Front desk staff are happy to help with local suggestions
A strong housekeeping staff to keep the aging place immaculate
Some rooms have stellar views of the Empire State Building
Decor and furnishings are worn and outdated
Patterned bedspreads (though clean) are eyesores
Some room types have shared bathrooms (book carefully!)
No property features (though not expected in this price range)
This 80-room budget hotel -- sister property to Hotel 17 a little farther downtown -- is a great value. Many rooms have their own unique decor, down to the patterned wallpaper and outdated bedspreads. That being said, the hotel is clean and maintained by a longstanding housekeeping staff, and technology includes flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Room sizes and types vary: some have private bathrooms while others are shared -- though it is rare to run into the neighbors except while waiting for the single (and slow) elevator.
Attracting budget travelers who are here for the basics and not much else
Hotel 31 lacks a traditional lobby setting, and instead offers a simple entrance for checking in with the manager on duty. Basic accommodations attract all sorts of people on a budget, especially young backpackers and European families (Germans in particular -- hence the multi-lingual signage). The overall scene is quiet, clean and safe; it is no more than a basic place to get some shut-eye between sightseeing. Interiors feel dated right down to the elevator, which is comically slow. Friendly staff members, many who have been here for years, can offer neighborhood food and drink suggestions.
At the southern end of Midtown East, within walking distance of the Empire State Building
The hotel gets its name for its location: 31st Street. It's on the southern end of Midtown East, near the borders with Kips Bay and Murray Hill. There are a few popular sights nearby, and the 6 train is about a block away, but it's quieter and more residential than the Times Square area. Guests are within walking distance of numerous ethnic restaurants, especially Japanese restaurants and Indian restaurants (the concentrated stretch of Indian eateries in Murray Hill is nicknamed Curry Hill). Madison Square Park and the gourmet Italian market Eataly are blocks away, as are The Empire State Building and shops along Fifth Avenue.
Basic accommodations are clean but have outdated furnishings
The 80 rooms come with two doubles, one queen, one full, two twins or some some mixture of the above. Furnishings and linens are outdated -- those who cringe at patterned bedspreads will have a hard time adjusting, though the entire hotel is kept clean. Technology is more modern than the decor, and all rooms have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. Some have shared single-unit bathrooms with shower/tub combos and toiletries. Each room is unique with its own style, so what guests get will be a bit of surprise. One thing that they all have in common is cleanliness.
What the hotel lacks in features makes up for in price.
Hotel 31 offers early check-ins, baggage storage and neighborhood advice from the front desk staff. It's a value hotel with rates that are consistently lower than most competitors. So it's no surprise that the hotel does not have a bar, restaurant, fitness center or meeting facilities. It’s merely a place to put down the bags, shower and rest.