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Hotel St. James 2.5

Midtown West, New York City, New York

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Pre-war building in Midtown, close to theaters and tourist attractions
  • Basic accommodations with some of the lowest prices in the area
  • A diverse mix of young and old, and many nationalities
  • Flat-screen TVs and duvets
  • Some room types are quite spacious
  • A warm front desk staff -- many whom have been here for years!
  • Great lounge space for reading and hanging out
  • Free business center with printing
  • Late check-out and large lockers for storage
  • Concierge desk for theatre tickets and airport shuttles
  • Easy walking distance to subway lines
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • The property, overall, definitely shows age
  • No dining or drinks offered directly on-site
  • Some rooms lack natural light and have zero views
  • No mini-fridges, coffeemakers or bathroom counter space
  • Front-facing rooms have better views, but more street noise
  • Some quirks and maintenance issues are to be expected

Bottom Line

This quirky, pre-war building with 145 rooms rising 12 floors is one of the most affordable options in Midtown, and is a short walk away from Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Bryant Park. Open since 1972, this family-owned hotel retains a charming staff (ask for Joey!) and has had basic room renovations (upgrades include flat-screen TVs and white bedding). Some rooms are quite spacious, but views can be a hit or miss and guests may get a direct view of concrete. There's no dining on-site but plenty in the area, though those in search of trendier options may want to hop on a subway downtown. Free Wi-Fi and a comfortable lounge with lockers and bathrooms make this a winner for budget travelers who have a late flight back across the pond.

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Scene

A basic hotel for low-maintenance travelers of all ages

For those expecting a classic NYC hotel with a grand entrance and a doorman to assist with luggage (which the hotel's formal name might suggest), this is not the place. In fact, it's easy to walk or drive right on by this property, especially when the building is under scaffolding, as is common with pre-war buildings.

Once inside, the feel may remind guests of a relative's house; there are worn seating areas, wood paneled walls, bookshelves, moldings, and floor tiles. The small front desk, which was mostly handled by a friendly Brooklynite named Joey during our visit, handles check-in swiftly -– even when a large group arrives and asks for the same rooms from a previous visit.

The lobby leads to two older elevators (those staying on lower-level floors will probably end up taking the stairs) where guests can drop their bags and head back down to the lounge. There are seating areas here for reading a book from the communal shelves, or for using fee Wi-Fi. Backpackers might be found sorting their stuff before heading to the airport, or there might be a couple enjoying a beer bought at a convenience store and looking through a guidebook. It's a hotel with a grown-up hostel feel.

Location

Central Midtown location close to numerous subway lines

The property as of June 2014 is under scaffolding, so keep a close eye out for the understated entrance when first arriving. The hotel is situated on 45th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues -- super convenient to Midtown attractions but slightly removed from the hubbub of Times Square. It's within walking distance to major tourist sites such as Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, the New York Public Library, Museum of Modern Art, Empire State Building, and Fifth Avenue shopping. Several subway lines and major stations are in this immediate area, so guests will have easy access to the rest of the city. A concierge desk on the first floor offers shuttle service to JFK, and the cost is much cheaper than taking a taxi.

Rooms

Basic, clean rooms have white duvets but few amenities

There are 145 rooms that come with one full bed, one queen bed, one king bed, two double beds or two queen beds. Though room layout and views range (some have very dark views of the building directly next door), the decor is pretty much the same: off-white wallpaper, white duvets, maroon accents, a wood dresser, a chair, and a flat-screen TV. Larger rooms come with a table and two chairs.

Bathrooms have tub/shower combos with minimal toiletries and counter space. Closets in the rooms might be too close to the bed to use, especially the rooms that have two queen beds. Rooms lack mini-fridges, so those hoping to save money on food by storing some essentials will be disappointed.

Features

A generous check-out time and a deli next door

Checkout is a generous 12 p.m., and past that, guests can store their luggage in the lockers downstairs (for a small fee) and make themselves comfortable in the lounge before their flight. Here, there are plenty of seating areas for pulling out the guidebook and map. A business center offers computers and Internet for free, as well as printing services. This area also has spacious bathrooms for both men and women.

Since the hotel lacks any dining or drinking venues, guests will likely get to know the next door deli for water, coffee, and quick casual meals. The Midtown neighborhood is home to a range of cuisines at various price points -- just ask the front desk for local suggestions. The concierge, however, is best used for theater tickets and airport shuttle arrangements.

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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Address

109 West 45th Street, New York City, New York 10036-4071, United States

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