looks onto the Empire State Building from the rear. Owned by a Hungarian/Egyptian couple, the place exudes a cool international vibe, and therefore attracts low-maintenance couples of all ages who can handle the shared bathroom situation (two on each floor), one of the features that keeps this spot a budget-friendly hidden gem. Along with fully-equipped kitchens, private food storage areas, and free Wi-Fi, this hostel-like property offers a convenient location.