The Skyline eschews style and charm in favor of large rooms and a swimming pool, both of which are tough to come by in New York, especially at this price point. Some might be put off by the low-key, though safe neighborhood, but it's a good value near Broadway, and a great one if you're driving -- parking is a fraction of what you'd pay at other Manhattan hotels. Though there's a fee for Wi-Fi, the on-site restaurant and fitness center add to its value.
A modest but comfortable mid-size, mid-priced hotel in Hell's Kitchen
The Skyline is New York's version of the strong, silent type: It has a gruff exterior, but if you delve deeper and give it a chance, you'll find simplicity and quality. From the outside, it doesn't look like much. It's two blocks off the West Side Highway, alone on the corner of a relatively quiet street in an area known as Hell's Kitchen -- one of the last neighborhoods in Manhattan that could still be called up-and-coming. The building itself resembles a motel, right down to the above-ground parking lot next to the entrance. Even the font on the sign looks like it was pulled straight from an interstate motor lodge in Nevada.
It's not until you step into the lobby that you breathe a sigh of relief and realize the Skyline is a hotel, and a decent one too. On the inside, the Skyline looks pretty much like many of its more expensive (but still mid-priced) counterparts east of 10th Avenue. The marble floors in the lobby glimmer. There's a bell staff and a concierge. Throw in the El Original restaurant and bar, a pool, and 231 rooms that often go for less than $200 a night, and the Skyline legitimately enters the conversation with midtown's myriad other mid-range hotels.
The Skyline has been owned by the same people since 1982. Those folks also own the Excelsior, on the Upper West Side, and if you can find a room there for roughly the same price, and don't need to be near Broadway or Times Square, go for it: the Excelsior is far more charming. But the Skyline is a good value in its own right, especially if theater is high on your NYC to-do list, and especially if you're driving into the city -- parking is a fraction of what you'd pay at most New York hotels.
Hell's Kitchen, a slightly gritty but up-and-coming neighborhood in Midtown West
The Skyline is one of the only hotels in Manhattan's Clinton neighborhood, better known as Hell's Kitchen, which was famous for its organized crime and gang warfare until the 1990s, when the area -- like so many in Manhattan -- began to gentrify. (Midtown's dense colony of hotels begins two blocks over, on 8th Avenue.) It's relatively quiet at night by New York standards, which may make some visitors uneasy, and the immediate area is still a bit gritty, but it's worth emphasizing that it is now generally quite safe. And the street just one block east, 9th Avenue, has become one of the hippest, most hopping stretches in the city: restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bodegas, and pizza joints galore. A few more blocks east and you're in Times Square.
Not ideal for subway access. Closest stop is two long blocks away (a five- to 10-minute walk).
10-minute walk from most Broadway theaters
Half a mile from Central Park ($5 to $8 taxi)
Military and aeronautics aficionados will want to check out the Intrepid Air Space Museum, housed aboard a WW2-era aircraft carrier, just two blocks west, on the 46th Street pier.
Not many hotels in New York have a pool, so it's a welcome surprise that the Skyline does. It's an indoor saltwater pool surrounded by loungers and floor-to-ceiling windows. There's also a small gym with a handful of cardio and strength training machines and free weights. The hotel has two ballrooms to accommodate 75-260 people.
In the bottom level of the hotel is the on-site restaurant and bar, El Original. They serve Tex-Mex favorites like queso, enchiladas, and margaritas. It's open for all three meals.